Can You Downhill Ski on a Splitboard?

You can’t downhill ski on a splitboard. Splitboards are designed to function like skis to help you get uphill, but they need to be attached and ridden like a snowboard when it’s time to go back downhill. 

I’m Christine, and I created this blog to share my love of skiing with others who have a similar passion. I love all types of skiing and have used a splitboard numerous times. I know through first-hand experience if you can downhill ski on a splitboard. 

This post will explain if you can downhill ski on a splitboard. I’ll tell you why this really isn’t possible and highlight some good information to know if you want to try splitboarding. 

Let’s get rolling. 

Key Takeaways

  • Splitboards cannot be ridden downhill like skis. They split into two to function as skis when you want to go uphill, but the pieces need to be reattached to go downhill like a snowboard. 
  • Splitboards are more like snowboards than skis from a technical perspective. Even though you can use them like skis going uphill, they are basically just a snowboard for downhill purposes. 
  • Splitboards are an excellent way for snowboarders to venture into the backcountry because you can utilize their design to access backcountry terrain easier than you could be hiking. 

Can You Downhill Ski on a Splitboard? 

If you have ever seen a splitboard in action, you’ll notice that it kind of looks like skis when riders are going uphill. And this causes many people to wonder whether you can use the splitboard-like skis when you want to go back down. 

Well, you can’t actually downhill ski on a splitboard. These boards are not designed to be used as separate planks like skis for downhill purposes. They need to be reattached and then ridden like a snowboard instead. 

A splitboard is more closely related to a snowboard than skis. They were designed by snowboarders who wanted an easier way to go into the backcountry. Splitboards function like skis only when going uphill. 

I suppose you could attempt to ski downhill on a splitboard, but you’re not going to make it very far. And you shouldn’t make an attempt in the backcountry with challenging terrain and other variable obstacles. 

Splitboarding vs Skiing

Splitboarding is much more like snowboarding than it is like skiing. Even though the board splits into two pieces that resemble skis, this function is only used when the rider is headed uphill. So you aren’t ever actually skiing on them. 

For downhill performance purposes, a splitboard is pretty much the same as a snowboard. You wear regular snowboard boots for splitboarding, and the bindings are basically the same as snowboard bindings. 

If you are a skier and don’t know how to snowboard, you really have no reason to use a splitboard. You will be able to hike your way up a slope, but then you won’t be able to get back down because the splitboard functions like a snowboard. 

Backcountry Splitboarding

Splitboarding was created for the backcountry. One advantage skiers had over snowboarders for a long time was that skis could be effectively used to get uphill with skins on, but snowboards couldn’t. 

This meant that snowboarders needed to hike to access backcountry terrain. But that all changed when splitboards were invented. The design of a splitboard enabled snowboarders to use the boards like skis to get uphill in the backcountry but then ride back down normally. 

Using a splitboard in the backcountry increases the potential range of how far a snowboarder can venture into the wilderness before tiring out. That gives them increased access to better terrain, which many snowboarders really appreciate. 


Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to if you can downhill ski on a splitboard. 

What’s the point of a splitboard? 

The point of a splitboard is to allow snowboarders an easier way to access backcountry terrain. The boards split in two to function like skis when you need to trek uphill in the backcountry. They can then be reattached and ridden like as a snowboard back downhill. 

What’s the difference between splitboard and snowboard? 

A splitboard splits into two pieces, which is the main difference between it and a snowboard. This allows riders to use the two pieces like skis to get uphill in the backcountry. But a splitboard functions just like a snowboard for going downhill. 

How do you ski with a splitboard? 

You don’t ski with a splitboard. These boards were not built for downhill skiing. They function like skis when you go uphill but are ridden like a snowboard on the way back down. When a splitboard is split, it can only be used on ascents. 

Final Thoughts

You can’t downhill ski on a splitboard. That’s not what they were designed for, and the splitboard bindings won’t allow you to control them if you try to ski downhill. 

But you can use splitboards to go into the backcountry as a snowboard. That’s one of the main reasons splitboards were created and why you should check them out if you are a snowboarder. 

Have you ever used a splitboard? What brand of board was it, and how did it perform? Let me know in the comments below.

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