Drift Boards Review

Carbon Drift Boards

  • Ultra-lightweight carbon fiber construction (5 lbs per pair)
  • New polyurethane sidewall 
  • Permanent nylon (Yellow) or 100%mohair (Green) climbing skin
  • Minimalist composite bindings 
  • Steep nose ramps and built-in skins for traction and glide 
  • Webbing straps with cam lock and folding heel cup 
  • Heel riser bars with two height options 
  • Stainless steel hardware 
  • Dimensions 6.75″ W x 35″ L  (171mm W X 89cm L) 222 in^2 Per Board

Oxygen Drift Boards

  • Glass fiber construction. (one pair weighs just under 6 lbs.)
  • New polyurethane sidewall 
  • Permanent nylon or Mohair climbing skin
  • Minimalist glass composite bindings 
  • Steep nose ramps and built-in skins for traction and glide 
  • Webbing straps with cam lock and folding heel cup 
  • Heel riser bars with two height options 
  • Stainless steel hardware 
  • Dimensions 6.75″ W x 35″ L  (171mm W X 89cm L)

Intended Use: Backcountry touring

Recommended for:

Backcountry enthusiasts looking for the freedom to ride whatever they want and a faster transition than a splitboard.

Rider Specs:
5’11”, 195lbs, size 11 boot
Review Date: March 2022  through January 2023


Every winter, I am on a quest for fresh powder as there is nothing that I love riding more. I don’t know if it’s that smooth surfy feel or the lack of people, but it brings so much peace. In this quest, I spend a fair amount of time on Teton Pass and other areas, searching for powder or just some fun and different terrain to experience. Both early and late seasons usually come with their share of hazards (rocks, stumps, downed trees, etc) as we wait for enough snowpack. There have been many times I really didn’t want to take my splitboard out for fear it would take some serious damage. I’ve used snowshoes and just hiked a boot pack, which is doable but far less efficient than skinning up on a splitboard and makes the tradeoff just a bit less worth it. To change things up, I also have been spending a fair amount of time powsurfing lately. If there’s not a bootpack in place it can be exhausting post-holing your way back up a mountain and more time and work for turns. I came across Drift Boards last year and they have been a game changer.

Drift Boards are a shorter approach ski, with a simple binding very similar to what you would find on a snowshoe and a skin that you leave on. Drift boards take some of the best features from snowshoes, touring skis, and splitboards to offer a simple way to explore the backcountry. 

They are so easy to use and don’t take much time to figure out the binding system or how to make your way smoothly uphill. This gives me the extra freedom to ride any board in my quiver. I first used them after Grand Targhee closed last season. I didn’t want to chance beating up my splitboard as the snowpack thinned out, but still wanted to get out there and ride. Using the Drift boards allowed me to bring my rock board, but still have the efficiency of skinning up. I also really liked that once I reached the top, I could quickly transition to my snowboard. There is no skin to take off, roll up and tuck away. I just used a ski strap to keep the Drifts together and then strapped them to my pack. They are light enough that you barely notice them. (Oxygen 6lbs, Carbon 5lbs). 

Last year I picked up a pow surfer from Grassroots Powsurfers. Being that you cannot use them at a resort, you are forced into the backcountry. The Drift boards have been great for this. I strap the powsurfer to my pack and make my way uphill easily on the Drift boards. Again, the quick transition is really a plus.

The binding on the Drift boards is simple yet very well constructed for efficiency. It operates like a snowshoe binding, with a few extra features from a splitboard binding. You use the straps, cam locks, and heel cup to secure your boot to the binding. The straps/bindings have accommodated my Adidas Tactical ADVs as well as my Deelux Powsurf boots with ease. I found the top/heel strap to be really long once my foot was secured, but that was a super easy fix. I just ended up putting the loose end of the strap inside the gator or my pants but you could also put it under the toe strap. The Drift boards have a heel riser bar like you would find on a split board binding system that makes climbing steep approaches so much easier. There are two options for the height that are easily raised and lowered with your poles. I found it easy to make adjustments with my poles on the go as the terrain varied. 

The Drift boards are a similar width to skis and don’t provide quite the same level of support on the top of the snow as snowshoes do. I have found they are great for an existing skin track but can be a bit challenging in deep snow. They also glide, unlike a snowshoe and this makes for a smoother, more efficient climb. Drift also makes a crampon for icier climbs, although I have yet to try these out. 

Gliding downhill can be pretty interesting on such short skis. Thankfully I have not had to do this too much.

Both the Oxygen and Carbon models come with nylon skins, but you have the option to upgrade to a Mohair skin if that’s your preference. The Mohair would add a slightly more lightweight option, but may wear out faster and not work as well in icier conditions. The choice is yours. 

Overall Impressions

Drift Boards have really been a game-changer for me. They have allowed me to ride whatever board I want to in the backcountry. The binding system is simple, easy, and adjustable to use for your backcountry touring. 


  • Lightweight
  • Ease of use
  • No removing skins
  • Durable


  • Gliding downhill can be pretty interesting
Price:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Performance:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
Design:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
Overall:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

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