The Never Summer West takes over where the Cobra left off and builds on it. It takes the Ripsaw’s augmented camber profile turned into a some what directional board with a set back stance. It So if you like the Ripsaw or the Proto Type Two but set back your stance in powder then this is your board. Nothings changed from 2016-2017 but the review has been updated to show how the West compares to other boards out in 2017.
Conditions: Everything from 1-2 feet of thick Sierra Powder to Hard snow and everything in between.
Riders: James, Jimbo, Tim, Stephen, Amber Jean, and a few others,
Boots: Burton SLX, Burton AMB, Burton Imperial, Burton Rover, Salomon F3.0, Burton Fiend LTD, Burton Ion,
Bindings: Burton Cartel, Burton Genesis, Burton Diode, Union Atlas, Flux SF and Flux DS
Set Up: Centered 15 front -15 back approx 23″ wide. Set back 15 front -9 back approx 23″ wide.
Approximate Weight: Felt normal. Sturdy and strong but not heavy.
On Snow Feel: Just like the Ripsaw, the West’s camber profile gives this board a much more stable profile than the Rocker and Camber profiles in Never Summer’s Line. The rocker in the center seems like it’s mostly flat, then it transitions up with a mellow rocker into a good bit of camber towards the tip/tail. One thing to mention is with hybrid rocker like this the rocker can vary from board to board so some boards (like mine) will have a tip/tail really close to the ground and others will be higher off the ground. It’s just because it’s almost impossible for any company to tell wood how to bend every time. It flat bases really well and also is much easier to one foot around on compared to the Rocker and Camber Profile. It can still be loose between the feet in harder snow but over all it’s less loose between the feet than most hybrid rocker boards out there. The board has almost a mellow feel that doesn’t care if you skid your turns on short radius turns but then on wider radius turns the NS West comes alive. It’s for those that want one board for every situation that allows you to ride almost anywhere from mountain to the park but don’t want to compromise too much to do so.
Flex: So I don’t know why but the Never Summer demo boards always seem to be stiffer than the production models. Same thing applies to the West demo we got. We all had trouble buttering this in the beginning but after 15+ days it started to soften up. Based on my experience from other demo boards is the production model West all of you will buy will feel easier to butter than ours out of the wrapper. Even though the flex rating is softer than the Cobra on NS’s site the extra camber in the tip/tail kind of even out the way the board flexes. Our demo board it felt like it was a shade stiffer but the production models have a flex more in line with what NS says on the site. For the rest of you with a production model you might find the flex about even or a touch softer but probably the same or even more stiffer/springy in the tip/tail than the Cobra because of that extra camber.
Turn Initiation: It’s quick from edge to edge for quick slashes/narrow S-Turns back and fourth but when more committed to the edge it seems to take turns on a wider radius than it would compared to some other all mountain favorites. So hard to explain but it responds quickly in the direction you want to go without lag but the more you commit to a turn and engage the side cut it kind of slows a bit and turns at a somewhat wider/slower radius. Not super wide but a little less wide than you would think. I like this because in tight spots you can move quickly a few feet to the right or left but also get more fun out of a wider turn. So quick at first but then slower if you try for a tighter circle turn. It’s all about preference but for us as long as there is spring out of the turn, and there is with all this camber, we are into it.
Skidded Turns: Even with more camber it’s much easier than you would think to skid your turns. It’s actually kind of flattering for riders that aren’t always leaving a thin line behind them when they turn. However I hope you don’t ride it that way but instead try to keep this on edge and rail as many hard turns as you can every run. That’s what it’s about.
Carving: One of the things I really liked about the Never Summer West was it’s ability to carve well with a knees in surf style. With Rocker & Camber profile boards like the Cobra you really have to get your knees out towards the tip/tail to press that mellower camber down so it turns better. With the West and other Ripsaw profile boards you can ride it squatty/gorilla style or surf style equally well. It makes a nice springy semi-wide carve that’s a lot of fun for a hybrid rocker board. It has a nice across the groomer kind of carve that isn’t too tight but also isn’t too wide.
Edge Hold: You know the edge hold is pretty solid and it can handle hard snow but it doesn’t really grab it and allow you to ride like you would in medium snow like some boards can. You have to dial back your carving and make less aggressive turns.
Speed: Very fast board for a 156 and we’d like to see what the 159 could do. Not a Freeride bomber but sure does handle speed very well. The Ripsaw is a little better at keeping the tip/tail from bouncing around but it’s not that much better. Also then you don’t get a set back stance for better directional float in powder. Compared to the Cobra and Snowtrooper with the older Rocker & Camber profile the Never Summer West is a little better ride.
Uneven Terrain: Much better than you would think for it’s flex and it really dampens things when hammering through uneven snow. It doesn’t travel past the board and keeps the joints feeling good.
Powder: We have now had a few powder days with this and even in 1-2 feet of good Sierra powder (still kinda thick) we could feel that it didn’t have the float that the Cobra did. However the production model (we have a demo model) has a little more rocker between the feet and more float than ours does so I think if we had the tip/tail more lifted like the production model it’s It’s got a .5″ set back on side cut and .6″ on board so there is good set back. When factoring in setting it back all the way you can it’s even more. For example on the 156 with a 23″ Stance width I can get 7 cm back on the board or about 2.75 inches which is really good. Its good for straight lining and also reacts quickly to trees and tight spots. So it’s not like a 25 or Swift but it’s much better for directional set back surfy powder riding than the Ripsaw’s and Proto Type Two .
Switch: Centered up this feels less directional and much more like a directional twin. It’s pretty good for riding centered on groomers especially with how much you can set it back. If you want something that owns it switch and you don’t set your board back ever then it’s all about the Proto Type Two but the Never Summer West is a great compromise for riding switch on groomers and then surfing powder.
Jibbing: You know I don’t think one of us jibbed with us except for me and I just hit a super easy box or two. It’s not a real confidence inspiring jib board and it’s not even close to the kind of board I’d like to lap the jib park with. Much more of a job for the Funslinger but as the flex softens up it might be more doable.
Pipe: With the bad winter going when we demo’d the Never Summer West we didn’t have that much time in a pipe. Most never got made but I did get to a few resorts with pipes and take a few laps. I liked the feel and although it didn’t blow my mind it was a lot of fun. It really favors slightly directional riding through the pipe so if you are into fakie pipe riding then the Type Two is the call.
Jumps: You can really feel the extra camber in the tip/tail when it comes time to Ollie. NS boards feel a bit rubbery underfoot but not dead. The Never Summer West has pop and it’s really fun to get air off natural terrain. Also when the stance is centered it’s not bad lapping the kicker park either. We only hit small to medium jumps but you could feel that it has the potential for going very big. I also loved how you could have an off landing on your back seat and feel that extra camber save you from landing you on your ass.
So all in all the Never Summer West is a great all mountain tool for the person that can’t quiver up. Yes having a 25 and a Proto Type Two quiver is ideal but expensive. If you want a little of both with minimal compromise then the West is one of the better all mountain rides we have recently had under foot.