Expert Review: Lib Tech T.Rice Golden Orca Snowboard · 2023

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

A man on a ski run holding the Lib Tech T.Rice Golden Orca Snowboard.

All photos courtesy of Nathan G.

Published on

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

My take

The 2023 Lib Tech T.Rice Golden Orca is an all-mountain shredder that offers incredible versatility with a slightly volume-shifted design along with camber and rocker. It also features Lib Tech’s Magne-Traction, which is what they market as the serrated edge technology that holds an edge even in icy conditions, which I found to be true.

A snowboarder on the Lib Tech T.Rice Golden Orca Snowboard jumping over a sign.

About the gear I own

  • Model: 2023 Lib Tech Golden Orca
  • Size: 157

About me

  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 195 lbs.
  • Experience: 20+ years of riding

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: March 2022
  • Days tested: 12 days
  • Mount position: Goofy
  • Boots: 2021 Thirtytwo Lashed Double BOA
  • Boot Size: 11
  • Bindings: 2021 Now Pilot
  • Where I’ve used it: Afton Alps
  • Terrain: Groomers, small jumps, and off-piste

How it performs

Carving
4/5
Durability
5/5
Flotation
5/5
High Speed Stability
4/5
Turn Ease
4/5
Versatility
5/5

What I was looking for

I had the 2022 Golden Orca the previous season and loved everything about it, and I wanted to get the latest version. I wanted the same versatility of a fantastic all-mountain board that would hold an edge on the Midwest ice we deal with throughout the season.

Why I chose this gear

I really have been impressed with the 2022 Orca but didn’t like the fact that it was really not equipped to ride switch, so I tried the Golden Orca, which has a much better tail to ride switch.

I tried the T.Rice Pro 2022, but it wasn’t quite as versatile in that it wasn’t volume-shifted, so I needed a longer board since it’s recommended to shift down 1-3cm on the Golden Orca. I also like the camber under each foot and the shortened rocker between the bindings for great turning and holding onto the hard pack.

A snowboarder holding the Lib Tech T.Rice Golden Orca Snowboard.

What I love about it

  • Speed: The confidence this board provides with wider, slightly volume shifted allows for high speeds with stability. This board will float and fly down the mountain. I can win a local pond skim on this board with the speed I can build and maintain going into the pond.
  • Edge hold: The edge hold with Magne-Traction is second to none. I ride similar conditions to the “ice-coast” here in the northern region of the Midwest, where it’s cold enough to maintain snow all winter. But we don’t get a lot of fresh snow, so it is hard-pack, and the Golden Orca holds an edge on the crappiest days.
  • Groomers: This is the main terrain I could ride the Golden Orca on since I was limited to my local resort that’s all groomed. The board is fantastic carving on the groomers, and I did not feel like it was slipping from under me. The gentle rocker between the feet is not like the Never Summer Proto Ultra, which has a more dominant rocker that can get pretty squirrely on hard-pack.
  • Backcountry: Although I haven’t been in the backcountry yet with this board, I would say this board was designed for the backcountry since Travis Rice created it with Natural Selection in mind, which is a backcountry competition hitting natural features. This board features a 2.5cm set back and has a 26.5cm waist allowing it to float well and allow for directional slayer down the steep and deep terrain.
  • Durability: This board is made with sound construction, and although I have only been on it for a couple of months so far, I ride pretty hard and am not easy on a board weighing in around 200 lbs. and like to go fast and carve hard. The board showed no signs of fatigue or stress.
  • Stability: The Golden Orca has incredible stability with its mild camber under the forward foot and aggressive camber under the back foot that bears most of the weight to control well even in high-speed terrain.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Turns: This board does just fine with turns but won’t be quite as reactive as a board with an aggressive side cut or asymmetrical side cut but handles turns easily.
  • Park: This is a bit of an all-mountain board with a slight volume shift making it a wider board not really ideal for spins and tricks. For the size, it’s a bit heavier than a true twin park board.
  • Weight: This board is a bit heavier than a normal board without a wider profile. This would be why it’s not ideal for the park but better for all-mountain and backcountry.
  • Switch riding: The Golden Orca has been optimized from the traditional Orca to ride switch with much less effort. That said, it’s not a twin or directional twin. I would give it a 3 out of 5 for riding switch since it’s not too difficult but not ideal.
A snowboarder standing on a ski run holding the Lib Tech T.Rice Golden Orca Snowboard.

Favorite moment with this gear

It was my first time participating in a pond skim competition last spring, and I had freshly waxed my Golden Orca the night before. I was terrified that I would fall down the first time. However, I held my line straight and tight, made it over the pond, and finished it with a 180 — I got the crowd riled up! I crossed the pond a couple more times, getting a lower starting point each round, and won the competition! This board feels fabulous because it just turns well, is confident and stable, and will hold an edge anywhere.

Value for the money vs. other options

The Golden Orca is one of the most expensive boards out there, not made of carbon or a split board, so it’s somewhat hard to justify the money unless one has actually been on the board. It’s just well-balanced and has really been the best board I’ve been on. I tried the T.Rice Pro last year and just didn’t find that I had the same confidence on it that I do the Golden Orca. I also rode the traditional Orca, but it doesn’t ride switch as well and is even a heavier board and more volume-shifted, so not great for the resort as much as it is for backcountry. I was on the Burton Process, which is a bit cheaper, but it’s a more generic all-mountain board without the drive and capability to go as fast or deep as the Golden Orca.

Final verdict

All in all, the Golden Orca unlocks a new level of fun on the mountain, feeling like sketchy lines on rough snow aren’t so bad with the Magne-Traction technology. This also feels like one can go into any terrain and handle it just fine. It’s not optimal for park but great for side hits and natural features.

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Lib Tech T.Rice Golden Orca Snowboard · 2023
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Written By
I've been the go to friend for tech and equipment recommendations for decades when it comes to snowboard equipment and apparel. I started snowboarding at a small resort in southeast Idaho about 25 years ago and instantly fell in love. I have been boarding at over 30 different resorts all over the Ro...

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