Expert Review: 2023 Lib Tech Skunk Ape II [with Video]
Snowboard Expert Yuri Czmola tested the 2023 Lib Tech Skunk Ape snowboard on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Snowboard Expert Yuri got his hands on the 2023 Lib Tech Skunk Ape II this spring and put it to the test at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but note that each and every rider is different. If you have any questions about the 2023 Lib Tech Skunk Ape or need recommendations on which board would be best for you, reach out to a Snowboard Expert here on Curated.
Before we get started, it's worth noting that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands. All of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does Lib Tech (Mervin) claim about this board? The Skunk Ape II is Lib Tech's all-mountain option for the big kind of guy. It is considered their dream board in their line. The reason that it is the Skunk Ape II this year is because the nose has been redefined for this snowboard, and I was able to test that out today at Powder Mountain. Its new nose is slightly longer and provides a more relaxed, smoother-turning feeling with Lib Tech's C2x Hybrid camber.
What is your overall impression of the board? This hybrid camber snowboard was a blast. I am a bigger guy, and I was very curious about how it would play out today. Typically, I ride more of a true camber board, and this actually held up to my expectations. I was able to ride boardercross today and a couple of different variable conditions from firm to soft due to spring conditions in March. This board had a locked-in feel. The Magne-traction gives a great serrated-edge feel, which helped me handle the icier morning, and then honestly, the rocker between the feet allowed for smoother-edge changes as the conditions softened up. I think this is a great intermediate option.
How does it turn? I love the fact that you could simply flick it on the edge due to the rocker between the feet. There was a better locked-in sensation compared to most rocker-hybrid boards I've ridden because of the camber. I think this is a great option for someone looking for a board that can dabble in a little bit of everything. The only thing is, I don't really think it has a super locked-in feeling in the middle of the turn, but that comes with classic camber, and that is not the profile that this board has.
How is it in terms of speed and control? This board is very comfortable at any speed and a great option to handle it all. Whether you're cruising or looking to ride at higher speeds at a boardercross course, this is a great option to ride with pretty much anybody. I liked it in all the scenarios I was able to ride in today, from fresh in the morning to moguls, trees, and even some of those softer, slushier, uneven terrains I had to deal with in the afternoon.
Could you speak about playfulness and pop? This board kind of sits in the middle of the road in terms of an all-mountain flex. To me, this kind of felt like a 6.5 out of 10 in terms of stiffness. I think this is a great option to begin exploring your riding. I also think that this is a great option if you're looking to ride a bigger mountain and want to size up on the snowboard as well.
How is it for buttering? This board is a blast for buttering. The rocker between the feet allows you to lean out towards the nose or tail and allows the rocker to assist you in exploring whatever freestyle you're looking to get into. I thought this was going to be something that would wash out, but the camber zones held up pretty well when I was jumping off rollers and side hitting while riding some boardercross today.
What about riding it switch? Riding it switch, despite the nose shape, I was not able to feel a huge difference. I think someone who is looking for a twin specifically should not be afraid of this board. The nose shape looks pretty cool. And honestly, I don't think it holds anyone back from improving on switch riding or even just cruising switch for a day in general.
How is the board on jumps and how is its stability on landings? This board felt pretty stable on landings. This board is a great option for working on tricks and floating in the air a little bit. It doesn't necessarily provide a true locked-in feeling, but it was much better than I thought it would be. This board is a great option to dabble in freestyle. I was able to hit some side hits and jump off some rollers today. There wasn't a park available. There was a little bit of a washout feeling, and that is due to the rocker between the feet. But I think this is a great option to explore freestyle riding.
How well do you imagine it would perform in powder? I was not able to ride powder today due to the March spring slush I was riding in, but I feel like this would float very well. It was very easy to pick that nose up in certain scenarios, and there was the right amount of stiffness to create leverage. I feel like that would translate really well when riding bigger mountain options.
How did it fare in uneven terrain and chunder? In terms of uneven terrain and chunder, I wasn't really able to feel much underfoot, which is a great thing. I think it allows you to explore anything from moguls to parks without having to worry about accelerating due to the catch-free feeling of the rocker between the feet.
Riding in trees, how is its maneuverability? The maneuverability was very quick edge-to-edge and smooth. I think this is a great option to experience any terrain you're looking to explore.
To sum up, what terrain is it ideal for? This is a true all-mountain experience. I think this is ideal for groomers and intro-to-park experiences. Rails are definitely doable. Riding steeps is also definitely doable, but I would encourage individuals to ride true-to-size. If you're looking to ride steeper terrain and really love this profile, look into sizing up a little bit more, just due to the mid-flex of the snowboard.
Is there any location you'd pack this board for? I feel like this board is great for a big mountain experience. It's definitely not the best option for rope tows. I had a much better time the minute I started riding steeper terrain with longer runs — the board clicked and made sense immediately.
Finally, who would you recommend this board to? I would recommend this board to the intermediate rider, or someone who's looking to ride a little bit of everything. This would also be a great first investment option, especially for the taller or bigger guy. And I think the waist width allows you to experience carving and really get out there and learn.
Who would you not recommend this board to? This board is not an option for the park-only rider. I feel like there are other twin options on the market that might hold their own a little bit better. This is more of an option to explore your riding and find new terrain and new adventures.
If you are wondering whether the Lib Tech Skunk Ape or another board is the right fit for you and your riding style, reach out to Yuri or another Snowboard Expert here on Curated for free, personalized advice.