Many of our customers face this debate once they decide  to go beyond the chairlift and earn their own turns. Sure you can just climb up the hill in your boots, but bootpacking is so inefficient that it's not realistic for any legit amount of snow or meaningful vertical. Snowshoes are the cheapest tool, but offer only marginal improvement over bootpacking. For years, split-boards have been the status-quo most efficient option. We started Drift because we weren't happy with the cons that come with split boards. What are those cons and how to Drift boards compare? Read on to find out.
Splitboard cons:
  1. Expensive. All splitboards and bindings cost more than their "normal" counterparts and they don't even include the skins. The cheapest split setup from Burton, for example, is $1,550 for board, bindings, and skins.
  2. Limited options. Unless you can afford multiple splitboards, you're likely to have one board to ride in all conditions, whether it's thin, deep, spring corn, etc. Which means you're often not using the best tool for the job.
  3. Compromised. While they have come a long way since the beginning, splitboards and bindings still don't ride as well as solid boards. No one would ride a split setup at the resort unless they had no other option.
  4. Heavy on your feet.  Carrying weight on your feet is much less efficient than carrying it on your back. The steeper the terrain, the more you feel the weight on your feet.
  5. Slow in transition. Pulling skins, reconnecting the board, and turning bindings all take precious time. Transition is slow enough that short laps become inconvenient. All your skier friends are annoyed while they wait for you to finish.
Splitboard pros:
  1. Trailbreaking. The longer nose on a splitboard tends to help the ski stay up in deep fresh snow just a bit better than the shorter Drift boards.
  2. Edge hold. The longer, narrow ski tends to hold an edge just a little better in firm snow.
  3. Pack weight. You're not carrying anything extra on your back.
Drift board pros:
  1. Affordable. Drift boards start at $420, less than a third the cost of a typical split setup.
  2. Unlimited options. Drift boards give you complete freedom to ride any snowboard in the backcountry. Ride your quiver!
  3. No compromise. Ride the very best board for the conditions, without limitations.
  4. Efficient. Light on your feet and your back. Drift boards are so light it's almost like having nothing on your feet. Putting the snowboard on your back is much more efficient in most conditions. The steeper the terrain, the more efficient Drift boards become.
  5. Quick in Transition. Drift boards transition even faster than skis. Simply take them off and strap them to your pack, put your snowboard on and go. Fast enough that short laps become an easy option.
  6. Agile. Going over or around obstacles is super easy on Drift boards. Kick turns aren't even a thing.
Drift board cons:
  1. Trail breaking. Drift boards are a little less efficient breaking trail in deep snow. (But still totally doable.)
  2. Edge hold. The short length and wide width makes it a little tougher to hold an edge in firm snow. Our crampons take care of this issue for those who frequently encounter firm snow. Drift boards also do really well taking a more direct route up the hill.
  3. Pack weight. You do have a little something extra on your pack, but as noted earlier, for the climb this is also benefit in some ways.
There you have it! In the backcountry, everything is about compromise: uphill vs. downhill perforance, soft and deep snow vs. firm or shallow, lightweight vs. strength, etc. For us, the value, efficiency, and freedom provided by Drift boards make them an easy pick for us over splitboards.
January 26, 2023 — Dave Rupp