You can never have enough backcountry skis. Is that materialistic? I guess. But hey, I’m not a monk, so there.
My son Louie mentioned a while ago that we should keep some Black Diamond planks in our quivers — especially since BD makes one of the more interesting wide bodies, Megawatt, as well as their newish line of lightweight “efficient series,” of which the Drift model gives you an amazing amount of platform for the amount of mass. So, look what is getting played.
Louie’s Megas are 188 cm, don’t ask me what he’s planning on doing with a ski that big. His purchase of a Whistler season pass might explain part of it. As for me, while I’ll test the Megas I’m ever more into just hiking up stuff with lightweight gear, but using boots and planks that perform well enough on the down to keep the struggle factor dialed to manageable levels. After testing Drift last year, I realized it provides a superb width/weight ratio so I’ve been eager to get on a pair that were more in the length zone I’m used to (rather than the big long testers I was using last winter).
Drift comes in with some hard to believe weight specs, but they verified on my scale: 176 cm, 1558 gr — 55.0 oz per ski, width 136/100/122. That places Drift in the weight class of skis such as K2 Wayback, and only 3.5 ounces per ski heavier than benchmark lightweight powder harvester Dynafit Manaslu (178 cm), but significantly wider. See our backcountry skiing weight chart here.
As many of you saw in my blog post yesterday, the Drifts are now Dynafitted with the trick Quiver Killer insert system. Our Megas are being fitted with DynaDuke binding swap plates, which will carry the Marker F12 Tour for resort and sidecountry, or Dynafits if we decide to try the massive Megas for some human powered action. Black Diamond split skins round out the action for the Megas, while I’ve got a pair of classic BD/Ascension rigged for the Drifts.
Take so far is Louie loves playing around on those big rockered Megas. The drifts work, but don’t feel as playful as my Manaslus though I do like the extra width in manky snow. Strange thing about the Drifts is my boot position felt quite forward when mounted to BD’s specs. I re-mounted two centimeters rearward and they felt much better. Could have been that I’m so used to rockered or slow rise tipped skis now (Drifts have minimal rocker) that I needed that “couch” ride of a rearward binding mount. I’ll keep experimenting and report back. Both of my Drift mounts were done with Quiver Killer inserts, so I can swap things around in a few minutes.
Black Diamond Drift 10/11, 176 cm, 1558 gr, 55.0 oz, 136/100/122
Dynafit Manaslu 08, 178 cm, 1457 gr, 51.4 oz, 122/95/108
Black Diamond Megawatt 10/11, 188 cm, 2350 gr, 82.9 oz, 153/125/130
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.