The Elan Ripstick 96 Black Edition is the premiere version of their Ripstick 96 all-mountain ski. What does premiere entail? Well, Glen Plake is wearing a black and white tux in the catalog right next to it, but that doesn’t mean much. The important stuff here is that it uses the same TNT construction technology seen in the Ripstick 96, but enhances it with additional carbon fiber. The 3-dimensional carbon tubes used in the TNT construction have a unique feel, providing a smoother feel with more vibration damping than 2-dimensional carbon applications. That’s a key ingredient to the overall performance and feel of these Ripstick skis, and their shape is too. Amphibio technology uses more rocker along the outside edge and camber along the inside edge. Elan has determined this technique provides a more intuitive, balanced feel, while also creating easier turn initiation.
James Stewart tested the 181 cm length and gave the Ripstick 96 Black high scores across the board. James referred to it as a “super energetic carver. Very stable at speed for how light it is, and it doesn’t take a lot of speed to come to life.” That’s one of the best characteristics of the Ripstick models. They can handle fast, aggressive skiing, but they also feel great and are a lot of fun at slower speeds too. “There is some high-tech stuff going on with this ski. Milled cores and carbon tunes and all… and it works. This ski is underrated.”
Annie MacDonald couldn’t resist the opportunity to test a 181 cm Ripstick 96 Black and absolutely loved it. She basically drew a line through the 5 column for every criteria, with only flotation dropping to 4 out of 5. “So fun! Really playful, easy turning, and light, but torsionally stiff too. You can stomp out GS turns, but through quick snappy turns in and it responds! Great overall ski for a variety of conditions and abilities!” Versatility is easily one of the highlights of both the Ripstick 96 and the Ripstick 96 Black.
“What is in a name?” asked David Wolfgang after his test runs on a 181 cm Ripstick 96 Black. “When it comes to the Ripstick, everything. This ski can rip.” We saw high scores from David for quickness/maneuverability, stability, torsional stiffness/edge grip, versatility, and overall impression. “Extremely quick edge to edge, while still maintaining great stability. A real winner!”
Josh Wolfgang, David’s son, also skied the 181 cm length and “thought it was a great all-mountain ski,” proving that the Ripstick 96 Black appeals to multiple generations! “Super fun on a ton of different terrain. I think when you put this ski up against something like an Enforcer 100, it’s a lot of fun.” That’s an interesting comment, suggesting that the Ripstick 96 Black is a little easier to ski than some of the heavier competitors out there, but based on the feedback from our testers, it can handle aggressive skiing too.
Brad Schauerman has emerged as a big fan of the Ripstick series, and the 96 Black was certainly no exception. “This ski is very quick and nimble. Very fun, very playful. Lots of life and energy in the core of the ski. The carbon helps to stabilize at speed.” Brad gave the Ripstick 96 Black high scores across the board, with no criteria dropping below 4 out of 5.
If you value a lightweight feel, but don’t want to sacrifice power or torsional stiffness in your all-mountain ski, the Ripstick 96 Black is a fantastic choice. It feels energetic, it can play and maneuver through trees and tricky terrain, but it can also lay down fast carving turns and hold an edge on firm snow. As a bonus, it looks super sleek with the blacked out graphics, and we’d venture a guess you’ll get a lot of questions and comments in the lift line.