The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Lib Tech T.Rice Orca Review

Should be your first choice if you are planning on diving into the deepest snow
Lib Tech T.Rice Orca
Photo: Lib Tech
Top Pick Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $650 List | $454.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Fantastically floaty, likes to go fast, stays stable
Cons:  Not great with groomers, much more suited for advanced riders
Manufacturer:   Lib Tech
By Marissa Fox ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 27, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 13
  • Edge Hold - 25% 8
  • Powder Performance - 20% 10
  • Stability - 20% 8
  • Playfulness - 20% 6
  • Pop and Jumping - 15% 6

Our Verdict

While the Lib Tech T. Rice Orca couldn't clinch one of the top spots overall and isn't the best all-mountain board for most people, it's our absolute favorite when it comes to riding steep terrain and deep snow. The Orca is exceptionally stable at speed and has great edge hold. However, this board is on the stiffer side, so it isn't the most playful, doesn't have a ton of pop, and isn't the best at jumping. Despite these flaws, we would highly recommend this board for anyone who likes to go fast in deep snow. Period.

Graphic Updates

The latest graphics for the Orca are pictured above. To our discerning eyes, it seems as though these are the only changes for the upcoming season.

August 2020

Compare to Similar Products

 
Lib Tech T.Rice Orca
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $454.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$500 List$580 List$530 List$499.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
77
90
90
87
82
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Fantastically floaty, likes to go fast, stays stableFantastic all-around board, great in powderUnmatched pop, great edge hold, supremely stableWell-rounded, great edge-to-edge transition, fastGreat value, supremely stable at high speeds
Cons Not great with groomers, much more suited for advanced ridersNot the best beginner boardNot the best board for powderNot the best for jibbingNot as much pop as other boards
Bottom Line For aggressive riding and deep snow, this is a phenomenal choiceThis is one of our absolute favorite all-mountain boardsEarning one of the top scores we have seen to date, we highly recommend this boardIf you have an aggressive riding style and want a board that can shred the entire mountain, this is a great choiceA top-notch all-mountain board without a premium price
Rating Categories Lib Tech T.Rice Orca Yes. Hel Yes - Women's Gnu Ladies Choice Never Summer Lady West GNU Klassy
Edge Hold (25%)
8
9
9
9
8
Powder Performance (20%)
10
9
8
9
8
Stability (20%)
8
9
9
9
9
Playfulness (20%)
6
9
9
8
8
Pop And Jumping (15%)
6
9
10
8
8
Specs Lib Tech T.Rice Orca Yes. Hel Yes -... Gnu Ladies Choice Never Summer Lady... GNU Klassy
Shape Directional Directional Twin Asymmetrical Directional Twin Directional
Camber/Rocker Hybrid Hybrid Hybrid Fusion Rocker Camber Hybrid
Flex 7/10 7/10 4/10 3-5/10 6.5/10
Tested Length 147 155 148.5 153 155
Measured Weight (Tested Length) 5.8 lbs. 5.4 lbs. 5.6 lbs. 5.8 lbs. 6.2 lbs.
Available Lengths 144, 147, 150, 153, 156, 159 146, 149, 152, 155 142.5, 145.5, 148.5, 151.5, 153.5 144, 147, 149, 151, 153, 156 145, 148, 151, 155
Core Material Aspen and paulownia wood Poplar, paulownia, and bamboo wood Aspen, Colombian Gold, and poulownia wood NS SuperLight Wood Core Aspen and paulownia wood
Waist Width 25.7 cm 24.4 cm 24.2 cm 24 cm 24.7 cm
Radius 7 7.3 8.2/7.9 7.42 8

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Lib Tech T. Rice Orca is one of our first choices when we know...
The Lib Tech T. Rice Orca is one of our first choices when we know we'll be swimming in fresh snow.
Photo: David Wise

Edge Hold


Starting off, the first thing we looked at for each board is how well it holds an edge, which constitutes 25% of its total score. We started off by riding the Orca in varied snow conditions and noting how well the edge — both toeside and heelside — held in each.


The T. Rice Orca has magne-traction edges, which offers increased control by adding a wavy edge in the "dead zone" area of your edge that is right under your feet while carving. These increase the effective edge length of the board and are absolutely fantastic when it comes to riding in mixed snow conditions. The Orca's superior edge ensures that you don't spiral out of control when you hit an icy patch … most of the time. This board is great at cutting through chop and is super forgiving, but it isn't the snappiest board and is comparatively slow edge-to-edge, giving it a little less overall edge hold than some of the other Magne-traction boards that are just a bit springier.

The serrated edges of this board do a great job of biting into the...
The serrated edges of this board do a great job of biting into the snow while turning.
Photo: David Wise

Powder Performance


Following edge hold, our next — and easily the most fun — aspect of testing was scoring how well each board rode in powder. Overall, this component of our testing process determined 20% of the final score for each board. We waited for storms, then took out each board and tried to find as many freshies as possible, ranking and scoring how much they floated and how well they handled. It was here that the Orca stood out from the rest.


The secret to this board's amazing float in powder is its somewhat unconventional shape and design. This short, fat board is extremely directional, with its width tapering from the nose to the tail. It has a hybrid rocker camber profile, with a reverse camber underfoot and regular camber at the tip and tail.

This board has a ton of stability even when you open up the throttle.
This board has a ton of stability even when you open up the throttle.
Photo: David Wise

It has a setback stance compared to other board and an exceptionally long nose, which contributes greatly to its unparalleled amount of float in even the deepest snowfalls.

Stability


After playing around in the powder, we moved on to evaluating and comparing how stable each board is — especially at higher speeds. For this metric, also worth 20% of the total score for each snowboard, we went to the steep groomers and really opened up the throttle. The Orca did very well for its exceptional stability in most snow conditions.


No matter how fast we pushed it with this board, it never gave us any cause for concern. As mentioned above, it cuts through chop with ease and isn't prone to any sort of speed wobble at all.

While this is a stiffer board, the Orca can be plenty playful if you...
While this is a stiffer board, the Orca can be plenty playful if you try hard enough.
Photo: David Wise

Playfulness


Next, we moved on rating and scoring how playful the Orca is, which is also responsible for 20% of the total score. Unfortunately, this snowboard is a bit on the serious side and isn't the most playful, but it still scored above average for its slightly above average performance.


The stiffness of the Orca is a bit of a detriment in this category, as it makes it much harder to flex and maneuver. This board definitely isn't a park board, but it can be quite in natural features, such as gullies or small canyons, and we for sure found it to be quite fun in boardercross style terrain.

This board doesn't have the most pop we have seen.
This board doesn't have the most pop we have seen.
Photo: David Wise

Pop and Jumping


Our last metric focused on how easy it is to jib or jump with each board, which constitutes the leftover 15% of the final score. The Orca's stiffness and length again proved to be a bit off in our testing.


This board isn't the most versatile and is really best for steep terrain and deep powder. It feels quite heavy and is overall harder to jump and doesn't want to lift off quite as well as some of the more flexible boards. We still could do a tail press on the Orca, but you can tell it didn't really want to and we had to try quite a bit harder than some other boards.

You can get this Orca to breach if you try hard enough.
You can get this Orca to breach if you try hard enough.
Photo: David Wise

Value


The Orca isn't the best value, as it is one of the more expensive boards and isn't the best all-in-one all-mountain board that some other boards are. We wouldn't necessarily want this board for all conditions, so it's not our top choice if you can only afford a single board.

Conclusion


All in all, the Orca is easily our top recommendation for steeps and deep snow. If that isn't what you ride all the time, then we would suggest an overall more versatile and well-rounded board.

Marissa Fox