The Never Summer Lotus is a large step to the freeride side from the Never Summer Infinity. The Lotus is one of the first boards to exemplify the evolution of a rocker and camber in a Freeride Board. It’s rocker and camber tech allow you to keep most of the positive qualities of rocker and camber. It offers a damp but very forgiving Freeride ride.
The Lotus is a super fun All Mountain/ Big Mountain board. It’s a well built great take on reverse camber freeride, also a very damp board. We have ridden this board for 3 years now trying the 2011 and 2012 models. All of these were hybrid rocker and all ride very similar to one another. The only real thing we have noticed is each year they reduce the squirrely ultra loose feel between the feet when flat basing and one footing. Even the 2012 Lotus is still much more happy on an edge but it’s getting better. Not much has changed between the 2011, 2012 and 2013 models. It seems that they are almost indistinguishable. The only difference we noticed is there seems to be a bit more stability between the feet in hard pack conditions when flat basing or one footing.
Groomers- It’s just fun to make wide open turns with this board on the corduroy. There is nothing wrong with choosing the Lotus R if you are a groomer whore. Our only complaint is the boards rocker in the middle can make it a little squirrely if you try to flat base. It is carve friendly and we couldn’t get the tail to wash out on an aggressive carve. That impressed us for a reverse camber but it needs to be on an edge in order to have a stable feeling. This isn’t very noticeable in soft conditions but it stands out when the conditions get really firm.
Powder: The reverse camber and taper make the Lotus 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.
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- The turn initiation is still in the freeride category where it takes a little work. It definitely has more of the positives of camber and rocker. Due to the wider waist and stiff flex the Lotus is going to be a bit more difficult to get from edge to edge than many other hybrid rocker boards. The one advantage is the hybrid rocker shape is already helping you point the board in the right direction of the turn.
Carving Ability– 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.
Edge Hold: Many rockered snowboards haven’t addressed edge hold properly but the Never Summer Lotus 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. It’s going to be fine in almost any situation and it doesn’t have the ultra grippy feel that most magnetraction boards have. It’s like a mellow magnetraction. We can’t say this will grip ice as well as magnetraction but it never slipped in any of the conditions we rode in. We’d say this lies on the good side of excellent.
Stiffness- The Lotus is stiff but somehow it has a playful flex. It can bust some crud. One of the days we rode this it was pretty choppy with wet crappy 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.
Switch: Not bad for a directional tapered board but definitely not as good as a twin or even some other directional boards.
Pipe: You can stop in the pipe with the Lotus 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: This is a big stiff board that isn’t made for anything inside the park.
Jumps: This board will shine hitting something natural and depending on the size you choose it isn’t that bad at all on a man make kicker. You won’t have issues landing switch but it isn’t something dedicated to the roller coaster part of the park.
Overall this is an excellent balance between a cambered freeride board and dedicated powder board. We put this at the high end of freeride snowboards.