The Never Summer Proto CT is brand new for the 2012 lineup. It is a blunt shaped true twin with Never Summer’s Rocker+Camber tech and an invincible Carbonium topsheet. It is supposed to fall somewhere in between the Evo which is a true twin park dominator and the SL which is a slightly setback, directional all-mountain stick.
Dave says: I rode the Proto CT for two days at Crystal Mountain in late March under bluebird skies on hardpacked groomers. Great snow conditions for late-season riding, actually.
Leo says: I rode the Proto CT in 12″ of Michigan freshies layered over hardpack. Unfortunately, they groom the snow here even if it is natural (booooo). However, there’s always neglected, ungroomed snow on the sides of the runs! The other outing was on hardpack and East Coast ice. The Powder was at Pine Knob and the crud was at Nubs Nob.
Stance: regs 15/-15 (Dave) 18/-12 (Leo)
Shape: True Twin Rocker + Camber
Bindings: ’11 Ride Delta (Dave) ’11 Rome 390 Boss & ’10 Flow NXT-FSE (Leo)
Dave’s stats: 6′, 210 lbs
Leo’s stats: 5’9″ 180 lb
Leo says: The Proto CT is just past mid-flex overall. Never Summer rates it a 5. I’d say it’s 5.5-6/10 on my personal scale. Stiffer underfoot and through the tips, but not to plank-like levels. Torsionally, I found the board to be stiffish. For a frame of reference, the Proto CT is definitely stiffer both lengthwise and torsionally than the NS Evo. I do have the very low-pro Burton Restricted Hail boots in 9.5 though. The Proto CT 157 has a waist width of 25.3cm which is wider than my normal boards all of which have waist widths under 25cm.
Dave says: Stiffer tip/tail with good flex in the center of the board, some torsional flex but otherwise stiff enough for most all-mountain riding.
Leo says: This is one of the board’s many strong suits. Easily one of the poppiest boards out. Not DH2 level pop though, but plenty enough. Never Summer’s camber placement, the carbon stringers, and stiffer tips gets the ollie job done and then some. I didn’t hit any kickers in the park with this unfortunately. Over at Nubs, I was just popping off natural stuff in the trees and elsewhere. Didn’t get a ton of air or anything, but I am confident that this board is a solid jumper. Was very stable off everything I did jump-wise.
Dave says: the camber part of Never Summer’s R/C tech really delivers a good amount of pop on this board. Messing around on side hits and rollers or small jumps this board delivered, very stable landings on the few 15ers that I hit and I’m sure it would do fine on larger jumps, too.
[showmyads]Leo says: I was jibbing some small logs (branches? lol) at Nubs. Interesting thing about the Proto CT is the dampening and flex combo. I’m no expert jibber, but I normally wouldn’t expect to feel much underfoot for boards of this flex range. You do though. That much needed “locked in” feeling is there granted you really do lock onto a feature. Another frame of reference, the Evo is a better jibber due to the combination of the dampening and softer flex. As for butters, the Proto CT does the job. It has a rocker profile and it’s not too stiff so butter away.
Dave says: The Proto CT delivers great pop to get you on the features and the flex is right, you could take this anywhere on the mountain and have fun riding it whether you’re buttering it up with flat-ground tricks or hitting park features. I did predominately natural features, a few log jibs, some side hits and spins on the natural tranny wall on Little Vincent trail at Crystal Mountain (MI).
Leo says: Another strong suit of the Proto CT is the handling. I did find short carves to be a little slow edge to edge, but I’d like to point out my previous statement about my boot model and boot size. Slapping the Flows on them definitely got rid of that problem though. Medium to long carves held up excellent. On steeper, hardpack terrain, the board definitely felt lively. However, none of the feedback was enough to cause a wash out. I took the Proto CT on a boardercross course at Nubs and man, this thing rocked on that course. I was able to make tight turns with ease (had my Flows on it) going full speed while my buddies were crashing lol. Flying off the rollers was really fun as well on this. I just aimed it, caught air, and rode away. This type of performance was unexpected considering that the Proto CT is a mid to mid-stiff flexing true twin. And to be frank, I actually like the liveliness of the board. I equate it to power steering in a car. I hate it when cars have no feedback in the steering wheel. I want to feel some of the response from the road while I’m driving.
I took the Proto CT through some very tight trees in the same hardpack/icey conditions. I will say I had some problems there. Making a tight turn at full speed is one thing, but making tight turns in succession with little speed is another story. This is the prime reason why I prefer at least a mid-soft board in the trees. This is where the Evo excels over the Proto CT in my opinion. I can’t speak for a more wide open tree run, but my guess is the Proto CT is going to dominate that type of run. In very tight spots, I’d rather ride the Evo.
Dave says: Minimal on this stick at all, handled all of the steeps that Crystal Mountain had to offer without any trouble. Super responsive when making short carves on the steeps and stable on the long lazy carves on the wide-open groomers. Conditions weren’t ripe for me to take any tree lines so I can’t judge that. For a true-twin deck with a more freestyle orientation the Proto CT was impressively damp on the corduroy and should hold its own even on nastier crud. Again the R/C tech comes in to play where you get the edge-hold of traditional camber to help you out on the icier spots.
[buybtn brand=”Never Summer” deck=”Proto” ptext=”The Proto CT retails around $540, pricey, but backed by some awesome technology in the Rocker+Camber, and the indestructible Carbonium top sheet.”]
Leo’s Take: $540… that’s pretty exotic for the vast majority of people. You have to look at it this way though, Never Summer isn’t a company that’s trying to market their products to the masses. This is evidenced by the lack of inventory on the Interwebz. The fact is further evidenced by the lack of inventory as early as mid-season. Basically put, good luck trying to find one of their more popular boards like the SL or Evo in your size during end-of-season sales. This is not a bad thing at all. They make a few really well made boards and I hope they stay that way. Being a small, quality driven company is what probably enables NS employees to hop onto places like Internet forums to receive feedback on their products. And you know what? They actually listen and try to accommodate their current/potential customers!
Bottom line is, I didn’t expect to become such a fan of their products. I normally try to go against the hype… actually no, hype thus far for me has turned out to be false. The Never Summer hype has a solid foundation. Two boards in and I’m hooked. By the way, their carbonium topsheets are stupid durable. I was sure that David was going to put some battle scars on it with his crazy double corks onto features into a tail press and chicken wing mctwist out antics… but nope. Nothing.
So who do I see riding this board? All-mountain freestyle riders, especially those looking for a quiver of one. Intermediate and above. A little much for a beginner, but definitely not going to destroy the novice like a stiff freeride board would.
Dave’s Take: Overall this was a super fun board to ride and could easily handle almost anything you throw at it. I’ve been a long-time NS supporter and I’d definitely like to add another one to my quiver someday, the Proto CT would make a nice addition! I’d probably not recommend it for a beginner, but definitely for more experienced, intermediate to advanced riders who are looking to get the most out of their stunt stick and who will really appreciate the all-mountain versatility and durability of NS boards.