Strap on the Lib Tech T. Rice Orca and prepare by yourself for one of the ideal snowboards you can obtain for deep powder.
There comes a second in each snowboard tester’s job when they come to be jaded. Never get me incorrect — tests gear for a living ranks increased than numerous possibilities.
But there are only so lots of powder times each individual winter, and once you have found the excellent setup, you really don’t want to ride nearly anything else.
I have been tests and examining snowboards due to the fact 2014. And around the past 5 a long time of testing, I’ve savored the seemingly limitless search for the great board. But that all modified for me this previous year when I hopped on the Lib Tech T. Rice Orca ($600).
My enjoy for this board is no solution. I examined this board last spring and lauded it with praise.
And even prior to that stateside equipment examination, which took put in common Colorado spring problems, I experienced the chance to take a look at the 2020 Orca for GearJunkie past winter season in Japan. Niseko shipped the items, and I was dealt with to a several of the most effective powder days of my everyday living.
The only unfavorable believed that entered my intellect as I surfed this impeccable form via fabled Japanese blower was that sometime, sometime, I would have to shelve the Orca and exam a further snowboard.
As I was blinded by yet one more glorious deal with shot, it dawned on me that I had come to be jaded.
Sizing the Lib Tech Orca: Wide as a Whale
The Orca is a blubbery board — it has ample width and rides shorter than your standard board. Take into account the Orca 153: It’s bought a nose width of 31.6 cm and a tail width of 30.6 cm, with a midsection width of 26.7 cm.
Review that to Lib Tech’s T. Rice Pro 161.5, which has nose and tail widths of 31.1 and a waistline width of 26. I’m 150 lbs, 5’9”, and normally ride a 159 swallowtail in powder with a thoroughly loaded backpack. But I introduced the 153 to Japan, and it delivered far more than sufficient float, even in thigh-deep hike-to terrain.
If nearly anything, I could’ve sized down a smidge. At the time, Lib didn’t present a 150 as it does now. It only had the 147, but I didn’t want to be under-gunned in Japow.
Had been I buying for a Japan excursion now that they’ve launched supplemental sizes, I’d almost certainly go for a 150. If I was seeking for a lot more of a everyday driver than a powder board, I’d most likely be just high-quality on the 147.
Functionality in Powder
Complex specs aside, the Orca rides wide, and the expansive surface location delivers hovercraft-like float in powder. Of system, surface area location alone does not enable a snowboard to excel in bottomless Japow — substantially of that comes down to camber.
The Orca’s C2x camber profile is, in my intellect, in the vicinity of perfect. There is a well known dip of rocker between the bindings, with camber underneath just about every foot and flowing to the idea and tail. The rocker pocket functions as a fulcrum on a seesaw, and when you step again on the tail, the nose lifts out of the snow, much like a breaching whale.
The form by itself is also very powder-pleasant: Aside from the noteworthy width, the Orca sports activities a setback stance of 2 or 2.5 inches (based on the size).
The easily identifiable, cutaway nose gives the board a shorter size, which made it simple to whip the Orca by means of slender gaps in restricted trees, whilst the moontail aids jet snow through the rear of the deck and lock in turns in deep snow.
Carving down groomers (on the rare times that I was pressured to do so in Japan), I observed the deck to be surprisingly nimble and edge-to-edge transitions unexpectedly rapid.
The 7M sidecut, Magne-Traction edges, and camber-dominant profit let for fluid carves and won’t scrub out at pace, like numerous brief and fats styles have a tendency to do.
Pop & Airtime
I did not have also a great deal chance to elevate off on the Orca, but when I did I was happy by the snap and pop of the board. Lib ranks the stiffness at a 7/10, which is provided by light-weight aspen and paulownia main. When airing off of pillows in Japan, the vast form seemed secure, and easy landings felt all but assured.
Never just just take my term for it. If you’ve paid attention to Travis Rice’s Instagram feed, you have probable noticed the legend just take on serious terrain on the Orca. He received the FWT end at Hakuba, throwing a sizable bottom 720 in the method.
He dropped 1 of the craziest pillow traces the earth has at any time seen in British Columbia.
But alas, I am not Travis Rice. You are not Travis Rice. (Except you’re looking at this, Travis, in which situation, ‘sup, dude — lemme get on the subsequent Falcor expedition).
My issue is that except you’re a bona fide park rat (in which circumstance you have almost certainly presently stopped looking at this), the Orca is able in most freeride-fulfills-freestyle scenarios.
This board is amongst the finest I’ve ever analyzed. I just cannot believe of a board I’d rather be using in deep snow, despite the fact that there are a few other decks that I’d likely like on typical, each day problems.
Regardless of the terrain or problems, having said that, the Orca is a weapon that you will be stoked to have in your quiver. In reality, it could just bump the relaxation of your quiver onto Craigslist.
Oh, and never be concerned about me — as crestfallen as I could be to quickly abandon the Orca as I test other styles, I’m amped to trip this Lib Tech any day I’m not on the clock. And I suppose, as a jaded gear tester, this is a cross I can bear.