The 2015 Never Summer SL is now only available in split. The solid models have become Snowtrooper. This review is based on the Solid and not the Split.
The Never Summer SL is one of their most popular boards and for good reason – it makes snowboarding easier for the average all mountain rider. Never Summer has made a big leap the last few years from a cultish small Colorado following to a more main stream line. Now people are asking about this board overseas and we understand why.
Boards Tried- 155, 158 and 161 Thanks to Never Summer and also to P3 in Mammoth
Conditions: Everthing from 1-3 feet of thick west coast powder to hard/borderline icy snow.
Days on the SL- 20+
Riders: James, Peter, Jimbo, Won and a few other friends
Bindings Used- Burton- Cartel Re:Flex, Burton Diode, Burton C02, Burton C60, Burton P1, Union Force, Union SL, Union Atlas, Flux TT30 and Flux SF 45.
Boots: Burton SLX, Burton Ion, Burton Imperial, Nike Kaiju, Nike Zoom Ites and a few others.
The 2010 to 2014 Never Summer SL hasn’t really changed that much except for some minor tweaks here and there. The consistent theme is the board seems to get a little bit more stable between the feet every year.
Now, more than just Colorado riders are beginning to understand the well built reliability that Never Summer offers. The Never Summer SL-R is a great choice for a hybrid rocker all mountain board and one of our favorites. We took this twinish shaped board in powder, groomers, trees, the park and steeps.
On Snow feel: The SL has a great cruising the groomer kind of personality. Like most Never Summer boards it offers up a pretty stable ride on softer snow but becomes a little loose between the feet riding in harder snow. It’s twinish shape with a set back stance offers a pretty diverse ride but it’s more at home on the mountain. You can pick up speed, hit the trees on a powder day, slow down and butter or lay out some moderate carving turns.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The SL is easy edge to edge and provides no challenge for riders of any levels. You can turn pretty quick edge to edge and wider radius turns aren’t that bad. When it comes to a carve it’s missing something and it can be a little washy. It’s fine for making a skidded turn but that’s just fine for riders who haven’t perfected how to turn well.
Powder: There are only a few powder days in a season, so it can be hard to test all boards in these conditions, but we had some deep days with this one. The float is effortless and easy for a board of it’s shape and size. It’s a very fun directional ride and the board doesn’t want to sink unless you really try. We like the Cobra a little better in powder but both are great.
Speed: The SL can handle speed rather well for a mid flexing hybrid rocker board. It has some kind of dampening system that provides a nice insulation from high speed chatter below even though the nose and tail can flop a bit. It’s got a good base as well that keeps its speed in the flats.
Uneven Terrain: This mid flexing board handles uneven crappy terrain like a champ. It feels smooth underfoot and makes the end of the day chopped up snow very bearable. You can handle bumps of all sizes at slower speeds rather well with the SL. It almost has a rubbery type feel that feels like the board is very shock absorbent.
Approximate Weight: The Never Summer SL-R is on the heavy side however a 3 year warranty is worth a little extra pressure on your leg when riding the chair.
Edge Hold: It wouldn’t be ideal for icy conditions but will do well in most conditions people want to ride in. It never gets over grippy and provides pretty good grip in all conditions.
Flex: More stiff than your average all mountain board here and it’s still playful when it comes time to butter or press around.
Switch: This is a twinish board but not a twin. The contact of the nose and tail is minimal and that helps the SL ride better switch than a cambered version. There is still a difference between regular and switch but you get used to it over time.
Jibbing: It’s not bad but the Evo wins here hands down. You can stop in to play in the jib park. It’s not for the ultra technical rail but it’s fun to hit a box or bonk.
Pipe: This is a good pipe board that is very forgiving. It’s not going to have that drive wall to wall for the expert pipe rider but the average rider will like this in the pipe.
Jumps: Lately we have liked the snap of the carbonium top sheets in Never Summers line but this isn’t bad. The spring is a little more slow and it doesn’t load up as well as the carbonuim top sheet models like the Cobra but it does an above average when creating your own air. It’s not bad in the park and can handle kickers of all sizes. It’s not that hard to swing.