The Elan Ripstick 96 is an interesting and fun all-mountain ski. The Ripstick is asymmetrical and does have a left and right ski. This is the same idea as the Amphibio skis from Elan. The inner and outer edges of both skis vary in effective edge and rocker amount. It’s supposed to allow for more playfulness and edginess at the same time. While I didn’t notice a huge difference between this and a symmetrical shape, the Ripstick was a fun and energetic carver with a semi-playful side. It’s not a powerful charger, and bigger guys may find it a bit too soft. Ex-racers will probably want to look elsewhere, but this ski will probably do well enough for most versatile all-mountain skiers.
Elan Ripstick 96 On-Mountain Video Ski Review
Jacket: Trew Cosmic Pants: The North Face Sickline Goggle: Smith I/O
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Tyrolia Aaattack 13
Conditions: Soft Chop, Groomed, Hard Pack, Bumps
Ski Personality: I found the Elan Ripstick 96 to be a playful, lively, and energetic ski with a unique feel.
On the Snow Feel: I would probably classify this as a semi-stable ski. It is stable on edge, but does have a playful feel and softer flex that allow it to feel more maneuverable and loose.
Turn Initiation and Carving: I was really curious if the asymmetrical shape of the Elan Ripstick 96 would feel weird or different compared to a normal symmetrical shape. I can’t say that I noticed a huge difference. The ski hooks up pretty similar to most other skis, but I could see how this would become an issue for some skiers. If you’re not a strong parallel skier, you may find the inner ski to lag a bit behind. I really felt like I had to keep my feet together and roll the ankles over to initiate the turn. If I tried to steer the ski, I could see some issues arising. Still, all of that seemed to work itself out the more time i spent on the Ripstick. It just takes a bit of time to get used to the asymmetrical design. Turn initiation was moderately easy. The ski isn’t super stiff, and I found it to be responsive and easy to bend into the turn. The ski is lively and energetic. It’s quick from edge to edge and has a snappy and responsive feel when transitioning. For me, I kept coming back to the words responsive and snappy, but not overly powerful.
Speed: I would say the Elan Ripstick has a surprising amount of stability given it’s flex and weight. It does not feel like a burly or powerful ski, and yet it holds up decently well when speeding down groomers. The ski does have full length carbon stringers that definitely help in reducing chatter and negative vibrations. I wouldn’t think of this ski as powerful, smooth, and damp, but rather stable and energetic. I think bigger guys will be able to overpower it, and may find a speed limit sooner than they would like.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: The Elan Ripstick 96 has a fun and energetic flex that does a decent job of absorbing terrain at slower speeds. There’s also enough torsional rigidity to cut through shallow soft chop. However, I did get the ski in over it’s head in deeper chop, especially when it get a bit more hard and icy. I wouldn’t want to come into variable terrain too hot. This ski just doesn’t have the burliness of a charger, and I could see it getting deflected in really rough terrain. On the other hand, the ski is lively, energetic, and playful. It was fun bouncing off piles of snow, and jumping the ski in bumps. The tail did feel a bit catchy at times though, and zipper-lining bumps was a bit difficult.
Edge Hold: Edge hold was solid for a 96mm ski. I guess I expected the Ripstick to be a bit more playful. It certainly is playful at times, but really feels more locked in than I expected.
Bottom Line: The Elan Ripstick 96 is probably more interesting from a design standpoint than a performance standpoint. It looks different, but the feel really isn’t overly strange or different from a symmetrical ski. I’m sure there are performance differences, but I found them to be pretty subtle. Overall, the ski feels lively and energetic. It’s a fun and snappy carver, that isn’t demanding to ski. It’s stable for it’s weight, but if you’e looking for smooth and stable there are better skis out there. I think skiers that want a light-weight and energetic carver with a semi-playful feel will enjoy the Ripstick. Ex-racers or hard chargers will probably find it a bit too soft and under-powered.
This review reflects the OPINION of our testers based on their personal experience with a particular product. We do not guarantee that you will have the same experience with, or opinion of, a product as our testers did. This review
should only be used as a general guide.