The Never Summer Premier F1 is a large step to the freeride side from the Never Summer SL-R and like a more mellow slightly wider waist Raptor. The Premier F1-R is one of the first boards to exemplify the evolution of a rocker and camber Freeride Board. It’s rocker and camber tech allow you to keep most of the positive qualities of each and ride well.
Sizes: 161 and 165
Conditions: Everything from 1.5 feet of thick sierra slush to hard snow.
Riders: James, Peter and a few friends who aren’t on the site.
Bindings: Burton Cartel, Burton Cartel Limited, Union Force, Flux DMCC, Flux SF45.
Boots: Burton Ion, Burton SLX, Burton Imperial, Nike Kaiju,
Set Up: Approximately 23″ wide, set back, 18 front and -3 back.
We have ridden this board almost every year since 2010 and every year the ride hasn’t changed much. Either we are getting use to hybrid rocker boards or Never Summer keeps doing minor tweaks to make the ride a little more stable under foot but that is about it. The Premier has a waist width that accommodate someone with a boot that’s on the larger side of regular and on the smaller to medium side of mid/wide. The line starts at 25.5cm and ends at 25.8cm so its better for those that have a 10ish size boot but smaller and larger boots can work this thing around too as it’s not that challenging of a ride.
On Snow Feel: If you have read other reviews of Never Summer boards you will hear this again. It’s pretty stable between the feet in softer snow but when it gets harder it becomes a little more loose between the feet when one footing and flat basing. Still this has a great powder to groomers kind of ride that doesn’t require you to be on your game at all times. It’s got a very forgiving nature for a freeride board and has a pretty damp kind of rubbery kind of feel.
Powder: The reverse camber and taper make the Premier F1 R incredibly easy to stay afloat. You will be very happy if you want one board for powder, off piste and groomers. They will just plow through crud, sierra cement, and haul ass when you get into the flats on the way back to the chair. This is not very surfy but it will float well in the powder and probably never get buried. We like how the tail is more pin tail like than the nose but don’t know if it really helps in powder. At least it makes you think it does.
Speed: This is one of the fastest reverse camber board we have ridden. On really good or soft conditions we felt this was just like it’s cambered freeride competitors in terms of dampness and stability. On hard firm days we noticed that the rocker and camber does have the same trappings that many many hybrid camber boards have. As long as you are on a rail you are fine but if you try to flat base it can get a little squirly. In 2011 and 2012 NS has worked on this problem and it’s less squirrely than the original that came out in 2010 but it’s still a bit loose.
Uneven Terrain: The Premier is a big longer board but it’s medium flex along with a good dampening system make for good shock absorption when you have to slow down and deal with big bumps on the way to a powder stash or a chopped up pushed around crowded groomer day. It can bust some crud at high speeds too. One of the days we rode this it was pretty choppy with wet spring snow at the top and hale/rain at the bottom. It was all chewed up by the end of the day and this board had no issues getting through it.
Approximate Weight– This board will never win any awards for being light weight. That seems to be a trait with most Never Summer boards. Your first reaction when you get on the chair is this board is going to suck. But when you make your first turn you completely forget that this board is on the heavy side. All their boards are incredibly sturdy and the weight has something to do with long term reliability.
Turn initiation and Carving: The turn initiation is still in the Freeride category where it takes a little work but the hybrid rocker makes it a pretty easy ride. Due to the slightly wider waist and medium flex the Premier is going to be a bit more difficult to get from edge to edge than many other hybrid rocker boards if you have a smaller foot. But if you are around a size 10.5 boot you will have an easy time with this board. The one advantage is the hybrid rocker shape is already helping you point the board in the right direction of the turn. Because the nose and tail is bent back down but not all the way it keeps you from washing out when making a hard carving turn. We had a lot of fun carving on the premier but it’s not a carving genius. Most of us felt that we were a little happier carving on the Never Summer Raptor but this was very close. We’d like to see the directional rocker that the Never Summer Raptor has because the extra camber in the nose makes the Raptor carve better than the Premier.
Edge Hold: Many hybrid rocker or rocker snowboards haven’t addressed edge hold properly but the Never Summer Premier holds an edge in almost every condition you want to ride in. Never Summers’ side cut (variogrip) definitely compensates for the lack of contact a rockered board has and you can see that it’s a little waivy down the line. It’s going to be fine in almost any situation and it doesn’t have the ultra grippy feel in softer snow that most magnetraction boards have.
Flex: The Never Summer Premier is on the medium side of stiff and could easily be called med/stiff but some how it has a much more playful flex than you would think.
Switch: Not bad for a directional tapered board but definitely not as good as a twin or even some other directional boards. Lets face it this board is meant to be set back and ridden in one direction.
Pipe: You can stop in the pipe with the Premier and not feel sketched out if you are riding a smaller size but why would you? This is for the other side of the park fence and if you are riding the right size you should not be lapping the park with this.
Jibbing- Not for the jib park.
Jumps: This board will shine hitting something natural and depending on the size you choose it isn’t terrible on a man make kicker. You wont have issues landing switch but it isn’t something dedicated to the roller coaster part of the park. It ollies pretty well but the spring to the board feels a little bit rubbery compared to some boards. At first it feels really different but by the end of the day you are use to it and ollies feel normal.
Overall this is an nice balance between a cambered freeride board and dedicated powder board.