Ryan Koupal, a native of Colorado, has been skiing his whole life, snowboarding since the early 1990s and splitboarding since 2003. He cut his teeth splitboarding in the Teton Range in the northwestern corner of Wyoming. Living in a cabin at the base of Teton Pass, Ryan rode his splitboard as much as possible and learned a lot from those mighty mountains. In 2006, after a few years of seasonal work guiding adventure travel programs in China and Tibet, Ryan dreamed up a personal trip with a few good friends that would change his life forever: a mission to explore the remote ranges of southwestern China. His splitboard was at the top of the packing list and he picked up his first pair of AT boots and Voile Mountain Plate bindings knowing conditions would be rugged and above and beyond what his softboot setup could handle. Later that year he moved back to his home state of Colorado and met John, who was working on developing Phantom.
Without hesitation he signed up for a pair and became one of the "original 25" - those who bought Phantoms the very first season. Fast forward to 2010 and the story of adventure splitboarding continues with two exploratory trips to Central Asia under his belt and creation of 40 Tribes Backcountry Adventures. Now in its 11th year, 40 Tribes has expanded globally and Ryan and his splitboard guides have truly put the Phantom system to the test in some of the most distant locations imaginable. To top it all off, Ryan contributed to Phantom's growth and development as the man behind Creative Direction, Sales and Customer Service from 2016-2019, and is therefore one of the more intimately knowledgeable people out there when it comes to both the brand and products.
If you've been dreaming of a next-level splitboarding adventure, we strongly recommend you connect with 40 Tribes! For 2021 they are offering trips in Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Georgia, La Grave, Siberia, Kamchatka, Svalbard, Greenland and Chile, and will be running their 7th Annual Splitfest - a splitboard-only guided week in Kyrgyzstan - with AMGA Split Guide and Phantom rider Eric Layton. Trip of a lifetime material without question.