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.
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).
On Snow Photo
Never Summer Raptor description (click on it to pull it up)
Review Disclosure: This board was given to me by Never Summer Snowboards.