2022 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition Ski Review: Lead Image

Ski Reviews

2022 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition Ski Review

It’s been a little over 2 months since we released our review of the 2022 Elan Ripstick 96 Black Edition. Since then, we’ve been planning a review of its bigger (or rather wider) brother, the Ripstick 106 Black Edition. In fact, Bob had a pair in the back of his truck for most of February and into March. That was originally for testing and filming purposes, but he liked the ski so much he just kept it in his truck and kept skiing it. So, in a lot of ways, this is more of a long-term review than our initial review of the 96. You might be thinking, “ah, yes, a longer-term review may expose some weaknesses or change your opinion of the skis in general.” Well, no, that’s not really the case at all. They continue to shine and continue to impress us every time we ski them. And guess what? After a quick visit to our tuning department, that same pair is back in Bob’s truck.

If you watched or read our review of the 96, you’re already familiar with this ski, it’s basically just 10 mm wider throughout. If you’re new to these Ripstick Black Editions, or as a refresher, let’s talk about its shape and construction before we get into performance. One of the key elements to the Ripsticks and these Black Editions is Amphibio Tech. That’s referencing the fact that they’re designed as right and left skis. Both the shape and construction are asymmetrical, which is quite rare. Camber underfoot is matched with tip and tail rocker. It’s not the longest rocker profile, but it’s still significant. The inside edges of the ski have more camber and shorter rocker, while the outside edges have less camber and longer rocker. This is designed to give the ski a very intuitive feel. It helps make turn initiation smoother. The more-rockered outside edges make it easier to roll the ski into the next turn in addition to improving the ski’s feel in deeper snow.

AT A GLANCE


2022 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

164, 172, 180, 188 cm

18.1 m at 180 cm

143 / 106 / 120 mm

Carbon Line Technology and Quad Rod

Versatility, Playfulness, Stability


The uniqueness of these skis continues into their construction. Elan calls it Carbon Line Technology. There’s a traditional sheet of carbon that’s full width underfoot, but only along the inside edges in the tip and tail sections of the ski. It tapers off and ends a few inches before the actual end of the ski. That construction combined with the asymmetrical shape gives the ski a much stronger feel along the inside edges. It promotes weighting your outside ski for maximum grip and power further enhances that intuitive feel. New for 2022 in these Black Edition skis is QuadRod construction. The Carbon Rods that Elan uses in a lot of their skis are a big reason why they’re so good. By using carbon in a 3-dimensional application, the ski can absorb vibrations from infinite angles, which is very noticeable in their feel compared to most other carbon skis. We still get 2 Carbon Rods along the edges of the ski, but now we get 2 additional Rods in the center of the ski, one in the forebody, and one in the aft section of the ski. These 2 additional rods are a really important addition to the 2022 Ripstick Black Edition skis and takes their performance to the next level.

The first words that came out of my mouth after literally just a couple turns on the Ripstick 106 Black Edition were “these are amazing!” It contradicts my existing understanding of how skis work. How can they be light and playful, but also smooth and damp? It doesn’t really make sense, but they sure are a lot of fun to feel. The 106 has the same benefits on a groomer as the 96, it’s just a little slower edge to edge and takes a little more work to get to a high edge angle, but not too much work. In fact, it’s probably one of the best, most responsive, yet also easiest ski to carve in this width range. A lot of ~106 mm skis can feel cumbersome, but the Ripstick feels agile, energetic, and a lot of fun when just cruising groomers. I think most skiers would prefer the 96 on firmer snow, which isn’t surprising, but the 106 really trenches on groomers. The longitudinal flex pattern isn’t exceptionally stiff, which I think helps on groomers. It’s easier to access the energy in the ski’s core allowing you to manipulate carving turn shape and get a lot of snap and pop out of turn, but there’s plenty of torsional stiffness, which means you can really give it a lot of skier input and get it to flex into a carve.

2022 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition Ski Review: Camber Profile Image

When you take them off a groomer, their playfulness really shines through. They’re playful on a groomer too, but when I have it on firm snow I’m too busy thinking about how they’re so smooth to remember to play around. The rocker/taper shape isn’t super pronounced, but it’s enough to allow for really easy edge release. I think the Amphibio shape really helps with this too. The way the outside edge releases is easy, smooth, and quick. You can throw them sideways incredibly quickly, which really helps when you take them into trick, technical terrain like our tight Vermont trees. Bob got to ski a lot of trees and soft snow on them, so I figured I’d reach out for some review input straight from him:

A lot of the same things can be said about the 106 as the 96, in that it's one of the most successful applications of carbon in a ski that I've seen. They've used the carbon rods and the wider carbon laminate (versus regular Ripsticks) perfectly in the 106. As much of a fan as I am of the 96, I think it even works better in the 106, especially if you're looking to fill that spot in your quiver. Most days, I'm on a sub-90's underfoot ski, so I'm not a huge fan of wider skis in daily-driver applications, but this 106 is a pretty strong exception to that. I skied it about 8 days over the course of the winter, which is a lot more than I ski any other demo or test ski, and that speaks to the versatility and fun-loving nature of the 106. Because it's wider, you can get it up on higher edge angles in a carved turn, and for a 106 underfoot ski without metal, it's as good a carver on groomed snow as you're going to find. On the other end of the spectrum, I've skied it in fresh snow about three or four days, and as you'd likely expect, it ripped that stuff up too. One of the most impressive things is that even when you're in the midst of a carved turn, you can still easily release the edges and throw these things sideways--and that's not something you'd expect given how stable and damp they are. It's a totally unique ski with a ton of range. It's a wider ski that doesn't feel like a wide ski, until you get it in snow, so you get all the benefits of having extra ski underfoot, and very few of the limitations.

2022 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 1 2022 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 2

Thanks for the input, Bob. It has great float for a 106 in soft snow, has a ton of playfulness, yet when things get tracked out and bumpy, it stays composed and quiet. As we said in the Ripstick 96 Black Edition review, it is an impressive blend of power and playfulness that’s hard to find among other options. There are undoubtedly skis that are stronger, and the same is true about playfulness, but when you think about the blend of those two things, it’s hard to beat the Ripstick 106 Black.

Although Bob skied it a lot here in Stowe, I still think the 96 is a better option for most skiers on the east. It’s a little quicker edge to edge and more agile in moguls and tracked out trees. On the other hand, I think it would be an excellent powder/semi-powder ski for a ton of east coast skiers. It feels like a slightly different scenario for someone living out west. I think it would be an excellent choice for a western skier who likes to stay off-piste as much as possible. I can imagine just ripping around open western terrain on these things and having a blast. Enough stability to ski fast, but they’re compliant for changes in snow conditions and bumpy terrain. I think it’s also important to point out they’re definitely light enough to use as a hybrid resort/touring ski, which is an increasingly popular category of skis. Slap on a Shift or a Duke PT and you’ve got a versatile resort ski and something you can take into the backcountry.

2022 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition Ski Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Jeff Neagle on 04/01/21

4 thoughts on “2022 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition Ski Review

  1. So how smeary/slarvey are these vs a Rustler 10? Next time you talk to Elan tell them they need to release the full size range when they do a LMR.

    1. Hi Brett!
      I'd say they have a better range versus the Rustler in that they are lighter, but still as stable. They're less rockered, but with no metal, you can have them slide quite easily. I'd say they're not quite as playful as the more rockered Rustler in deep snow, but anything somewhat firm, I'd rather smear the Ripstick. Have fun!
      SE

  2. Awesome review! With the extra carbon and improved stability, how does the ripstick black 106 now compare to the Enforcer 104 free?

    1. HI Dave!
      The Black Edition certainly brings it closer to the 104 versus the regular 106, but still not the same in terms of stability at speed and dampness. The shovels of the Elan are more flexible than those of the Enforcer, so it's easier to engage, but doesn't quite stand up to the most aggressive skiing. Have fun!
      SE

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