The Jones Flagship and Lib Tech Orca are considered two of the best all-mountain directional snowboards.
The Flagship is a high performance, total big-mountain dominating board. If you’re constantly searching for techy tree lines, icy steeps, cliff drops and deep powder, look no further. The Orca blends smooth and surfy in deep powder with aggressive hard-pack groomer carves.
Both boards are designed for advanced all-mountain riders. They have hybrid rocker profiles and come in at the exact same price.
Let’s take a closer look at what gives these boards their distinct personalities.
|Key features||Jones Flagship||Lib Tech T.Rice Orca|
|Style||All-mountain, big-mountain, freeride, powder. Directional||All-mountain, freeride. Directional|
|Stiffness||Medium/stiff flex||Medium flex|
|Profile||Hybrid rocker||Hybrid rocker|
|Rider level||Advanced – expert||Intermediate – advanced|
|Size||151, 154, 158, 159W, 161, 162W, 164, 165W, 167, 169W, 172||144, 147, 150, 153, 156, 159|
Flagship vs Orca: who is the board for?
The Flagship has that typical gliding feel Jones is so well known for and is a predictable snowboard for the most unpredictable conditions.
Both the Flagship and Orca have a hybrid rocker camber profile. The Flagship has more rocker at the tip than at the tail and camber between the bindings.
The rockered tip works well to float the nose through powder and the camber underfoot gives the rider confident edgehold and stability. The rockered tail maintains the board’s power and gives it the stability of a traditional board, preventing you from catching an edge.
The Flagship’s directional rocker shape really allows the board to ride straight through crusty pockets which might otherwise send you tumbling.
This board is ideal for expert riders looking to constantly push themselves to ride narrower tree lines, deeper powder and steeper backcountry – those who aren’t afraid to hit unpredictable lines.
If you’re anything less than an upper-intermediate rider, this board may be too technical and stiff for you.
Lib Tech Orca
The Orca is designed using Lib Tech’s Banana Camber technology. This camber-rocker-camber profile has a lengthened camber underfoot, a shortened rocker between the bindings and towards the tips and a traditional flick at the tips.
It’s a great snowboard for those who enjoy riding rail to rail on hardpack groomers and need a little bit of forgiveness at times.
The Orca is wide enough to serve you well in powder and narrow enough to have some fun in the park too.
Flagship vs Orca: powder
The Orca is a more playful powder board with equal maneuverability and float. The Flagship dominates more in technical and advanced backcountry lines.
The Flagship is an unsinkable ship made for carving big-mountain lines in fresh powder.
What sets this board apart from the Orca is its extra sintered base which lets you glide over powder at speed. It’s easy to traverse over long powder flats without having to unstrap and walk, making it a great board to draw the first lines for your backcountry crew.
The Flagship’s 3D contour base helps to enhance its floatation and flow between powder carves. The wider rockered nose, directional flex patterns with more stiffness in the tail than the nose, and tapered shape digs the tail into the powder for better controlled carves.
The nose of the board has a slightly turned up edge which lets the board roll from rail to rail like a surfboard. This blunt nose gives the same benefit that a longer nose would, letting you glide over crusty powder pockets seamlessly.
Lib Tech Orca
The Orca has a long floaty nose and a set back stance for an easy powder ride. The board’s width makes up for its short length and the expansive surface area on the nose makes it feel like you are flying over the powder.
Similar to the Flagship, the rocker pocket acts as a lever which allows you to effortlessly push back on your back foot to lift the nose.
The Orca has a cutaway moon tail which helps jet the snow through the underside of the board, helping to maintain control and stability in deep powder.
Flagship vs Orca: carving
While both boards have a strong edge-hold to give you confidence for those low gravity carves, the Flagship ranks as the top powder carver while the Orca carves better on hard-pack groomers.
The Flagship, which is crafted using multi-axis stitched fiberglass, feels extremely responsive in all conditions (from ice to powder to groomers). This board carves like a machine through deep powder.
For a board with little camber, it carves pretty well on hard-pack too. While powerful and springy groomer carves are not its specialty, it does better than expected and holds its edges with some confidence.
Both the Flagship and Orca have serrated edge traction technology which help prevent sliding out at speed and on ice. If we had to choose though, we’d say the Flagship holds better than the Orca on icy surfaces.
The Orca carves like a knife for such a short board. You might need to add some extra weight into your back foot to keep it from washing out on long rail carves, but aside from this, it doesn’t feel too locked in.
It’s also surprisingly nimble for its wide and short shape, which makes it easy to transition from edge to edge without losing control. The width means you can get super low to the snow on your carves without catching your toes.
Flagship vs Orca: turning
The Flagship has a progressive sidecut mechanism which increases towards the front of the board. This makes quick turn transitions seamless. The rocker profile at the tip and tail make skidded turns a breeze for such an aggressive board.
This board pines for straight-lining narrow S-turns and will come to a halt quickly when needed. It feels super fast from edge to edge and will hold tight on sketchy ice.
The Orca feels a lot looser than the Flagship and skid turns without fault. Riding on the base of the board is slippery and cat-track riding requires a bit of concentration.
That being said, the edgehold is exceptional for a rocker profile and once the edge is set, it grips to the snow like a suction and is ideal for hard and icy snow.
The Orca also has super quick turn initiation for a board with such a wide waist, and handles turns with control. For a technical board, it has a forgiving feel and is easy to recover if you wash out.
All in all, both boards have quick turn initiation and are fast on the rails. The Flagship prefers narrow S-turns and the Orca is a lot looser for those who prefer skidded turns.
Flagship vs Orca: trees & slow sections
With their quick turn initiation and maneuverability, both the Flagship and Orca are ideal tree riding boards.
The Flagship is quick for short-radius rail to rail turns and is an ideal board for approaching tight tree and cliff lines.
The Flagship’s balance between responsiveness at high speeds and agility at slow speeds is second to none.
The Orca’s cutaway nose makes it shorter and easier to quickly maneuver through trees and rocks. It feels easy to control and responsive in unpredictable situations.
Flagship vs Orca: fast riding
If you have a need for speed, the Flagship is faster in powder while both are adequately speedy on groomers.
The Flagship is a hard-charging board which will get you down the mountain with speed and slow almost immediately when you turn. Its sintered base uses highly durable and absorbent P-Tex materials and is designed with speed and steep lines in mind.
The board maintains its speed well through powder, slush, crust and hard-pack, gliding through rough patches without fault. The dampness and stiffer flex make it one of the best backcountry bombing boards on the mountain.
The Orca also has a sintered base and is also able to drive hard and fast without feeling sticky. It’s damp, stable and has great edge hold when riding at speed.
The serrated traction edges on both boards increase speed further by cutting into hard and icy snow and powering through unexpected ice chatter sheets.
Flagship vs Orca: rugged terrain
While both boards manage rugged terrain well for their flex ratings, the Orca truly is the ideal 4X4 board, and digs through chunder leaving trenches in its wake.
The Flagship is built with basalt and flax stringers which transfer energy to the edges of the board and reduce chatter throughout your body.
The board’s dampness makes it an ideal ride for terrain where you don’t know when or if you’re going to run into slush, powder, chatter, moguls or ice. It combines stiffness and aggressiveness with characteristics of a freeride board which can power over chatter and weave around bumps.
The wooden core is softer between the feet for easy turning and stiffer towards the tips, offering more stability for riding through bumps.
The Orca doesn’t have that bouncy, chattery feel that many shorter and wider boards have on uneven terrain. The dampness of the base also absorbs a great amount of chatter preventing the vibrations from passing into your legs.
This is furthered by the wide nose which cruises over just about anything and everything. The Orca truly is a great all-terrain board and digs through chunder leaving trenches in its wake.
Flagship vs Orca: jumps and tricks
Considering these boards weren’t designed with the park in mind, they will pleasantly surprise you.
All Jones boards leave the factory ready and broken in from day one. They use a flex machine to process the board, making it responsive and flexible from the start, increasing the boards flex and pop for the park.
The one thing this board really doesn’t excel at is jibbing, as it feels a bit too locked in and technical. While it’s not an all-time park or pipe board, the Flagship definitely shines better on medium to large kickers than small ones.
In the same vein, it does great when approaching and kicking off cliffs and has a solid landing in softer snow too.
The Orca is a more forgiving park board than the Flagship. Lib Tech created the board with lightweight aspen and paulownia wood core, and the board is softer than the Flagship.
The rocker profile gives the Orca a bend in the middle which offers a lot of opportunity for pop and flex.
All in all, the Orca is probably a better option for those wanting to combine 50 / 50 park and backcountry.
Flagship vs Orca: switch riding
With directional, tapered and set back stances, neither the Flagship nor the Orca is the best switch board out there. While any professional may be able to prove this wrong, they aren’t ideal for buttering switch and landing kickers backwards.
The Flagship is an ultimate big-mountain powder board which will shine on all technical backcountry lines. It’s an advanced option for those looking to spend more time out-of-bounds than on groomers, and for those who aren’t afraid to leap off cliffs.
The Orca is appropriate for most freeride-meet-freestyle scenarios and will serve the advanced snowboarder looking to combine backcountry, powder and freestyle excellently.