I added the 2014/15 Prospector 161 by Never Summer Industries to my backcountry arsenal toward the end of last season through a lucky raffle win at the annual Silverton Splitfest. I never win anything when it comes to raffles, but it was going to a good cause. Imagine my surprise when I pulled off a win for the NS Prospector! I have only had a few days on this board during the spring season but I will post my initial thoughts and a run down of the board. I will also post updates throughout the season. This board is packed with technology, so I will spend some time explaining some of the key points.
FEATURES (along with my observations):
You can click through the tabs below which highlight the various technical aspects of the Never Summer Prospector, and my notes to each highlight on the side.
On the snow – ‘Taming the Dragon’
I was able to get out this spring during some various late season conditions. This included the typical wet spring snow at lower elevations on the approach mixed with the still winter-like conditions at higher altitudes. As far as touring, the Never Summer Prospector has some noticeable geometry changes with rocker. There is a flat distance under the touring brackets to make better contact while skinning. One of the drawbacks to rocker / camber technology on other splitboards I have been on is the fact that the rocker is placed squarely under foot while touring which makes contact while skinning a bit of a dilemma. You really only notice this and certain degree slopes or while touring over obstacles — especially in firmer snow where there is less forgiveness. The placement of the flat rocker under foot certainly makes a big difference while touring, you will notice it more than you would think.
The weight ratio of the board is amazing. I have an AT setup mounted to this board with Dynafit toe-pieces and a modified Trench Digger mountain plate system. The weight of the board prior to adding the plates, Dynafit toe-pieces and Spark R&D Dynafit adapter plates was 7.4lbs. That is not the lightest board for a 161, but I would not classify that as a heavy board either. It falls somewhere right in the middle as far as average board weight goes. For a Freeride style board I am very impressed with the weight. I did make my stance slightly setback to accommodate the nature of the balance and rocker / camber geometry. It was very easy to tell where to adjust the stance to. Once you get that dialed in; WOW!
A far as riding, I was all smiles! This board really locks in to your turns with a grip, but also allows you to snap out of them with ease. Once committed to a turn the board feels very stable and precision. Bombing straight down is completely stable as well — as a freeride should be. The board floats incredibly, as if it defies gravity some regard. I noticed the longer camber seemed to make the nose rise out of the snow considerably more that other RC styles I have been on. The performance in powder will be no hesitation whatsoever.
For the few days I have had the Never Summer Prospector on the snow, I can say without a doubt it is the best board I have ever ridden. I will update as the coming season progresses.
Update: I got in a few early turns mid-October at Andrews Glacier [trip report] — this board is absolutely amazing!
Retail Price: $1,000 USD
More technical information on the Never Summer Prospector and other quality boards can be found on their website www.neversummer.com