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Hi! I recently scored a Never Summer West 164X Splitboard, it’s new as a split this season so i thought i’d share my opinion of it.

Disclaimer
This demo model was given to me, although i think i remember paying for the shipping and brokerage to get it from CO to BC.
I understand some folks on the interwebs believe that an ‘objective’ reviewer needs to return free product to the manufacturer after reviewing it, so let me be clear that the NS crew is always welcome to come up here and take their boards back.
I’m not writing this to try to convince folks to buy into the NS brand; i’m writing to explain the ride characteristics of this board relative to other models i ride, also produced by NS.


Reviewer
I’ve been snowboarding since 1987, in the Rocky Mountains, Coast Range, and Columbia Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. I have a degree in Physical Education (Outdoor Pursuits) and have been certified in freestyle snowboarding instruction. My riding style tends towards ‘big mountain’ and I like to jump. I generally spend more time in the backcountry than in bounds, and i prefer to be in the alpine rather than below treeline. I’m 6’ tall, 175 lbs, with size 11 feet. My stance is regular, F 24 deg, B -6 deg, 24” wide, and i tend to go with wider boards in the 161 - 169 cms range. I’ve been riding NS boards for 20 years due to their craftsmanship and durability.

Location
Most of my splitboarding has been done in the Columbia Ranges of BC, which are in between the Coast Range and the Rockies. These mountains receive abundant snowfall, mostly fairly light powder, but can also get the warm moist Pineapple Express, or worse yet, rain or sun crusts on the snow surface, which can range from breakable to bulletproof. We also get some continental influence which can bring wind effects, crusts and slabs, facets, or on a good day, super low density blower. So, while i wish all my days were powder, in reality i’ll take what we get, and we get a bit of everything here.

Board
The West Split is a new offering on the market this season, i believe it replaces the SL Split in the NS line up. Like the SL, it’s a twin tip with the stance slightly set back, about 3/4” from centre.
SPECS
Size* Waist Edge Sidecut** Tip / Tail
154 25.2 120 Vario 790 29.6
158 25.4 122 Vario 818 29.8
160X 26.3 122 Vario 818 30.7
164X 26.6 126 Vario 858 31.0
* Measurements in centimeters. ** Multiple radius average.
Im riding the 164X, and like the solid West, the profile is Ripsaw RC
Here are the specs on the SL Split of the closest size, and of the other boards i ride, just so you know what I'm comparing the West to:
SL Split 163X - 31.5 / 26.8 / 31.5, Vario 793, Edge 127, Damp 7/10, Flex 5.5/10, Original RC.
Prospector Split 167X - 31.7 / 26.2 / 29.7, Vario 890, Edge 134, Damp - cushy, Flex - firm, Extended Tour RC.
Chairman 165X - 30.4 / 26.7 / 30.0, Vario 950, Edge 131, Damp - cushy, Flex - firm, Original RC.
Twenty Five 166X - 31.6 / 26.8 / 31.0, Vario 836, Edge 125, Damp - cushy, Flex - mid firm, Fusion RC.

First Impressions
When i first looked at the West Split, i thought the graphics were super sweet, but i wasn’t all that attracted to the specs. I had been riding the SL Split, which i do enjoy, but i wasn't really sure i wanted to ride another twin tip, especially with a bit softer flex.
But i will try almost anything, so i went with it.
My first few runs on the board were in very good snow and (surprise) i loved it! What really stood out is the turn ability of the board, it rails a carve very nicely, with seamless edge to edge transitions, and springs in and out of turns playfully.

Looking at the specs, and relative to the other NS models i ride, the West has a narrower shape, with a fairly open sidecut, and the Ripsaw RC profile has more camber than the Original RC. These factors give the West more directional stability, and transmit more pressure along the effective edge, which means the turns are very carve able in both short and wide open radii. It is easy enough to slide out the turns and slash some surfy styles, but it naturally rides quite aggressively on its rails. Although it’s rated as being a bit softer than the SL, the Ripsaw RC easily makes up for that difference.

More details
Maneuverability - the narrow shape, moderate sidecut and Ripsaw RC make the board quite carvable, as described above. As i also mentioned, it is easy to disengage the edge and slash turns, but beginner riders might have more difficulty in tight trees, compared to riding a board with more rocker / more sidecut / wider shape (i.e. the SL or Twenty Five models).
Similar but different, in billy goat terrain it’s noticeable that the Ripsaw RC, by transmitting more pressure further out towards the tip and tail, effectively makes a longer edge, which needs to be carefully managed to avoid getting hung up in very narrow chutes and peppery terrain.

Powder - the twin tip, slightly set back stance, narrower shape, Ripsaw RC and low profile tip mean this board is not exactly powder specific. In “good” powder (progressive density) there is no problems, but in bottomless or heavy snow the board tends to sink…. On the bright side, riding deep in the snow is great, as long as the slope is steep enough to keep you moving. I’m mounted as far back as my stance will allow since I mostly ride pow.

Jumping and Landing - The (almost) centred stance, twin tip shape and Ripsaw RC combine to put more pop into ollies, and the tail catches landings better than boards with smaller tails (due to taper and / or set back).

Skinning - The narrower shape of the West Split makes travel a fair bit easier when breaking trail, and also on established skin tracks. I expect the Ripsaw RC must also increase traction by transmitting pressure further towards the nose and tail.

Overall
This board is quite versatile and a lot of fun. Its weakness might be deep, high hazard conditions, when you need to keep to low angle slopes. Its strengths are pretty much anything else! Definitely my first choice for high mileage days.

 

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Thanks for the review I am in the market for a split and don't anticipate skinning on a lot of powder days so the lack of float in bottomless won't be to much of a hinderance. I ride a snowtrooper most days in bounds so I feel like the West isn't far off from that board. I will definitely throw this one on the list to take a look at
 

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Karkis,
It sounds like you are living my dream-life...
Nice review of this board. I got a chance to try this board myself in April, albeit for only one moderate length run in the backcountry, on spring snow. I concur with your assessment of this board. It is flexy-er than I am used to, which allowed me to sort of flex the board at the waist and place the tail edge of the board where I wanted to tighten up the turn radius... kind a unique feeling for me. I also found this board very maneuverable in tight spaces, more so than what I am used to.

The day I went out was one of the last days of the 2016/2017 season for me (mid April) and it was fairly warm at the bottom of the slope, so the snow conditions changed quite a bit from top to bottom (there was melted avy snow on portions of the run, as you can see in the vid). This board worked very well in those conditions. We had to wade across a very cold river to get back to the road, so that was pretty unique. Anyway, here is a clip from that day. Overall, I would recommend this board to people who want a quick turning flexy board that is good in tight conditions.


(forgive the Youtube music catalog....)
 
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