2018 Elan Ripstick 86 Skis 2018 Elan Ripstick 86 Skis

2018 Elan Ripstick 86 Skis

The Ripstick 86 is a brand new ski for Elan going into 2018 and is the narrowest in their new Freeride collection. It is built using their new TNT technology that uses a wood core with vapor tip inserts to reduce weight. It also uses Tubelite technology, which is essentially strips of three dimensional carbon fiber running along the edges of the ski. This increases responsiveness and stability without the extra weight of a metal laminate. They have Elan’s Mountain Rocker profile which smooths out turn initiation, while also giving them more maneuverability in variable snow and the 86 mm waist width is suitable for a wide range of terrain. What did our testers think of a ski that on paper looks to be quite the versatile all mountain ski?

James Stewart seemed impressed by the skis combination of light weight, quickness, and stability, which seems to be a theme among all these new Ripstick models from Elan. James tested the 184 cm length and he commented that it felt “super quick and light, but really stable when you get it on edge and out from under you.” He admitted that it “surprised me with its carving chops,” and we totally understand where he’s coming from. I don’t think any of us expected these skis to be such good carvers considering they are built with a focus on being light and don’t use any metal, but Elan has certainly done a commendable job retaining torsional stiffness and stability. James thinks it has a lot to do with the ski’s carbon tube stringers, simply stating that they are “rad.”

Jamie Bisbee was another tester who found the Ripstick 86 held up to just about whatever level of aggressiveness and power he put into them, “the harder you push on it the more you get out of it.” Jamie was skiing the 176 cm length and also found them to make a wide range of turn shapes really easily, “short, medium, long radius turns through anything! Hard snow? No problem.” Elan, what did you put in this ski?! Unicorn magic?

David Wolfgang continued the trend of somewhat surprised testers, commenting that he found it to be “extremely quick, but unbelievably stable.” We think this is a key word for describing the Ripstick 86: unbelievable. Pick one up and you’ll notice how light they are. Have a pair on your feet and you’ll wonder if maybe someone swapped skis without you noticing as their stability and power seem to far outperform the skis weight. David skied the 184 cm and ended up calling it a “real winner; a do everything carver.”

Dave Marryat thought it would make a “great one ski east coast quiver.” While we certainly don’t disagree with Dave, it could be a great one ski quiver for an eastern skier, it could also act as more of a dedicated on trail or carving specific ski for a western skier that already has wider, more rockered skis due to its excellent performance in soft snow. As Dave describes, they are “stable in soft corduroy and hard pack. Wide enough to smooth out crud, narrow enough to get on edge.” Dave skied the 176 cm ski.

The all mountain category has a brand new ski that’s going to turn some heads in 2018: the Elan Ripstick 86. It offers such an impressive blend of being lightweight, stable, and energetic that it almost seems to good to be true. We’d compare it to the new Blizzard Brahma CA and put it in a category of skis that seems to be becoming more common: lightweight all mountain skis that can still absolutely rip. Oh wait, maybe that’s why they called them Ripsticks?


David Wolfgang Ski Tester Headshot Image

David Wolfgang

Age: 65Height: 6'3"Weight: 230 lbs.

Ski Style: Strong, deliberate, and smooth

James Stewart Ski Tester Headshot Image

James Stewart

Age: 28Height: 6'2"Weight: 170 lbs.

Ski Style: Energetic, Playful, Fun to Follow

Dave Marryat Ski Tester Headshot Image

David Marryat

Age: 28Height: 5'11"Weight: 175 lbs.

Ski Style: Snowboarder trying to make the most of these skinny things

Jamie Bisbee Ski Tester Headshot Image

Jamie Bisbee

Age: 43Height: 5'10"Weight: 190 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast and Furious, like the movie

7 Comments on the “2018 Elan Ripstick 86 Skis”

  1. How does the ripstick 86 compare with the 96? Both have been reviewed really well. I’m an advanced intermediate skier looking for an all mountain ski. What would you guys recommend? Cheers.

    1. Hi Thomas!

      Really the only difference is in the width of the ski. Where do you live? What kind of conditions are you typically skiing? Do you spend most of your time on groomed slopes or are you venturing into un-groomed terrain? I would say if you spend most time on trail the 86 is the way to go as it’s a little quicker edge to edge. The 96 definitely feels better in soft snow or un-groomed terrain in general. Arguably a more versatile width as it can handle some powder and still does just fine on firm snow, but if you’re not often in soft snow it might not be worth getting the 96.

      Does that make sense?


      1. Thanks. That was my question too. I’m an east-coaster one-quiver skier and you sealed the deal for me on that explanation. I had just about been ready to pull the trigger on the wider ones with some reservations. Now I will go with these.

  2. I am looking at a new all mountain ski for mainly east coast (Vermont) skiing. I am currently using a 9 year old freeride park ski (119/81/107) in a 177cm length. The ELAN RIPSTICK 86 looks like a ski that would be a good fit for me. I’m 6′ 200#. What length would you recommend? I’m also looking at the Nordica Navigator 85. I’m an advanced skier and want a ski that I can ski all day on and that won’t kill me the following day! Thanks for any suggestions and any other ski recommendations!

    1. Hi Craig!

      One of the best things about the Ripstick is that it performs at a high level, but doesn’t wear you out. I think you’ll really like it. The Navigator 85 is also a great ski, but the flatter tail and the Hex Titanium Bridge does make it just slightly more demanding. In the Ripstick I think you could probably bump up to the 184 cm length at your size. It likely has more rocker than the skis you’re coming off, and they’re quite lightweight, so I don’t expect you’ll find it fatiguing.

      Hope that helps!


  3. I have had a pair of the 18/19 version to ski.
    A 177cm piece of magic. I am 5’7 150 lbs , ski is awesome everywhere I could try it groomers , mush. bumps .
    They are in my bag to go to Whistler etc next week, I am sure it will be the only one I need,

  4. This was my second demo for today, and by the second turn I was in love. It was one of those east coast days with choice of hardpack, ice, and crud. The ski was amazing. I did greens to double blacks with equal ease. It would make quick, short turns as easily as big radius carves. It held well on the ice and turned on a dime to avoid it.
    Needless to say, I bought a pair.

Comments are closed.