This was my first splitboarding session of the season and I’m not feeling as fit as last year, so this was going to be interesting. If you don’t know, splitboarding is just like ski touring, but with a snowboard that splits in half to create skis to climb the mountain with.

splitboarding Nordkette

Splitboard – a snowboard split into two.

I have never climbed Nordkette in winter, only in summer. It can be tough depending on what path you take. In the summer, it becomes the steepest mountain bike trail in Europe that holds events such as the Nordkette Singletrail. Not only is it difficult because of the elevation, but the altitude affects kick in at about two thirds of the way up. Add snow and ice and it can get a bit tricky.

Hungerburg – the start

I started at Hungerburg which is about 800m above sea level. There is a cable car train from Congress in the city to Hungerburg, which is very convenient. From there, it’s just a short walk to the starting point.

Sun about to rise. - splitboarding Nordkette

The sun is on its way.

I went the wrong way to begin with. I was meant to take the main track, which zig zags up the mountain side and is more manageable. But the scenery looked so good and it didn’t seem too steep to begin with.

splitboarding Nordkette

A lovely track before sunrise.

Then I realised that I was going straight up and it was easier to keep going than to turn back. It was icy in places and at one point I felt like I was playing snakes and ladders. I stopped and put my crampons on.

Crampons are teeth like blades that are placed underneath the bindings, so you can cut into the ice and get a better grip. Without these, it would have been near impossible in certain sections.

I reached the path after the steep ascent that was tougher than I thought it would be…yes!

Relieved that the steep part was over - Splitboarding Nordkette

Relieved that the steep part was over.

It was lovely on the main path: the view of Innsbruck from different perspectives, the sun rising over the mountain peaks, the birds tweeting and the wood peckers pecking…fantastic!

Innsbruck from a different perspective - splitboarding Nordkette

Innsbruck from a different perspective.

This is what I love about splitboarding, it takes you away from the “norm” and places you right into nature. You become an adventurer where you can go wherever you want. It’s a good way to clear the mind, especially if you’re very busy. It’s also nice to be away from the digital world for a change (minus a few photo moments for the blog ;-)).

Fantastic views of Innsbruck - splitboarding Nordkette.

Fantastic views.

So I made it to the chair lift, this is the final stretch where you have the Seegrube lift station and restaurant in full view. I had to take a few breaks on the last bit, I’m not completely mountain fit yet. I could really feel the pressure of the altitude at this point. I had a banana break with some coffee from my backpack for a boost.

Views above Innsbruck - splitboarding Nordkette

My banana break location.

The skiers and snowboarders had arrived and were also enjoying the views as I was near the top.

Skiers and snowboarders enjoying Nordkette. Splitboarding Nordkette

Skiers and snowboarders enjoying Nordkette.

A Tyrolean came past. We had a little chat and I said I was from England and not used to the altitude. He said to go slow and next time you’ll be able to go quicker. Some nice encouragement from a local who moved on with speed and power. I find it amazing how fit the Tyroleans are and can see why many athletes and sportsmen and women from all over Europe train here at high altitude.

splitboarding Nordkette

Another Tyrolean passing me by.

Seegrube – the finish

I made it to Seegrube and what a feeling. Looking down at the city where I started and to think I climbed for over 4 hours to get here was just amazing. Some locals do this a few times a week, if not daily which is unbelievable! What was also great was meeting my mate Miguel from Blossom Kollektiv, a local record label. He is hosting the Iglu -Arctic Rave party on 24th March at Cloud 9, where I DJ for Silvester (NYE).

Could 9 Iglu bar at Nordkette, Innsbruck

Mountain top club – Cloud 9 Iglu.

He was there with Wolfgang Sauter of Pro Performance who distributes Lambda Labs speaker systems. They are providing their special sound system for this one party in Cloud 9. What they do is analyse the acoustics and combine the perfect system setup with the venue, to create the best possible quality of sound, very interesting stuff.

Miguel gave me the latest Blossom Kollektiv release by Leo Woelfel called “heuweid” – the perfect trophy for climbing the mountain.

Miguel from Blossom Kollektiv and me with my vinyl trophy.

Now for even more fun: putting the board back together and surfing down the mountain.

splitboarding Nordkette in Innsbruck

My splitboard ready to go.

Unfortunately, because of the conditions near the bottom, the piste was closed beyond the chair lift, so check before you head up there if you want to go all the way down.

splitboarding Nordkette - Innsbruck

The chair lift that takes you back up to Seegrube.

Where are you planning your next splitboarding/ski tour in Innsbruck and its villages? Find your perfect tour using this interactive map.

splitboarding Nordkette - Innsbruck

Successfully reaching Seegrube, photo by Miguel Morgado.

Unless otherwise stated, all photos: © Ashley Wiggins.