lib tech orca review when there is no powder

Lib Tech Orca Review: Worth It if You Ride Ice More Than Powder?

Riding the Lib Tech Orca was probably the most fun snowboard I’ve ridden so far this season. I rode it on a day when it was flat-out pouring rain. The conditions just weren’t cooperating. First, the conditions were slushy, then the temperature dropped, and it quickly became icy, with pre-season Pennsylvania rocks poking through everywhere. Still, the Lib Tech Orca treated the conditions as if they were nothing.

The Orca offered a level of control that I hadn’t felt under my feet in months, and that level of control held regardless of if I was turning between race gates (yep, they were set up in the rain), carving between moguls made of ice, or hitting jumps in the park. This board felt like it improved my riding by about 10 points, and I just didn’t want to get off of it.

The Orca is one of the most fun to ride all-mountain directional boards you can get. It’s the one board that can truly do all types of riding incredibly well.

Here is my in-depth review of the Lib Tech Orca from an East Coast rider’s perspective.

The Highlights of the Lib Tech Orca

Lib Tech T.Rice Orca Snowboard 2024

Lib Tech T.Rice Orca Snowboard 2025

Core Features

  • The Resort Slasher / Pow Ripper Shape: short, wide shape with a large nose and smaller tail)
  • C2x profile to help the board float
  • Magne traction edges
  • Medium flex 4.5 Nose / 5.5 Tail
  • Our Rating: 95.1 / 100

Main Benefits

  • Versatile – It is a “go anywhere, do anything” deck.
    It’s perfect for powder, stellar for slush, great for groomers, and excellent for our East Coast ice.
  • Incredibly stable feel – It has an in-control feeling to ride regardless of the conditions.
  • Carves beautifully – It has tons of power and response. It also has a quick turn initiation that feels simple to get used to.
  • Very pressable / It’s perfect for buttering and soft enough to jib in the park.
  • Outstanding edge hold – The Magne Traction edges help this board grip to ice.
  • Damp smooth feeling – It’s a smooth feeling ride that can plow through anything in its path.
  • Supports Wildlife – A portion of each sale goes to the extinction prevention of Orcas through the Orca Conservancy foundation.

Sizes Available: The Lib Tech Orca is available in a 138, 144, 147, 150, 153, 156, 159, 162cm. The Orca is a volume shifter (wider and shorter) snowboard that you are intended to ride 3 to 6cm shorter than your normal snowboard
You can use this expandable size chart to find the right size of the Lib Tech for you.

See the Right Size Lib Tech Orca for You
Lib Tech Orca Weight Range
Size (cm) Rider Weight (lbs)
138 90+
144 100+
147 110+
150 120+
153 130+
156 140+
159 150+
162 160+

Flex: Soft / Medium – 4.5/10 in the nose and 5.5/10 in the tail

Bindings to Pair With It: Union Ultra Bindings

The Version of the Orca I Rode for This Review: I rode a Lib Tech Orca from last season in the 153cm size. There have been no technical upgrades made to the Orca from the version I rode except for its new graphic.  

the lib tech orca board I reviewed

One important detail to note about my review is that I didn’t size down the Orca by the recommended 3 to 6cm. I rode this board in the 153cm version, which is my normal size. This board is super easy to maneuver, so I had no issues with the wider 26.7cm waist width and my size 9 boot. I actually found the wider platform to work in my favor, using the Orca more as a resort and ice slasher instead of as a powder-focused freeride board. 

Overview of the Lib Tech Orca

lib tech orca snowboard feature overview

Overall Rating of the Lib Tech Orca Snowboard

Considerations Rating Out 5 Score Out of 100 Weight (Importance to Score)
Resort Riding 5.00 100 10
Powder 5.00 100 0
Carving / Turns 4.90 98 10
Responsiveness 4.90 98 10
Speed 4.85 97 10
Ice / Poor Conditions 4.85 97 10
Switch 3.90 78 5
Jibs 4.00 80 5
Jumps 4.60 92 10
Durability / Quality 5.00 100 10
Buttering 4.80 96 10
Fun to ride 4.70 94 10
Weighted Score 4.755 95.1

Editor’s Rating:  out of 5 stars 4.7 out of 5 stars for the Lib Tech Orca snowboard.

An honest note about the review:
Please note that I left the board’s powder score out of the review’s weighted calculation. Based on the specs of the board, it floats exceptionally well. However, I just didn’t get the chance to try it in powder, so this review is from an East Coast rider’s perspective, and we don’t get many powder days here in Pennsylvania.

The Summary: Is the Lib Tech Orca Worth It as an All-Mountain Board Even if You Don’t Get to Ride Powder?

From an East Coast rider’s perspective, the main summary is this:

The Orca will make a day where the conditions are horrific, feel like one of your best days on snow.

So, yes, it is absolutely still worth it if you don’t get to ride powder that often. If you’re in an area that doesn’t get a lot of snowfall, I would still consider this board if you’re looking for a fun all-mountain board that can do it all and feel like it will level up your riding in the process.

lib tech orca review when there is no powder

This board lived up to its hype for me. I rode it in the pouring rain with chop, chunder, ice, and slush found everywhere here in Pennsylvania. It held its own through all of it, and it was incredibly fun to ride.

How Does the Lib Tech Orca Feel to Ride?

The Lib Tech Orca is an easy-to-ride board that offers a precise, stable, and in-control type of riding experience. It’s a fast board that carves powerfully while still being pressable and incredibly fun to ride regardless of the conditions you get to ride it in.

Here are my notes on what it feels like to ride the Lib Tech Orca.

It’s an Incredibly Fun Board, Even When There is No Powder to Be Found.

For this review, I rode the T.Rice Orca on a 28° day when it was flat-out raining. Icy patches were everywhere in the morning, giving way to soft, slushy snow once the rain melted the ice. The conditions were just the overall awfulness we tend to expect from an early-season day here in Pennsylvania. Yet, the Lib Tech Orca effortlessly powered through all of it.

I’d even go so far as to say that riding the Orca made the crummy conditions feel significantly more fun to ride. If I were riding another board, I probably would have taken a run or two, then packed it in and went home. 

I didn’t. 

I got on the Orca, rode it for hours in the rain, and had a blast doing it. 

All in all, the Lib Tech Orca is an outstanding all-mountain resort board for carving not only on groomers and powder but all conditions, no matter how terrible they might be. The Orca is a board that can power through whatever it encounters. 

It is the perfect board to bring when you’re not sure what to expect but you know you want to have fun on the hill.

The Orca Feels In-Control at All Times, Regardless of Conditions.

From the moment I made my first turn with the Orca, I noticed how in control it felt at all times.

The Orca is built on Lib Tech’s C2x hybrid rocker profile, so it has a shortened, abrupt rocker section between your feet with a generous (tall) camber section under your back foot and a mild elongated camber section under your front foot. The benefit of having the C2x profile is that it gives the board its pop, control, and power while still helping it float in deeper snow. It also provides the board with a playful, easy-to-ride feel. 

If you were to look at the Orca from the side, its profile would look like this. 

lib tech orca c2x profile diagram

Here is what it looks like while it is resting on a table at our local ski shop.

lib tech orca c2x side view

Sure, having features to float better in powder is nice. However, if you’re like me here on the East Coast and don’t see any powder days, the Orca is still an excellent snowboard for carving on the ice and harder-packed groomers, too. 

The Orca has an incredible level of edge hold for carving on ice, thanks to its Magne Traction edges. Magne Traction is a type of snowboard edge with multiple serrations, like a serrated steak knife. To be specific, there are seven additional contact point serrations that are built into each edge of this snowboard. These extra serrations grip the snow better than traditional (straight) edges, giving you a better level of grip and more control while carving in all conditions, even the ice we see here on the East Coast. 

Here is a close look at the edges of the Lib Tech Orca. I took this picture of the edges of the Lib Tech Orca while I was strapped in and sitting down. Notice how my toeside edge looks wavy? That’s the serrations built into the board’s edges.

lib tech orca magne traction edges

The combination of the serrated edges, the board’s resort slasher shape, and its C2x profile give this board a fun, playful feel with a level of precision and control you won’t find in another snowboard.    

The Orca Is an Easy-to-Ride Board With Tech to Improve Your Riding.

Don’t let the Orca’s directional shape fool you. At first glance, it might seem like a stiff powder board that would be difficult to get used to. It’s not. The Orca is a very approachable board that feels easy to ride with tech features built into it that give it more power for your turns, better edge hold for grip, and a noticeably damp feel. I found the combination of having an easy-to-ride profile and tech features that make you want to charge were the perfect combo to help me progress my riding quickly. In one session on this board, I found myself going faster, carving more aggressively, and feeling more confident riding this board over boards that I’ve ridden for multiple seasons. 

The Orca is Softer Than You Would Think.

I was surprised by how soft the board felt. To me, the nose felt like it had a 4.5 out of 10 flex rating, while the tail felt like it was one stiffness point greater at a 5.5 out of 10. Having a softer nose and stiffer tail gives the board a playful feel while still being in control at all times. The unique flex pattern became one the highlights I grew to love about this board because it is very simple to butter, press, and tail block while still being in control at all times.

Here is an image showing the C2X profile on snow. In the pic you can see the rocker between the feet and long nose are just asking you to butter on it.

lib tech orca side view on snow

With the Orca, I found myself looking for natural features to tailpress and buttering far more than I would with another deck. The abrupt and pointy tail shape of this deck just scream, “press me.”

The Orca Can Hold Its Own In the Park.

While I wouldn’t classify the Orca as a park board, it’s the type of all-mountain board that is versatile enough to take in the park, too. It can hit jumps of all sizes confidentially and nose press every feature insight.

Here are a few things to note about thinking of the Lib Tech Orca as a freestyle snowboard:

  • Think of the Lib Tech Orca as an all-mountain snowboard first and a freestyle snowboard second. The Orca is a board you’ll want to get more for its riding outside of the park than to improve your riding inside of the park. 
  • The Orca has an above-average level of pop for hitting jumps. I would rate its pop at 2.5 points above average. I’d rate its pop at a 7.5 out of 10, where 5 would be the standard expected level of pop from a board. The pop has an intuitive feel that won’t take you long to learn to time it perfectly, either. 
  • The Lib Tech Orca is a board that is stable enough underfoot to hit jumps of all sizes without worrying about it washing out on your landing. 
  • It’s not the best board for riding switch for long periods, so you’ll be inclinded to want to land regular or revert more than if you had a twin freestyle board.
  • The Orca jibs better than you would think. The longer nose in the Orca is very pressable and lends itself to nose pressing features in the park easily. The softer flex pattern of this board works to cradle around the feature, helping you to hold your balance a little easier. 

You Can Ride the Orca Switch. It Just Isn’t Its Strong Suite. 

As I was testing the Orca, I occasionally landed a switch. Despite the board’s directional shape and pointy Whale Tail Technology, it can still carve decently switch. I just wouldn’t say it’s a highlight of the board. Go into the Orca thinking of it more as a board. You will ride with your regular lead foot forward 85% of the time. If you land the switch on a jump, it will hold its own. However, you will just want to switch your stance back to regular to continue enjoying the board’s controlled feel. 

That said, if you like everything you are reading about the Orca and want a version that performs better while riding switch, I’d recommend checking out the Lib Tech Golden Orca instead. It has a true-twin shape, whereas the standard Orca that I rode for this review doesn’t.

Here is a close up picture of the board’s Whale Tail Technology’s shape.

Lib Tech Orca's Whale Tail Shape

It’s Powder Ready.

This is one section of the review where I can’t comment with a lot of first-hand experience. I did not get to ride this Orca in a lot of soft snow or powder. However, there are countless other reviews online showing others who did. It honestly looks like the most fun I’ve ever seen, so please send some powder my way.

That said, the specs of this board, with its tapered shape, tight radial sidecut, and hybrid rocker profile, make it the perfect all-mountain powder cruiser, too.

Here is an image of Travis Rice showing us just how well his board floats.

Travis Rice riding the lib tech orca in deep powder

The purpose of my review is to show that the core features of this board also make it exceptional to ride when there is no powder.

It Carves Exceptionally Well

I was pleasantly surprised by how well this board carves on groomers, ice, and rough terrain. It’s a board with a tight 7-meter radial sidecut, serrated edges for extra grip, and a very wide (volume-shifted) platform, so you don’t get any heel or toe drag. It’s a beast of a carver that’s meant to dig trenches in all types of terrain.

On the day I rode it, there were racing gates set up. Typically, I have no interest in trying to race. However, to test how easily this board can link turns, I decided to give it a shot, and I was instantly impressed by how quickly and confidently the Orca helped me pass each gate from left to right.

The Orca’s C2X profile and whale-tail shape help to give the board an easy-feeling turn initiation. At the same time, the radial sidecut give it its ability to make effortless, tighter turns in all snow conditions. Altogether, the Lib Tech Orca is a board that carves exceptionally well in all types of conditions.

Magne Traction for Extra Grip on Ice

The serrated edges in the Orca offered the additional edge hold needed to help me ride more confidently at higher speeds here on the East Coast. Best of all, the Magne Traction never interfered while trying to jib or butter with this board, either. The edges just enhanced the performance and overall feel of riding this snowboard.

Magne Traction diagram for Lib Tech Orca

Damp / Smooth Ride

The Lib Tech Orca is a board that just feels smooth. It charges through any type of terrain, and while the longer nose does chatter as you ride, the board feels noticeably damp. The construction of the board does an excellent job of dissipating the vibrations from passing through under your feet.

It’s Got a Fast Sintered Base

The Orca’s base features Lib Tech’s sintered knife-cut base. This means it’s a traditional two-colored sintered base where the black and white pieces of the base were hand-fitted together like puzzle pieces. I found the base to be noticeably fast, durable, and it held its wax well. You will just want to wax it every two to three times you ride it to keep it fast.

Made In the USA

Lib Tech boards are made in the USA at the Mervin Manufacturing production plant located in Sequim, WA. Each board is sourced and assembled with sustainable materials right here in the USA.

lib tech orca


More Expensive Than Most All-Mountain Boards

Currently, the average price for an all-mountain snowboard is $560.95. The Lib Tech Orca is selling for $699.99, which is $139.03 more than the average. With that in mind, the Lib Tech Orca is intended to be a quiver killer of a board that can also float in powder. It’s more versatile than the average all-mountain board.

It is not the most beginner-friendly board.

While a beginner could learn to ride it, it is not meant for beginners. The Orca’s volume-shifted wide platform and Magne Traction serrated edges can make this board feel a little challenging to learn on, so if you’re a beginner rider, it is recommended that you check out a more beginner-friendly board instead of this one.

A beginner can certainly learn to ride this with some practice. However, intermediate to advanced-level riders will appreciate its tech features more.  

It is a Very Popular Board

The Orca is a very popular board, so you will likely see other riders with the same board in the lift line.

Who Is the Orca a Good Fit For?

The Lib Tech Orca is the perfect board for an intermediate to advanced all-mountain rider who does a little bit of everything and wants one board that will improve their riding and make riding feel a little more fun. If you’re in search of an all-mountain board that carves well, floats in powder, performs well for park laps, all while still holding its own on ice, too, then the Lib Tech Orca is the right board for you. Simply put, it’s a really fun snowboard that does all types of riding very well.

lib tech orca

Lib Tech Orca Snowboard 2023-2024 Specs

Size (cm) 138 144 147 150 153 156 159 162
Effective Edge (cm) 100 102 105 108 110 113 115 118
Tip Width (cm) 28.8 30.1 30.3 31.4 31.6 31.7 31.9 32.2
Waist Width (cm) 24.7 25.5 25.7 26.5 267 26.7 26.7 26.9
Tail Width (cm) 28 29.1 29.3 30.4 30.5 30.6 30.8 31.1
Sidecut Radius (m) 6.8 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
Stance Setback (in) 2 2 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5
Stance Range (in) 17.5-22.5 18.5-23.25 19.5-24.5 19.5-24.5 19.5-24.5 19.5-24.5 19.5-24.5 19.5-24.5
Weight Range 90+ 100+ 110+ 120+ 130+ 150+ 160+ 170+

Other Considerations About the Orca

Is the Lib Tech Orca Difficult to Ride?

No, the Orca is surprisingly easy to ride. The board’s C2x profile helps to make it very easy to turn and control. 

While the Orca features a tapered directional shape with a wider nose and a slightly narrower tail, it isn’t that aggressive of a taper. It’s only 10mm (or 0.39 inches), so it is very easy to get used to if you are coming from a standard twin-shaped snowboard. Additionally, the Orca’s serrated edges offer the board an outstanding level of grip while you ride it. The extra grip will make you feel more confident while riding, and you will find yourself riding faster and charging harder than you ever have before.

Overall, the Orca is a versatile board with tech features that can help you progress quickly and conquer any type of terrain.

How Does the Lib Tech Orca Compare to the Yes Warca

The Yes Warca shares many of the benefits of having a volume-shifted shape just like the Lib Tech Orca. They’re both incredibly fun boards to ride in all types of conditions. However, the main difference is that the Orca offers more of a “locked-in” feeling while carving. It’s not that the Warca doesn’t feel controlled. It’s just not as controlled of a ride as the Lib Tech Orca. If that isn’t as much of a concern, you should definitely check the Warca out, too. You can usually find one for about half the price of an Orca.

Other Comparable Snowboards to Consider

  • The Lib Tech Golden Apex Orca
  • The Lib Tech Golden Orca
  • The Yes Warca
  • Rome Service Dog
  • Bataleon Party Wave

Which bindings go well with the Lib Tech Orca Snowboard?

I rode the Lib Tech Orca with my 2024 Union Ultra Bindings. The softer flex and damp feeling of these bindings seemed to pair beautifully with the Lib Tech Orca.

lib tech orca with union ultra bindings

Why Did I Buy the Lib Tech Orca Snowboard?

This is one of those reviews where I don’t own this board (yet). Our local shop, Ski Shack, had the 2023 version to rent, so I took it out for a few days to get a feel for the board and to review it here. That said, I love this board and will be doing everything in my power to raise funds to get the 2024 – 2025 version next season.

Where Can You Buy a Lib Tech Orca?

Lib Tech T.Rice Orca Snowboard 2024

Lib Tech T.Rice Orca Snowboard 2024

About the Reviewer

steve weber snowboard reviewer

Rider Name: Steve Weber
Home Mountains: Montage – North Eastern Pennsylvania (Lots of east coast ice.)
Size / Model: The board I reviewed was a 2023 Lib Tech Orca size 153cm.
Rider Weight: 142lbs
Rider Height: 5′ 6″
Bindings Used: Size Medium Union Ultra Bindings
Boots Used: Size 9 DC Phase Boots

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