Black Diamond Drift skis review
The Black Diamond Drift is the fattest ski in their Efficient Series of backcountry specific boards. At 100mm underfoot and only weighing 7 lbs 10 oz, this ski is specifically meant to be a backcountry powder magnet. I’ve skied on the Drift for the past month now, and after several days in the backcountry, and even a few in bounds, I’ve got a pretty good feel for these sweeties. But you have to learn to love them.
My initial impression about the Black Diamond Drift is that they are soft and hooky. In fact, I didn’t really like them all that much. The skis were constantly throwing me into the back seat, and once that was accomplished, they would take off out of control. This mainly occurred only in rough terrain… while in powder the Drift skied like a dream. But when the going got tough, the Drift became tough to control.
The thing about the Drift is that they’re like the kid that’s hard to love. Sure they’re ugly and out of control, but if you get to know them and be patient with them, you’ll grow to like them more and more each day. I discovered this when I had the lightbulb moment that I was trying to turn the Drift like my other skis. But the Drift have a very soft flex and a stiffer, flat tail. To ski the Drift, you have to listen to them and let them tell you what they need. Once you do that, the Drift are one hell of a fun ride.
I know this sounds all mystical or something, but it works. As soon as I let go of my preconceptions about how the Drift should ski, and embraced the way the Drift wants to ski, then life was good. Basically, the skis like to turn, and despite their width, they can turn fast, tight and on a dime just was well as they slarve wide sweepers. But if you hold a turn for too long, those wide tails will hook you. You have to stay on top of these skis as they are not forgiving of mistakes.
But all of the above only applies to variable snow, chopped powder and hardpack conditions. In deep, untracked snow (which, honestly is what we’re skiing in the backcountry 90% of the time) the Drift are floaty, whippy and fun. The early rise and rockered tip makes six inches of fresh feel more like ten. I could lean forward into massive turns and never sink the tips. They just keep looking for the top, forcing their way onto the surface. The early rise also means the Drift feel shorter than their length would suggest. I’m 5’11″ and 150 lbs and have been using the 186, but they feel more like a 180 or 181 ski.
Those tips are very soft, though, and combined with the light weight of the skis, can be thrown around pretty easily when the powder dissappears. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend the Black Diamond Drift for resort skiing unless it’s an uncrowded, deep powder day.
However, the Drift were built for the backcountry, and that’s where they shine. The light weight makes them feel very nice on the skin track. I used the new Fritchi Freeride Pro bindings on them, and sliding in the uptrack for hours on end was made easier than previous touring setups. The wide tip was especially nice when breaking trail as the skis wouldn’t sink in deep snow. The metal skin clip on the tail is also a nice touch.
So if you’re an expert skier and spend most of your time in the backcountry searching every nook and cranny for untouched powder, then the Black Diamond Drift are a great choice. Their width to weight ratio is very good, and once you tame these bucking broncos, they’ll give you a ride that will make any powderwhore giggle.
You can purchase the Black Diamond Drift at Backcountry.com
Here’s the specs from Black Diamond:
Weight Per Pair : 3.46 kg, 7 lb 10 oz (186 cm)
Dimensions : 138/100/123 mm (186 cm)
Turn Radius: [186cm] 22m
Construction: Torsion Box
Core Material: Wood, carbon reinforcements