The Ripstick 88 is the newest and narrowest ski in Elan’s collection of all-mountain freeride skis. They’ve taken the successful construction and shape of the wider Ripstick models and repackaged it in a narrower waist width. These skis are unique in their construction and shape. Elan uses 3-dimensional carbon tubes running through the ski’s wood core. This application of carbon provides a much smoother feel with better vibration damping than most skis using carbon. Elan also uses an asymmetrical shape with more rocker along the outside edge and camber along the inside edge. This gives the ski the ability to hold an edge even on very firm conditions, while also smoothing out turn initiation and giving it a more versatile feel and more capabilities in softer snow conditions. This 88 mm width range is a popular league and we’re excited about this new player.
Parker Herlihy, who in years past has won the Overall Ski The East Freeride title, is a great person to test the limits of a new ski. He opted for the 186 cm length in the Ripstick 88, which happens to be the longest length available. Lots of high scores from Parker, including 5 out of 5 for stability, torsional stiffness/edge grip, and overall impression. “No speed limit! Give’r a rip!!” If Parker can’t find a speed limit, not many skiers are going to. He was impressed by its ability to rip on firm snow, but also by its quickness and playful nature. Not many skis, or maybe no skis, have this blend of playfulness and torsional stiffness. “Quick to engage. So so stiff underfoot and so so sick. Love them.” He actually drew a heart on his test form too. Parker had heard the hype, but hadn’t had a chance to ski them until our test. His closing comment was “there’s a reason why people talk about these.”
Michael Rooney went for the 179 cm length and he too was impressed by the versatility of the Ripstick 88. Michael found it held an edge really well on hardpack, and also that it “handles bumps and choppy snow well. Turns easily regardless of what type of snow and terrain.” That’s where the shape of the Ripstick 88 really comes into play. Its unique rocker profile paired with substantial early taper in the tips and tails gives it a very intuitive feel and allows for easy turn initiation in a huge variety of situations. It also lets the skier make different style turns on demand. It will hold an edge and finish a true carve, but it will also pivot, slip, smear, and slash when you want it to.
Tad Lamell admitted he was a little turned off by the right and left ski concept, but after testing the 179 cm length, he was impressed by its feel and performance. He thought it was a “good shape,” as it provides that versatility we just talked about. Tad also really enjoyed the feel of initiating turns, ‘I was impressed with the ease of turns,” which is a recurring theme on any Ripstick model.
Dave Marryat is known more for his prowess on a snowboard than his skiing chops, but that actually makes him a great ski tester as he has a different perspective and less experience than some of our seasoned vets. “Ripstick 88 rips! I purposefully grabbed the 172 cm and found it quick through the turn and confidence-inspiring in mixed conditions.” Between Parker and Dave, we’re covered two ends of the skiing ability spectrum. Parker easily falls into the expert category, and Dave squarely into the intermediate realm. They both loved the Ripstick 88, which really says a lot about the ski.
The Ripstick 88 from Elan provides tremendous all-mountain versatility for a whole slew of different skiers. It’s approachable for intermediates and even timid skiers, while experts will appreciate its versatility, responsiveness, and the fact you can ski it really aggressively if you want to. It performs well in all but the deepest snow conditions, suggesting that it could be a good one-ski-quiver for a lot of skiers, especially those who don’t encounter deep snow conditions very often.