Never Summer Infinity, 151cm

Board: Never Summer Infinity 151cm, Regular

Boots: Salomon F20 W boots

Relative to the number of men’s boards that are produced, there aren’t too many women’s specific boards out there. And of the options we do have, most seem to be oriented toward entry level or park riders. So what’s a girl supposed to do when she’s more interested in slashing powder and riding steeps than cruising groomers? Enter the Never Summer Infinity, friend of the female, all-mountain rider.

Before I talk more about the Infinity, let’s briefly discuss the whole issue of “women’s specific” gear. What does that really mean? Is it mostly a marketing gimmick, or does it signify the implementation of important design characteristics? While I don’t claim to be an expert on board construction and design, I have formulated some thoughts through years of riding, selling, and testing out gear.

Women’s boards are generally marketed as lighter, softer, and narrower. Personally, I like all of these things, and yes, I still like to charge hard. Having a lighter women’s board relative to a men’s board works because women are generally lighter than men. I like to look at it as a ratio, and lightening up a board just keeps things even. As far as flex, I like my board to be a bit softer because it helps me feel what’s going on under my feet. Instead of being tossed all over the place, I can bend my knees and absorb the board’s movement. I started out on a men’s park board because I thought it was soft enough for me to flex, and frankly, at the time, I thought women’s boards were lame. I was wrong. I couldn’t flex the board with nearly as much ease as I thought, and it took much more effort to turn the board from edge to edge. This leads me to my next point: women’s boards tend to be narrower because women’s feet are generally smaller. This translates into faster edge turnover and quicker turns.

All this being said, if you have a larger boot size (generally 9 or above) or a bigger build, you may not want to go the women’s specific route. One of the worst things you could do to your riding is to get onto a board that’s too narrow and have boot drag. Before you buy, evaluate your weight, height, and boot size and figure out what is going to work best for you. I know plenty of good female riders who still rock on men’s boards.

Ok, on that note, let’s get on to this review.

The Never Summer Infinity is a directional, all-mountain freestyle board with both rocker and camber (which NS calls R.C. Technology). The rocker between your feet gives the board some play and forgiveness, while the camber under your feet provides stability and better edge control.

One of the first things I noticed about this board is its skating ability. Even though the camber is supposed to help the board track, it didn’t feel that way and I found that the board had quite a bit of play in it. If you are accustomed to a traditional camber board, it is going to feel out of control until you get used to riding rocker. The Infinity was the first rocker-camber board I had ever ridden and for the first week or so, I hated it. I had no control over the board and felt powerless. After adjusting my riding style a bit and putting more focus in centering my weight, things came together.

I have been on this board for the last two years and have ridden it at Taos, Silverton, Telluride, Crested Butte, and Snowbird, and in all sorts of conditions and terrain.

When I’m riding my home mountain, Crested Butte, I typically start my day off by heading to the High Lift and taking a run on Headwall. Then it’s off to the North Face Lift. If I’m lucky, Spellbound/Phoenix and Third Bowl are open and I head back there for some steep (and usually deep) riding. However, on powder days, control work usually keeps this area closed until noon or later. If that’s the case, I’ll do some laps off the North Face. The extreme terrain offered by Crested Butte provides ample opportunities for testing a board’s durability and performance in open bowls, bumps, powder, trees, cliffs and steeps.

Missy Tracy, East L.A. cliffs, Spellbound Bowl, Crested Butte.

I also brought my Infinity down to Taos to compete in the 2011 Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships. This let me test out the board in the steep and rocky terrain of West Basin and Kachina Peak. Overall the snow conditions were thin, and plenty of rocks were showing in between some pretty firm sections of snow. Luckily, the resort received about four inches of snow the night before the final day on Kachina Peak and I was able to ride a smooth and floaty line down K5.

Infinity base

As a whole, I have been very impressed with the performance of the Never Summer Infinity. The board has a soft, forgiving flex, giving me more control over the board. The board rides amazing in powder and floats with ease; If I hit something unexpected and firm under the snow, I have time to react and redirect the board instead of being launched.

It is also nimble enough to hit tight trees and bumps with ease, and it feels light in the air. It generally handles well on groomed trails and I feel comfortable riding it at high speeds in most conditions. Even though the board is directional, it is designed for freestyle use and doesn’t put up a fight when riding switch.

This board is also extremely durable. As a company, Never Summer has it dialed. Handmade in Denver, the Infinity packs a strong punch with P-tex sidewalls. In comparison to traditional ABS sidewalls, P-tex sidewalls give you the confidence you need when crushing over rocks.

There are two things I dislike about this board: The first is the play when skating. Even after riding the Infinity for two seasons now, I still don’t trust the board when I’m skating on firm or icy conditions. Although this doesn’t present a problem when riding the mountain, it does limit the speed at which I feel comfortable one-footing it. On traverses I often find myself strapping my back foot in more than I’d like to just to avoid unwanted movement.

The second thing I don’t like about this board is how it handles in firm conditions, whether on steep or mellow terrain. Even though the camber is designed to give better edge hold, I find that the rocker usually overrides its camber counterpart. When I am on steep terrain and throw jump turns, the board often bounces a few times before I can get the edge to grip. On mellower terrain like green and blue groomers, the board tends to unexpectedly wash out and I don’t trust it at high speeds.

Overall, this is a solid board for all you hard charging, all-mountain ladies out there. For 2011/2012, Never Summer plans to incorporate a lighter wood core, giving the board more snap and making it more playful. Perfect. Looks like a good board could be getting even better.

5 comments on “Never Summer Infinity, 151cm”

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for your great review!

    I was concerned when you mentioned that the infinity washes out on blue/green runs & doesn’t catch edges straight away. You seem to know a lot about boarding… I was just wondering if you could recommend the best snowboard for me?

    I mostly ride down groomers & I’m pretty good… I can carve & I’ve got control. I’m a beginner in the park, which I’d like to get better at. I’d like a board that doesn’t catch the edges & is quite stable. I prefer control over speed. I mostly ride in Australia & NZ, so there’s more ice than deep powder. I would love to feel confident on the board so I can try new things.

    I’ve been ridding for about 7 years & I’ve always hired my boards, now I’m looking for a board that will last a while.

    I’ve been thinking about getting the Burton Feelgood Flying V / Roxy Emenince or Never Summer Infinity. Do you think any of these would be the best or would you recommend something different?

    Would love to hear your advice!

    Deb

  2. Hey Deb,

    Thanks for all of your comments. Hopefully I can help you out a bit here.

    As far as the Infinity goes, it does have quite a bit of play when going at slow/moderate speeds, especially on green & blue groomers. However, this play also prevents the edges from catching too easily. This is common in pretty much every rocker board simply because of its shape. It’s a tough line to walk between board control and catching edges because it is your edges that essentially control the board.

    Based off what you said, I wouldn’t recommend the Feelgood or Infinity. The Feelgood is a great board, though I find it a bit stiff (which isn’t really what you want when experimenting in the park). I think the Feelgood and Infinity will likely perform the same and you might find them lacking the board control you’re after. Of the options you’re considering, I’d go with the Roxy Eminence. It has essentially the same shape as the Infinity and Feelgood, yet it has magne-traction. Sometimes the magne-traction can be a bit too much, but I think with the C2 (rocker + camber) it’ll be just right. You will still have that play that comes with having a rocker board, but when you are ready to engage your edge it will be grippier than the Infinity and Feelgood and you won’t wash out as easily.

    However, if you are mostly riding on ice/hard pack and not much in powder, you might consider other options besides rocker boards, even those with the rocker/camber combo. A regular camber board will offer the stability you’re after with solid edge control.

    Another option might be to try a flat board. I once demoed the K2 EcoPop and found it really predictable and fun to ride. The board is flat: no camber, no rocker. Your edges are engaged at all times, giving you a good, firm connection with the snow beneath you. It’d be a fun board for confidently cruising and riding park.

    Try to find a shop that has a good demo program. There are lots of shops here in the States that let you demo multiple boards and apply the rental fee towards the purchase of your own deck. I’m sure similar programs exist in NZ/Aus that are work checking out.

    Best of luck!

    Missy

  3. Thanks for the honest and informative review. It’s clear you still think this is a great board but no board is perfect and I appreciate you being able to say you think the rocker overrides the camber profile at high speeds. I’ve always wondered about that with the hybrid models and no one ever gives me a straight answer. It’s clear you still think this is a great board (as do I) but no board is perfect and does everything and that’s why people need honest reviews – to understand what they’re gaining and sacrificing with each particular board! Anyway keep up the good work.

  4. I’m still finding I’m having an issue deciding on what board to buy. This upcoming season will be my 2nd, riding a K2 Moment 150 (I’m 5′ 3″ 130lbs). It was a great board to learn on, but I feel like it’s holding me back. I’m a good rider, but want to start hitting the park. I ride mostly in VA/WV, but I’ve made it to Mt. Tremblant in Canada for some ACTUAL good snowboarding.

    Right now the two I’m looking at are the NS Infinity and the Roxy Eminence C2 BTX. Like I said, I want to start hitting the park but I doubt I’ll spend my whole day in it. I want a board I can learn and play with in the park (boxes, jumps, doing 50/50s, etc–no rails just yet) but also one that can handle well at high speed/good edge control for fast carves and has good stability in less than perfect conditions (we rarely get anything close to perfect days here) on the mountain. I know there’s no such thing as a perfect board, but which do you think would be best?

    Thanks so much!

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