We were pretty stoked when these first came across our radar. We’ve liked the older Black Edition skis in the Ripstick line, but were very excited to see the new construction and how it fared. Spoiler alert: we are impressed. The new 2022 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition is a must-ski for this upcoming year. It’s likely one of the most successful uses of carbon in a ski that mimics the dampness and energy of metal, and we’re all about it. Built with Elan’s Tubelite wood core, the skis get four carbon rods instead of the two found on non-Black Edition 106’s. In addition, the Carbon Line Technology is extended from the normal 106, giving more power and strength to that inside edge. Since the skis are built asymmetrically, the skier gets the benefit of having more material on the inside edges of the downhill ski, and that’s a good thing in both theory and practice. Amphibio rocker profile also adds to the smoothness of the ski, as it does rocker the outside edges more than the inside—again leading to a smooth transition between turns and a wonderfully balanced feeling when it comes to softer snow. Overall, a very impressive new ski from Elan, and our testers were all pretty darn stoked to see the ski’s ability in a variety of conditions.
Rocker / Camber / Rocker
Carbon Line Technology, Vapor Tips, QuadRod Reinforcements,
All Mountain, Powder, Big Mountain
Bob St.Pierre first skied the 180 back in the earlier winter when they first came out, but then got a chance to ski the 188 a few weeks later. “The 180 just felt a bit short, but that 188 was absolutely perfect.” Bob scored the 188 5’s out of 5 for stability, torsional stiffness, edge grip, playfulness, versatility, and overall impression. These are some amazingly high scores, and since the rest of his categories got 4’s it’s fair to say that Bob had a pretty good time on these. “Other than at the shop, we don’t get a whole lot of long-term demos here at SkiEssentials, but fortunately they were able to leave us this pair of 106’s in the 188, and I took full advantage. They definitely stayed in my truck longer than any other test pair of skis that I’ve used, and for good reason. I absolutely put these skis through their paces. Fresh snow, hard snow, spring snow, short turns, long turns, no turns—these skis were able to take it all in and throw it all back in my face. My only constructive criticism is to lose the Vapor Tip inserts in these Black Edition skis. Even in the 188, I felt the shovel was just a bit too light and flexible. Not by much, but just enough so that I wish it wasn’t there. Overall, this is one of the most impressive and fun skis I’ve been on.” Pretty darn good praise right there from Bob, who gets to ski pretty much anything he wants. Likely over 100 skis this year (must be nice), and he’s got that to say about the 106 Black—pretty good stuff.
Both Josh and David Wolfgang were on the 180, and both noted that they felt a bit short, but wouldn’t size up. David scored the ski all 4’s out of 5, with the lone 3 for forgiveness, showing that he felt the 106 Black was certainly on the stiffer side. He notes that “This is the Ripstick for those who crave powder and big mountain conditions. Solid edge hold with lots of precision for a wide ski.” That edge hold for such a wide ski is a very impressive characteristic for sure. We found that it works better the more you get it up on edge, which can also be said for pretty much all the other Ripstick’s we’ve tried. Son Josh gave top marks of 5 out of 5 for flotation, stability, versatility, and overall impression, with all other scores being 4’s. We don’t usually see this type of all-around high-scoring for a 106, and that’s definitely a good thing to see. Josh states that it is “Unbelievably versatile. Butter smooth but playful. Rips with edge hold but able to slash. So very versatile.”
Another nice thing (we could go on and on, really) is that you can throw a smear or slarve turn in at any point, and I think this lends to the versatility and playfulness of the ski. Not quite the same as something like a wider twin tip with dramatic rocker, but still capable and willing. Since Elan’s all about having fun out there, it makes sense that their top-model/flagship ski would be all about that, and it’s great to see them cross that threshold in making fun and agile skis that still totally rip.