Drift Oxygen Drift Boards 2021 Review by The Good Ride
Turn Ons/Swipe Right: Very light and easy uphill. Super-fast transitions. 1/3rd the price of a split set up. Riding a solid down with solid bindings is massively better than a split. Excellent for hot lapping your local resort. Like them better than the Carbons.
Turn Offs/Swipe Left: Carrying a board on your back in wind sucks. Side hilling is more difficult. Binding straps not supportive and hard to get on/off. No steel edges/minimal edge hold.
The Drift Board Oxygen aren’t the best for side hilling or good edge hold but are a great splitboard alternative for some laps before the lifts open. We actually like the cheaper Oxygen model than the Carbon.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews and this is our unfiltered opinion. We do make money from the “Where To Buy” links, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.
Drift Boards Oxygen Splitboard Alternative Review – How it rides and who its for
How This Review Happened:
I borrowed these Drift Boards Oxygen for an extended demo and I hope to not send it back.
Conditions: Everything from a little light snow and good groomers to waist deep pow.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-190lbs) and Nick
Boots: Burton Tourist
Insoles: F.I.T. Gamechangers, F.I.T. Gameghangers LP
Bindings: Union Atlas, Union Contact Pro/Union Superpro,
Approximate Weight: 2.8lbs Per Foot and 5.6 Lbs total. Weight will vary from Drift Board to Drift Board because its made of wood.
Here is a breakdown of some of the negatives with Drift Board Oxygens.
* Carrying a Board on Your Back
Without wind it is easier up than splitboarding because having something really light on each foot is easier. However when the wind blows you sometimes feel like you have a sail up and on really windy days it can almost knock you down.
You don’t have much ankle support with these ankle straps. Peter discovered that lowering the risers to the small one or not using one at all makes side hilling easier but it still is tougher than split board bindings.
* No Steel Edges
The Drift Boards Oxygen are not for hard snow days. You can put crampons on but if you get surprise ice patches right under some soft snow we call “surprice” you are going to slip out. The Urethane edges just don’t grip well. These are for soft snow only. Its straight up scary in hard snow.
* Bindings Bad
The bad part about these Drift Boards Oxygen bindings is the straps are a pain to get on and take off. It is so much easier slapping some ratchets to get out on split board bindings. Same goes for getting them on. It’s awkward.
Now there are a lot of great things about these Drift Boards Oxygen splitboard alternative approach skis as well.
* Massively Better Than Snowshoes
There is no comparison with the Drift Boards Oxygen vs. Snowshoes. It feels like its 10 times easier. I will never snowshoe uphill to snowboard again.
* Ride Your Favorite Solid
Riding a solid is massively better than a split. After riding about 15+ splitboards I always prefer the solid on the down. In the same day I have ridden the split and then the solid in the same size. It’s always better.
* Bindings Good/Solid vs. Split Bindings
You can use some splitboard bindings on the Drift Boards Oxygen just like you do with split boards. It does not work with older model Drift Board Carbon’s but it does with the newer models. Burton Hitchers, Karakoram Quiver Prime Connects and Union Expeditions/Explorers all fit. . What we have found is riding solid boards and bindings is better than splitboards. Its still better with a splitboard binding on but it is massively better with solid bindings on. Especially if they were made in the last 5-10 years. They are just light years ahead of splitboard bindings. They ride more like bindings from the late 90’s.
You pay 1/3rd the price of most entry level to moderately priced
* Weight & Uphill Travel
The uphill travel of the Drift Boards Oxygen is unbelievably easier than splitboards in most situations. Mainly its because you only have around 2.8lbs on your feet vs. 6 + plus for most split set ups when you include skins, boards, bindings, mounts and screws. Even the lightest split set ups are in the 5.5 lb range. For example my Cardiff Powgoda Pro-Carbon Split is 5.6lbs with Spark R&D Arc bindings mounted. It just feels soo much lighter. I have taken a split up and then took a solid with Drift Boards Oxygen right after. With the split its much heavier. I felt like two Hobbits were dry humping my legs on the way up on the split. Even the lighter ones. Then I get on the Drift Boards Oxygen’s and its massively lighter.
If you haven’t split boarded before this might take some getting used to as it’s nothing like snowshoeing. Some things to remember when just starting out.
- Don’t step but slide with your toes leading the way. The Drift Boards shouldn’t leave the ground.
- When side hilling on steeper terrain don’t use the higher riser. Go down to the smaller riser. It really helps.
- On steeper uphill terrain make sure you are standing up straight and putting all your weight on the center of the drift board. This keeps you from sliding out.
* About the Skins
The Drift Boards Oxygen skins are the same as the carbons and are much better than the older models. They grip really well and have pretty good glide. Some higher end split board skins I’ve tried are better but these get the job done. I never wish I had faster skins on.
* Dual Risers
The Drift Boards Oxygen has 2 risers like most good split board bingings. It makes it much better for variable uphill travel.
* New Plastic Base Plate vs. Old Metal
I like the new plastic plate much better. It absorbs more shock and isn’t as loud.
* Replaceable Skins
It is pretty easy to replace the Drift Boards Oxygen skins if they wear out or get damaged. It only takes a little patience lining up the skins on the base.
* Deep Powder
We haven’t tested the Drift Boards Oxygen or any Drift Board in light deep fluffy powder but in moderate to light PNW snow it had zero problems. I have made my own trail in waist deep snow and they only sunk a few inches down. I’m not sure how they would work in super deep blower Japow snow but I hope to find out one day.
* Light Topsheet vs. Black in Warm Sunny Conditions
The Drit Boards Oxygen has a nice light topsheet that doesn’t melt snow as fast as the Carbons. It doesn’t cake on as fast and is far less annoying on warm sunny days. Nick toured a lot with the Carbons in spring to summer up here in the PNW and it was super annoying to him to constantly remove caked on snow.
Overall, the more I split board the more I appreciate and prefer the Drift Boards Oxygen for Drifting before Lifting on powder days. I found that split boarding is not always the answer and I mainly prefer that for long tours or more technical uphill routes only.
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