While splitboards continue to grow in popularity, the technology involved has generally remained stagnant, leaving riders on a compromised board lacking the performance they often need in the backcountry. As a solution, two snowboard industry veterans have come up with MTN Approach, a foldable skin and ski combination that easily fits into a backpack at the end of the ascent. While you’ve still got to “earn your turns”, the traditionally cambered skis feature permanently affixed climbing skins and cross country-inspired bindings to improve efficiency and reduce fatigue while touring.
At just 140cm long when extended and roughly 21″ folded, the 3.5lb skis fit neatly into the MTN Approach backpack, keeping the weight against the back—one’s center of gravity—and out of the way during the descent. While it’s questionable whether the skis will hold up to extreme abuse, the folding hinge is made of durable fiberglass-filled nylon with a hardened aluminum cam, and the poplar wood ski core features capped construction and full metal edges to perform like a traditional all-mountain ski while traversing.
While all the specs are appealing, the biggest thing the system offers is the freedom to ride any board in your quiver. Rather than being limited to one shape as with a traditional splitboard, the MTN Approach backpack allows the wearer to carry any board comfortably in multiple positions, ready to ride once the goods have been reached.
To better understand each design detail in the MTN Approach system their site offers a handful of descriptive videos alongside numerous endorsements from some of the most reputable names in snowboarding. The MTN Approach system—skis, packpack and backcountry shuvel—sells directly for $795.