Forums Splitboards Never Summer Prospector, long term review
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  • #780749
    1490 Posts

    The other day I realized I had never really posted a full review of the Prospector 167X which I have been primarily riding. Herewith:

    Me: 6’1″, ~170 lbs, freerider interested in powder, steeps, technical features, and snowboard mountaineering

    Bindings: various incarnations of Phantom Splitboard bindings (the best!) including experimental protos, etc.

    Boots: Dynafit TLT5/6 with mods

    Stance: ~22″ width, ~24 degrees F, ~5 degrees R, ~40mm back

    Terrain: Typical Colorado from winter to late spring, all snow conditions

    The Prospector is for me an excellent all conditions board for the backcountry. The board packs a lot of surface area into its 167 length, and this offers great floatation. The taper (20 mm) is enough to allow the nose to stay up at slower speeds, so the board can help one get around the lower angle benches between drops in truly deep pow, but there is not so much taper such that tail grip is at all compromised. The board feels really balanced to me in its abilities (outside of technical freestyle riding which does not really apply to me or the board’s design emphasis). I have had it out in every condition we have, from sketchy steep icy spring stuff, to 2 degrees F bottomless storm powder, to breakable crusts and avy debris. The Prospector really excels in deep pow, allowing one to ride at slow to very high speeds, and despite being a wide and solid (stiffer flex) board it is highly maneuverable, even in very tight tree riding situations.
    I am not sure if I have yet mastered all the nuances of the Rocker/Camber profile, it is quite interesting in how it works. If one keeps their weight fairly evenly distributed over the feet, the board feels very close to a traditional camber board: it initiates easily, precisely, and quickly (faster than a traditional rocker or rocker-flat-rocker) and holds an edge well. Where it gets interesting is that one can shift a little weight away from the nose or tail, and then it feels like a rocker board at that extremity: that is, if one wants to slide/smear the nose a bit, all that is required is to shift a slight bit of weight away from it, and the same goes for the tail. If one wants to pivot, just a slight up weight will allow you to do so without any edge catching. This board has me thinking a lot about the intricacies of combining different Rocker/Camber and flex profiles to dial in the degree of precision, edge control and slarve a board has by nature.
    Stability on the Prospector is excellent, and the thing also stays very quiet and damp when charging through difficult, or unexpected variable snow conditions. The board prefers mostly medium + to short radius turns, and will make beautiful round arcs almost effortlessly: I find it easy to ride, despite the relatively stiff feel and generally “Big Mountain” pedigree, I suspect any intermediate rider on up would find it easy to ride (appropriately sized). If you like to get playful and surfy, and slarvy, the Prospector will allow it, but it does seem to prefer to make round arcs rather than sliding slarves (but it can be slarved as well with the application of some skill).
    After riding the Prospector a lot in some of the really good powder we had last season, I was a bit concerned that it might be a little too powder oriented for really great performance in spring: not to worry though! I managed to get onto some 50 degree plus icy steeps when I dropped in to the wrong spot on a big 14er attempt last spring; most boards would have given me some trepidation about turning and holding an edge in the variable, crusty, icy, mank, but the Prospector allowed me to consistently make turns, down through the ugly stuff, holding a very predictable and damp edge (many boards would vibrate and lose contact in these conditions), very impressive and confidence inspiring above some 300′ cliffs.
    OK, so looking back it is clear this review is a bit of a rave, and the board is certainly deserving of high praise. My one criticism would be that I would like to see it with a bit less deep sidecut. I think Never Summer does have something special going on with the combination of their “vari” sidecut design and RC which allows a fairly deep sidecut to work better than they usually do, but I also suspect that my personal penchant for a slightly more slarvy ride might be fulfilled by a little straighter shape: for sure though, this is a personal preference rather than any kind of problem with the board.
    The board skins fine, perhaps slightly less well than a traditional camber board, but all that is required is a little application of skill to overcome any differences.
    Additionally, the build quality is superb: clearly NS deserves their reputation for making one of the most durable and highest quality boards available.

    To sum it up, I loving the board, plain and simple. the NS Prospector gives me the confidence to go out and ride what I want in any condition, without worry, and allows me to concentrate on enjoying my riding.

    534 Posts

    Thanks for the review.

    How is the weight of the Prospector?

    I have not ridden the Prospectors rocker / camber profile, but the taper almost certainly helps with the quick turn initiation because of the way the offset sidecut engages the snow.

    794 Posts

    Nice thorough review, Barrows. Thanks.

    I was going to say that the taper is helping to quicken turn in, but then Buell did.

    Your description of weighting away to smear the nose or tail is interesting. I can envision it for a nose smear, weighting back, but for a tail smear weighting forward, or unweighting the tail, would feel counter intuitive. That is, I smear the tail by adding more weight and flexing it out; what you describe would be quite different than if not opposite of that. Did this take some getting used to?


    20 Posts

    I have the same size board with phantom bindings. The crampon choices are innumerable! Can you please recommend a couple?

    270 Posts

    @sbscosplit i think the only cramps that fit are B & D

    never summer snowboards
    phantom splitboard bindings
    dynafit touring
    atomic boots

    820 Posts

    The Spark D rex too would work as well I believe.

    10 Posts

    Has anyone ridden the 161x? Any thoughts compared to the 167x?

    178 Posts

    Has anyone ridden the 161x? Any thoughts compared to the 167x?

    Its about 6cm shorter….

    10 Posts

    Glad we cleared the length difference up.

    178 Posts

    Glad we cleared the length difference up.

    I would expect the SAME board just in a different length to ride about the same except for the characteristics that would normally change in any other snowboard when the length is changed. I have never seen someone compare a snowboard in two different lengths and have much to say about it other than the length difference.

    10 Posts

    Edge radius is different. Waist width is different. The length is different.

    Maybe they do ride the same beyond the attributes associated with a longer length (powder flotation, less maneuverable, and slightly more difficult skinning to think of a few off the top of my head). Maybe the different edge radius and waist width noticeably change the ride to where it seems like a different board.

    I haven’t ridden both to be able to decide for myself, so I thought if someone had, they could share their opinion.

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