Gear Review: Black Diamond Drift/Starlet Skis

Built for backcountry powder sessions.

[powder specialist]

Lucky enough to live in a place where powder is the rule rather than the exception? Get the Drift or women’s Starlet, say our Colorado powder hounds. With a fat 100mm waist, an early rise (which lifts the front of the ski off the snow, providing less resistance and better flotation), and a superfat shovel up front, these skis floated like a dream through even the deepest, airiest fluff. Even after an eight-hour tour across a Norwegian glacier, one 225-pound tester said he felt fresh enough to spin laps on a nearby slope, then skin 800 feet back up for dinner.

“Compared to other skis, the flexy Drifts require noticeably less power to initiate a full turn—and less energy to hold it,” he says. All testers loved the wide tip, which give the ski a “surfboardlike” feel, while carbon-fiber reinforcements make it stiff and responsive enough to arc long, sweeping turns and short, snappy ones alike. But take these speedboats on a hut trip when you know the snow will be deep and forgiving. They’re designed for touring and fluff-skiing, so they deflect easily in consolidated snow and chatter in rock-hard, icy conditions. Pair them with BD’s Ascension Nylon STS trim-to-fit skins ($175). $700; 7 lbs. 11 oz. (186cm); 166cm (134/100/121), 176cm (136/100/122), 186cm (138/100/123);