Lib Tech Presents | The Travis Rice Collection

Behind the Boards with Travis Rice's Lib Tech Collection

There aren’t many people you can name that single handedly changed the face of snowboarding. Sherman Poppen, Jake Burton, and Craig Kelly all deservedly belong on the list, but arguably no list of snowboard pioneers would be complete without Travis Rice. One of the greatest to ever do it, his wildly progressive and innovative riding has rightfully earned him a place in the history books.

“Arguably no list of snowboard pioneers would be complete without Travis Rice”

Travis Rice burst into the spotlight in 2001 after throwing down a huuuge backside rodeo at his very first Superpark. The then 18-year-old Rice was spotted boosting the 117ft gap by Justin Hostynek who pulled some strings and had him flown out to Alaska to film with the Absinthe crew. Travis had three weeks to pull together some shots, but with a debut performance that would prove to be his modus operandi he pulled out all the stops to stack some incredible footage. He secured the opener in ‘Transcendence‘, the movie many consider to be Absinthe’s greatest gift to the world. If that isn’t an auspicious start to your professional snowboard career then what is?

Through his long and storied time in the public eye Travis has competed and won medals in the holy trinity on the competition circuit- halfpipe, slopestyle, and big air. He’s also dominated rail jams and quarter pipe comps the world over, recently he was even given a wildcard spot on the Freeride World Tour in Japan and yeah, you guessed it, he came out on top. Undeniably, Travis has an abundance of natural talent, an incredible work ethic and a deep rooted passion for the sport and the environment in which it takes place.

PC: Lib Tech

Signing with Lib Tech in the early 2000’s Travis has put in hundreds of hours of R&D ensuring that the boards he rides are capable of taking him to the places he needs to go. His range of signature boards has grown to five, with something to tackle every terrain imaginable. We spoke with Kim Krans,  renowned artist, author, creator of The New York Times bestseller, The Wild Unknown Tarot and the creative force behind this seasons graphics.

“This isn’t your typical board line… this is quantum quiver stuff”

Travis is incredibly involved with the images on the boards. He isn’t messing around. With this whole line we were aiming to create metaphysical objects that act like talismans, like shields or swords that help the rider get through whatever challenges they are facing in their life and on the hill.  This isn’t your typical board line… this is quantum quiver stuff. We went back and forth with ideas, images, colorways, and nuances for… um… months. It was the best kind of collab.

T.Rice Climax

Climax from the Greek word κλῖμαξ, meaning  “the most intense, exciting, or important point of something; the culmination”. It’s fair to say that watching Travis snowboard is both intense and exciting, and his Climax snowboard is the culmination of years of R&D. It’s a look at just how far we can go with snowboard production, how fast; how light, and how strong we can manufacture them. In Travis’ line, the Climax sits as his high-end, high-performance backcountry freestyle offering.

The Climax is built for shredding technical lines and sending it down gnarly faces. Based around the same directional outline as the Gold Member, the Climax has a pointed nose and a notched tail, the added volume at the tip of the board helps to ensure this board will stay floaty when it starts to get steep and deep. A notched tail reduces surface area at the back and helps it to sink, which in turn accentuates the nose lifting.

“The result is their lightest snowboard to date, but unlike other featherweight boards, it still retains its strength thanks to the carbon lay up”

Unusually for a board built for backcountry, the Climax doesn’t employ a taper. Choosing to eschew this design feature creates a directional board that will still ride switch with ease. There is, however, a .75” setback, so you can really shift your weight down the board if you want to, but with six different stance options, you’re spoiled for choice when you want to chop and change. And what’s a high-end snowboard without a bit of carbon? Lib Tech have hit the ground running with their first foray into the field and have included a carbon-over-carbon-over-magnesium fibre wrapping an ultralight balsa/paulownia core. The result is their lightest snowboard to date, but unlike other featherweight boards, it still retains its strength thanks to the beefy carbon lay up.

C2x construction is all-terrain versatility and is the perfect blend of precision and power. A short rocker section between the feet keeps the board feeling floaty and mellows out the ride a little. Longer camber sections extend from underfoot out towards the tip and tail, loading the pressure to those areas. Combined with the Magne-Traction edges, the result is an explosive and dynamic ride that’s stable as hell on the hardpack.

PC: Kim Krans

Helping the Climax to claim its freestyle chops are the Lightweight Spin Slim tip and tail, the reduced weight lowering the swing weight of the board and thus making it the perfect companion for lofty spins off of big backcountry booters (Chads Gap anyone?). Available in three sizes, the Climax is a vessel to deliver euphoric delights. It’s the pinnacle of snowboard innovation, but really, the Climax just takes us back to the ultimate simple pleasure- sliding sideways down a big ass mountain.

Just how important are the graphics to the snowboards? Kim tells us: “For me, image is everything. Symbols lock us into a state of mind. A state of mind locks us into our body, our heart, our groove. I want this groove to have the highest possible resonance. Therefore… as an art maker I’ll go so far as to say… a powerful image can lead you to your destiny. On the mountain or off. There is no new achievement without an image that guides it.

T.Rice Goldmember

The Gold Member is a no compromises snowboard, equally at home navigating couloirs, boosting sidehits and spinning off cliffs. Dreamt up by Travis and Mervin’s experiMENTAL Division, the Gold Member takes the concept of a traditional backcountry board and flips the rhetoric on its head. Despite its proclivity for ripping deep snow, it doesn’t employ a taper to keep it floating. Instead, the directional notch swallow tail, pointed spoon nose and .75” setback keep you from sinking in that glorious champagne powder.

This means it’s a much more viable option for freestyle, as you won’t struggle so much to take off or land switch. Further enhancing the Gold Member’s freestyle chops are the Lightweight Spin Slim tip and tail. Drastically reducing the spin weight of the board means you’ll need less effort to get your rotations in, so those 3’s will become 5’s in no time.

“A directional notch swallow tail, pointed spoon nose and .75” setback keep you from sinking in that glorious champagne powder”

All boards manufactured by Mervin feature some form of their Banana Technology, and the Gold Member uses their C2x flavour. Longer, more aggressive camber sections underfoot out towards the tip and tail, with a shortened central rocker in the middle. The result is a board that can float with the best of them but isn’t confined to pockets of powder. You’ll feel the benefits of the camber sections when you’re loading up the tail for ollies and putting in fast, pumping turns.

The Gold Member gives you more energy feedback than a traditionally rockered board and more float than a standard camber. The 8.2m (on the 159cm) sidecut gives you the ability to open out into long,
swooping turns on big faces. Paired with the Magne-Traction, you’ve got the ability to lay into deep carves, with the knowledge that you’re not gonna slip out. The added contact points down the edges ensure you’re in a constant arc through your turns and increases the overall total length of the edge.

He’s a visionary, period. Working with someone at his level is a very special thing that I don’t take for granted.

Using Mervin’s Firepower Construction, the core is 50% Aspen, 40% Paulownia and 10% Balsa. It’s lighter than their standard Horsepower construction, but still retains the strength and durability. Like most things that have the Lib Tech seal of approval, this board gets some pretty serious green points. The topsheet is made up of ‘Eco Sublimated Bio Beans’, and the board is produced in their factory in the USA, with zero hazardous waste.

We asked Kim for some insight on what it’s like working with Travis… “He’s a visionary, period. Working with someone at his level is a very special thing that I don’t take for granted.” You might not be making moves like Monsieur Rice anytime soon, but at least you know the Gold Member will have your back should you choose to.

T.Rice Gold Member Split

Like scores of pros before him, as he’s gotten older Travis has made moves towards the wild unknown. Movies like Roadless, with friends Jeremy Jones and Bryan Iguchi, offer a glimpse of the sheer beauty that can only be found when you’re skinning in nature. For those who prefer life off the beaten track, the Gold Member Split might just be the board to whet your whistle. Travis’ board of choice when he decides to forgo the resort boundaries, this is the weapon you’ll want by your side whether you’re walking silently through snow covered valleys or dropping into secluded faces and gnarly chutes.

As a splitboarder you spend most of your time on the gruelling ascent. Every gram counts when you’ve got to use leg power to get it up the hill so Lib use their FirePower construction to create a board that saves precious weight. The lightweight core combination of 50% Aspen, 40% Paulownia and 10% Balsa wood is a blend that you’ll be thankful for when you’re powering up the mountain while still being robust enough to handle anything you throw at it on the way down.

Travis dropping in the wilderness | PC: Ming T Poon

Regardless of the reason you choose to splitboard, there’s no denying the pure, unadulterated pleasure of reaching the summit after a backbreaking climb and strapping into your board. Travis knows possibly better than most people that the long slog up is often spent dreaming of the lines you’ll paint on the way down. That’s why they’ve created a board that performs just as well as your favourite one-piece freeride board on the descent. The Gold Member Split uses Mervin’s C2x profile which features lengthened camber sections under each foot, with a smaller central rocker. The hybrid profile offers a ‘best of both worlds’ approach, with the camber loading pressure towards the tip and tail injecting pop, life, and aggression into the board. The rocker zone allows for added float in deep snow, and a looser, more surfy feeling when you’re on the hardpack.

The Magne-Traction serrated edges come into play as you’re working your way up the hill. When the snow starts to get icy on the ascent you’ll be thankful for the extra traction points, keeping you on track when the going gets tough.

“Designed and rigorously tested by Travis Rice in the most unforgiving conditions, this is a snowboard that you can count on when the going gets tough”

As with the whole Travis line this season, the graphics are done by the incredible Kim Krans, who’s worked hard to pour a little of Travis’ zen master personality into the board. Kim told us “All the images were based on the purpose of the board – the age of the rider, the phase of life, the terrain, the vibe. It all became part of the image and story of the board.” The base graphic looks like a blazing Rorschach test and the topsheet actually houses a second secret picture. The graphic changes accordingly depending on whether you’re in walk or ride mode. The versatility of this board is reminiscent of Travis’ illustrious career in the snowboard industry. Designed and rigorously tested by Travis Rice in the most unforgiving conditions, this is a snowboard that you can count on when the going gets tough.

T.Rice Pro Blunt
T.Rice Pro Pointy

T.Rice Pro

The T.Rice Pro is a resort smashing powerhouse, designed for the deep days, the down days and every shred in between. For those who love spinning, jibbing and slashing all over the mountain, the T.Rice is definitely worth more than a little consideration. As versatile and adaptable as the man himself, the board comes in two different shape options. The blunted option bringing a slightly lower swing weight to the table for more freestyle finesse, and the pointy nose offering a smidge more surface area for added float. Both are the exact same between the contact points, so don’t get too hung up on choosing between them- they’ll both rip.

Featuring Lib Tech’s C2 Hybrid profile, which is partly designed by Travis himself, it offers bags of all-terrain versatility. A pronounced rocker sits in the middle of the board between the feet and individual cambers under foot out towards the nose and tail. This central rocker keeps the board floating better than a traditional camber, and keeps the board feeling a bit looser. The positive camber underfoot injects some extra life and pop into the board, especially when you’re riding on hardpack. This profile combined with Lib Tech’s ‘Magnetraction’ edges, will provide that much needed grip when charging at max speed or simply trying to survive the early morning ice. The distorted edge profile holds better through the arc of the turn, keeping the you in more consistent contact with the snow.

PC: Kim Krans

If you do want to head towards the park, the true twin shape and medium flex will be forgiving enough to allow you to rip shit up between the ropes. Travis has made a name for himself riding big backcountry freestyle, so obviously a board he puts his name to will excel at aerial manoeuvres. The blunt nose shape has been touted as a better option for those who want to push their freestyle limits, but don’t be afraid to lay down some jib mastery if you’ve picked up the pointy nosed board either.

Lib Tech has utilised it’s eco-friendly ‘Horsepower Construction’ process to provide some extra kick. The board uses renewable materials, in a blend of 60% Aspen and 40% Paulownia wood, to keep the weight down and the response up. Add to this the birch sidewalls and you’ve got a core that’s as bombproof as it is light. Rest easy knowing Lib Tech are doing their bit to ensure the next generation can enjoy shredding as much as we do.

PC: Kim Krans

It’s not just us that rate the graphics on these two boards, Kim opened up to us that this was one of her favourites to work with “I’m partial to the T.Rice Pro twin tip with the gnarly gory details. The orca of course steals the show but I have a soft spot for uber-detailed snake and skull stoner drawings so for me the gore-board (as we nicknamed it) is the jam.

Watch Travis ride and you’ll understand this isn’t a man who does things by half measures. The Eco Sublimated Sintered base is was made for one speed only: top. Don’t be put off thinking you have to ride like the man himself to do this board justice though – the somewhat intermediate flex, through a combination of tri and biaxl fibre glass layers, still provides enough torsional forgiveness to keep the board’s more playful characteristics at the fore. A stronger rider who prioritises fun and progression would do well to scoop one of these bad boys up.

T.Rice Orca

Travis Rice’s offering to the weird and wonderful shape revolution, the wildly popular T.Rice Orca has made a name for itself as the go-to board for those who demand the best. Like its namesake, this board is an apex predator, wandering the mountain ready to demolish anything it finds in its path. Fat pillows, cliff drops, elbows down eurocarves- it doesn’t matter the terrain the Orca will excel.

So in demand in its first season that it barely had time to get settled on shop shelves, the Orca was possibly the hottest snowboard of 2018/2019. Meant to be ridden shorter than your regular board, the Orca will benefit from the increased manoeuvrability and drastically lowered swing weight. You’ll be
spinning off windlips and tackling the narrowest tree runs with ease when you’re strapped in. What you lose in length, you more than make up for with width when riding this killer whale. With a waist measurement of 26.7cm in the 153 size, you’ll be hard pressed to find a board that floats better whilst still being as nimble.

The creation of the Orca PC: Kim Krans

Utilising a 10mm taper, the wider nose takes the benefit of the added surface area and the slimmer tail becomes more agile underfoot. Not one to leave anything up to chance, the 2.5” setback settles your weight over the tail of the board, forcing the nose to lift and keep the tip sailing with ease.
Built around Mervin’s C2X profile, it features a shortened rocker section between the feet and more aggressive camber underfoot out towards the tip and tail. This versatile hybrid profile is the ultimate blend of smooth and surfy in the deeper snow, and dynamic and aggressive on the hardpack. The rockered section acts as a pivot point and allows you to load the tail of the board with your weight, causing the nose to shoot skywards.

Despite making a name for itself riding nipple deep champagne powder, the Orca handles beautifully on piste as well. The camber sections underfoot work in tandem with Lib Tech’s Magne-Traction to leave you with a board that’s rock solid when it’s on its edge. They load pressure towards the tip and tail to give you increased grip when you’re on the hardpack. The drastically increased width means you can get super low into your carves without worrying about catching boot. With a tidy little 7m sidecut, this is a board that is begging to turn and burn, and the sintered base is made for cranking up to mach 10 even when the snow starts getting gloopy.

If you’re looking at the Orca and marvelling at how intricate the art work is, you’re not alone. We asked Kim how long it takes to create something like that…”I can’t tell you… better kept a mystery. The cool thing is, there are secret messages in tiny dots written into the board that no one will ever be able to read. Only I know what they say :) It gives the board ultimate superpowers. It’s like… some Egyptian hieroglyphic Sanskrit secret code embedded into that shit!

PC: Kim Krans

A real all-terrain vehicle, the Orca can sniff out powder stashes, boost off natural features and dig trenches with the best of them. Available in extra sizes this year, the Orca now has a bigger hunting ground than ever before.


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