I have one word for The West: WOW! This is without a doubt the best board I have ever ridden. There, I said it. Picture the scene: It’s snowed like 25cm or so overnight, it’s Thursday so the resort isn’t too busy, it’s primed to be one of the best days of the season so far. You get to test drive a new-for-2016 Never Summer for the first time, it’s longer than you would normally ride and more aggressive in nature. You strap in, you feel this bubbling in your veins – thats the confidence seeping in to you from The West.

A lot of your friends are here (why? I said there is no friends on a pow day?). They drop the rope to the area that’s been on standby all morning, pile-ups happen all behind you on the cat track and you are out front because this beast of a snowboard will carry you through anything. You see drops everywhere that must be conquered.

Screenshot 2016-01-28 at 10.40.33 AMIf this all sounds rather epic in scale for what was quite a normal day for Fernie then it’s because this board is a true epic. Never have I felt so comfortable on a board, never have I felt so composed on big(ish) drops, never have I slashed as hard in the pow than I have with this board.

The West is a brand new model for 2016, and I had heard a number of people saying just how good it was going to be. It incorporates a modified Rocker-Camber profile called Ripsaw, with the camber portions much more aggressive than on the other boards. This adds a whole new level of stability that the others in the lineup cannot compete with. It also, for me, felt far stiffer than the Medium flex it is supposed to have, which I attribute to the more aggressive camber.

The extra camber doesn’t deter from the float in the deep stuff, though. This animal ploughed through the snow like no tomorrow. It was easy to turn and get it lined up for tight tree lines (which was my main concern going for a slightly longer board than normal). It felt like I had been riding this board my entire life. Drops felt smooth and less intimidating, and the landings were so, so stable.

Back to the real world and riding in regular piste conditions the edge hold is terrific almost to a fault. You dont need to try too hard to rail this baby, in fact if you try too hard it almost points you back up the hill in to oncoming traffic! That extra camber really makes a big difference to how the board performs over the others. In both pristine and choppy groomers this board just didn’t let up.

The only drawback I could find was that I wasn’t at all tempted to try any freestyle moves with it. That’s not to say you can’t throw down, for sure if you’re a strong enough rider you would get it to listen to you. It would take a few more rides and probably a 157cm length for me to be comfortable trying to huck spins. It felt more burly than the other boards which for me made it less enticing to get freaky off hits. But like I said before, freestyle is at the bottom of the list this year so it doesn’t really matter to me.

All in all, gun to my head and only allowed one board it would be The West 157cm. Hands down.

I can’t recommend this board enough. It does everything and then some. It is aggressive, though, so definitely suited to a more advanced rider who knows how to take charge of situations. This heavy hitter deserves a suitably gnarly rider who doesnt give 2 sh!ts about the terrain park. The only complaint I can come up with is that my Boss loves it as much as I do so I won’t get to use it as much as I would like…

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