background - i've been riding NS boards for the past 15 years, mostly due to their quality bombproof materials and construction. I really enjoy riding my SL split, but i guess i was a bit spoiled by the Blaho Bros custom offerings, and when NS took over the splits production, they inherited a customer who was used to getting exactly what i wanted (Titan splits, mostly). I ride a Raptor 169X solid and it's always been a bit of a switch for me, from charging around the resort, to the slower, more playful style of the SL. So i guess i kind of harassed them a bit, they took my feedback very well, and they responded with the Prospector. This board was given to me to review, based on my relationship with NS product development.
specs: 167 cm, edge 130, tip 31.8, waist 26.4cm, tail 29.8, sidecut 'vario 890', damp rating '8/10', flex rating '6.5/10', weight 8.31# with hooks and clips
BOARD FEATURES Carbonium Topsheet Carbonium Laminate Technology Extended Tour Rocker Camber Profile Low Profile Tip/Tail STS Pretensioned Fiberglass Bi-Lite Fiberglass NS SuperLight Wood Core Harmonic Tip/Tail Damper HDT CDS Dampening System Elastomeric Underfoot Stabilizers Sintered P-tex Inner and Outer Sidewall Durasurf XT Sintered 5501 Base Full Wrap Metal Edge
review my first impression of the Prospector was that it is a very classy offering from NS. Craftsmanship is typical - flawless, graphics are classic - Mt Shuksan, colours are great - clean cool shades on the Carbonium top sheet, and safety third! on the base with the bright red. Looking at the specs, i wasn't sure exactly what to make of it, i'd asked for a Raptor split and the Prospector was kind of... sort of... almost.. the Summit!! reworked... was it?? well, yes and no, the specs show the Prospector as having the taper and the flex of the Summit, but a longer sidecut, longer edge, wider size, and a new RC profile....
the 'tour' part of the ext tour RC profile is about 20cms of flat base underfoot in ski mode.
the nose profile
show a fair bit of camber from the feet outwards in ride mode, and the rocker sets up the nose and tail with about 8 mms rise before the low profile curves start.
looks good, yah, but the proofs in the shreddin!!
The Prospector shreds, no doubt. I've had it out the last couple months in conditions from bottomless pow, to blower pow, to settled pow, deep pow, sick deep pow and, for variety, some wind board, some upside down stuff, some cut up stuff, and some firm packed stuff on the out tracks. The board holds a rail and is confident at speed. Its also quite stable as split skis. While i was concerned that the taper might loosen up the tail too much, it does a lot of good for the planing attitude of the deck in soft snow. The nose does not dive unless you really, really, definitely deserve it, and the burn on the back leg is much reduced. The tail is looser than on a twin tip, but in a good way: precise steering takes little effort, and the tail is still right there when its needed. i was also worried that 6.5/10 flex sounds a lot softer than the 8/10 flex i enjoy on the Raptor, but its actually not much softer at all. When you crank on it, it rips the sh!t. Durability is bomber as expected from NS; the board smashed some early season sharks in the water with very little collateral damage. Tourability is fine. With the extended RC profile, as well as the flat 'tour' segment in the profile, i expect most people should have no problems going up hill. newbs might want to use ascension or high traction skins, and those with more skinning experience should be good to go with some slicker skins. Honestly, this board is all i wanted and then some. The Prospector is a real all mountain charger, effortless to manoeuvre, stable at high speeds, powerful on a rail thru long and short turns, and durable enough to take some big mountain abuse. 2 thumbs up!
Does it ride similar to the Raptor? Which one do you think rides harder?
ummm same same but different... what size Raptor are you on? i have a new 165X and the Prospector is pretty similar to that. after a day on the Prospector i find the tail on the Raptor is a bit sluggish, takes more effort edge to edge. The Prospector is really effortless to point where you want it, the narrower tail goes edge to edge quickly but also the attitude allows you to weight the front foot more, which adds to the ease of turning. i have no hesitation to ride this board as hard as a Raptor. the Raptor rides switch but with the setback i only do much of that on supportive snow anyway. i prefer the Prospector where precision counts, tight trees and bottlenecked chutes, and in powder. i'm going to bug the NS crew for a solid version!
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:05 am Posts: 1431 Location: Colorado
only 1 day on my Prospector so far (also 167X), all I can say is the Prospector took no time for me to get used to it, it ripped the perfect pow we had yesterday, both in the open steeps and the trees. Was well behaved on a partially tracked whoop filled out track, and skinned fine. So far so good, the 167 is a really good size for me, big enough to be stable and have some float, small enough to get me through tight spots easily. Love the taper in the tail, keeps the tail easy to push around if necessary, but it still seems to hold fine when one needs it. Mark, yeah, bug Vince for a solid version!
I would say that the Prospector is a little more forgiving than the Raptor. Similar but easier to ride on. Not as demanding as the Raptor is. Just put in my second powder day on the Prospector riding some pillow lines. Had an absolute blast on it.
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:05 am Posts: 1431 Location: Colorado
Cool. Vince told me he had been riding a solid version of the Prospector. SIA is right around the corner. I do not do much resort riding anyway, as the areas here kind of suck (summit county etc). But I get a few days anyway, mostly to get my legs stronger.
i saw some numbers on the Chairman, same same like a solid Prospector, but different... more damp, more carbon, more effective edge, longer sidecut wi more contact, extended profile, less taper, lighter weight... sounds like a real weapon of shred, can't wait to tear up on it!!
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:55 am Posts: 100 Location: London/Berlin
RE The Chairman
The main differences in the Chairman vs.the Raptor is in the sidecut, profile/shape damping, and flex. We desingned a new version of our Vario Power Grip sidecut for the Chairman that provides 2 extra contact points plus greater effective edge for insane edge hold. It is a bit shallower of a sidecut than the Raptor which helps the board track straight without overhooking out of a carve. We added our Extended Rocker Camber profile to the Chairman for smooth turn initiation and tapered the board a tad for pow floatation. The Chairman has a lot more rubber along the perimeter combined with added Harmonic tip dampers, making the board more stable than a Raptor at higher speeds and take out alot of the chatter in the nose. I wanted a board that is far more stable mowing through chop and at speed on hard snow. Lastly, it is a bit stiffer with a new carbon layup for a powerful ride. The Chairman is still light and nimble at just 6.6lbs., pretty impressive considering all the extra materials in this solid ride.
The Chairman is now more demanding to ride than a Raptor. With the extended transition areas make the board easier to transfer from edge to edge. With it's shallower sidecut you can actually relax a bit more on the Chairman, especially when flat basing or going straight. I'm able to ride the board at slower speeds and really work the snow, do quick gyrating turns and than have the satability going back into long sweeping GS turns. It's a great board for the intermediate directional freerider or a really aggressive charger.
Posts by... The Chairman from NS in snowboardingforum, where they post quiet often.
This is my dream board! Looks like the new NS flagship (no Jones pun intended).
_________________ Looking for partner for Gulmarg, India for 2 weeks in Feb 2014Topic
I did not realize Vince had posted up on the Chairman. It looks like a pretty amazing board. I am glad that Never Summer is putting some serious focus into their free ride boards. Seems like each new one is an improvement from the previous model. Looking forward to checking the Chairman out at some point in the future.