Snowboard Review: 11-12 Never Summer Raptor

14 Sep, 2011


Location: Mammoth, CA

Snow Conditions: Mixture of hardpacked icy conditions to soft packed slushy conditions.

Setup: I rode the Never Summer Raptor with my Union Team bindings and Vans Veil Boots size 8.

Size: 159cm.

First Impression: The Raptor tears alive the mountain…one carve at a time.

Weight: Lighter than average.

Flex: The Never Summer Raptor is designed to be carved, it’s a true freeride board to the core and it handles like a freeride board should on the mountain.  It’s a stiffer on the nose and tail of the board with a softer between the binding flex for a quicker torsional flex that allows it to engage into aggressive carves at your will.  It’s also a very damp board so that any chop or crud you encounter, the Raptor absorbs it like it was nothing.  The Raptor features RC technology which is reverse camber, rocker and camber, rocker between the feet and camber just outside of the bindings.  The Raptor has a setback RC technology so that it has a longer camber section on the nose of the board for holding up during powder riding.

Turning: You could definitely say that the Raptor is Never Summer’s most aggressive board on edge, it’s easy and quick to engage into turns and it really locks you into carving.  There’s two types of turns with the Raptor, quick and quicker.  This board will keep you on your feet and noticeably engages into turns depending on how far you push the board.  The Raptor has been a favorite of mine for tree riding where you need to engage the board quick and get good response out of it on a dime.

Stable: Compared to my softer version Raptor, the 11-12 Raptor was noticeably a more stable ride on the mountain with the stiffer flex.  The dampness helped absorb any rough terrain which happened a lot during the spring conditions on the slopes, it handled all the slush bumps.  For carving on the hardpacked, it held an edge on the icy morning spots and carved into the snow.

Pop: The Raptor can handle jumps, it’s stiffer flex and snappy pop makes it the perfect play board for the jump line or powder landings.  I took the Raptor into the Forest Trail park at Mammoth for a couple jump laps and through the pipe.  It will handle the limited park riding you throw at it, but I mean limited…this is a stiff freeride board not designed for the park rider.

Switch: The Raptor is a directional shape with a setback stance, it’s capable of switch but takes adjustment to the handling and the switch on the directional setback rocker/camber.

Overall Impression: The Raptor is Never Summer’s freeride carving domination snowboard.  It’s built for tough, aggressive riding dedicated to taking the mountain and carving it up.  Honestly this is a board not meant for anyone under intermediate riding, it’s quick and it’ll buck you off if you can’t hold on.  It’s also capable of handling powder and those slushy chops that you endure late in the season.  Surprisingly this board is lighter than average with the carbonium topsheet and core, it’s not as heavy as you’d expect.  But it does attract snow during the deep powder days, so you want to brush it off the topsheet or you’ll start a collection.

Shay’s Honesty Box: I’ve been riding a softer testing version of the Raptor that came out before the production version.  This review was to compare the softer version to the production version for 11-12 and see how much difference it really was.  The flex was noticeably stiffer and much more stable in handling.  I only noticed the flex because my old Raptor I could actually press and butter on, this version 11-12 production it was much more difficult for playfulness (and the board’s not meant for that either).  The good news was on edge, it handled carving just as equally good.  It’ll be rad to take out it out in powder this winter to see the handling comparision (here’s a video of the softer version).

Ready to buy? Head over to evo for the Never Summer Raptor or shop their full line of Never Summer snowboards

 

On Snow Photo

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Never Summer Raptor description (click on it to pull it up)

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Review Disclosure: This board was given to me by Never Summer Snowboards.

About the author

Shay

From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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7 Comments

  1. September 18, 2011

    Great review as usual, absolutely spot on. A great board, after 30yrs riding, definitely in my top 5. Got one in the April before release, see YouTube “Raptor tames double blues with ease”. Remarkably versatile board considering it’s intended purpose, but then that’s Never Summer for you! There is a reason most of the Staff Trainers at Park City switched over to NS after trying them…and no, we didn’t get them free!
    Love the vid too Shay!

  2. Frank
    September 19, 2011

    Hi Martin,
    What do you think between 159 or 164 size…. since the radius is 7.9M and 8.1M which is pretty fast radius on the 164 too…. I am 5’10” 175pds… 9US and like to go fast …
    I think I can ride both size but I guess the 164 will shine well on groom fast (boardercross style) and Powder and the 159 will be more agile in tight trees? I do you suggest here.

  3. September 22, 2011

    Martin, awesome stoked to hear your input on the board as well! Love your videos!

  4. Shred
    January 28, 2012

    Raptor more like Craptor. Not a fan of R.C. tech at all. Loved the Titan and it is an absolute joke that this POS is supposed to take its place. They are nothing alike. R.C. is totally unstable at high speed compared to full camber boards of the same stiffness. I can’t believe NS did this to their entire line of boards. Snowboards are big and fat the float great in pow regardless. The R.C. is only an advantage in dense low angle pow, and I don’t want to sacrifice high speed stability and superior high speed edge hold for a little extra float in flat pow. I feel what you sacrifice is way greater than what you gain. Lines I have pointed comfortably a million times on my Titan all sudden became scary riding R.C. I also felt like I got bucked around way more in the chop. Instead of having a full bow of camber to transfer all the energy throughout you have three shorter sections i.e. camber, rocker, camber; that just don’t dampen the ride nearly as much; especially when the transition points of the rocker to camber are so close to the inserts where all your weight is. To be honest I feel like the R.C. even held me back in pow. Instead of being able to shut it down going really fast this board wanted to skip and surf sideways instead of dig into a powerful turn. I feel the reason this technology is getting so popular is that intermediate to advanced intermediate riders love that it can slide sideways really easy and makes washing your turns out less tiring AKA “it turns so easy, it’s so responsive” Iv’e heard it from mediocre riders all too often. If you really want to rail a turn R.C. is less efficient. There is a reason all the top Big Mountain riders are riding boards with camber under foot, Xavier DeLaRue, Jeremy Jones, and Bode Merrill just to name a few. I’ll end my rant with this analogy a Cadillac (boards w/R.C.) is way easier to cruise around town with but bring it out on a racetrack and its going to get smoked by a Ferrari (cambered boards) that might require a little more skill to drive. Not to toot my own horn, but to give a background as to who this review comes from I have been riding for 20 years and compete in big mountain comps and have even won a few, so I’d like to think I have a clue as to what I’m talking about.

  5. Frank
    January 29, 2012

    Hi Shred,
    So you must like the Arbor A Frame… looks like your type too of hard, solid charging board… ;)

  6. Tom
    December 12, 2012

    Setup: Never Summer Raptor x 161
    Burton Driver X Boots Size 12
    Burton Diod Reflex Bindings
    Binding Angles +12/+3 Forward
    Background: 2nd season snowboarding. First board was K2 Slay blade which was absolutely terrible on the east coast hard pack ice. Needed a board for those condition d/t most if not all my riding is on hard pack/ice. Inquired at the Goodride.com (James) who told me out of the 3 boards I was interested in (custom x, Rossi onemagtek, and raptor) the raptor had the best edge hold. Used the Raptor X (6 times so far) on hard pack/ice and it holds an edge without any issue of washing out. I would just bail out on the slay blade which would ruin my time boarding in those conditions. Not with the Raptor X, I hold edge at fighter jet speed (lol) and I have nothing but confidence when on this board. I am charging hard, fast and carving short/long radius turns ripping the mountain up while passing other boarders who have to bail in those conditions on the steep. It feels so good to ride through those conditions. The board can be ridden switch easy but I don’t have much use for going switch (no park for me). Has good pop for straight air and easy torsional flex where you can really bend the board when you want to. Needs new wax with every 10 hours of boarding… Disagree with reviews that you need to be and advanced or expert boarder for this board or that this board will buck you off etc… 2nd year boarding and I have no problem with this board,,, I feel this board raised my boarding ability up a few notches and don’t waste $$ on something so called more forgiving. Very happy with this board!