Forums Splitboards Never Summer Swift
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  • #817278
    karkis
    268 Posts

    Hi!
    I’ve recently been riding a Never Summer Swift 167X Splitboard, they just started producing the Swift as a split this season so i thought i’d share my thoughts on it. You can find reviews of the solid version out on the interwebs, in my experience with NS snowboards the splits ride pretty similar to the solid decks, though it looks like in this case the split offerings tend to be bigger, stiffer and damper than the solid Swift.

    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 is done in the Columbia Ranges, 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 affects, 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….. but a lot of it is powder, yah!!

    Board
    The Swift Split is a new offering on the market this season, replacing the Prospector Split in the NS line up. Similar to the Prospector, it’s a directional board with 20mm taper. In contrast, the Swift is wider, it uses the new Fusion RC profile (more rocker in the nose, more camber in the tail) and has a longer, pointed nose and a shallow swallow tail.

    The descriptions of boards in this review will follow this format:
    Model, Size (X=wide), nose / waist / tail widths, sidecut, effective edge, dampness and flex description, rocker / camber (RC) profile type, and stance set back (inserts compared to length).
    Please note that the “Vario” sidecuts, and descriptions of dampness, flex, and profiles are all specific to NS boards. Numbers given for sidecuts are not comparable to sidecut measurements for other brands.

    Swift Split 167X – 32.0 / 26.4 / 30.0, Vario 870, Edge 125, Damp 87% firm, Flex 87% firm, Fusion RC, set back 3”.

    For comparison, here are the specs of my other NS splitboards of similar size, and my solid board, so you know what I’m comparing the Swift to:

    Prospector Split 167X – 31.7 / 26.2 / 29.7, Vario 890, Edge 134, Damp – cushy, Flex – firm, Extended Tour RC, set back 1.5”.
    West Split 164X – 31.0 / 26.6 / 31.0, Vario 858, Edge 126, Damp – mid, Flex – mid, Ripsaw RC, set back 0.5”.

    My go to board for in bounds riding lately has been the Twenty Five, it’s pretty ideal for Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
    Twenty Five 166X – 31.6 / 26.8 / 31.0, Vario 836, Edge 125, Damp – cushy, Flex – mid firm, Fusion RC, set back 2”.

    First Impressions
    When i first looked at the Swift Split in the NS catalogue, i wasn’t quite sure what to think… I wondered if the shape of the nose and tail would really make much difference? I’d been thinking that my ideal splitboard would be a Chairman split, with maybe 8mm taper, but coming from the Prospector, the Swift looked like a bit of a step away from that, with a shorter edge and deeper sidecut.
    But… I do like fat boards, even if they’re a bit more work on the up track, and I’ve been totally convinced the Fusion RC profile is the bomb for powder riding.
    Materials and construction are top quality, as expected from NS.
    I’ll try anything once, or twice, but i wasn’t prepared to fall in love with this board.
    Spoiler: i totally fell in love with this snowboard.

    On the Snow
    The first things i noticed about the Swift are, it does like to turn, it’s really fun in the trees and on hardpack it carves short and long turns nicely.
    It floats well in powder, and the early rise, pointed nose eases into turns without hooking. The tail is very effective due to the added camber of the Fusion RC, and the extended edge and width provided by the swallow tail.

    For some reason, it took me a while to figure out where to mount my stance on this board. With my back foot centred on the rear set of inserts, the tail is just under 17” (from centre of binding). That seemed quite short to me. I like to have plenty of tail, to ollie, catch landings, finish turns and to absorb the terrain when you gotta point it. But, the design of the tail more than makes up for the shorter length. The Fusion RC and swallow shape give you a lot to lean on back there, it’s very powerful and you can really crank on it!! And when you’re riding the tail, the swallow shape provides a lot of stability, it doesn’t slip out at all. The short tail length also makes quick pivots and jump turns feel easy.

    At first i tried opening up my stance to 25” wide, with my bindings centred on the outside sets of inserts, but i found i had to be careful not to over weight the nose when initiating turns. So i brought my front foot back one inch, to my normal stance, which made the nose bigger and allows me to dive into turns without going over the bars… so my stance is now set back 3.5” on the board’s length. That’s a lot more than I’m used to, but for me it’s the sweet spot on this deck.

    Once i found the sweet spot, i started to realize how sweet it is! This deck has given me full confidence in every condition, from maching groomers, to tight trees, cliff drops, bottomless pow, steep faces and chutes, to gnarly bed surfaces in no fall zones, the Swift sends it.

    Details
    This board has a lot of features… many of them, like the carbonium top sheet, ptex sidewalls, reinforced tip / tail, 5501 base, full wrap edge, etc. can be summarized with “top quality, bombproof construction”.
    Some of the other details affect performance in specific ways, which may be worth pointing out.
    “Fusion” RC is NS’ newest take on their tried and true, rocker in the middle, camber underfoot profile. The Fusion mix puts the more rockered original RC in the nose (along with an early rise tip), and the more cambered Ripsaw RC for the tail. This profile makes for great floatation up front and lots of power in the back. It also has a great planing attitude in deep snow which is fast and stable. On the skin track, going uphill, the additional camber in the tail allows for more pressure where you get the most grip, underfoot and behind.
    The swallow tail does have some kick on it. It’s clearly not designed for riding switch, but if you have to back it up in a technical situation, you can keep the tail from digging in without much effort.
    The flex and dampening on this board is a continuation of the Big Mountain roots at NS which have come through in the T5, Titan, Raptor and more… it eats up terrain and shreds it.

    Overall
    This board, for me, is the best snowboard ever. Quite nimble, very stable. Great in powder, reliable on firm snow. Big, wide, stiff, damp, with plenty of pop. Really fun, serious big gun.

    never summer snowboards
    phantom splitboard bindings
    dynafit touring
    atomic boots

    #817382
    JimmyC
    351 Posts

    Great review—thx for posting your thoughts!

    #817390
    David
    2 Posts

    How was it touring? I like Never Summers and rode them almost exclusively from 2008-2015 or so. Owned 3 and demoed 4-5 others. Every single one felt quite loose while skating. The contact points don’t flatten out unless your weight is on top of the bindings. In this case, you’re concentrating all your weight right on the touring bracket right top of the rocker, so I have trouble believing you wouldn’t have to compromise on the ascent up.

    #817428
    karkis
    268 Posts

    @david yah i hear ya. theres a couple issues at play there….

    first, it seems like a common perception that CRC generally has less grip on the uptrack, but I’m not sure that’s true. Like you said, “you’re concentrating all your weight right on the touring bracket… (on) top of the rocker”. I agree your weight is less distributed but I’m not sure that reduces the friction between the board (skins) and the snow. More weight underfoot should result in more friction underfoot.
    I think its more likely that CRC profiles are less forgiving of mistakes with your skinning technique. With a cambered board you can lean forward a fair bit before resultant forces move forward very far. With CRC if you lean forward, the profile won’t compensate for you, you’ll slip.
    In practice i don’t find i slip back any more than my skier friends. I cut my skins wall to wall, just leaving the edge exposed. When things get slick i pry up with my toes and push down with my heels. Another piece of advice i hear is “stick yer dick out!!” – hips forward, shoulders back. Ladies, use your snatch.
    As i mentioned in the review, you get the most grip from your skins in the area of your board underfoot and behind, and the Fusion RC does transmit more force to the tail than the nose, which should help.

    Another issue with the CRC profile, and the concentration of force underfoot, is that you sink in deeper on the skin track. It is a bit tough to be the 3rd or 4th guy back, drafting but not really drafting because you’re breaking 2″ through the track with that rocker pocket. What to do….? for me, the performance in ride mode is worth the extra effort.

    Also, when you ski downhill (we have a lot of ski outs around here) this profile makes the skis pretty squirrelly. If you put them on edge, turning, they do stabilize. Squirrelly is manoeuvrable at least, but it does look a bit sketchers sometimes.

    A final ob about touring this board, its wide!! Again, that takes more effort skinning on firm side hills, and in powder I’m often breaking an extra half track above the skin track so i don’t slip off… But really i do that pretty much all the time, most of my boards are pretty wide. Again, my maths show its well worth the effort.
    If / when i ever have to put the ski cramps on, my sashay will have to be extra wide, bull rider style.

    never summer snowboards
    phantom splitboard bindings
    dynafit touring
    atomic boots

    #817462
    vapor
    349 Posts

    Love the new shapes that are becoming mainstream out there with the bigger brands. Thanks for the review karkis.

    #817476
    buell
    532 Posts

    Nice review Karkis!

    #817531
    summersgone
    813 Posts

    If Karkis says its sweet, I take that to the bank! I rode this board 1 day at Silverton splitfest last year in less than ideal conditions. Touring up was straight ice. I used ski crampons. It toured fine for grip. never summer profile doesn’t tour as well as a cambered board, but it rides a whole lot better down. As for the down, I rode corn and while i would say this isn’t the best corn board, it did just fine. I was hoping to ride it in some pow though!

    I’m really waiting for a sub 7 pound NS, similar to the 25th anniversary shape. Maybe some carbon, you got this NS! I’ll sell my prospector and furberg if this happens.

    #817607
    moridinbg
    148 Posts

    My first split was CRC shaped NS – The Summit Split and IMHO this is the worst split shape. Comparing it to my later splits, on steeper ascents it was holding slightly less. Not by much, but noticeable.
    Traverses are where it was particularly bad, especially with soft boots.

    My later splits have been flat (Venture) and camber between bindings and rockered nose (XV) – definite improvement in terms of skinning.

    It also makes very little sense to me to have a rocker before the nose of a powder board?!

    #817620
    karkis
    268 Posts

    NS now has 3 versions of CRC: the original RC, Ripsaw RC and Fusion RC
    for touring / edging i think Ripsaw is best, then Fusion, then original (maybe its why they’re not using the original RC for splits anymore)
    for powder, Fusion > original > Ripsaw

    @moridinbg was it bad on traverses b/c it was more rockered or bc it was wider? how wide are your other decks, in the waist?

    It also makes very little sense to me to have a rocker before the nose of a powder board?!

    i guess you mean behind the nose, like, in the middle?? It makes a lot of sense to me, its very easy to turn, when you unweight it pivots effortlessly on the middle, and when you weight it the pressure along your edge is very well distributed, it’s kind of like you have a camber pocket under each foot.

    Thats the opposite of RCR, which doesn’t make much sense to me, especially for a wide stance.
    Although it sounds like a number of people prefer it for skinning….

    I wear hard boots for a lot of reasons, skinning is certainly one of them!

    never summer snowboards
    phantom splitboard bindings
    dynafit touring
    atomic boots

    #817628
    moridinbg
    148 Posts

    Can’t find the exact sizes for the original Summit split, but I think it was not particularly wide – 254mm waist goes around in my head, which is close to my other boards.
    For traverses the big taper was one issue, then the fact that the OG CRC had a very pronounced rocker, so edge hold was lacking and the board had a tendency to pivot around the middle on hardpack.

    My bad about the rocker. I meant it makes little sense to have a camber behind the nose, not rocker.
    Pivoting around the middle is my biggest problem with the CRC. I guess if you can afford a quiver of boards it’s an overall OK shape, but for a main board it has too many cons, which is why I never went back to NS, even though I highly rate their boards.

    There were some heated discussions around here about CRC & RCR profiles some years back. The fact that the industry has moved mostly to flat or camber between the bindings with the occasional full rocker is pretty telling.

    #817689
    karkis
    268 Posts

    @moridinbg yah right i remember now they didn’t make a wide (X) version of the Summit, that was the main reason i didn’t try it… i like wide boards… (big feet)

    im not trying to convince you to get on this board, it’s great to have a variety of opinions and preferences on a review, but i do see the features quite differently, so i will point out a couple of things…

    first, the difference between the original RC and the Ripsaw or Fusion versions is pretty significant.

    second, at 167X – 32.0 / 26.4 / 30.0, and fairly stiff, if you paired this shape with a RCR profile it would be a battleship, take lots of effort to turn at low speeds and scary in the trees. The Fusion profile allows the shape to perform well in all terrain, at any speed.

    I understand why you would call this a quiver board, it kind of looks like one, but i’ll be riding this thing all the time! Granted, i do live in a powder plentiful climate… And I guess if i went on a long traverse, where the primary objective was cross country travel rather than riding lines, i’d probably take the West, due to its narrower shape and Ripsaw profile.

    never summer snowboards
    phantom splitboard bindings
    dynafit touring
    atomic boots

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