Drífa is nordic for ‘fall of snow’ and their range of snow protection gear – ski/snowboard jackets and pants with removable protection – is a great way to cushion your falls out shredding or skiing. Drífa is the brainchild of Aussie boarder James Horstman, who had spent years working with sports protection gear, especially for rugby players in New Zealand. He got to thinking why get beat up every time you go boarding? As a recreational rider you don’t need that robocop style body armour type stuff, you just want to save your most vulnerable parts.
So why not lightweight, feel like they are not there inserts?
That’s the Drífa difference – super comfortable technical snow protection gear – choose 15k / 15k or 20k / 20k waterproof / breathable pants and jackets with hip, tail & elbow removeable inserts.
It’s such a simple system to use, it feels like they are not there – and they won’t ruin your figure either, they are basically invisible from the outside. We have given Drífa and James a ‘Smart Stuff’ medal award for coming up with something unique and so useful.
Snowaction gave them a workout ahead of the season at Off-Piste, Sydney’s funky new indoor snow simulator venue at the Moore Park entertainment quarter. After James gave us the lowdown on his idea and demonstrated how easy it is to pop your inserts in and out we hit Off-Piste’s big Avalanche machine for a full tilt blast – which while avoiding crashes to report directly on the effectiveness of the padding did give us a great feel for how comfortable the snow protection gear is.
The price is great too – you pay much the same as you would for similar quality pants and jackets without the benefits of the protection inserts, from $A 320 – $414 according to the model, with some super specials including 25% off your first order available here.
As soon as the snow is down locally we will be giving them the full workout. The usefulness is pretty obvious – anybody who ever tried to learn to snowboard knows how much time they spend smacking in on their tail bone in particular, but charging skiers know all about smacking in on their hips and elbows, never mind the obvious of park and freeride inspired moves and tricks on one plank or two.
In fact chatting to James we made the point a lot of parents would love this gear for their kids too, and a kids range will be released down track. In the meantime older teens will easily fit the adult sizes anyway on that front.
Quality is key. Having worked on protection gear for both elite and recreational sport levels James set out from get go to make product that would be both effective and affordable.
“Being a rider myself who finds it hard to advance my skills due to a lack of time on the mountain and getting into the game in my mid-twenties I thought about the majority of people who take to the mountains only once or twice a year to get their snow fix. Everyone in their mind wants to pull off that double cork in the halfpipe, but the majority of us end up hitting a bump on a blue run while getting a bit of air filming on the GoPro and thinking we just left the halfpipe. We don’t advance due to fear. Fear of breaking the body.”
“So I decided that I’d make an apparel line with removable protection in all jackets and pants. The idea is that the weekend warrior can advance faster. Whether it is a mental barrier or physical, the protection is there to support. It’s removable, so it’s an option.”
“True mate” I responded, “But after trying it and realising it’s not cumbersome at all I think most people would just leave it in all the time – a bit like skiing without a helmet, you are going to be thinking, oopsie now something bad will happen. And anyway the protection works on hard chairlift seats or mountain deck seats too!”
“Well I got thinking to another side, the adult who is looking to get into the sport but never picked it up as a kid” James continued. “Kids you have no fear, but as an adult, you start to access things a bit differently. By having the removable protection, it can be a barrier that they can overcome. My company mantra is Find Your Limit. Through doing what I do, I hope that people can find theirs.”
“Ditto that 100% – we started as adults without lessons (as you did back in the 80s) and smacked in way too often. Then of course as you improve you smack in less but when you do it’s always going harder.”
James has poured a lot of effort, never mind money, into to getting the gear right. That took a little longer than originally expected, so he missed most of the main Northern Hemisphere selling season. On the bright side there is still a good range for available for our winter.
We tried the Chough pants and jacket combo – 15k / 15k waterproof / breathability rated, all fully seam sealed with removable protection included: a Tail Pad and Two Hip Protectors. We get to sample lots of jackets and pants and a couple of points about the Drífa range that immediately impress are the comfort and zippers. functional and easy to live with, never mind saving you from a lot of bumps and bruises or worse.
• Reinforced Leg Endings • Fully Seam Sealed
• Fabric: Two-Layer Nylon Taslon with PTFE Membrane
• Waterproof: 15k mm, Breathability: 15k mm
• Insulation: Shell
• Pant to Jacket Connection
• Leg Gaiters
• Zippers: YKK AquaGuard®
• Adjustable Waist
• Nylon Oxford Extended Hem for Added Strength
• Two Inner Leg Vents
Plus Fully backed by a LIFETIME WARRANTY & Hassle FREE exchanges
• Pant Weight: 800g
• Protection Weight: 50g
The Andean range ups the ante to 20k / 20 k waterproof / breathability ratings & adds reinforced leg endings – perfect for charging skiers causing havoc with their edges.