Never Summer are one of those brands we love! They have been around for over 20 years building premium snowboards from their Denver, Colorado factory. The started building longboards in 2008 as a way of using the offcuts from their snowboard production. They also integrated other parts of their snowboard technology into the longboard production such as the durable top sheet finishes on the base of the longboards and the p-tex tip and tail protectors. The decks feature extensive use of fibreglass allowing the them to maintain their flex patterns for years – for this reason Never Summer offer a 3 year warranty on their decks.
Never Summer make amazing snowboards and then started using the cutoffs and excess materials to make longboards. Their skate business has now become an integral part of the Never Summer brand and the range looks better and better every year! Here are some pics of the 2012 range! Interesting models include the Revolt, Heist TM, Tyrant DT and the revised Norad.
See more about Never Summer Longboards.
Whilst visiting the Snowboard Test in Austria we took the time the snap some shots of the upcoming 2011 / 2012 snowboard season board graphics from some of the biggest brands that hit the Uk shelves. Images from brands such as Never Summer, Ride, DC, Rome, Capita, Nitro, GNU, Bataleon and more!
Never Summer have been picking up momentum really quickly over the last couple of seasons and are globally recognised as manufacturers of high quality snowboards which are super durable and backed up by a three year warranty. For the 11/12 season they have announced a new board to their range – the Proto CT. Like the rest of the range the Proto features Never Summer’s patented Rocker and Camber technology. This is the dual camber with rocker between the feet and camber outside of the bindings. The boards also uses the Vario Power Grip sidecut – a flat section in the middle of the board, then a shallow radius followed by a deeper radius. This gives the board more contact points with the snow and therefore grip.
As this is one of the top of the range Never Summer boards it comes fully loaded with all the tech we come to expect from NS plus as it is part of the high end carbonium range – it has extra carbon laminate rods, a superlight core and a sintered 5501 base. The Proto CT is true twin all mountain freestyle board. It is to the Evo what the Heritage is to the SL. This will no doubt be the most wanted board next season.
Day 1 of riding
Today we arrived at resort after a heavy night of snow. The thought of powder was pretty exciting in itself but having a board like the Proto to test made it all the sweeter. The conditions were perfect for it. Visibility was very low on parts of the mountain but the board gave me loads of confidence. It gave me the same sense of security the SL always has but it was playful too. Not as playful as the Evo but enough to mess about and have loads of fun. The base feels fast – it just glides over the snow effortlessly. It terms of stiffness it is very comparable to the SL. Some areas of the slope had been ridden heavily and were very bumpy. It is still snowing so I am looking forward to testing it again tomorrow morning in fresh snow.
Day 2 of testing
It kept snowing overnight though not much. Together with yesterdays snow it made for a fun morning. We were up for the first lift and rode hard till midday. The board was a dream. At times riding a 154 was just not ideal and I couldnt hold enough speed in the flatter sections and as my legs grew tired, and the bright sun made the snow heavy it all became hard work. The base is very durable and took a number of bumps without leaving a mark. I did take a tiny bit out of the base but that was from a rock which stopped my dead and sent me head over heels.
Day 3 of testing
Today is more of a piste day – the sun is out and the pistes are in perfect conditions. The odd bit of off piste is still good but a lot of it is cruddy and not great. The board is holding up well though – I dont think I could ever get bored of riding it. It works fine and is playful on piste with loads of pop. It is still stiff enough to allow for charging the mountain and not having to worry about it feeling twitchy.
Day 4 of testing
Another bluebird day with great on piste conditions. There are loads of cruddy off piste sections which are still very rideable and fun. There are little kickers scattered all over the mountain too which are great on the board. It moves between the piste and the crud with ease. I took it for a quick run through the park and found the board to be nice a playful and a lot of fun. The boardercross track was running and the board felt like it held up really well on the fast carves.
This is a super versatile board that will be capable of charging the mountain, hitting big booters in the backcountry and running through the park . It is a true quiver killer. The 154 was perfect for me. The board will be available for demos around the UK this summer and available in shops to buy from September. It will be available at a standard width and a mid-wide. Sizes include 152, 154, 157 & 160. The mid-wide sides will be 152, 155, 158, 160.
Find out more about Never Summer
Splitboards are simply put a snowboard which is split down the middle. When split, the binding positions change and they are used as skis to help you access the backcountry. They use the same skins as backcountry skiers and it allows for a much easier climb than carrying a board on your back. The extra flotation provided makes it much easier than using snow shoes. Once at the top, you can put the board back together for the descent.
This type of riding only appeals to a certain kind of rider. They have to be up for a solid hike to start with. On top of that they need to enjoy the solitude of the backcountry and be an avid off piste rider who knows what they are doing in case of an emergency. As lovely as the big mountains can be – there is no ski patrol to rely on for safety. It is up to you and your buddies. Avalance beacon, shovel and probe are essential.
As snowboarders jumping on skis is going to be strange to start with. It will take a while to get the technique right. The basic idea is to take long strides and glide over the surface as opposed to lifting the skis and trying to walk.
Most of the time splitboards are used with normal snowboarding boots and bindings. The Voile split kit makes it all pretty simple and moving between the ski touring and snowboard mode is simple and requires no tools.
A number of brands this year have added split boards to their production line up including Never Summer and K2. To find out more about splitboarding and to get advice from a community of experts – visit splitboard.com
It seems like these trade shows get earlier and earlier every year. Most people have not even had a chance to ride 10/11 kit and we are already testing 11/12 stuff. The pressure is on for brands and retailers who need to make more educated decisions in terms of what stock to buy. On top of that consumers demand more knowledge from their retailers â€“ as boarders the whole rider owned rider run thing is important to us. It guarantees solid information and advice on our purchases. With this in mind, retailers are strongly encouraged to come to these on snow tests to ride boards and speak to distributors who can educate them about their products. This information can then be passed on to the consumer. Avant Premiere is a French board test for trade only â€“ I headed out with the new 11/12 Never Summer samples and Mountainboard champion Tom Kirkman came along to help share the driving and get some time on the snow!
Saturday â€“ Getting there
After an epic drive out here on Friday night, we arrived in resort around 11am. It feels weird having been up driving all night and living off sandwiches and fizzy drinks. We take a while to get our bearings but eventually find out where our hotel is and check in. The little French I do know is taking a while to come back to me. Eventually I figure out where the event site is and meet with Matthieu â€“ the organiser. We do some little bits and bobs, find out about lift passes and what time we are meant to be up the mountain tomorrow then call it a day.
A quick look up the hill quickly shows us the resort is somewhat lacking in terms of snow. Half the mountainside is green. According to the screen in town the temperature is 7 degrees celcius. Not great for snow â€“ but on the plus side, it is sunny and the sky is blue. We take a quick walk round town to stretch our legs then head back to the hotel. Set the alarm for just before dinner time then pass out.
A few hours later, refreshed thanks to the nap and a quick shower it is time to check out what kind of food we have in store for us. Luckily enough, the food is great and duck is on the menu â€“ one of my favourites. After another stroll round town we call it a night pretty early. We need to get some sleep as tomorrow will be a long day. A bit of time on the laptop struggling with the hotels terrible wifi then some reading (a new years resolution), then sleep.
Sunday â€“ First Test Day
We got up early to get set up. The free coffee sorted us out a treat and we were ready to go in no time. As the day went on more and more familiar faces popped up. It seems a fair few of the UK distributors decided to come along, a few of them inviting their retailers too. We saw most of the people we were expecting to see plus a couple of extras. The snow was really lacking. In the morning it was just sheet ice. Once the sun hit more of the hill the snow started to soften up. Either way it was tough conditions and many competent riders hit the deck. On the plus side the skies were blue and the sun was warm. As the lifts closed, and testing for the day ended the organisers provided some beers. We chatted till dark then headed back down the mountain. After a quick shower and a rest , we headed down for dinner then into town for a few beers and a wild party in a local bar. There was everything from girls dancing on the bar, to a rich old guy giving out free booze, a Danny Dyer wannabe Tom befriended in the toilet, and loads of drunk French people.
Monday â€“ Day Two of Testing
The morning was not fun â€“ it turns out we had a lot of beers last night. Breakfast and coffee sorted us out and back up the mountain we headed. Set up was way faster today as we knew exactly what we were doing. Marie â€“ the French agent for Never Summer joined us today giving Tom and I the chance to go ride together. Although the lower section of the mountain was littered with stones and patches of polished ice the top half was well groomed and a lot of fun. It is great to ride on a nice blue sky sunny day. Testing went well again and the boards got some great reviews. By the end of testing we were really tired and headed down to chill out for a bit. After a quick nap we headed to dinner and gorged ourselves. Feeling a bit sleepy after eating and drinking we decided another chill was in order before heading out. A film later and we couldn’t be bothered to go out.
Tuesday â€“ The Last Day of Testing
We have our morning set up time nailed now and get everything sorted in no time at all. It is a slow start as many stayed out late the night before. The conditions are still pretty poor so no one is really that enthused (we are all spoilt it would seem). After a few hours of hanging around at the stand we made the call to go riding â€“ so we knocked up a quick sign reading â€œGone Snowboarding â€“ help yourself!â€ then headed up in the gondola. We explored the right side of the mountain today. It has some great runs. We ended up right in town which is a long way down the mountain from the test area. It took a while to get back but we had fun riding. Upon our return we saw a few boards were out so people had indeed been helping themselves.
With it being the last day of testing we had to put in extra effort to pack neatly.
Tomorrow we plan on heading to Morzine where we will be hooking up with Paul from Alpine Retreat and our friend Toby who is out doing a season. Then it is on to Switzerland for a flying visit then we start our epic trip back to the UK.
See photos from Avant Premiere
We spent the day at Snow Baw Reading yesterday checking out a load of AW11/12 product from top snowboard hardware and outerwear brands. The rocker theme continues with brands still adopting pretty much every combination of rocker and camber possible and others just going for flat boards with no rocker or camber. On outerwear the trends continue for bright colours, more fitted snow trousers (dangerously skinny at times) and a more street look for jackets.