Climbed the 12, 300 foot Mt. Adams in south central Washington and rode summer suncupped snowfields for 4 miles and 6,000 vertical feet. I made the summit around 5:00 PM after a 7 mile, 7,200 foot climb and the snow at the summit was still frozen corn snow with large 2 to 3 foot deep suncups and craters. The initial drop was not rideable due to these conditions and exposed rocks so I hikes back down off of the summit to Piker`s Peak where things were soft corn snow but still had the monster sun cups.
The ride was certainly nothing I would call epic or even fun at times; like riding an inverted mogul field with a pack on. This board however was the cat`s meow for the day. It`s rocker profile and flexibility allowed for relatively easy riding on this horrendous surface. The nose never once dug into a crater rim but easily flexed, allowing me to ride up and over into the next crater.
It`s easy torsional flex allowed for very quick, responsive edging to carve my turns through this moonscape without getting bucked. It is an odd mix of butterability with a truck like stability in very tough conditions. Keep in mind that after such a hike, I was not able to ride as dynamically as I normally do and should have for the conditions. The board made the difference with it`s handling.
Another advantage is the feather lightness of the board. I carried this thing 7 miles and 7,200 vertical feet along with my other gear so reduced weight was super important. The lightness of this board and all Neversummer boards, makes them ideal candidates for split boards.
The base of this board, like every Neversummer I have ridden, seems nearly bomb proof. I hit several embedded pumice rocks. Some hard enough that I did not want to look at the bottom of my board but at the end, not a mark other than a cosmetic scratch in the wax.
This board makes for the ideal quiver killer for the rider who favors free ride, powder and off piste riding with some light freestyle thrown in. It is not an ideal board for the park monkey who spends his day jibbing and buttering; for that grab an Evo. But, the thing has decent enough pop for jumps and it loves playing on natural features. The lightness of the board makes for easy maneuvering and it spins easily. It has the zero /zero edge bevel so it holds an edge well in even the iciest of conditions and can be catchy if not reigned in however, the rocker profile really helps prevent accidental edge catches.
This board feels a little more playful than the Heritage and a little more “truck like” than the Proto which is right where it was intended to be. Hard core speed freaks who want to bomb groomers might find it chatters more than the Heritage or Raptor and the guys who like to butter and play around on the ride might find the Proto more to their liking. Where this board truly excels is in off piste natural freestyle riding where the entire mountain is your terrain park. It`s agility in deep powder makes it a blast for tight trees, chutes and it loves the 50 degree plus steeps. This is truly a snowboard version of the SUV that is a go anywhere do anything board. If you are travelling and need just one board that you can do everything reasonably well with, this is the board.
Neversummer Cobra on the 12,300 foot summit of Mt. Adams with Mt. Rainier in the distance:
Looking to the south with Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson:
Looking back down on Piker`s Peak: