Started by two brothers back in 1991, Never Summer is a small but highly respected brand that still designs and manufactures their boards just outside of Denver, Colorado. Its Proto (short for prototype) boards are always worth paying attention to; in fact, the hybrid camber profile featured on a previous model was the first ever to receive an official U.S. patent.
This year’s Never Summer Proto HD is, according to the brand, ”the Swiss Army Knife of snowboarding” – in other words, it can do it all. This is a pretty huge claim, as by definition a true twin shouldn’t be all that good in the powder. However, they reckon they’ve cracked it with the ‘Extended Transition’ hybrid profile’s float-friendly flatter sections, combined with camber underneath the feat and rocker at the waist. There’s also a hell of a lot of tech dedicated to dampening vibrations, so you’ll enjoy the top speeds more than on your average mid-flex twin. The durable P-Tex sidewalls – another Never Summer first – and graphite-infused sintered base are just a couple of reasons why you’re unlikely ever to need that three-year warranty, but it’s a nice thing to have all the same. There’s also a wider version called the Proto HDX, with an amazing size range that’ll cover every large-hoofed rider out there.
“A lot of boards will say they are ‘all mountain’, some with better claims than others, but this one is right up there with the best I’ve tried. When ridden aggressively the combination of the flex, profile and dampening makes for a very stable ride, while still holding up well as a fun cruiser. And for a true twin, it performs surprisingly well in the powder. It’s not cheap, but is great value when you consider you only need this one board to do anything. A true quiver killer.” – Adam Hoskins