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Never Summer Prospector Split Review

Prospector Split
Price:   $1,000 List
Pros:  High quality, stiff, rocker camber profile, excellent performance on firm snow, playful, solid ride feel, excels on steep terrain.
Cons:  Expensive, stiff, difficult to adjust bindings, lack of a strong tail.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Never Summer

Our Verdict

The Never Summer Prospector is a solid, confidence-inspiring ride. It is one of the stiffest boards we tested, rewarding hard chargers (and perhaps bigger folks). The rocker camber profile is the most unusual out of our review quiver and is one of the most distinguishing features of this board. Folks familiar with this Never Summer camber profile were pleased to have it on a split, but it took a several runs for the uninitiated to become comfortable. While nobody said they hated the rocker camber profile (and I think one reviewer secretly loved it), it's definitely a bit different and worth doing a demo or researching thoroughly before committing to. Some folks felt it really unlocked high level performance in this splitboard, while others weren't sure they ever really figured out how to get the most out of it.


RELATED REVIEW: Best Splitboards For Backcountry Snowboarding


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
David Reichel
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday
March 8, 2016

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The Prospector features near artisan quality construction and a stiff platform. It has a unique rocker camber profile that appealed to some but not all of our reviewers. This board weighed in as one of our heavier splits, which hurt the scores in the climbing category but likely contributed to the solid ride feel.

Performance Comparison



Powder


Crushing powder on the Prospector.
Crushing powder on the Prospector.
This board features 20mms of taper, which works to help sink the tail and float the nose when riding in soft snow. When looking at a particular performance feature of a board it is often difficult to tie it to a single dimension. That given, 20mms of taper is a reasonable amount to help the tail sink, yet not create too small of a tail so that the board feels squirrelly or washes out of turns.

The height of the nose and tail on this board are noticeably lower than other contenders in our review. The lower profile saves some weight, but appears to cost a little float in the soft stuff. This splitboard floats well when pursuing powder on steep slopes, but required extra rear leg pressure to keep the nose up on lower angle pow fields. We moved the bindings further back to help improve powder performance, but the lack of a strong tail was an issue.

Based on the above concerns, we gave this board a 6 out of 10 for powder performance. If you primarily ride steeper slopes, float shouldn't be an issue, but on lower angle slopes this split struggles a bit to stay on top. The Editor's Choice-winning Jones Solution offers exceptional performance on powder.

Firm Snow


The stiffness of this board was an asset when making turns on hard snow or speeding through mank. This is one of the stiffest boards in our test and felt totally solid at speed on firm snow. It is worth mentioning that stiffness is largely relative to the weight and strength of the rider. For our skinnier reviewers, the board worked well on the steeps, but was occasionally a challenge to move around in tight firm quarters. For those skinnier riders out there, the Jones Explorer may offer some solace.

Climbing


While skinning in powder conditions  the mostly light colored Prospector top sheet helped reduce snow sticking to the board surface.
While skinning in powder conditions, the mostly light colored Prospector top sheet helped reduce snow sticking to the board surface.
This is the second heaviest board in our review (7lb 6.2oz) and that was a significant reason why it received a 6 out of 10 in this category. Starting out, we had a little trepidation on how well the rock camber profile gripped when ascending, but those concerns were mostly unfounded. As discussed earlier, the rocker camber profile of this split is unique among our review quiver. While skinning, the rock camber profile feels a bit different than a traditional camber profile but the grip is fine.
The Never Summer Rocker Camber profile.
The Never Summer Rocker Camber profile.


Binding Adjustability


This model features a traditional insert pattern.

Playfulness


As a fairly stiff board, it requires precision when getting freestyle — spinning a quarter turn too much or too little is tough to recover from. As such, larger (physically) reviewers found it to be more of a fun ride, while lighter riders found it to be a bit too stiff to throw around in a playful manner. Never Summer calls this a freeride/all mountain board, so it's not particularly surprising that it doesn't score the highest in this category. Reviewers who preferred a stiffer board gave it high marks for being a fun ride.

Karma Score


Never Summer has long held a stellar reputation for well made splitboards and this model has indeed added to this reputation. Clips, hooks, inserts, and overall finish quality were the best we saw in our review. The cherry on top of this impressive craftsmanship was a handwritten note from Nick W on an American flag graphic. Thanks for making a fun, high quality board in the USA, Nick!
Handwritten note on the Never Summer Prospector.
Handwritten note on the Never Summer Prospector.

Best Applications


Skilled and strong chargers are a good fit for this splitboard, as this is a stiff board that rewards powerful input. It can handle all the conditions you are likely to encounter in the mountains and is a great choice for experienced and discerning splitboarders looking for a sturdy ride to take on burly backcountry adventures.

Value


At $1000, this board is the most expensive board in our review, but it is hard to make a value argument for the price you would pay. While not cheap, it is a high quality deck. If you are looking for a stout, well-made deck that should last for many seasons, it deserves a look.

Conclusion


This splitboard is extremely well-made and a good fit for advanced riders that are looking for a reliable tool to take into the backcountry. It will handle every challenge that you put it up to and excels on steeper terrain when ridden hard. The rocker camber profile is a unique feature that appealed to some of our testers while others were deterred.
David Reichel

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Most recent review: March 8, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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