2023 Elan Ripstick 106 Review
If you like to carve even when you have wide planks underfoot, this is your ski
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This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
The Scores (out of 10)
- Overall Score: 7.42/10
- Rank: #6
- Versatility: 7.33
- Crud Performance: 7.67
- Flotation: 7.33
- Playfulness: 6.67
- Responsiveness: 7.33
- Quickness: 7
- Hard-Snow Integrity: 8.33
- Stability at Speed: 8
- Forgiveness: 6.67
- Price: $950
- Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188
- Dimensions: 143-106-120
- Radius: 18.1m (180)
- Level: Intermediate, advanced
In a Nutshell
- Pros: Hard-Snow Integrity (#3), Stability at Speed (#5)
- Cons: Playfulness (#11), Flotation (#7)
It’s a common question from newer skiers, “is there a right and left ski?” Usually, it doesn’t make a difference, but with the Elan Ripstick 106, you need to keep your left and right skis straight due to what Elan calls their Amphibio Carbon Line construction. This design combines a cambered inside edge profile to increase edge grip with a rockered outside edge profile to allow the ski to release from the turn with ease, as well as strategic carbon fiber reinforcements over the inside edge to further aid in edge-hold and power transmission throughout the turn. This construction explains tester Peter Nestor’s praise of a “smooth damp ride and ability to stay quiet on a hard edge,” as well as the Ripstick’s strong scores for Hard-Snow Integrity.
Thanks to Elan’s Tubelite Woodcore, which combines a wood core with carbon tube inserts to increase torsional stability. The Ripstick 106 is also hungry to charge into variable conditions and power through even the heaviest crud. Tester Gabe Gosbland pointed out that the Ripstick was a hard charger with no issues on- or off-piste in longer lengths. He also noted that in shorter distances, the ski is more “playful, nimble, energetic, and balanced,” so you may want to select your size based on your style: shorter for a more playful experience, longer for a more assertive approach.
Read more: Learn How the Elan Ripstick 106 Stacked Up Against the Competition
But even in the shorter lengths, all testers agreed that the Ripstick 106 likes to ski fast and is better suited to more aggressive skiers. “It feels like a chilled-out race ski that could be a daily driver for the West Coast skier,” added Gosbland. With its weakest scores for Playfulness and Forgiveness, the Ripstick 106 suits a more attentive skier who wants to push their limits on and off-piste, but it isn’t too demanding to be unobtainable for strong intermediate skiers.
For skiers looking to find a ski that can rally inbounds but is also light enough for backcountry touring, the Ripstick 106 may be a good option (though the brand-new the Elan Ripstick Tour 104 is Elan’s specific offering for touring). But at 106mm underfoot, the Ripstick 106 provides just a little extra flotation in soft and variable snow and the confidence-boosting stiffness you want and need when tackling different terrain.
In short, the Elan Ripstick 106 is a ski that can carve groomers at speed, push through even the most variable snow, and is light enough to have you considering that short tour out of the backcountry gate if conditions are right. With the proper length selection, most strong intermediate to advanced skiers can make the Ripstick 106 their do-everything-ski that’s willing to adapt to their skiing style.
A self-proclaimed gear nerd when it comes to skis and mountain bikes, Jon Sexauer grew up skiing in Northern California, spending the majority of his time getting loose and sendy in terrain parks. He now lives in Colorado and calls Copper Mountain his home hill. Though he still gravitates towards playful and wide all-mountain skis, he’s developed a more open mind when it comes to skis since joining SKI’s official gear test crew five seasons ago. These days, you’ll find him ripping around Copper on his trusty Nordica Enforcer 100s.