My primary board of choice is the Never Summer SL. I have multiple including a split version so I know it inside and out. My primary riding style is tight woods and all mountain freestyle. I rarely ride groomers except to get to/from the woods and I rarely make a trip into the park. I search out tight trees and fresh lines.
If you dont want to read the rest my basic idea of the board is: Great woods and steeps board. Boring but effective groomer cruiser. A little sketchy on the flats.
Rider and setup
Board: 2014 Never Summer Cobra 161
Stance: +15/-15 23.5” wide
Bindings used: K2 Uprise, K2 Hurrithane, Rome 390
Boots: Burton Ruler Size 10
Flex: I give this board about a 6.5/10. Just a little past mid-stiff.
Camber: This board has Never Summer’s RC Profile. Rocker in the middle helps it float and ride a little loose. Camber under the feet lets it still hold a solid edge. Ive ridden them all and this is my favorite.
Pop: Board is fairly poppy but the tail is a little short to really develop huge power. Very good for what it is.
Handling on groomers:
This board holds a very solid edge on hard-pack groomers and as good of an edge as can be expected on ice. Ice sucks so I avoid it whenever possible but if it cant be avoided then this board holds almost as well as my magnetraction Smokin KT-22. I actually prefer the edge-hold of the Cobra. Magne might grip better on ice but I find it to be weird and grabby everywhere else. The board is fairly damp but not so much that it feels disconnected. It is not however as damp as a real dedicated board designed to eat through the crud. My biggest issue with this board is the flats. It seems a little sketchy and grabby on the flats.
Verdict: Effective but Meh. I don’t mind this board on the groomers but I just find it to be boring. It isn’t stiff or damp enough for really charging and digging trenches in crud snow and chop. It is too directional and damp to be a really want to play around on the groomers. Still, it destroys any dedicated pow board in groomer performance.
Pow & Trees: “The Cobra’s happy place”
First up, Float. This board floats 98% as well as a real dedicated board like a Pin-tail or a swallowtail but as anyone who has ridden a Fish on a groomer can tell you Pow boards dont like boilerplate. I rode it in knee deep blower with only a hint of leg burn. One of my favorite tests of a board in the deep is its ability to float on a low angle traverse with a lot of snow. We have some woods around here that most people avoid because it takes a long low angle traverse to get out. The cobra stays up even at low speed with a lot of quick turns sapping speed all the way.
The Cobra likes to turn fast. My first deep run with it was a steep trail with a waist deep wind spine. The board seems to turn as fast as you can think about turning with no real worry of burying the nose. I surprised myself with just how many slashing turns I saw when I looked back up from the bottom of the run. Once this board makes it into the woods it really begins to shine. Tight trees with narrow lines and blind corners require a board that can you can trust to be able to make a turn as soon as you can see the line. The cobra delivers. Knowing that your mind can keep up is the hard part.
Rode this board in some Deep heavy wet above freezing “pow” and it did surprisingly well. Turning and floating in this snow is usually a lot of work and a little tricky especially at lower speed but the Cobra loves it.
Verdict: The cobra loves the pow and it loves the trees. It can handle charging the steeps but it really is happier making some extra turns.
I am always looking for fallen trees to slide and cliffs to drop so that has always been part of what I look for in a board. Setback directional boards have always seemed a little weird to me trying to slide logs. Only 50/50 because trees like to hurt people that boardslide them but the setback still seems to throw me off. The Cobra has a fairly minimal setback for such a great board in the deep stuff so it seems to slide logs fairly well to me. I have locked onto a 30’ long 18” dia log for the full length so it gets a passing grade from me. The same setback makes landing big drops into deep snow a breeze. No real effort needs to be made to keep the board above the snow even with a little bit of a breakable crust.
The Carbonium looks very cool. It also works like a stomp pad. Getting off the lift I usually just step in the middle of the board and slide my foot back into the back binding. With the Carbonium this doesn't really work and I need to place my foot in the right place from the beginning. I found this out the hard way to a some laughs and an out of control but not quite crashing unloading.
The base on the Cobra holds up to abuse very well. My Cobra has been over uncountable rocks, stumps, and logs. The board only has a few superficial scratches.
I did a few no-highback runs on the cobra in about 18” of snow just because I thought its quick turn ability might be fun and surfy in Pow and boy was I right. The board turns so easily that riding with no highback was a dream until I got back on the icy groomer back to the lift.
, on Flickr
, on Flickr
, on Flickr
, on Flickr