1st Carbon Prototype
Thought I would try my skill as a writer which is not natural. I am an engineer so forgive me.
Question 1: How did Drift boards come about and why?
My long time friend Nick and I wanted a better method to travel in the backcountry. Mostly we wanted to ride quiver boards in the backcountry. Back in 2012 we started sketching some ideas for an approach product for the backcountry. We tried a quick and dirty prototype. It really didn't work but that was the start.
After a number of years and playing a lot more in the backcountry, we decided to combine snowshoes, cross-country skis, and touring skis. The idea came after hauling kids around with cross-country skis, snowshoes, and split-boarding. We got to see the merits and downfalls of each.
After we came up with the concept, Nick made the first prototype with the new design. It was the critical move for the product. It proved the concept. After that we started to refine the product and make it lighter weight.
Question 2: Is there enough float and traction?
Initially this was the major concern. After some quick prototypes, we knew that traction would not be an issue. Quality of skins made a bigger difference than surface area for traction. Float was still important. We needed to keep a close eye on this, especially for our Sasquatch riders. Nick and I are both over 6 feet tall and consider ourselves good testers. We netted on a surface area that was equivalent to the surface area of my cross-country skis. The surface area and light weight carbon fiber has proved to keep the biggest riders on top of the snow. In fact, we may make a smaller, more compact version for the lighter riders in time (like a few years down the road).
Interestingly, 10 years ago our Drift boards wouldn't have worked in skin tracks. Now days with wider skis, our product fits in skin tracks fine and we also have adequate surface area for float.
Question 3: Do these replace splitboards?
It totally depends on what you are doing. I haven't used a splitboard since designing Drift boards, but I am not in the most technical of situations. I think that there is still a place for split boards. They have better edging, a little more surface area, and are better suited for overnight yurt trips where every ounce counts.
On the other hand, if you are doing shorter laps and have less time, the change over from Drift boards to snowboard is way shorter. The Drift boards are more efficient pound for pound (i.e. it's not efficient to carry heavy loads on your feet). I have watched the Drifts out hike splits time and time again. Plus they are way less expensive.
Drift boards make for some pretty fun laps. Elevate the Journey.