Updated: Jan 25
By Greg Gardner and Andrew Boyle
Best Price: evo $699.99
Length Tested: 188
Width Tested: 106
Test Bindings: Marker Griffons
Test Locations: Vail CO, Jackson Hole WY, Sun Valley ID, Galena Pass ID,
Technical Terrain: 9
Less than ideal conditions: 6
Overall All Mountain Rating: 7.2
The Elan Ripstick is a hard charging all mountain ski perfect for any conditions you may experience in western North America. The brand Elan has been around for 75 years, and the company earned its reputation due to its high performing race skis, and inventing sidecut. In recent years, Elan has deviated from its racing history with the free ride Ripstick series. The Ripstick series is offered in 4 widths, 116, 106, 96 and 88. The 106 model is the king of versatility, and perfect for someone looking to ski any terrain and just carry one ski with you to the mountains.
The Ripstick 106 is fast and nimble on the hard pack despite its fat profile. The shaping of this ski is quite unique, to begin, the Ripstick 106 is an asymmetric directional ski with a camber and rocker profile. Additionally, these skis have a right and a left designated ski with different edge profiles intended to lengthen the inside active edge hold and promote float/reduce catch on the outside edge. Despite the wide profile, the Elan Ripstick can arc turns all day across the mountain. However you may experience some chatter at high speeds due to the lightweight construction. This is overall a great ski for hitting groomers when the snow is nice.
While these skis will handle moguls just fine, they are 106 underfoot, so they tend to catch a bit when the bumps are tight. However, when the conditions and spread is optimal these skis perform just fine. If you are a skier who enjoys skiing a lot of bumps, it may be wise to go with a shorter length than the one we tested or moving down to the 96 version.
When Elan designed the Ripsticks, they intended to create their first model that could handle floatation required for deeper snow.... they were very successful. Our tester described these skis to be smile provoking in deeper snow. The flotation of the Ripsticks is unparalleled for an all mountain ski, and provides control with a surfy aspect to it. This ski can handle any resort or side country powder that you may run into.
Technical Terrain and Trees
As you would imagine, the Ripstick does not fall short in technical terrain or tree conditions. Pivoting, hop turns, quick dodges, its all very easy on the Elan. Just look where you want to go and let the skis take you there.
Less than Ideal Conditions
While the edge hold on the Ripsticks is quite strong, and the ski absorbs impacts from crud with ease. The Ripstick will not perform as well as other skis in ice conditions due to the width. As a result, theses skis are not the best for someone skiing in locations that contain a large amount of ice. If your skiing on the east coast but like the sounds of this ski, we would recommend the 96 version!
The Ripstick 106 is considered a "free ride" ski, while commonly confused with freestyle, free ride leans towards the on the ground components of skiing. The Ripstick 106 is not a ski we would ever bring to the park. However, its rigidity and width provide an extremely stable platform for landings off any natural features you may encounter. While its not to say you can't land tricks on these skis, that's just not what they were designed for.
In conclusion, the Ripstick 106 is a perfect ski for someone who is an intermediate-advanced skier, who wants strong performance in a variety of terrain while providing copious float in deeper conditions. Our tester Andrew absolutely loves these skis and would describe them as a nice feel in between the very popular Nordica Enforcers, and Salomon QST. Additionally, these skis weigh only 1780g making them light enough to ski both in and out of bounds.