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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    88

    Black Diamond Drift - Should I look at anything else before buying these?

    I'm about to buy these skis in the 186cm length as my first set of backcountry skis. I'll be using Dynafit bindings.

    Me: 6', 185lb (183cm, 84kg)
    Skiing Style: Fairly conservative
    Location: Pacific Northwest
    Use: I'll be satisfied this year if I am primarily skiing to and from huts and hitting some gentle slopes. Skis will hopefully replace snowshoes as my primary method of travel in the winter.
    Experience: I started skiing in December 2011 on the bunny hill and magic carpet. I've been to the hill a few times/week for the past two months and have taken some lessons. I'm now comfortable on almost all the runs at the local small mountain in all conditions. I have taken the AST-1 avalanche course and I have many partners to ski with that have much more experience.
    Current skis: 178cm Head Monster 78. 177cm. 125-78-111


    I've read some reviews and forums (including this one.) Overall, these skis look good but I am wondering if I would be better suited with something that:
    1) Has some more rocker (perhaps the Hi-5)
    2) Has less of a flat tail (will these be difficult to do a falling leaf with?)

    I assume the 186cm is a good length for me but I'd be interested to know if shorter is acceptable.

    Are there any other skis you think I should take a look at?

    Thanks in advance for any pointers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Fraser Valley, BC
    Posts
    79
    I am actually selling a complete 186 drift set up with dynafits, and skins. (shameless plug)
    They are up for sale because they were too soft for my liking.

    For reference on myself;
    I am 6'2" 185lbs, and have been skiing for 14 years.
    What I ski on 191 Billygoats, 191 Lhasas, and 195 AK Rockets. These skis are more on the stiffer side for skis, but not the stiffest out there.

    They held an edge really nicely while carving, and floated me well in the 6 inches of fresh I had them out in. The Drifts are a dream to skin up with because of the weight. Especially when I compare them to other skis i've been on (the AK's and the Lhasa's mounted with dukes.)

    The ski's softness plays in to effect allowing the nose to bend and give it a rockered shape to keep the tips afloat (along with the 138mm shovel.)
    As for the flat tail and doing the falling leaf maneuver, a ski with a twin tip would be close to the same, or rockered tail would be easier. It is all is just getting comfortable with the ski.
    I believe some one else could answer this better than I.

    For gentle slopes and hut trips they would be a good fit for sure.

    That is my $.02

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by steventy View Post
    I'm about to buy these skis in the 186cm length as my first set of backcountry skis. I'll be using Dynafit bindings.
    ... I started skiing in December 2011 on the bunny hill and magic carpet. I've been to the hill a few times/week for the past two months and have taken some lessons. I'm now comfortable on almost all the runs at the local small mountain in all conditions.
    I think the Drift would be a great backcountry ski for an intermediate skier. Plenty of sidecut, not too stiff.

    I would caution you away from Dynafit. Nothing wrong with the bindings, but they're not for the timid. You want to have fun the backcountry, not spend hours fiddling with your bindings. I would suggest you get some Fritschi Freeride Pros (or Eagles) to go with your Drift, and enjoy the comfort of a step-in touring binding.

    You can always move to Dynafits at a later date when you're a more confident skier.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    88
    Quote Originally Posted by skimaxpower View Post
    I would caution you away from Dynafit. Nothing wrong with the bindings, but they're not for the timid. You want to have fun the backcountry, not spend hours fiddling with your bindings.
    .......
    You can always move to Dynafits at a later date when you're a more confident skier.
    Thanks - can you clarify why you would recommend that I avoid the Dynafits for starters? It sounds like you may be raising two concerns:
    1) Having to fiddle with the bindings a lot (hard to step in, hard to transition?)
    2) The bindings not being as safe for a beginner backcountry skier?

    Seeing as I want to cover a lot of distance, weight is important to me. I wouldn't take the decision to move to a Freeride lightly (yeah that's bad.) I already bought Dynafit compatible boots with the intent of going the tech binding route.

    If it's an issue of fiddling, I don't mind. I'm technically minded.

    If it's an issue of safety, I'd be more willing to switch. Based on everything I have read so far and the type of skiing I will be doing (no cliff drops,) I'm currently ok with the safety of the Dynafit (although I wish there was a backcountry version of the KneeBinding that I have mounted on my groomers.)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Den/Baltimore
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    5,129
    Spent my first season last year in the bc on Dynafits. Never had much of a problem with them. Definitely spend some time reading up on the ways of potential issues on this site (stick around, Tech Talk is awesome), and have a great time out there. To brief: make sure you have them mounted at a reputable shop (unless you're pretty comfortable mounting them yourself), and make sure you clear the toepiece of ice before you step in.

    Honestly, I'd be more concerned about finding terrain you're comfortable skiing.

    Edit: Also been pretty stoked on my K2 Hardsides. If you're big into gear, I'd do some research on this site. Some pretty great skis out there that are ~100mm underfoot and ~8 lb/pair. Find the one that's best suited for your style.
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

    photos

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    Le Lavancher pour le weekend
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    Quote Originally Posted by skimaxpower View Post
    I think the Drift would be a great backcountry ski for an intermediate skier. Plenty of sidecut, not too stiff.
    2nded, got the ladies version for my mrs (Starlet) and they hit the nail on the head on any snow that's soft or smooth, but they don't deal well w/ cut up junk, too light and wide.
    'waxman is correct, and so far with 40+ days of tasting them there is no way my tongue can tell the difference between wood, and plastic made to taste like wood...but i'm a weirdo and lick my gear...' -kidwoo

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    387
    Quote Originally Posted by skimaxpower View Post
    I think the Drift would be a great backcountry ski for an intermediate skier. Plenty of sidecut, not too stiff.

    I would caution you away from Dynafit. Nothing wrong with the bindings, but they're not for the timid. You want to have fun the backcountry, not spend hours fiddling with your bindings. I would suggest you get some Fritschi Freeride Pros (or Eagles) to go with your Drift, and enjoy the comfort of a step-in touring binding.

    You can always move to Dynafits at a later date when you're a more confident skier.
    There is a bit of a fiddle factor, but the benefits far outweigh that. Unless you are a complete klutz, just get Dynafits. Nobody takes "hours" to get into dynafits.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    387
    Quote Originally Posted by bbense View Post
    There is a bit of a fiddle factor, but the benefits far outweigh that. Unless you are a complete klutz, just get Dynafits. Nobody takes "hours" to get into dynafits.

    As far as the safety factor goes, there is no proof that any AT binding is any safer than any other. They all meet the same standard and they all have both a twisting and upward heel release. Some just look more like "real" alpine bindings than others. There are definitely differences in how much pre-release you get between bindings, but none of them work as well as good modern alpine bindings when it comes to both safety and pre-release.

    Your safest bet is to understand the limitations of your gear and your skills and stay well within them in the BC. Falling should be a rare event, or at least much rarer than when skiing at the resort.

    Again, if you really are going to spend most of the time in the BC and not huck, just get Dynafits. It's not that big a hassle and you'll eventually get them anyway. And when you do you'll kick yourself for not getting them in the first place.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    46
    I love the Drifts, being a very non-agressive skier. And I would highly recommend Dynafit! I was somewhat afraid of the fiddle factor, but it was a non-issue. It's even less of an issue if your boots have the quick-step fittings.

    Dave

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Eburg
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    Quote Originally Posted by skimaxpower View Post
    I would caution you away from Dynafit. Nothing wrong with the bindings, but they're not for the timid. You want to have fun the backcountry, not spend hours fiddling with your bindings.
    Ignore this advice. Hours? WTF are you talking about? If one can't figure out how to get in Dynafits in less than 10 seconds, one isn't smart enough and/or coordinated enough to safely backcountry ski.
    Last edited by Big Steve; 02-07-2012 at 09:32 AM.

  11. #11
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    Mar 2008
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    northern BC
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    I wouldnt worry about fiddle factor it isn't that bad and once you figure them out you got it figured out, watch the vid and decide if you can deal with dynafits

    http://www.wildsnow.com/1587/video-h...afit-bindings/

    if you don't get the dynafits now it will just cost you another 500$ for the binding and possibly another 700$ for a boot with tech fittings when you do

    if you want really light weight with a precut skin look at the dynafit stokes, buddy of mine has the drifts & the stokes he said "yeah I like the drifts but i really like the stokes"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Colorado
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    I skied next year's Drift and they've gone from something I had no interest in to something I'd seriously consider owning, they're reasonably stiff now (but pretty light still). I think BD should consider changing its naming scheme, they make huge changes to skis but keep the same name and it just confuses things.
    "It need not be fun to be fun." - Big Steve

    throughpolarizedeyes.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    in a van down by the river
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    2,773
    I'm sorry but, falling leaf? Is this a fancy zen technique for the steeps?




    p.s. If I sound like a bit of a cunt that is probably because I am; however, I would worry less about the bindings and skis and put in days at the hill - the pay off will be hudge even on gentle slopes and "safe" terrain being a reasonably confident skier on the terrain you are selecting (no matter what it is) is very important. You don't need to be all pro bro brah and shit, just repeatedly stuffing it, and having to deal with releases and getting into bindings can be taxing. That and the hazards in the b/c, even realy minor ones (like fallin' on a skin track or even fallin' when changing over) can end up being severe.
    Now that I am done preachin' any newer rockered skis that are a manageble lenght and reasonably soft(ish) should be fine. I would hit the PNW threads and discussions to see what people are riding in conditions that exist in your neck of the woods - think manoverable at low speeds.
    Have fun.
    I don't work and I don't save, desperate women pay my way.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    at work
    Posts
    959
    If you are looking for something a little bit fatter that can handle some set up snow along with untracked, I have a pair of 185 G3 Manhattans for sale- 108 in the waist. Let me know if interested.
    "What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough."

    -Eugene Delacroix

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Castle Rock ,CO
    Posts
    168
    I know a few people on the Drift or Starlet that fit you description and they are very happy with their choice.

    I ski the Hi 5 in the BC and am very happy with them and have a few good friends on the Stoke who are also happy.

    Hard to go wrong and it depends on how much rocker you want but for an intermediate skier you could do a lot worse then the Drift.

    Oh and has been said you want Dynafits period end of discussion. It would be a sin to put a heavy AT bindings on the Drifts given what you have posted.

    I am curious how often you do a falling leaf in the back country and why. I could do a falling leaf on any of these skis except may be in powder but I am not sure why I would want to.

    James

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    PacNW
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    950
    For someone who has been skiing for two months, 185cm seems way too long, even for someone your size. Go short and upgrade to a longer length when you start outskiing them. A shorter ski will be lighter and easier to manage everywhere. Length is for stability at speed and to some degree, float.
    "Don't tease me about my hobbies, I don't tease you about being an asshole"

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    88
    Quote Originally Posted by Shin-to-Win View Post
    For someone who has been skiing for two months, 185cm seems way too long, even for someone your size. Go short and upgrade to a longer length when you start outskiing them. A shorter ski will be lighter and easier to manage everywhere. Length is for stability at speed and to some degree, float.

    I've bought the skis now but it's not too late to change to a smaller size because they are going to sit in the shop for a few days before they have time to mount the bindings. I decided to go with the Dynafit TLT Speed Radical bindings.

    The Black Diamond size chart says:
    186 over 77.1 kg / 170 lb
    176 68 - 81.6 kg / 150 - 180 lb

    I weigh in at just over 180 lb. Once I start touring instead of riding the lifts that may even drop below 180.

    http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com...WeightRecs.pdf


    Given that I am a beginner and that I am most interested in skiing safely and traveling long distances, it sounds like I should downsize to the 176cm skis.

    There is a pretty significant weight difference as well
    3.05 kg, 6 lb 12 oz (176 cm)
    3.46 kg, 7 lb 10 oz (186 cm)

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    PacNW
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    950
    Shocked that any ski shop would sell you a 185 . . . my experience is that they ALWAYS err on the side of shorter skis . . sometimes to a fault for good skiers. Curious, did you have to insist on the longer length or did they reccommend purely based on MFR's weight scale above? Did they know your ski ability or even ask?
    "Don't tease me about my hobbies, I don't tease you about being an asshole"

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by steventy View Post
    I've bought the skis now but it's not too late to change to a smaller size because they are going to sit in the shop for a few days before they have time to mount the bindings. I decided to go with the Dynafit TLT Speed Radical bindings.
    Sounds like you're well on your way to a solid set-up. Very nice!

    Now that you're done obsessing about gear, spend your time on the hill (lift service or BC) getting lots of turns under your belt. Gear helps, but the only way to build that confidence is to ski many thousands of vertical feet. Luckily, it's really fun so you'll want to practice.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    88
    Quote Originally Posted by skimaxpower View Post
    Sounds like you're well on your way to a solid set-up. Very nice!

    Now that you're done obsessing about gear, spend your time on the hill (lift service or BC) getting lots of turns under your belt. Gear helps, but the only way to build that confidence is to ski many thousands of vertical feet. Luckily, it's really fun so you'll want to practice.

    That's true for sure. I do obsess about gear purchases because I like to understand everything I buy and the pros and cons of various options. Now I need to get in some miles.

    The decision is now final. It was an excellent deal on the skis; only $424 brand new. Thanks for the help everyone.
    Final set up:
    Boots: Dynafit Titan TF-X
    Bindings: Dynafit TLT Speed Radical
    Skis: Black Diamond Drift 177cm
    Skins: G3 Alpinist Skins (130mm width)
    Beacon: Arva Evo3+

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    88
    Quote Originally Posted by Bean View Post
    I skied next year's Drift and they've gone from something I had no interest in to something I'd seriously consider owning, they're reasonably stiff now (but pretty light still). I think BD should consider changing its naming scheme, they make huge changes to skis but keep the same name and it just confuses things.
    Interesting. It looks like Lou called it although he may have been off by a year. Was there any difference between the 10/11 year and 11/12 year? I assume you had a chance to try out the 12/13 year?

    "It interested me that the Drifts are quite soft in flex. To me that’s good, as I’m quite certain they’ll gain a reputation as a forgiving and fun powder ski. Problem is, a few strong skiers will probably whine that they’re too soft. If the whine is loud enough, design by appeasement will take place and the Drift will get stiffened up for the 2011/2012 model year. Lesson, if you want this as the sweet state-of-art backcountry powder ski I think it probably is, don’t wait, get ‘em while they’re soft! "
    http://www.wildsnow.com/2337/black-d...t-series-skis/

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Colorado
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    2,703
    ^Yes, I skied the 12/13. From my conversation with the rep, the 10/11 and 11/12 should be the same with the changes made every two years. If someone loved the old drift but somehow misses out on all the inventory, they could look at the Revert, new for 12/13. I really liked the shape but they're way too soft for my tastes. If they had left the Drift soft and made the Revert as stiff as the new Drift, I would've done whatever it would take to get an early pair.

    IMO Dawson isn't the guy to talk to for advice on pow skis. Skinny rando skis and all you could ever want to know about dynafit bindings, sure, but not modern backcountry pow skis.
    "It need not be fun to be fun." - Big Steve

    throughpolarizedeyes.com

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    PNW-Sea
    Posts
    116
    Bump, looking for a good spring touring set up and have been leaning towards the drifts,
    145lb
    5-11
    living in sea

    Currently skiing the color wheel SFB (10/11?) in a 185 at 115 under waist with barrons as my daily driver, Pretty aggressive skier, comfortable most anywhere but big cliffs, last ski was a 175 4frnt vct 08? have been slowly getting in to touring bought some Dynafit TLT and some BD primes, I plan on setting up an adapter plate similar to

    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/s...=adapter+plate
    So that I can run the SFB on good deeper days and use the Drifts for more spring type days.
    I was originally looking for a 100ish underfoot and around 7lb and the drift kept falling into the category, but having never skied them I wasn't so sure, I have been flip floping back and forth between the 175 and the 185, for weight savings and ease of skiing spring snow or the 185 to charge more. The last 175 ski was mid mounted so not the greatest comparison but it always felt a little short, I feel as though I can drive my 185's but wouldn't go any bigger as I feel sometimes they are almost to big. I really don't need the float of the bigger ski as I always stay on top...

    Anyways I guess I am asking if the Drifts are a good fit for me or if I should look elsewhere and should I go for the weight savings of the 175 or just go with the 185....

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    PNW-Sea
    Posts
    116
    I was thinking about this last night and I guess my main reason for looking at the drift is 100 at waste and relatively light, that said there are some other good options in that size but not quite as light. I have tried to look all over for some good info on these and there is relatively little, the wild snow review and here pretty much. I havent seen many people with them either so is it me or they just not popular or not popular with the crowds I see or are they just not a good ski?

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Aspen, Colorado
    Posts
    2,474
    My wife is on the women's version, and it is a great ski for her. As a much larger person, and more aggressive skier, I would not be interested in this ski. If you are an intermediate skier and want a touring ski, not a charging ski, this one fits the bill for you. I was on a weeklong day touring trip with a couple of expert skiers on that ski with Dynafits, and they really liked them.

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