Never Summer snowboards have been around since the 1980’s. Their boards are designed and manufactured in Colorado. They don’t spend a lot of money on sponsoring high profile riders or excessive promotion and marketing. This allows them to put more resources into the quality and workmanship of their snowboards. After demoing the all-mountain twin Never Summer Proto Type Two at Killington last Sunday I was convinced that their strategy is working.
Some Tech Talk
The Proto Type Two is based off the popular Proto HD using the same mid-flex core but adding the more aggressive Ripsaw camber profile. The Type Two also incorporates an asym sidecut into the true twin shape. We’ve written about asym shapes in previous posts so I won’t go into it extensively, but the general idea is that it makes heelside turns easier.
The Ripsaw camber profile has a reduced rocker area between the bindings and extended camber out through the nose and tail. There’s also a transition area right before the nose and tail, and as the guys at the demo tent explained that it extends the board’s entry points to give it more stability and edge hold.
Never Summer uses what they call Vario Power Grip sidecuts on their boards to provide extra edge hold when turning and help the board track straight when your pointing it. It basically adds more contact points by using several different radii along the effective edge.
How It Rode
I’ve ridden a few Never Summer boards in the past including the Evo, SL, and Heritage. While those boards felt very solid and damp underfoot, the Proto Type Two felt lighter and snappier. Laying an edge down ripping through my turns felt absolutely glorious with no hang ups and it popped in and out of the carve effortlessly.
The pop on this board was really damn good and provided a lot more hang time then I expected out of mid-flex board. The extra camber of the Ripsaw profile was evidently working the way the reps said it would. There were about 5 or 6 inches of fresh snow and blasting off the rollers and through chop felt pretty awesome and handled it well.
Another thing that surprised me was how well this board rode switch. It’s a true twin with asym sidecut so that’s going to help power through the heelside switch turns. But even so, the board felt and rode just about exactly the same switch as it did when riding it regular. Not many, if any boards that I’ve ridden have felt so stable and predictable while riding backwards.
Pressing and buttering on the Proto Type Two was easy. Rocker between your feet gives you a head start when laying into a press, and the lightweight tips make it easy to spin around. The rocker made the board float through the shin deep powder effortlessly.
Never Summer boards are built for the long haul. They really feel solid and some of that translates into the boards feeling really damp and sometimes you lose feedback when riding a super damp board. I think with the Proto Type Two Never Summer found that sweet spot of having a super poppy, lightweight and fun board that is also really durable. The Proto has a ton of things going for it, and I would not hesitate to pick one up and add it to my quiver.