I was happy to get some quality time with one of the most coveted brands in snowboarding out on the market, Never Summer. This firm has an extremely loyal following for good reason, as their Colorado manufacturing plant produces some of the best snowboards available on the market today. The ride of Never Summer snowboards are exceptional and their quality is just as good.
“For the 2011-12 season we introduced the Proto CT and Proto CTX for the big footed folks.”
Well, I will have to tell my bro John about them as he’s a rather larger fella at @ 6’7″. He has asked me to let him know if I have any suggestions on what boards he should look into, specifically for his big feet, as his current snowboard is ready to be retired. So what are the characteristics of the Proto’s?
“The Proto CT(X) is essentially a mix between the Evo and the SL and we’ve labeled it an All Mountain Freestyle board although it excels in any condition. It’s a quiver killer if you will.
I can’t believe I just said ‘quiver killer’. I’ll never hear the end of that. Anyway, I agree with Snowboard Magazine and Snowboarder Magazine. They named the Proto CT a Platinum Pick and Best of Test respectively.”
Are your 2011-12 models going to be receiving some new graphics?
“Every year each board gets a new graphic but we stick to a certain style for each model. Jeremy and Sam do an incredible job every year. When you’re in a shop looking at all the boards they offer, the Never Summer boards really stand out and have a very distinctive style.
I love all the graphics but my favorite every year is always the Heritage graphic. I’m a huge fan of the old school Never Summer style which is always conveyed in the Heritage graphic. Hence the name Heritage.”
Nice, I like using a similar theme for the same model myself. I guess that means that I am old school.
From looking at the industry reports and also having a banner snow year, has Never Summer had to make any upgrades to the factory or have you had to add new employees for growth?
“We sub-leased part of the building adjacent to the core room (wood shop) this helped accommodate growth tremendously. We’re able to stock more core blocks. Improved productivity by prepping core blocks next to wood shop.
We’re able to do the initial sidecut of the wood block, modify it, attach/mill sidewall, section and sand cores all in the same area now. Instead of transporting the wood back and forth across the factory condensing the process in one area is way more efficient.
I will agree, streamlining and efficiency is always good for a business. Anything else to add in regards to the factory?
“We’re making upgrades to the factory all the time… We’re working on some new, interesting cassettes for the presses right now. I can’t really tell you anymore than that though.”
Well, alrighty then Chris. Just when I thought we were friends….. 🙂
“We’ve also added a second shift and hired a bunch of new employees. The fact that we find these awesome folks to come in here, work hard, and make the process a bunch of fun is amazing. I have honestly never before worked at a place where the moral is so high. I guess everyone who has a job today is happy about it, but our people are just really psyched to make such quality products here in the USA.”
That certainly is good to hear and probably goes along way in why you guys are so liked by your customers and your dealers. Pretty much all of North America got buried with snow at some time or another last year, which probably helped sales throughout your dealer footprint. Did all of last year’s snow impact Never Summer’s sales?
“Our retailers had such strong early sales with our brand that I don’t think the great snow across the nation was a major impact. It obviously helps for a healthy industry. The momentum of demand for our Rocker/Camber design carried forward into 2010-11 season.
With our sell through the following season consumers who couldn’t get a certain size model at the tail end of that season were hungry and bought early. Most of our dealers had a good percentage of their stock of our boards sold before most areas had a decent snow pack.
Also, our longtime dealer protection and clean distribution had a big impact on the number of boards our retailers ordered last season. When other brands went direct and were over distributed we saw retailers skew more of their open to buy towards us, they were more confident in having a cleaner sell through, maintain higher profit margin and knew we wouldn’t be competing against them.
What about a particular model of snowboard or category of snowboard being impacted by the large snowfall?
“A direct result in the banner snow year of 2010-11 was in increased sales/demand in our splitboard category. Also having such an extended long season helped with sell through on any leftover stock. We saw boards being sold at full pop in May of Shopatron, our online ordering system which funnels sales to our dealers.”
I’m guessing with the factory improvements and adding more models to your line, you are expecting some growth. Can you share any details on the upcoming season in terms of growth?
“We had a 40% growth in 2010-11 and 45% increase in our pre-booked orders for 2011-12. We’re maintaining our “little guy” attitude and exceptional customer service. We’re always going to remain a consumer oriented company.
We want the consumer to feel like they own a little piece of the company when they purchase a Never Summer board and in a way they do. We put a piece of ourselves in every board we build.”
When I was checking out your site, it was undergoing some updates, so I couldn’t see who your Team riders are. Do you sponsor anyone?
“We do. We have a large stable of riders that wholeheartedly support the Never Summer brand and ideals. They work their butts off promoting Never Summer and they’re always looking for an opportunity to get an ad worthy photo.
They could all ride for different companies and believe me when I tell you that none of them are getting rich riding for Never Summer. To ride for us you have to believe in our philosophy. It’s stated clearly on our website, “Focusing less on excessive promotion and hype, and more on using the highest quality materials, craftsmanship, and customer service has made Never Summer the worlds’ premier independent board company. “
Can you tell me what was the best-selling snowboard of 2010-11?
“Our best-selling model is the SL. The 158cm is the leading size produced/sold.”
Did Never Summer have any surprises last season: sales, type of snowboards sold, etc?
A big surprise for 2010-11 was the sales of our new Raptor model. The Raptor replaced our last traditional camber board the Titan, and was one of the first models our retailers sold through first.
Surprisingly the Raptor X (mid-wide) in 165 and 169 was the first to go. The season before our lower priced model the Circuit was out selling our higher priced flagship freeride board the Titan. Being a higher end premier brand this was a concern.
The next season it flipped and our new high end directional rocker/cambered profile Raptor outsold our lower end Circuit. Another surprise was the overwhelming demand for our Carbonium Series.
Consumers really gravitated to the tech, carbon fiber look of our durable Carbonium top-sheet and the other new features we put into this series.
“We’re doing special edition Armed Forces top sheets on boards this season for members of the Armed Forces. Armed Forces members can find the info on our website, www.NeverSummer.com, at the end of October.”
If you are wondering how you can get on one of the Never Summer snowboards, here’s a listing of where to find a FREE Never Summer demo in your area.
Check out our listing of the full line of Never Summer Snowboard prices