The Elan Ripstick 94 W made waves at our 2019 Ski Test and earned a lot of high praise from our female testers. It’s back unchanged for 2020, but of course we put it to the test again. It’s now the middle ski among three women’s specific Ripstick models ranging from 88 to 102 mm underfoot. These skis use unique construction with 3-dimensional carbon tubes running through the wood core. They also have an interesting shape, with more rocker along the outside edge and camber along the inside edge. This is intended to maximize edge grip, while also improving turn initiation and boosting versatility in softer snow conditions. The Ripstick skis have become known for their lightweight feel, smooth flex pattern, ease of use, yet high performance ceiling. Perhaps above all else, they’re just a lot of fun to ski.
Nifer Hoehn wasn’t present at our 2019 Ski Test, and hadn’t ever skied a Ripstick model, so she was the perfect tester for the Ripstick 94 W this year. She skied the 170 cm length and really enjoyed its performance. Not a single score under 4 out of 5 from Nifer, with flotation, stability, torsional stiffness/edge grip, versatility, and overall impression earning 5 out of 5. Those are impressive scores, and it always tells a lot when overall impression gets that coveted 5. Nifer “loved these.” She had a lot of really good feedback on the Ripstick 94 W and was impressed by what Elan has accomplished with this construction and design. “Tips didn’t rattle at high speed, despite the rocker. Held an edge well throughout the turn and was easy to engage and bring around. I like the theory behind the specific edge and it makes sense. It makes the ski a little more of a high maintenance thing, but it works.” It’s true that you’re going to have to pay attention a little more to which ski you’re putting on which foot, but that’s a reasonable trade-off considering the feel it achieves. “I like the graphics and think this is a really nice all-mountain ski. I would highly recommend.” From a skier like Nifer, that’s high praise, she rips.
Catherine Ferguson was also a new tester for the 2020 Ski Test, so we pushed her towards a pair of the Ripstick 94 W as well. Like Nifer, Catherine skied the 170 cm length. “Would have liked to ski them in softer conditions, but I really enjoyed the left and right ski edges. You could really tell the difference in turn control with the new technology.” Catherine has an extensive skiing background, and had never tried anything like the asymmetrical Ripstick 94 W. It’s nice to know she likes it, as a lot of skiers look at this shape with some skepticism. Catherine thought it would be a great all-mountain ski for “an intermediate to expert skier,” which has become somewhat of a theme with Elan’s skis. They’re approachable for intermediates and less aggressive skiers, but they still satisfy the demands and expectations of an expert, which is a tremendous accomplishment. Not only are they versatile in the different terrain they can handle, they’re also versatile in the sense that a lot of different skiers can enjoy their performance.
If you want a versatile all-mountain ski that will literally take you anywhere on the mountain, the Ripstick 94 W should definitely be on your short list. Not many skis can match its blend of forgiveness, playfulness, edge grip, responsiveness, and power. The performance and feel that Elan has achieved with their new construction and shape concepts is hands-down impressive. Don’t overlook them because they’re on the lighter side or because they use right and left-specific skis. These things rip, and the asymmetrical shape isn’t a gimmick, it works.