2020 Elan Ripstick 96

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!

Testers

Evan Caha

Age: 30Height: 5'10"Weight: 140 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast and adventurous with a love for high edge angles

Phil McGrory

Age: 31Height: 6'0"Weight: 160 lbs.

Ski Style: Adventurous spirit in search of pow

Dave Carter

Age: 61Height: 5'9"Weight: 155 lbs.

Ski Style: They don't call me "carving" Dave Carter for nothin'

Brad Schauerman

Age: 28Height: 5'9"Weight: 160 lbs.

Ski Style: Trees, trees, and more trees just like a squirrel

Jeff Neagle

Age: 33Height: 5'10"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Aggressive freeride with freestyle background

6 Comments on the “2020 Elan Ripstick 96”

  1. Bought the 96 last year from Essentials and love the skis. Agree with the test folks on the “fun factor” of this ski. The 96 has become my GO TOO ski and is truly an all mountain joy to be on.

  2. I have the Elan Spectrum 95 Alu which proceeded the Ripstick. Great smooth ski in the alpine bowls, floats good in pow, and will carve groomers very well with decent rebound. But in the bumps the ski had a mind of its own. Pretty much any day I ski, I will end up skiing at least a few bump runs, so the ski has been collecting dust in the garage. Wondering if anyone has experience with both the Spectrum and the Ripstick and can the two skis bump performance.

    1. Hi Bruno!
      The Ripstick 96 is fine in the bumps. They’re on the wide side for tighter turns, but the flex is appropriate for moguls. They make the ski in an 88 as well, so perhaps that’s worth a look for smoother and quicker bump performance? Have fun!
      SE

  3. I’m predominantly an east coast skiier, but am increasingly spending more time off piste and might start looking at doing some touring as well. I’m looking at the Elan Ripstick 96 as my off piste ski/soft snow ski for the east, as well an all-mountain ski for trips out west and was wondering what the appropriate length would be. I’m 187 cm tall and 82 kg in weight, and was thinking the 188 made the most sense. I tend to ski fairly aggressively, but am somewhat worried about the longer length due to mobility in trees etc. Do you think the 188 makes the most sense or should I be looking at the 180?

    1. FYI – My previous setup was a K2 annex 98 at 184, but looking at the actual tail-to-tip length of the ripstick and the annex 98, they’re almost identical. I was comfortable at that length, although occasionally thought a shorter ski might be more helpful in the trees.

      If I were to consider converting them to a touring setup down the road, would that also lean me more towards the 180?

    2. Scott,
      I think either way, you should lean to the 188. They do measure short in our experience and when that’s coupled with their light weight, I think the longer ski is a better overall choice. Have fun!
      SE

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