Expert Review: Lib Tech Orca Snowboard · 2022

This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2022.

Top down view of the Lib tech Orca Snowboard on a mountain.

Photo courtesy of Tyese Messerman

Published on

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2022.

My take

For an advanced or expert rider who is looking for a stiffer board that excels at both carving and powder, the Lib Tech Orca is a great choice. This is a volume-shifted board as well, so it plows through uneven terrain with ease.

About the gear

  • Model: Lib Tech Orca 2022
  • Size: 147

About me

  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 130 lb
  • Experience: 23+ years of snowboarding

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: January 2022
  • Days tested: 2
  • Mount position: +15 / -15
  • Boots: Ride Sage
  • Boot Size: 9
  • Bindings: Bent Metal Forte 22/23
  • Where I’ve used it: Washington
  • Terrain: Groomers, Icy conditions, Trees, Uneven terrain off-piste, Park

How it performs

Carving
5/5
Durability
5/5
Flotation
5/5
High Speed Stability
5/5
Turn Ease
5/5
Versatility
5/5

What I was looking for

I was in the market for a new board and specifically was interested in volume-shifted boards. I wanted a board that felt stable off-piste and through powder, but was still fun to carve on if it was a groomer day.

Why I chose this gear

The Orca had quite a following and a good reputation for big-mountain riders. I heard that it was extremely fun to carve on, but its wider width also made it great in powder. I did an extended demo with it to see what I thought.

I looked at the Weston Eclipse and the Never Summer Harpoon along with this board. Many sites compared the Harpoon and the Orca, but in the end, I did not think they were very similar at all. The Orca is much stiffer and way more fun to carve on and maintain high speeds, but lacked the playfulness of the Harpoon.

What I love about it

  • Speed: I felt very stable at higher speeds on the Orca. I wasn’t sure how it would feel since it is designed to be ridden a little shorter than usual, but I felt very stable when going fast, especially when the edges were really engaged.
  • Edge hold: The Orca features Magne-Traction so it held an edge really well. I tried it on some pretty icy groomers and I hardly skidded out at all, especially when compared to other boards I demo’d the same day. I felt like I could really dig in and lay it on its edge and feel confident.
  • Turns: I found turns to be easier at higher speeds than when trying to go slow. I took it in trees and found that I could turn it quickly, especially due to its slightly shorter length. On groomers, it held up nicely to bigger swooping carves as well as sharper turns. It was the hardest when trying to go slow and play around to really get into the turns.
  • Groomers: The Magne-Traction edges hold up well on groomers and make this a fun board to carve on. It is not as fun to play around on side-hits and things like that, but it is great to carve on. It feels very damp and locked in when powering down groomers.
  • Powder: I personally did not get any powder days to test this in, unfortunately, but many people say it floats very well and is a great board for powder due to its wider design, set-back stance, and big nose. I have also heard that the Magne-Traction edges do not make the turns feel sticky at all, which is great!
  • Trees: The shorter length and the tight sidecut make this board easy to turn on a dime. When I took it through trees I was not struggling at all to make fast and tight turns.
  • Moguls: The shorter length, again, helps with the quick, tight turns in moguls. It was fairly easy to get through moguls, but it is still a wide board which made it just so-so. I would rather take the Jones Stratos through moguls than the Orca.
  • Backcountry: This board does great off-piste and would be a solid set-up in splitboard form. It takes on most any terrain thrown at it, whether powder, choppy uneven terrain or ice. It conquers the backcountry well.
  • Weight: The Orca feels very average as far as weight goes. It didn’t stand out as being super lightweight, but I also didn’t feel overly weighed down while riding it.
  • Stability: The Orca absorbs a lot of chatter and feels very damp underfoot while carving. If I really muscle into it I can get some good pop out of it, but otherwise it feels locked in and connected to the snow. The bindings you choose will play a big role also in how this board feels.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Park: I wouldn’t say this board is meant for the park in any way. It is a very directional design and fairly stiff, so while it can get some good pop, it doesn’t feel playful. For someone really focused on a freestyle vibe, even off-piste, I wouldn’t say this is my top pick.
  • Durability: The design seems sturdy and durable. Compared to other brands’ top sheets though, this feels old-school. Brands like Weston, Never Summer, and Pallas to name a few, are all using more textured topsheets that seem really durable and hard to chip, while Lib Tech is just using the same old smooth top sheet feel on the Orca.
  • Switch riding: This is a very directional board with a set-back stance. When I tried to ride it switch it definitely wanted to swing back around to regular. Not the board for you if you ride a lot of switch!
Closeup on the Lib Tech Orca snowboard

Photo courtesy of Tyese Messerman

Favorite moment with this gear

I was at Mission Ridge Ski Resort in Washington, and at first, it seemed to be a bit of a dud day due to the lack of fresh powder. When I got on the Orca though, it was like a new world opened up! We started flying down the slopes carving hard which was really fun, and then decided to explore some off-piste areas and found some really fun little steep sections through trees as well. I wish I would have gotten to ride in powder, but the Orca definitely spiced up the day for sure!

Value for the money vs. other options

I think the Orca is a really fun board that focuses on powder and speed. I do, however, think it has become the ‘go-to’ board to recommend and is a little higher in price than others that are similar. It is about $50-$70 more than many other boards that are considered similar like the Harpoon, Eclipse, and Capita Mercury.

Final verdict

Overall, for a skilled rider looking for a powder board that can do way more, this is an awesome choice. Not only does it float effortlessly in powder, but it doesn’t need to be put away when the snow isn’t deep. It carves great, holds an edge like a champ, and plows through uneven terrain with ease. It is fun in trees too, due to its shorter length and ability to make tight turns. For anyone looking for a big-mountain experience even at their local ski spot, while not being too focused on a freestyle flair, this is a great choice.

Selling Lib Tech on Curated.com
Lib Tech Orca Snowboard · 2022
$389.99
$454.99
14% off
Snowboard Expert Tyese Messerman
5.0
Tyese Messerman
Snowboard Expert
Tyese here! How can I help?
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Written By
From Whistler, BC to Rainier Basecamp, and from Niseko, Japan to Mt. Bachelor, Oregon, I simply can't get enough of the snow and the mountains! Growing up on the East Coast I learned to ski at age 5 and started snowboarding around age 12, and roamed the hills from Quebec, Vermont, NY, PA, WV and eve...

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