Elan has a whole slew of new skis for 2018 with the Ripstick 96 sitting smack dab in the middle of their freeride line in terms of the range of widths. These skis are based on Elan’s new Amphibio tech that uses specifically shaped core profiles for the left and right ski. Essentially the inside edge of the ski uses a more cambered shape to ensure edge grip and stability while a more rockered outer edge allows for quick adjustments and seamless turn initiation. The construction of the ski is designed to be both lightweight and stable thanks to a wood core with partial vapor tip inserts. The result is a ski that screams versatility, especially considering its 96 mm waist width. We were excited to find out what our testers thought of these new skis and are happy to report they received some high praise. Each of testers skied the 181 cm length.
Mike Anglin found them to be incredibly quick and playful, scoring the Ripstick 96 5 out of 5 for quickness, playfulness, as well as versatility. He described it as a “super playful medium to short turn ripper.” He also found the Ripstick 96 really adapted well to different snow conditions. On our test days we saw some firm, frozen snow up top with softer, spring-like snow at the bottom. Mike thought the ski “loved the different snow conditions from top to bottom,” and felt that “advanced intermediates to experts will love it.” Left and right specific skis are somewhat rare, but Mike thought the “Amphibio tech really felt normal,” and that it “will put a smile on your face.”
Joe Cutts found that it felt “extremely light and skiddy” when he first got on it. He admitted that he “thought I was gonna find it too wimpy after the first couple turns, but found that I could actually trust it to hold an edge and swing me back across the hill.” Joe thought it had excellent “soft snow float and ultra-nimble quickness” in addition to its ability to hold an edge. Joe found it was “surprisingly easy to control and steer and allows you to skid off speed in an instant.”
Mike Thomas was another tester that was very impressed by the new Ripstick 96 from Elan. Mike gave the ski high scores with 5 out of 5 for flotation, quickness, playfulness, forgiveness, and versatility. Those attributes seem to be what Elan was focused on achieving by giving the ski a relatively lightweight core and this ultra-maneuverable asymmetrical shape. Mike described it as “fun, quick, and lively.” He thought it did great in softer snow, and although we didn’t have any powder to ski, Mike thought it “handled the lower mountain slush beautifully.” The Ripstick 96 is going to be a great choice for skiers that like to ski tight terrain that requires a lot of quick adjustments and sliding turns. Mike definitely felt this too, commenting that it was “easy to pivot, would be really fun in the trees.” Mike thinks the ski is going to be best described as an “all mountain off-piste ski with plenty of versatility.”
We think Mike Thomas described the Ripstick 96 really well and we agree with him that it’s going to be a blast to ski in the trees. The asymmetrical rocker profile is super interesting and definitely achieves what it was designed to do. As Joe Cutts commented, it’s so maneuverable that its level of edge grip is somewhat surprising, but when you lock that inside edge into the snow it definitely holds. While super aggressive speed demons may want something with more metal for their all mountain ski, not much matches the Ripstick’s versatility across a variety of terrain and conditions.