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Winter is coming, are you ready?!
We are passionate snowboarders who started earning our turns in the early 90s when we were still in grade school. We started on backyard hills and before long graduated to real mountains. The effort, solitude, and pow of the backcountry call us back season after season. Drift boards were born from our love for the backcountry and the simple belief that there was a better way up the hill.
Conditions are extremely variable in the backcountry so it's hard to make a blanket claim about every situation in all conditions, but overall we will happily say yes. Honestly if we thought splits were better than Drifts we wouldn't be making and selling Drift boards.
Here are a few advantages Drift boards have over split boards:
Drift boards are very efficient. Studies show that carrying weight on your back is much more efficient than carrying it on your feet. Particularly in situations where you are taking big vertical steps, the lightweight Drift boards really shine. Don't be surprised if you reach the top before your friends.Drift boards allow you to take any board in your quiver into the backcountry. You can choose the right board for the conditions, and not ride a board that has been cut in half.Drift boards transition much faster than splits (and even skis). At the summit, Drift boards are consistently quicker than split boards. You'll be strapped in and waiting for your buddies to finish up.
Drift boards are about 1/3 the cost of a typical split board setup. Assuming you already have a snowboard or two, it's a much cheaper way to get into the backcountry.
The smaller, wider footprint of Drift boards gives them unique advantages over skis, such as maneuverability in trees, quick turns up hill, scrambling straight up steep sections, stepping over downed trees, etc. They also have a dual-position heel riser so they kill it when things get steep.
Drift boards an excellent companion for powder surfing.
We can't imagine using snowshoe ever again. Drift boards do everything a snowshoe can do, but they glide so you don't have to pick up your feet. You can travel a lot faster in the snow on Drift boards.
Yes. Drift boards love established skin tracks, and we take our turn breaking trail, just like everyone else.
The high back has no functional purpose while ascending in the snow. While you can use a full split binding on the Drift boards, we find them unnecessary and uncomfortable.
The Drift board bindings are minimal on purpose. The minimal design keeps the weight down and allows the boards to lay flat on your pack for the descent.
The Drift boards have a hole pattern that works with split bindings and you're welcome to use those if you prefer.
In our testing we have not found metal edges to be worth the extra cost and weight. 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. While a metal edge my sometimes help skis cut into firm snow, it's the skins that provide traction. Anytime skis are only on their metal edges at an angle, they are going to slide downhill. 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 you really want a sharper edge, you can trim back the skins and sharpen the edge of the carbon Drift boards.
While you can glide down a mellow slope and step down in powder, the Drift boards are not designed to descend like an alpine ski. The climbing skins are permanent, the bindings have a free heel, and the skis don't have a metal edge. Besides, it’s more fun to ride your favorite board down anyway!
Watch out for approach skis that are built like a traditional ski or snowboard that are primarily designed for downhill travel. Fancy wood cores, carbon stringers, metal edges, side cuts, removable skins, and p-Tex bases are all largely unnecessary while climbing uphill and only increase the ski’s weight. Drift boards were designed from scratch to be the lightest, strongest way to climb uphill, with no ties to tradition downhill ski or snowboard manufacturing methods. Most other approach skis come from ski or snowboard companies that haven’t consider the need for different construction for uphill travel.
In the backcountry, every ounce adds up very quickly. Take a close look at listed weights, and don’t forget the weight of bindings and skins if they are not included. It’s hard to beat carbon fiber if you’re looking for the greatest strength to weight ratio.
Narrower skis sidehill better on firm thin snow, but if you’re in it for the pow, wider skis will give more surface area for float and still sidehill well. Shorter skis are easier to maneuver over and around obstacles and perform better on more direct routes uphill. Watch out for skis that are too long, they can be dangerous when sticking up too far or hanging too low on your backpack on the way down the hill.
Approach skis are a great lower cost alternative to splitboards. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of bindings if they don’t come with one. For approach skis that require a splitboard binding, you’re getting pretty closet to the cost of a complete splitboard setup. While you can buy the boards only and use a splitboard binding with Drift boards, most of our customers buy the board/binding packing and are on their way for under $500.
Have questions about your order, or a general enquiry?