2019 Elan Ripstick 96 Ski Image 2019 Elan Ripstick 96 Ski Image 2

2019 Elan Ripstick 96 Skis

Elan has made quite the splash over the past few years. As innovators of parabolic ski shape history, the company does not shy away from different ideas. Their flagship all-mountain ski, the Ripstick 96, is built as a directional, left/right footed ski that will take your skiing to the next level by utilizing amphibio technology and good old fashioned ski construction proficiency. The skis are designated right and left, with the difference found in the rocker profile. The skis have camber on the inside edge and rocker on the outside edge. As a result, the downhill ski hooks up easier and the rocker on the uphill ski allows a more free-flexing initiation. The end game is a silky smooth turn that feels a lot easier to complete and transition to the next turn. At 96 mm underfoot, the skis are a perfect one-ski quiver width, and with the wood core technology, the skis are light, stable, and responsive. This is the second year we’ve reviewed the Elan Ripstick series, and the 96 keeps getting glowing reviews. All of our testers skied on the 181 cm length.

Jason Krupsky talks a big game about the playful nature of the Ripstick 96. He scored the skis 5 out of 5 for playfulness, forgiveness, and overall impression. The lightweight nature of the skis really stands out for all of our testers, and Jason is no exception. His other high scores for versatility, stability, and quickness fall in line with what the ski is designed to do. He calls the Ripstick 96 a “very versatile ski for both short and long radius turns. Playful with a lot of energy.” That’s a great combination to have in a ski for sure. His target market for the Ripstick 96 is “skiers looking for an all mountain ski for groomers and varied snow conditions.” The width and construction of the skis certainly lend themselves to all-mountain, all-conditions skiing.

Justin Perry was also a big fan of the Ripstick 96’s versatility. He gave top scores for flotation, quickness, and versatility. All of his other marks were 4’s out 5, so it’s fair to say that he was impressed with the overall performance of the skis. While he noted that hard snow performance was not a strength, we’re not particularly surprised to hear this due to the lack of metal in the skis. He calls them “very versatile in the soft conditions. The asymmetrical design doesn’t seem to help on the hard snow, but in the deeper stuff, bring it on!” This is where Elan really nails it. In soft snow, the amphibio technology really kicks in. You can feel the inside edge of the ski carefully, closely, and instinctively follow the downhill ski, and makes for complete and total smoothness when turning through fresh snow and crud.

James Stewart had quite a positive experience on the Ripstick 96 as well. He gave 4’s out of 5 for flotation, stability, quickness, versatility, and overall impression. He liked the width of the skis, and felt like they could pretty much tackle any terrain and condition. “All the great Ripstick feel in a wider platform. They have lots of energy and groomer performance for a ski that’s just as happy skiing in natural terrain.” He goes on to state that the Ripstick 96 was “really fun ripping through the soft spring groomers. Lightning fast rebound.” That rebound is important to note because as a wood core ski, the Ripstick should be super quick from edge to edge. It’s always nice having a tester concur with the intended use and performance levels of the skis.

Elan has created a new type of all-mountain ski with the Ripstick 96. If you’re a fan of lightweight, snappy, and stable skis, the 96 is certainly worth a look. The ability of the skis to get from edge to edge with minimal chatter and vibrations tells a lot about the overall versatile nature of the product.

Testers

Justin Perry SkiEssentials Ski Test Headshot

Justin Perry

Age: 28Height: 5'9"Weight: 165 lbs.

Ski Style: Aggressive all-mountain freeride

James Stewart SkiEssentials Ski Test Headshot

James Stewart

Age: 29Height: 6'1"Weight: 175 lbs.

Ski Style: Energetic, playful, and fun to follow

Jason Krupsky SkiEssentials Ski Test Headshot

Jason Krupsky

Age: 46Height: 5'10"Weight: 180 lbs.

Ski Style: Racer-ish with a need for speed

33 Comments on the “2019 Elan Ripstick 96 Skis”

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  1. Would James go with a 181 or 188 for his personal rig? 195-200lbs here. 6’2. And tele. Any suggestions on length ?

    1. Hey Zach,
      I’d say James would take the 188 due to the lightness of the skis. For you and your tele setup, I’d recommend the same. I really like the looks of these for a telmark ski. Anything with the asymmetrical shape works really well–make sure you put your bindings on the proper ski!
      SE

  2. Elan 96 or Rustler 9…?

    I’m a skier who will ski all kinds of terrain in a day with a mixture of fast turns on steep slopes, big carved turns and any good snow off piste whenever I can find it. I like to challenge myself.

    I skied Blizzard Brahma last season and really enjoyed the way it felt so stable, strong and at the same time intense, especially carving at high speed. There was just a niggle in my mind – somehow I felt a tiny bit constrained, even though it was great to fully commit to every turn and to charge. I guess I didn’t feel as comfortable or manoeuvrable in the steep fast turns, that was all.

    Two skis which seem well reviewed but just very different are the Elan Ripstick 96 and the Rustler 9. But maybe there’s another more suitable one out there..?

    1. Hi Ed,

      If you liked the feel of the Brahma and that stability underfoot, I would go with the Rustler 9. You get a similar feel underfoot, but the ski is much easier to maneuver and pivot than the Brahma. The Ripstick 96 is much softer-flexing and doesn’t use any metal, so I would worry a little bit that you’d miss that stable, powerful feel underfoot.

      Sounds like the Rustler 9 would work really well for you. In general, it’s a great ski for anyone who is in the “I’ve skied a Brahma and liked it, but it was a little too much for daily use” category.

      Hope that helps!

      SE

      1. Amazing thank you so much! Your site is awesome
        – tone, and balance of expertise and accessibility perfectly matched.

        Quick final question

        – I really ski a huge variety of slopes with 50% piste; love to really challenge myself whether steep and narrow (inc colouirs) trees, powder or pushing it on piste
        – I’d say I’m advanced, been skiing since I was 7
        – I’m 39, 6ft and around 150-160 pounds

        Still Rustler 9, and should I go for 180?

      2. Hi again Ed!

        Yup, in fact, your extra information is really just re-enforcing my opinion that the Rustler 9 is the way to go. It’s really one of the most versatile skis available right now and is perfect for an advanced skier like yourself who is seeking out challenging terrain. Yeah, I’d go 180 cm. I’m like an inch shorter than you, but the same weight, and I definitely prefer skiing the 180 cm over any other length.

        Hope that helps!

        SE

  3. Interesting concept. I am attracted to the description of liveliness.
    I’m old.
    What that means is that in the mornings I can happily ski the most precise and demanding ski–after lunch, not so much.
    I like a ski that I can stake my life on, because there are some runs where I do just that. You know, an icy line that drops a long way down to rocks. Being a Sierra skier I most often encounter crud. Being a S @ T skier it means lots of trees a no bowls.
    My current ride (Nordica NRGY 100) are heavy and a less than lively, but I do love them none the less.
    Would these be an improvement?

    1. Hi Tom!

      It does sound like the Ripstick 96 would be a better ski for you than the NRGY 100. You’re right, the NRGY 100 is a pretty heavy ski and not super energetic or responsive. You can still trust the Ripstick 96, it has good edge grip on firm snow, but its longitudinal flex pattern is much softer than the NRGY 100 and it’s also significantly lighter, so just less fatiguing and more forgiving overall. In my opinion it’s an awesome ski for Sierra at Tahoe, you guys have some great terrain out there. I think you’ll find it has the precision you’re looking for, but won’t beat you up as much at the NRGY 100.

      Hope that helps!

      SE

  4. Silly question about the bindings for the Ripstick. I´m sold on the skis, but not sure which bindings to choose. I´ll use the skis as a true all-round pair, not doing a ton of off-piste, but enjoying the fresh powder here in Norway. Hence I love the extra width. Not sure if I should go for “proper” free-ride bindings, or should I go with something more conventional. Thanks a million in advance!

    1. Hi Damjan!
      We pair those skis with either the Marker Griffon 13 or the Tyrolia Attack 13. If you have a different company or style that you prefer, by all means! Have fun!
      SE

  5. Hi, been going through a lot of reviews on your site – they’re great!

    I’m looking to get my first pair of skis, and want a 1 quiver all-mountain ski. I’ve more or less narrowed down to the Volkl 90eight and the Elan Ripstick 96 (probably the normal one, not the Black Edition). I was also previously considering the M5 Mantra and Fischer Ranger 98 Ti, but now less so. However I welcome all suggestions.

    I would consider myself an advanced intermediate skier, and I’m 5′ 10″ (178cm) and around 150lbs or a little less, so pretty light. I only started skiing a few years ago, but have been in the company of excellent skiers and have progressed fairly quickly. I live on the east coast, so on average I’d say over the next few years I’ll ski about 5 days in New England, 5 days out West, and 5 days in the Alps each season. I generally prefer ungroomed runs (including moguls) to groomed ones, and also like skiing bowls when out West. I feel comfortable getting down Blacks/Double Blacks, but wouldn’t say that I “charge” or “rip” them as of yet, though if they are groomed sometimes I do. I’m more of a beginner intermediate in making really tight turns for tree skiing, and thats something I’d definitely like to get better at and ski more of. My legs also do get tired more quickly than my friends, so maybe that suggests a lighter ski.

    Thoughts on what might be best for me, both in terms of ski and length? I most recently skied a 163cm K2 Pinnacle 88 Ti which was a joy on the groomers and great through choppy stuff, but less awesome when hitting the deep snow on the back bowls. I kind of ruled out the Mantra because it might be too powerful for me / my size, and more or less ruled out the Ranger because I thought the 90eight was just a better version of that for me. If I went with the 90eight I think 170 cm would be right, but am less sure about the Ripstick since it comes in 167 and 174. Would love to hear thoughts on these skis or any others.

    Sorry for the essay, looking forward to your thoughts! Thanks

    1. Hi Ryan!
      I agree that you should probably rule out the Mantra, but the Fischer, even with its metal, is pretty light and stable. I’d add to your list the K2 Pinnacle 95 (if you liked the 88, this one’s just wider), and the Blizzard Rustler 9. As long as you stay in the mid-90’s underfoot, you’ll get a great one-ski quiver. The Elan is probably the lightest of the group and I found that it likes to be on edge in order to gain the maximum performance. The Pinnacle 95, Rustler 9, and 90Eight are a bit more stout, with the K2 and the Blizzard both containing partial sheets of metal for increased stability at speed and damping properties. For the Ripstick, I’d recommend the 174, and for the other models, I’d stay in the low to mid 170’s if at all possible. The good news is that all four of these skis are very nice, and it’s hard to go wrong with any of them. Have fun!
      SE

  6. I just turned 60 and really just got back into skiing when I moved to Colorado about 4 years ago. I currently ski the Rossignol Experience 84 in 178 length. The e84 is really good on groomed runs but not very good when I get on ungroomed runs at Loveland or Abasin. They also feel a tad long for me. I was recently able to demo the Icelantic Pioneer 96 and the Liberty Helix 98 both in 172 lengths in skied out powder with a lot of irregular bumps. I liked the flex in the icelantic pioneer but thought the rocker profile was a little too surfy. The Helix performed better for me but felt very stiff. I did like the 172 length in both. How do the Ripsticks compare to these two and would you suggest a 174 since I did like the 172s over my 178s?

    1. Hi Mark!
      The Ripstick’s big thing is it’s light weight. When on edge, the carbon tubes keep the ski smooth and in control in the turns, but the ski definitely prefers to be on edge and engaged in the turns. They’re surprisingly maneuverable and fun, and I don’t think you’ll find them stiff if you thought the Helix was on the stiff side. I’d agree with the 174 in terms of length. Hope that helps!
      SE

  7. Hello, I am a larger individual (5’11”, 240 lbs) and advanced skier. I am currently skiing a 2017 Vokl Kendo (177) and stick mainly to groomers on the east coast. My son is improving drastically and keeps asking to go off-trail. I’m all for for it, but I need a more flexible ski. Would you recommend the Ripstick 96, Ripstick 96 Black, or another ski option?

    Thanks, JL

    1. Hi JL!
      My caution against the Ripstick is that they are pretty soft and light, so be prepared for that. On the slightly stiffer side, check out the K2 Pinnacle 95 or the Blizzard Rustler 9 for great on/off-trail performers with partial metal laminate, so as to retain maneuverability without being too stiff or too heavy. Have fun!
      SE

  8. I just bought a pair of Rip Stick 96’s – black edition. I would categorize my skiing is intermediate/advanced. I like going fast, but stay in bounds and avoid bumps and if I’m being honest, I mainly ski groomers out east and some off-trail the 4-5 times I’ll go out west. I am 5 ‘9 and weigh 180lbs, and based on sizing reco’s I bought the 174’s, but I’m coming off hip surgery I’m a slightly more cautious skier and I’m wondering if I should swap to the smaller 167’s?

    1. Hi Doug!
      I’d say the 174 is on the long side, but not too long. If you are getting more cautious, the shorter length is a better choice for your application. If you can swap them, I guess I would. Hope that helps!
      SE

  9. Coments on 96. Demo’d 96 last year and 3 turns down my favorite warmup run I fell in love. Purchased here on Essentials. I am 77 yrs old, have skied for 50yrs. Advanced skier now and mainly ski the side country, love the trees and powder. Been skiing the QST Solomon for a few years, 181cm and just got where I couldn’t turn them in the powder like I wanted. My opinion of the 96 is: playful and quick but NOT squirrelly, solid in all turn phases, good beyond expectations on groomers. A real confidence booster – more confidence means better skiing and more smiles. Have skied 180 length for about 10 yrs now but dropped to 174 mainly thinking at 77 they may be better. They are ! FYI 5’11 and 190lbs 50 plus years on snow, ex-racer, instructor etc.

    1. Hi Charlie!
      I think the entire Ripstick line would make good tele skis, from resort skiers to backcountry tourers. The 96 is right in the middle ground/sweet spot for widths, as I mainly telemark ski on a 98-102 underfoot. They’re not too heavy, so you’ll be able to drive them with the T2 for sure. Have fun!
      SE

  10. I am a beginner-intermediate (more beginner) skiier coming off of 20 years of softboot snowboarding and alpine hardbooting. I am 6’6″ 215lbs and looking for a forgiving ski that will progress with me for a few years. Last year was the first time I was on skis since a teen and I loved it. Want a confidence-inspiring ski. I was told by my guy at the local shop this was the ski. Was he right?
    Thanks
    E

    1. Hi Evan!
      Great skis for sure. My only concern is that your size could push them pretty hard. They also make the Ripstick 96 Black edition which is a bit stiffer due to an extra carbon sheet, so I’d check that out as well. There’s a lot in the mid-90’s underfoot range. Also check out the Blizzard Rustler 9, Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, and Fischer Ranger 99 Ti for some comparisons. Even though you’re a “beginner,” you have on-snow experience and some size that will demand a higher-performing ski, so don’t be put off if some of these models indicate a top-end performance level. Have fun!
      SE

  11. Ripstick 96 or Pinnacle 95 Ti

    Hi guys, love your review so I thought to post my question for some guidance.

    I’m 169cm, had my Telemark outlaw setup on Pinnacle 95 (2017) 177cm and absolutely love it. I ski on Hokkaido powder mainly, touring, and occasionally enjoy carving on the groomers. However recently I broke the tip of the ski. I’m currently thinking of getting the Pinnacle 95 Ti, but then Ripstick 96 caught my eye. After looking thru the review, it sounds like the Ripstick would be good for the carve (Pinnacle rattle like crazy), and is also lighter for touring. The only concern is when I’m in the powder. I love having my Pinnacle 95 in the powder as I love the popping in and out sensation. I’m wondering would Ripstick 96 give me the similar sensation? I’m thinking of the 181cm. Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Great comparison, Francis!
      I don’t think the Ripstick will offer the same flotation performance–that Pinnacle tip is very floaty (hence the rattle). But I’ve always thought the Ripstick line would make awesome telemark skis, mostly due to the Amphibio rocker profile. Just keep in mind that there is a designated right and left ski, so mount accordingly! Just for fun, check out the Armada Tracer 98–I’ve always seen tele potential in that ski. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thank you for your advise. Having same thoughts in terms of the flotation. So in that case if I get onto 181cm for the ripsticks, works that compensate for what I’ve lost on my previous 177cm Pinnacle? I’m 169cm. Cheers

      2. Hi Francis!
        I think the 181 is getting long. If you’re really looking for more flotation, I’d recommend keeping the length shorter and getting a wider ski. Hope that helps!
        SE

  12. Hello, great site and reviews, thank you. I’m 6 ft 4 and 205; I’ve been skiing consistently for 5 years and bought the k2 pinnacle 95 to help improve and get off piste. I got them in a 177 as I was starting out, but now see they are too short. Last week, I did a full day demo on Elan 88 ripstick in the 180 (179?) Length, stayed on groomers and moguls, really loved it. I wanted to demo the 189, but it was out. I’d like to order either the Ripstick 96 or the 88; what’s your opinion on length and ski width? Also, I ski 70 percent off piste, so is the 96 better or a bit of redundancy to my existing 95? The 88 was so much fun and really different, so was leaning that way, still felt like it was a bit short though. I’d say I’m in the advanced category, maybe late intermediate /early advanced. I see you have the 96 demo for sale and the 88 with bindings at a great price, would like to order one asap as we are headed on a spring break ski trip in 2 weeks, thanks!

    1. Hi Stefan!
      Either way, I’d go with the long one–you’re certainly allowed due to your size. I think you’ll love the 96–especially since you’re 70% off-piste. The 88 will certainly be better for moguls and carving turns, but the 96 is far more versatile and it sounds like that’s what you’re looking for. You’ll likely never look back to the K2! Have fun!
      SE

  13. Hi,

    Telemark a Black Crows Camox with 22D Outlaws, looking for a multi-day touring set-up and so far it’s down to Elan 96 or Faction Agent 2.0 to add a Meidjo 2.1 to.

    Intermediate to advanced but with limited touring mileage. What would you recommend (open to suggestions)?

    Cheers,

    Matt

    1. HI Matt!
      I can’t speak to the Faction, but I am a big fan of the Ripstick 96. Also for a telemark application, having the right/left specific ski is a pretty cool thing–not sure if those bindings are interchangeable or not, but the asymmetry of the Elan I think is interesting for tele. Light and energetic for sure!
      SE

  14. Hello,
    I am a 61 years old, 6’ 2’’ 170 pounds advanced Jay Peak skier.
    I’m looking for a soft snow ski that can carve but also pivot. I already have a carving ski. ( Head magnum)
    I have tried the Head Kore 93 last year out west. Liked their stability but found them not quick enough and difficult to smear a turn.
    I’m have narrowed my search to Fischer’s Ranger 94 Fr and Elan’s Ripstick 96.
    How would you compare them?
    What length should I purchase?
    Thanks,
    Love your website!

    1. Hi Jean-Paul!
      I’d peg the Ranger 94 as the smearier of the two, and with the carbon nose and all-wood core, they’re pretty quick and agile. The Ripstick is quick as well, but prefers to be on edge, and has a stiffer, more business-like tail versus the more playful Ranger 94. For Jay soft snow and trees, I’d prefer the Ranger. For length, your height puts you in the 185, but if you prefer shorter skis, there’s nothing wrong with the 177 either. Have fun!
      SE