18/19 SOTY: MEN’S FREERIDE (DO-IT-ALL) – ELAN RIPSTICK 96

Elan Ripstick 96RRP: £525

Lengths: 167, 174, 181, 188

Turn radius: 18m @ 181

Dimensions: 135-96-110

Weight per pair: 3180g

More Info: Elan Skis


We haven’t tested Elan skis for a while and to be faced with the line-up they delivered at the Ski Test in Galtür was a genuine pleasure. Even if they’re not know so well these days in the UK, Elan are serious players in the ski world, manufacturing for other brands as well as putting out a super-credible range.

 

Elan Ripstick 96

 

The Ripsticks are a lightweight all-mountain to powder range with some quirky tech and, in the case of the 96, come in two versions – the standard and the stiffer Black Edition with two extra layers of carbon fibre in the lay-up. We thought both were outstanding; the review here is for the stocker.

First up, these are light skis up there (or should that be ‘down there’, weight-wise?) with dedicated touring freeride skis. Immediately that makes us think playful, maybe a bit chattery, possibly tweaky on piste.

But let’s see what Fall-Line tester Ian Davis, who doesn’t hang about, made of the Ripstick:

“Looks and skis great, and that large shovel of a tip and great flex set-up allows the 96 to float up and carve up the powder. The shape of the tail ensures smooth turn exits even at speed on the hardpack and still allows you to scrub off speed if required.”

 

The tail is a lot stiffer than the nose and tapers in, allowing that controlled release. But what we haven’t mentioned yet is Elan’s unique Amphibio rocker profile which puts more camber on the inside edge of the outside ski, and more rocker on the outside edge of the inside ski in a turn. Got that? Yup, took us a while, and we were holding them…

The reasoning is to deliver a looser rockered feel in soft snow yet plenty of grip when powered up. Fall-Line tester Lee Hardy reckoned it worked:

“It’s really grippy from tip to tail on hardpack, but bash through to the off-piste and it punches through variable broken snow and floats through the pow.”

 

And this, don’t forget, is a sub-1700g ski.

The Black Edition is simply more powerful, and the chargers loved it. Lee again:

“This is not for the faint-hearted in the 96mm underfoot freeride category. Solid, punchy, fast, stiff, grippy and quick!”

 

We’d happily settle for the standard Ripstick 96 as a fantastic ride, helped hugely by the striking, classy looks, and revel in the unique aspects of an innovative, effective ski.


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