- Price: £600
- Sizes: 155, 158, 163
- Flex: 6
- Profile: Combo
- Shape: Directional Twin
‘Weapon’ is the word that came to mind when we first saw the Lib Tech Travis Rice Gold Member snowboard. The Wyoming wizard’s fingerprints are on a few sticks in the Lib range, including the new carbon-packed Climax, but this glittery beast stood out for us.
Naturally it’s got a sintered base that makes it ideal for razzing around at high speed, and Lib Tech’s patented Magne-traction edges grip the hard-pack with their multiple contact points. Despite the shape, however, this isn’t just for pointing it. In what will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Travis’ output, sending it skywards is highly recommended.
"As pro models go, the Lib Tech Travis Rice Gold Member is more accessible to the common man than most"
it’s less stiff than you might think, so you don’t need to be an absolute powerhouse to launch it, and switch riding is deceptively easy. The profile is a pronounced version of Lib Tech’s favoured combination; the rocker at the waist is a little shorter, and the camber sections under the feet are longer with a more pronounced bend. That offers much more power and control for those who aren’t afraid of it, but it’ll float much easier than a traditional camber board. Combined with the flex, the profile also makes powder butters an option when the opportunity arises.
The ‘Firepower’ construction is the main reason why the price tag on this is relatively high; no expense has been spared to reduce weight, particularly at each end. It doesn’t matter if you’re double-corking a 100-foot gap in the backcountry or chucking a quick 3 off a side-hit – spinning has never felt this easy.
As pro models go, the Lib Tech Travis Rice Gold Member is more accessible to the common man than most. While it’ll obviously go down well with advanced riders (some of whom may want to consider the splitboard version, new for 2016/17), it’s also an option for intermediates who want peerless kit that’ll give them the best possible chance of improving.
Knowing how Travis rides, you might expect this to be a full-on missile of precise, yet unforgiving, responsiveness. However, it was actually surprisingly rideable for the mere - albeit fairly experienced - mortal.
Though it would be the wrong choice for riders who aren’t comfortable carving and going fast, if you’re a confident snowboarder who’s looking for lightweight, all-mountain power, then the Travis Rice Gold Member is an excellent board.
"if you’re a confident snowboarder who’s looking for lightweight, all-mountain power, then this is an excellent board"
The best superlative is ‘super’: super light, super responsive, super edge hold, but thankfully not super stiff. It’s an all-round lively, driving ride with a directional shape that’s best ridden forwards but handles switch well enough for fakie take-offs and landings.
It was mainly powder laps when we tested this, and if it’s pure cruisey pow turns and no jumping you’re after than you’ll be better looking elsewhere – though it floated well enough, it wasn’t on a par as some of the softer-nosed fun sticks.
But this isn’t built for that; it’s for those who want great pop off pat-downs, immediate response to take on lines with confidence, an extra 180 on their spins and the ability to hang on when the landing’s been bombed. In short, this is a ‘Firepowered’ rocket for hardpack and powder chargers.
Travis Rice - Team Rider, Lib Tech
For the Gold Member, basically I wanted to design the perfect board that would compliment all-mountain freestyle, like the ultimate Red Bull Supernatural contest board.
I found that I rode this board more than anything else during the making of The Fourth Phase, as I wanted a directional board that rode like a twin – and with the core materials it’s just so snappy and responsive.
Yeah, I mean it’s the best snowboard I’ve ever ridden. Straight up.