A big guy's review of the 2012/13 Lib Tech Skunk Ape

March 12, 2014

I've mainly ridden the same snowboard since 2001, an Option Supercharger 174.

As far as boards go, this one is big, stiff and built like a tank. Hence, why I've owned it for 13 years. I've ridden (and crashed) it all over Alberta, BC, Alaska and Yukon, and the Supercharger has proven itself as a reliable partner.

But here's the thing: After 13 years, my Option isn't what it used to be. There's next to no edge remaining, the base is full of gouges (some down to the core, which I've repaired) and there's barely any semblance of camber left. The Supercharge is basically 174 cm of flat lifeless wood, p-text and a tiny bit of metal.

Snowboard technologies have changed a lot over the past 10 years (and especially during the past five). Back when I bought my board, you essentially had to choose between narrow or wide, length and graphics. Nowadays, we have flexes in regular camber, rocker, hybrid rocker, hybrid camber and more, plus a lot of experimentation in shapes and tapers.

I've been dreaming of a new board, so yesterday I took a friend's 2012/13 Lib Tech Skunk Ape 165W out at Mount Sima. He had a pair of Bent Metal bindings on it, but I switched those out for my beloved four-year old Burton Missions.

I'm 6'3", so I've long chosen boards that are 167 CM or bigger. I was a little worried about the 165 CM length of the Skunk Ape, but after strapping in and taking my first run, I realized it was not going to be a problem. At all. The Skunk Ape is pretty stiff yet at the same time, hyper responsive and quick to turn.It was a very icy day, so the Lib's Magne-Traction was completely amazing. I had edge bite everywhere and the board carved equally as well backward as it did forward.

Coming from a traditional camber board - and one that's really lost most of its camber too - I loved the duality of the Skunk Ape's C2 BTX Power Banana rocker.

Instead of the board feeling like one fluid flex from tip to tail, the Banana camber feels split between your feet; your back foot can do one thing while your front does another. It's hard to describe, but it's a really good thing. The Lib felt like a snowboard should naturally feel and not just an borrowed ski technology.

The only drawback I found with the Power Banana camber is that I couldn't get the pop I was used to with the Supercharger.

On my Option, I simply have to lean back, load up the tail and the board ollies itself.

On the Skunk Ape, I couldn't figure that out, so I kept pulling lame ollies and nose-diving off rollers. I'm sure this would be something that comes with practice.

Unfortunately, the Skunk Ape had to go back but I was so excited about my afternoon with it that I phoned our local Lib Tech dealer to see if they had any models left in stock, but everything was gone. I then went online to a snowboard shop in Vancouver and they had a 172 cm in stock and on sale, so I bought it.

In summary: After two hours on the Lib Tech Skunk Ape, I'm a convert. A believer in the power of hybrid camber and the wonders of Magne-Traction. Snowboards have come a long way since my Option Supercharger was made. If you're in the same situation, take a Skunk Ape out for a ride.