We get asked about metal edges regularly. Since skis and snowboards need metal edges, it seems only natural to expect Drift boards to have them. While they would very easy to add to the Drift boards, we are sticking to our guns when the question comes up and we do not have plans to add metal edges.

Why not? 

Despite conventional wisdom that says you need metal edges to climb well, we have not found them to be worth the extra cost and weight in our testing. Drift boards were designed exclusively for uphill travel. Metal edges and sidecut on skis and snowboards exist primarily to help them turn while sliding downhill, not to provide grip when climbing. There are approach skis on the market that include full metal edges, sidecut, and even p-tex base material. These are not design features for uphill travel, they are holdovers from conventional downhill construction. While a metal edge my sometimes help skis cut into firm snow, their impact is negligible compared to the existing edge on our Drift boards.

Ultimately it's the skins that provide traction. If a ski or splitboard is only on the metal edges at an angle, they are going to slide downhill. Traction depends on skin material in contact with the snow, period. We bring our skins all the way the edge of the Drift boards, so the edge is never meant to contact the snow anyway. If a ski or split has an advantage in firm snow, it is the relative skin surface area that is still able to contact that snow when sidehilling compared to the much shorter Drift boards. In such situations we find taking a more direct uphill route works well. If the snow is really firm, we recommend the Drift crampons. If you're in this kind of snow regularly, we recommend our Cascade model as the narrower width allows for better edging. 

Be safe and have fun out there. 

December 05, 2022 — Dave Rupp