2011 Never Summer Raptor 159cm
Rome Targa bindings
K2 T1 Boots
This board is noticeably lighter than my 2010 Premier F1-R and the graphics are awesome! I love the carbon woven topsheet!
This board definitely kills the groomers if that is the type of riding you enjoy to do. It's just so stable when you want to just charge down the mountain. I actually went so fast that I was scared! The thing with this board is that Never Summer has done such an incredible job with the dampening you kinda forget how fast you are actually going. The fact that it is just so stable also! I kinda compare this to the BMW M3 or any sports car, you don't realize how fast you are going until you look at the speedo! When you want to just carve hard you can REALLY lean right into it! I'm so impressed with the carving on this deck on the groomers. I could squat, sit back on my heel edge or lean forward into my toe edge, and it will just BITE like a pitbull! The extra carbon really helps stiffen up the board and helps dampen the ride as well. For a 159cm, this board really rides like a shorter board. Riding switch is also pretty easy on this board, which is probably the rocker helping out. It's very quick edge to edge. Vario Power Grip Sidecut WORKS! I think Lib-Techs Magnetraction still works better in hardpack or very icy conditions, but Never Summers alternative is definitely right behind them in edge hold!
We were dry for about a week so I didn't really get a chance to test out the Raptor in it's natural environment. I did some hiking to get to some fresh lines. I found completely fresh lines, the snow was heavy as it was sunny for a few days. The Raptor said to me, "piece of cake, rip it!" It rides like a dream, going from edge to edge effortlessly! It pushed the heavy stuff easily. Amazing ride.
It was sunny for about 4 or 5 days and finally decided to snow today, we got at least 10cm of fresh. I rode the Heritage in the morning but switched to the Raptor in the afternoon. I took the Raptor through some tree runs and it was amazing. The rocker helps keep the nose up in the powder. It's so stable and floaty ripping through the powder, and it's a bonus when you don't need to worry about digging in the nose! You basically put a little effort in and the board goes where you point it, incredible response! The only minor problem I had was I felt a 59 a bit long to go through the tighter trees, but that is probably my problem. As the day was coming to a close with the groomers were all cut up, the Raptor had no problem going through the crap. It didn't have any issues pushing the snow.
There was another dumping that came that dropped about 20cm of snow on the open trails and knee high powder in the trees. I took the Raptor everywhere that day, the wide open trails, trees and the tracked out crud. I was SO impressed with the float of this board with the help of the setback rocker. It's also so fast through the deep stuff! Again, the response was amazing through the trees! It's all due to the great torsional stiffness on it! If you can get the ollie power into this deck, it will send you to up. Landings are easy to stick with the camber in the tail! As all the powder got tracked out, the Raptor did an amazing job dampening all that crap! What a ride!
It's very similar in riding characteristics as my 2010 Premier F1-R. It's got great pop for a very stiff board and having the rocker definitely helps with olli-ing! Though, it's a little difficult to get the full ollie power because of the stiffness, but when you do, it sends you. I found the Raptor to be a better deck than my Premier. The Premier seemed to handle like a bigger board. It takes a little more effort to move around, which could probably be because of the extra weight. But the Premier has better dampening than the Raptor. They both can hold an edge like no tomorrow! If I had to make the choice between the Raptor or the Premier, I would choose the Raptor 10 out of 10 times. The graphics are just soooo SICK too, I love the fighter jet inspired design! I don't think I've ridden my Premier since I got this Raptor to demo. I love the Raptor and so should you!