Accessing the backcountry for snowboarders has always been a bit of a quandary. For skiers, the prospect is a little more straightforward. Alpine touring bindings and skins are enough to get you moving. Poles are already a part of the equation, and up or downhill, you’re oriented the same way. By comparison, the most popular way for snowboarders to access backcountry terrain – a splitboard – is clunky. Touring requires separating your board, re-mounting your bindings and affixing skins, then peeling off your skins and re-assembling your snowboard once you reach the summit.
And while splitboard tech has evolved over the years, a company called Drift Boards believes they’ve found a solution for backcountry snowboarders that simplifies the situation a bit.
Drift Boards are essentially a cross between alpine touring skis and snowshoes. The bottoms have permanent climbing skins, so you don’t have to worry about slapping them on and peeling them off, the bindings fit most soft boots, and the boards are small enough to stow in your pack once you’re ready to strap on your snowboard. The most obvious drawback, of course, is having to hike with your board on your back. But if that’s what it takes to not have to fumble with skins, it may be worth it.
Other companies have sought to find alternatives to splitboarding’s dilemmas before. Most notably, MTN Approach’s foldable approach ski system. But Drift Boards’ main difference is their size.
At time of publication, Drift Boards had well surpassed their $30,000 goal for their Kickstarter campaign which concludes Thursday. With the popularity of splitboarding what it is, it’s hard to see Drift Boards completely taking over, but this is definitely a more cost-effective alternative that will certainly appeal to many.