Utah-based Drift launched in 2016 and with a tagline “the convenience of snowshoes but the efficiency of touring skis, without the clunky transition,” we had to check them out. Interview with Brigham Rupp, Brand Manager.
Provide a short history of the brand and share the thinking behind Drift?
Drift launched in 2016, but our story really started in the early 90s when my brother Dave (the founder of Drift) and I first started hiking and snowboarding the Utah Mountains on a 1988 Burton Performer Elite. Later we worked in local shops and began seeking bigger mountains and deeper snow. Dave, a mechanical engineer who designed composite bike components, was unsatisfied with snowshoes and splitboards for backcountry touring and pow surfing. He wanted something with the convenience of snowshoes but the efficiency of touring skis, without the clunky transition. With his background in composites, Dave started building prototypes and soon Drift boards were born. At first we were focused on pow surfing and quick local tours, but over time we found Drift boards were capable of much more. Today we happily use them for nearly anything someone might climb with skis or a split. Our biggest tour yet was over 2000 meters on Mount Shasta in California.
Who are the people behind the brand?
We are a small, family run business from Salt Lake City, Utah. Dave founded Drift with his wife Brooke in 2016. He is a phenomenal engineer, product designer, snowboarder, and mountain biker. Dave has a talent for seeing and solving problems that impact those who love to recreate outside. Brooke is a former ski racer and a financial guru who handles the financial side of Drift. I came on board a couple years ago to help with the creative side of things. I also get to do a lot of R&D and might have more time than anyone on the Drift boards. Along with a couple awesome shop techs, that’s the team!
How do you differentiate the brand in the market?
Most of our effort is spent helping people understand what Drift boards are and why they work. Splitboards have been the status quo for a long time and we want people to know they have another option. Depending on the situation, Drift boards are often more efficient than splitboards. They are simple and more affordable, they are much lighter on your feet and far quicker to transition. Drift boards allow riders to use any snowboard in the backcountry, allowing riders to build a quiver of solid boards and choose the right board for the conditions.
Who is your target customer?
We tend to focus on snowboarding because we love it so much, but Drift boards are for anyone who wants the most efficient way to move through backcountry snow. Maybe they want to try side country at their resort for the first time. Maybe they want to tour with their favourite solid boards, or maybe they’re tired of ripping skins, assembling boards, and riding on finicky split gear. Some of our customers are hikers or outdoor enthusiasts who just want to great way to move through snow. We even have some adaptive users doing some cool things with Drift boards.
The one thing all our customers have in common is a willingness to put in the effort required to have those special experiences that only come from getting out in the mountains. We invite anyone who wants to travel in snow to check out Drift and see how well they work.
Please tell us about your 24/25 line.
We have an “evergreen” product that doesn’t change every season. They are pretty dialled so we only make changes when we find a way to make things better. We have three models:
1. The Carbon Drift boards are the flagship offering, made of stiff, light carbon fibre for maximum float in deep snow.
2. The Cascade boards— exactly the same but an inch narrower for better edge hold in firm snow.
3. The Oxygen Drift boards, with the same footprint as the Carbons but with glass instead of carbon fibre. They are a bit heavier and about 20% cheaper. We also offer ski crampons, poles, and some soft goods.
How will Drift be distributed in Europe?
We are stoked to be working with Good Question Supplies for European distribution. Eric and company have been amazing since we first spoke. We love how excited they are about Drift and contributing to backcountry travel across Europe.
What marketing do you have planned for this season?
Most of our marketing happens organically as word spreads from friend to friend. Happy customers are the best marketing. We love connecting with shops, brands, and filmmakers for giveaways, demos, etc. You can find us at Shops First Try. In addition to meeting great people in the industry, we use advertising and social media to connect with our Drift community and provide product reviews, tutorials, and snowboarding educational material. It may sound cliche, but Drift really only exists because of our love for the mountains and snowboarding. We love the community we have built with people who share that passion!