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Hands-on Gear Review
Never Summer Aura Review
Cons: Stiff, unforgiving, heavy
Bottom line: The Aura is a stiff, stable board for hard charging ladies who like to go fast.
The Never Summer Aura is an all-out beast. The first of Never Summer's women's lineup to feature their Ripsaw Rocker tech, the Aura has a camber-rocker-camber profile. This stiff, big mountain board is a ripper, perfect for hard carving, wide turns, and bombing hills at speed. This board means business. Not very flexible or forgiving, the Aura is a powerful women's board that can handle high speeds and deep powder. Never Summer also offers the Aura in a splitboard model.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Women's All Mountain Snowboards of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Aura's profile is stable yet responsive, with a rocker profile between the bindings transitioning to camber underfoot. Slightly set back, this directional twin cuts through any conditions, but it's stiff nature proves best-suited bombing the mountain at high speed.
While the Aura is an incredible board, it did not perform well across our all-mountain categories. Stiff and sharp, it's a big mountain board that belongs at high altitude and high speed.
Ladies looking for something a little more flexible than the Aura while retaining high scores in edge hold and stability should take a look at the Jones Twin Sister or the Capita Birds of a Feather.
Scoring an impressive 9/10 in this category, the Aura has some of the best edge hold of all the boards we tested. As the rocker profile transitions to camber underfoot, you get an extra point of contact by each binding. This creates a better edge hold and improved turning. It has a Vario Power Grip sidecut, which adds even more edge hold about two inches outside of each binding. This board can hold onto even the iciest conditions. Ladies who primarily ride tough conditions will love the edge hold on the Aura. It was beat out only by the immaculate Jones Twin Sister, which received a perfect 10/10 score in this category for its unparalleled razor-sharp yet manageable edge technology.
Float in Powder
Another 9/10 rating — the Aura has a slight directional setback and floats well in deep powder. However, it felt a little grabby in softer snow. It has the feel of a much longer board and stayed above snow with very little effort. This board outperformed many others in this category, such as the Capita Birds of a Feather, which received a 6/10 in powder, requiring a good bit of effort to keep the board afloat in deeper stuff. We prefer something a little more flexible to play around in deep powder, like the Arbor Swoon Rocker, which scored full 10/10 marks in this category for it's lightweight feel, parabolic rocker profile and effortless float.
Stability at Speed
Scoring a flawless 10/10 in this category, this board feels very damp, absorbing any chatter we came in contact with. With Never Summer's unique RDS 2 Dampening system, the Aura has the stability of a much bigger board. Using three narrow dampening layers to minimize vibration and increase stability, it's no wonder this board scored highly in this section. The Aura also has rubber stabilizers underfoot, which further increase vibration absorption, giving you a stable and predictable ride in all conditions. This board blew the competition out of the water in this category — the washy Rome Lo Fi Rocker scored a measly 5/10, and both award-winning Gnu Ladies Choice and Arbor Swoon boards received 7/10 ratings. The Burton Lipstick came in a close second, scoring a 9/10 in this category. The Lipstick ensures a damp, consistent ride in a variety of tough conditions.
Scoring a low of 4/10 in this category, the Aura is the stiffest board we tested. This board can be unforgiving on features, and often feels heavy and cumbersome. Although you can force her into a press, she clearly isn't meant for park play. If your preference is park, try out something more flexible. The Gnu Ladies' Choice received an unmatched 10/10 in this category for it's ultra-flexy and responsive ride, or the Rome Lo-Fi Rocker with a 9/10 provides a similar, super playful experience.
Scoring a 6/10 in this category, the Aura is not made for easy lifting. This board can pop off of jumps, but feels heavy and unforgiving underfoot. A low profile tip and tail maximizes contact with the snow, giving you a more powerful ollie/nollie pop and more stability in landings. Ladies looking for something more jump-friendly that can still hold an edge should consider the Capita Birds of a Feather, which scored an impressive 8/10 in this category, or the Gnu Ladies' Choice, which received yet another perfect 10.
The Aura is at home on big mountain bombers. This board can hang at the highest of speed, and offers a predictable, stable ride in icy conditions. Experienced riders can take this board to the park but should expect a challenging and unforgiving ride. Ladies who like to rip, carve, and cruise will love the Aura.
This board is a great option for aggressive riders who traditionally ride in icy conditions, and stay far away from the park. But for $500, we're looking for a board with more all-mountain versatility.
All things considered, the Aura is a great board for hard charging ladies with the need for speed — but will be better suited to riders who focus on stability and going really, really fast.
Other Versions and Accessories
Never Summer also offers the Aura in a splitboard model, for ladies that like to earn their turns. Check it out here.
— Amelia Traynor
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