2015 Never Summer Chairman 160 - Near End of Season Report - Snowboarding Forum - Snowboard Enthusiast Forums
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Old 03-14-2015, 12:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2015 Never Summer Chairman 160 - Near End of Season Report

Nearing end of season report

Board: 2014-2015 Never Summer Chairman 160

Camber: EXRC – extended transition rocker camber. A variant of Never Summer’s traditional rocker camber with camber under foot and rocker in the middle and extended camber transition zones at the tip and tail.

Riding time: 26 days so far

Rider experience: Riding a little for many years but only serious about riding for the past 4 years. About 35 days a year. Low intermediate in skill and beginner in the park.

Conflicts of interest: None. I paid full retail for this board and no one gives me any free shit

Conditions: Almost every condition on the east coast. Groomers, east coast hardpack, powder, packed powder, bullet proof ice, slush, bumps, chop, hard crust, in snow storms, in the rain, etc. I’ve had the board on trail, off trail, in the glades, in the park, in my backyard, on urban kickers etc.

Bindings: 2015 Union Chargers with the wider 2014 Union Charger ankle straps.

Stance: Goofy, +21, -13, 21.5 inches wide (54.6 cm), with forward lean adjusters pulled down 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) to increase forward lean.
Height and weight: 5’8” (173 cm) and 175 lbs (80 kg)

Review: After a rough start where I wasn’t even sure if I like the board, this board has become my absolute favorite board and I use it everywhere. Note that this is not a board for everyone. I tend to like boards that are more polarizing and have distinct character but I am less enthusiastic about boards that are middle of the pack.

Reasons for purchase:
I bought this board to replace 2011-2012 Never Summer Raptor 159 with Salomon Caliber bindings I had ridden for 3 years for 100+ days. The Chairman is the big mountain freeride board successor to the Never Summer Raptor and Premier F1. As a result, I was expecting a beefed up Raptor but found that it feels pretty different than the Raptor.

Initial impressions:
I was surprised when I first strapped in. On the carpet the Chairman didn't really feel much stiffer than the Raptor but on the snow the Chairman felt way stiffer and, with the Union Chargers, the combination felt like it was machined from a solid block. Initially for me, the mellower sidecut meant a longer turn radius and less ability to drive the turn tighter. The board felt happier down the fall line. The added stiffness of the Chairman made it feel like I had to really work hard to load up the board and to torsionally flex the board. The board absolutely loves to get on edge and it feels like riding a scalpel. The extra damping meant, it was composed in everything and absolutely blasted through stuff. The Chairman feels more aggressive and less forgiving and harder to ride than the Raptor as it requires more commitment. Initially, the Raptor feels more fun and versatile and the Chairman faster and more composed.

Impressions after 26 days:
After a rough start, the Chairman has become my absolute favorite board. The board is quite stiff in the camber zones and tip and tail with good torsional stiffness. The middle rocker zone is more midstiff flex for a softer flex point in the middle of the board.

The board is super damp even for a Never Summer and it absolutely blasts through chop, rough terrain and variable conditions. It feels incredible stable and confidence inspiring at speed. It’s more stable that the Raptor.
The longer side cut means that it does feel happy being blasted down the fall line but once I got used to the board, the variable side cut with the tight radius initiating contact point and trailing point meant that I could get a nice edge bite to initiate the turn then drive the turn tight as I finished the turn on the back part of the side cut.

You do have to work to get at that fun ride by really driving through the turn to shift weight fore and aft and loading up the board not just tipping edge to edge. This made for fun tight and energetic dynamic carving. It does take effort to draw this out of the board and you have to be comfortable really flexing and loading up a stiff board. It is noticeably stiffer and harder to load up than Raptor. If you can’t flex and load up the board, it’s going to feel like a plank at best and at worst, the board is going to ride you. You will hate it.

In contrast, if you ride the board aggressively with a ton of commitment, it’s very rewarding. It transforms into a fun lively albeit super damp and stable ride. The leading edge pops up onto a edge eagerly and drives into the turn. The radius opens up as you drive through the middle balance point and you can feel the camber load up as you drive you weight into the board and through the turn. There is a distinct fore and aft feel as you move your balance point through the middle rocker zone but the transition is still very smooth. As you drive the board forward and your weight back, the front unloads and you can drive hard into the back of the side cut where it tightens up again and the board will pop you onto the other edge as the flex unloads and you drive the new initiating edge into the opposite turn.

Once I got used to it, the board felt as comfortable on tight turns as it did in longer radius turns down the fall line. The board feels great carving and gets and holds an edge really well. I’ve never ridden magnetraction in ice so I can’t compare but the edge hold was good everywhere I rode it. Ridden aggressively, the board is confidence inspiring in all kinds of conditions. It was built for Vince to ride big mountains but I loved it in all kinds of small mountain conditions.

I’m a beginner in the park and also tend to land tail heavy off jumps. The Chairman was very stable landing jumps and handled my sketchy tail heavy landings well. The stability bailed me out of more than one crappy landing. I did not ride any rails with it but I did ride a number of boxes and the Chairman is not that fun on them. The middle rocker combined with the stiffness means that I didn’t feel locked on to the box. It felt like I had a middle pivot point like a seesaw. In contrast softer boards I rode both rockered and cambered felt more like they conformed and glued themselves to the boxes.

Other than the boxes, the only other time I felt like I wished I was on another board was in tight bumpy east coast glades which have a single rideable line. The Chairman can make tight turns and handles chop well but it is a lot of work. I’m not very experienced in glades since I just started riding them this year so I wished I had a shorter more agile board that let me be a bit lazier for the trees. I felt exhausted with the Chairman. I’m sure a more experienced rider would have had no problems in the glades. In contrast moguls and bumps were no problem for me on the Chairman.

Conclusion: The Chairman is my absolute favorite board right now and is my daily driver. It’s absolutely not a board for everyone but if you want a stiff, super stable CRC profile board that will reward you for riding aggressively or if you love to charge down steep fall lines in variable conditions then you should try it out.

Last edited by trpa_ec; 03-14-2015 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 03-14-2015, 12:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Some other boards I bought and tested this year:

2014-2015 Burton Custom X 158 with Diodes – This is my second favorite board that I rode after the Chairman. I tested it at a Burton demo day and did not want to give it back. The precision, pop and predictability of the traditional stiff camber are awesome. I absolutely loved this board and will likely get one next season along with a Capita Mercury. On groomers, it absolutely railed. It was stiff, responsive and fast edge to edge. However, it was less fun than the Chairman. I can’t quite articulate why. I couldn’t relax as much on the Custom X and the Chairman felt far more stable in the bumps and poor conditions.

2014-2015 Burton Flight Attendant 156 with Cartel bindings – I tested the Flight Attendant based on the many excellent reviews of it, but I really disliked it in my local conditions. It is an S Rocker which is basically cambered with a rockered nose. The nose is wide for powder float with a tapered tail. Other reviews made it sound like a quiver killer; however, in East Coast packed snow/hardpack/ice, I found that the wide rockered nose made for vague imprecise turn initiation. Once on edge the camber and tapered tail sorted you out but that initial phase of the turn lacked bite and wasn't my cup of tea at all. Some reviewers claim it is stiff and aggressive but I found it nothing of the kind. It wasn't stiff at all compared to freeride boards and seemed all mountain in flex and dampness. It was pretty forgiving for a cambered board. It seems like it could be super fun for the right rider in the right conditions (powder) but I did not see where it would ever fit into my east coast quiver. The entire time I was on the Flight Attendant, I could only think about how much better the Custom X was.

2014-2015 Never Summer Ripsaw 159 with Union Chargers – I’ve only ridden this board one day since I just bought it. I like this board as well. The new more camber-dominant camber rocker profile brings more excitement and liveliness to Never Summer boards. See the reaction to the Funslinger, West and Ripsaw. You can absolutely feel the enhanced camber as it bites in. The stiffness (although a lot less stiff than the Chairman) combined with less damping meant more perceived energy and liveliness for me and the enhanced camber felt like it bit into turns much more sharply and carved super well. I had the board high up on edge immediately on the first turn of my first run. The changes come at a cost. The liveliness also means that in choppier conditions I felt more bounced around that I did on the Chairman. In addition, ironically the enhanced camber zones mean that I feel the smaller rocker in the middle more abruptly that on the NS rocker camber boards. The transitions in the board profile are smoother on the Chairman whereas I can really feel the change from the camber to slight rocker to the camber. I wonder if NS lifted the rocker just a touch more like the C3 BTX of Libtech whether it might make the transition less abrupt. It’s a fun board but not an everyday board for me.

2014-2015 Never Summer Mountainslayer 159 with Salomon bindings - It’s a good do everything mid-flex cambered board. However, as far as personal preferences go I like a stiffer board. My personal preference would have been to make the board stiffer especially torsionally but make it less damp for more liveliness and pop.
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Old 03-14-2015, 02:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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good writeups, thanks!
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Old 03-14-2015, 03:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you for your report!

I have almost the same impressions. Oh god the edge hold especially toeside. It just wants to lock you in a turn. You can go down carving till your whole side body is totally outstretched and skating on the snow, and it will keep you safe. But good luck exiting from a turn like that haha. Also I found the floating in powder excellent and effortless.

Definitely the best I could ask for, it's hard to find something that performs so well in AND off piste. It requires aggressive technique, skill and commitment. It's funny b/c till the last year I didn't even know the brand and I stumbled upon it totally randomly.

"confidence inspiring" (the faster you are) is what it describes it better. A board not for the slow
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I bought thus board recently as well (6 days on it so far) and I agree with much of what you said. I compared it directly on the same conditions same run to my previous fav (Rome Anthem SLS) and the edge hold and general fun of the chairman is so much better. Of course, the Chairman is not a board for a lazy rider -- normally I don't feel anything in my legs after a day of riding. On the chairman my quads start burning after ~5-6 hours of riding. Guess I need to work out more

That said, there is one problem I have with it -- it's pretty squirrelly when you try to straight line it at speed. It wants to fight you and get on an edge. This only happens at speed, though, on a slow cat track it's perfectly happy pointing it.
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