Expert Review: Never Summer Proto Ultra 157Published on 07/13/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my own honest opinion of the snowboard, which I bought with my own money in January 2021.
Photo courtesy of Nathan G.
About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the snowboard, which I bought with my own money in January 2021. I was not paid by the manufacturer to write this review.
The Never Summer Proto Ultra is great for the intermediate/advanced to expert level rider looking for a high quality board with features that will enhance riding aggressively all over the mountain and have great pop for jumps and hitting natural features.
- Height: 6’2”
- Weight: 188 lbs
- Model: 2021 Never Summer Proto Ultra
- Size: 157
- Boots: Thirty Two Lashed Double BOA
- Boot Size: 11
- Bindings: Flux XF Large
- Experience: Over 20 years of snowboarding
- When I bought these: January 2021
- Days tested: 6 days
- Where I’ve used it: Afton Alps in Afton Minnesota
- Terrain: Groomers, park, packed powder, icy conditions
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was really looking for a versatile board with great features that I could use for all-mountain terrain and conditions as well as something I could be confident hitting jumps with and on natural features at the resort. I wanted a board that would have features that could be a bit of a quiver killer, meaning I could use it for multiple disciplines on the mountain and wouldn’t need to worry about it being outdated in the next couple years.
Why I chose this gear
I decided on the ProtoUltra because I’ve owned other boards from Never Summer in the past and have been really happy with the way they perform. This board is naturally a little wider making it wide enough for my 11 size boots. It has a rocked-out camber profile meaning it has camber outside the binding towards both the nose and tail and rocker between the feet.
I considered buying the Proto Synthesis which is similar but not quite as stiff or wide which is ultimately why I ended up going with this model since I was looking for something with a bit more pop.
What I love about it
- Speed: I like how the ProtoUltra handles at speed because it leans more on the stiffer side of the flex scale so it feels firm and confident underfoot.
- Edge hold: This has a solid edge hold in packed powder but I need to be very intentional with my carves when on hardpack or icy conditions due to the rocker between the feet.
- Turns: With the rocker between the feet this board initiates turns incredibly well and then will hold the carve with the camber that extends towards the contact point of either end. I would say that on really hard pack conditions and especially icier conditions this board can feel a bit squirrely if you aren’t holding an edge and this is a reason why this board would not be good for a beginner.
- Groomers: This board excels on the groomers with the camber element of the board’s profile. I was really impressed with the way it carves.
- Park: This board was made for the park and was created by Chris Corning who is an Olympian so this board is outstanding for jumps and features!
- Durability: Never Summer has always made very durable boards from my experience with them and the Proto Ultra is no exception from what I can tell at this point.
- Switch riding: I love this board for riding switch due to the fact that it is a true twin board and has an even stance from tip to tail.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Weight: I would say this leans a touch on the heavier side of boards due to its durability. I wouldn’t characterize it as a heavy board but there are definitely lighter boards out there.
- Stability: I would say this is not the best board for buttering and pressing due to the fact this is a stiffer board however it has great pop.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment was during one of my first impressions with this board. In Minnesota, we don’t have great terrain like the resorts out west I’m used to riding so sometimes I have to get a bit creative and look for features that will be fun to jump. I was on a cat track/catwalk (depending on what part of the country you are in) and popped off the edge and surprisingly caught more air than expected and landed with confidence and then hit another slope at the right angle to pop off that as well and it felt GREAT!!
Value for the money vs. other options
This board is a little more expensive than the typical $500-550 board and comes in at $630 but it’s definitely worth the extra expense in my opinion and I felt it the first time I rode with this deck under foot. I could just tell that this is a super solid board and will be able to ride it on any terrain with confidence!
Overall, I would say this is a great board backed by a great company. The NeverSummer ProtoUltra 157 is really geared towards a more skilled rider that wants to take their game to the next level all over the mountain especially in the park.