The Elan Ripstick 96 emerged onto the scene in our 2019 Ski Test and impressed a whole bunch of people. Elan’s unique blend of construction and shaping concepts results in a ski that effectively sets itself apart from a sea of all-mountain skis. 3-dimensional carbon fiber provides a responsive, energetic feel, while providing more stability and vibration damping than 2-dimensional carbon applications. They utilize an asymmetrical shape with more rocker along your outside edge and camber along the inside edge, designed to provide plenty of edge grip, while making turn initiation smoother and easier and boosting the ski’s overall versatility for different terrain and turn shapes. The Ripstick 96, and the rest of the collection, is impressively lightweight compared to most high-end skis in the all-mountain range. They also have a softer flex pattern than a lot of skis, which often makes people overlook them, but even the most aggressive skiers should have the Ripstick 96 on their radar.
Brad Schauerman skied the 181 cm length and loved its performance. Brad has become quite the fan of the Ripstick models over 2 years of testing them. “The name says it all. This ski rips! A little on the soft, flexible side, but still definitely feels all there.” If you hand flex this ski on the wall of your local ski shop, you might not expect it performs at the level it does. Manufacturers are starting to really differentiate between longitudinal flex and torsional stiffness, allowing a ski to flex on the length axis, while still holding an edge really well. “Very quick and nimble and easy to make all types of turns. Nice light swing weight for fast turns, but holds an edge great for big GS turns.” That’s the impressive versatility of the Ripstick 96. You can carve, you can pivot through moguls, you can manipulate turn shape, you really can do a lot on it, which makes it a fantastic all-mountain ski. You’re not going to feel held back anywhere on the mountain.
Phil McGrory also skied the 181 cm length and he too was impressed by the ski’s ability to do a lot of different things. “Quick turn initiation allows for a variety of turn shapes.” The Ripstick 96 is very responsive to skier input and its rocker profile and early tapered tips and tails allows you to manipulate turn styles with ease. The softer flex pattern paired with strong torsional stiffness lets a skier even change carving turn radius as you can get the ski to flex into a shorter radius turn relatively easily. Phil also found it was “damp enough for higher speeds, but playful enough for varying terrain.”
Jeff Neagle also skied the 181 cm Ripstick 96 and was impressed by its overall versatility and feel. “Arguably the most versatile of all the Ripstick skis, the 96 feels playful and maneuverable, yet can hold an edge quite well too.” Jeff gave the Ripstick 96 high scores for stability, quickness/maneuverability, playfulness, and overall impression. “Less demanding than a lot of the upper-level mid-90 mm skis, but it’s still all there. I think a lot of skiers would enjoy this ski. You don’t have to be the most aggressive skier on the mountain, but you can be and the Ripstick 96 performs admirably.”
Among all-mountain skis in this width range, the Ripstick 96 has to be one of the most versatile. It will satisfy a wide range of different skiers as you don’t have to be the world’s most talented or aggressive skier to enjoy it, yet when you put it on the feet of an aggressive expert, they’re not disappointed by any means. Its shape allows for tremendous maneuverability in off-piste scenarios, but it has enough torsional stiffness to rip high speed carving turns on firm snow, too. Well done, Elan!