2018-2019 Elan Ripstick 96

Blister reviews the Elan Ripstick 96
Elan Ripstick 96

Ski: 2018-2019 Elan Ripstick 96, 181 cm

Available Lengths: 167, 174, 181, 188 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 177.4 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 1590 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1629 & 1684 grams

Stated Dimensions: 134-96-113 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 136.1-95.0-109.9 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 18.0 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 60 mm / 16 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~3 mm

Core: Poplar/Paulownia/Maple + 2 Carbon Tubes + “Vapor Tip Inserts” + Fiberglass Laminate

Base: Sintered

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.0 cm from center; 80.7 cm from tail

Intro

This has been a long time coming. We’ve had requests for reviews of Elan skis for a while now, and this season, we’ve finally been getting on a few pairs. Specifically, we’re reviewing the Ripstick 96 and 106, and, turns out, they are both pretty interesting skis.

We’ll be reporting on the Ripstick 106 soon, but for now, let’s take a look at the Ripstick 96. This ski stands out from the competition for a few reasons, so let’s get to it.

Here’s what Elan says about the Ripstick 96:

“If a smoothness indicator existed for skis, the Ripstick 96 would chart at 100%! A true freerider that doubles as an all-mountain ski for those who want ultimate versatility on the mountain. The Ripstick 96 uses the newest technology and lightest weight materials with a modern shape and taper design that make it a perfect choice for every day, on any mountain. It’s wide enough to handle powder yet narrow enough in the waist to rip up the front side. With the Amphibio profile for exceptional maneuverability and edge grip, SST sidewalls for direct power transmission, and TNT technology for dynamic power, this multiple award winning ski provides a silky smooth ride no matter where your mountain exploration takes you.”

So right away, Elan is emphasizing the Ripstick 96’s low weight — and they should given how light this ski is (~1650 g). However, they also emphasize how “smooth” the Ripstick 96 is supposed to be. We have never found skis that are this light to feel particularly “smooth,” especially not in truly variable conditions. We usually reserve this description for much heavier skis, so when we first read that statement and weighed these things, we were both curious and skeptical.

It’s also interesting that Elan’s description makes no specific mention of touring, despite the Ripstick 96 having skin tail slots and coming in at a weight that’s in line with a number of dedicated touring skis. Perhaps “true freerider” is their term for “backcountry-appropriate” ski, but in any case, this ski (and Elan’s copy) make it clear that this ski belongs in our “50/50” ski category.

Shape / Rocker Profile

For a ski that’s 96 mm underfoot, the Ripstick 96 has a good deal of tip and tail taper. However, it’s tips are still pretty fat, and the tip taper line doesn’t start very deep into the ski (it’s tip shape reminds us a little bit of the Head Kore 93). The Ripstick 96’s tails start tapering right around the contact point, and while they’re not as tapered as the tails on the Dynastar Legend X96, they are more tapered than the tails on skis like the Head Kore 93, Blizzard Bonafide, or Salomon QST 99.

The Ripstick 96’s tip-to-tail rocker profile is pretty normal for an all-mountain ski of this width, with a fairly shallow tip rocker line that rises quickly. In the tail, the Ripstick 96 has a moderately deep rocker line with minimal tail splay (16 mm). Overall, the rocker profile of the Ripstick 96 looks very similar to that of the Kore 93.

However, there’s something else going on with the rocker profile of the Ripstick 96, and it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before…

“Amphibio” Asymmetrical Rocker Profile

“Amphibio” is what Elan calls their unique asymmetrical rocker profile concept, which is used on both the Amphibio and Ripstick lines.

Basically, these skis have a longer camber line on their inside edges, and deeper rocker lines on the outside edges of their tips and tails. The goal of this is to provide increased edge grip and precision when the skis are laid over while still maintaining the loose and playful feel of a more heavily rockered ski. It also means that there are specific “left” and “right” skis.

Looking at the Ripstick 96, this asymmetry seems pretty subtle. The rocker lines on the outside edges are very slightly deeper than those on the inside edges (maybe around a cm or so). But it’s an interesting concept, and when it comes to a radical idea like asymmetrical rocker, we think going with a more conservative approach is probably very smart.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Ripstick 96:

Tips: 5.5-6
Shovels: 6-7
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-8.5
Underfoot: 9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9-8.5
Tails: 8-7.5

While the back half of the Ripstick 96 is fairly strong, its tips and shovels feel very accessible. And given the Ripstick 96’s very low weight, we’re glad Elan didn’t make the Ripstick 96 some sort of ultra-rigid plank. As we’ve noted before, skis that are both (a) really light and (b) really stiff often result in a harsh, unforgiving ride, while light skis with softer flex patterns often provide better suspension (e.g., Line Sick Day 104 & Salomon MTN Explore 95). So, we’re excited about the Ripstick 96’s flex pattern.

Weight

For a 96mm-underfoot all-mountain ski, the Ripstick 96 is really light. And while Elan doesn’t specifically talk about touring on the Ripstick 96, its weight is more similar to some touring skis many dedicated all-mountain skis.

For reference, below are some of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for a few notable skis. As always, keep in mind the length differences to keep things apples-to-apples.

1323 & 1356 K2 Wayback 96, 177 cm (18/19)
1353 & 1376 Blizzard Zero G 95, 185 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1543 & 1565 Salomon MTN Explore 95, 184 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1585 & 1586 Head Kore 93, 180 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1629 & 1684 Elan Ripstick 96, 181 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1633 & 1638 Faction Prime 2.0, 184 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1661 & 1664 Black Crows Camox Freebird, 178 cm (17/18)
1680 & 1707 Line Sick Day 94, 186 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1807 & 1833 Fischer Ranger 98 Ti, 180 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1896 & 1919 Dynastar Legend X96, 186 cm (17/18-18/19)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 189 cm (18/19)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
2024 & 2029 Salomon QST 99, 188 cm (17/18)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18-18/19)

Some Questions

1) Given its low weight, how well will the Ripstick 96 handle the rough, variable conditions often encountered in the resort?

2) How noticeable (if at all) will the Ripstick 96’s “Amphibio” asymmetrical rocker profile be on snow?

3) How does the Ripstick 96 compare to other fairly light all-mountain skis that have stiffer flex patterns — will the Ripstick 96’s flex pattern make for a more forgiving and / or versatile ride?

Bottom Line (For Now)

Our first introduction to Elan is an interesting one. The Elan Ripstick 96 comes in at a very low weight (even for a “50/50” ski), and it also features a unique rocker profile concept.

We’ve now spent a couple days on the Ripstick 96, and Blister members can check out our Flash Review for our initial on-snow performance notes. In the meantime, let us know about any questions you’d like to see us address in our full review.

Flash Review: Elan Ripstick 96

Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of the Ripstick 96.

(Learn more about Blister member benefits, and become a Blister member)

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

4 comments on “2018-2019 Elan Ripstick 96”

  1. I’m sorry, but 17/18 are very different to 18/19, lighter more than 150 grams per ski and very flexible. 18/19 are more like 106…

    I sold old 96 188 because even for freetouring it’s too flex (I’m 75kg and 186cm, expert skier)

    Very interesting how new 96 black edition goes in comparison to 106 and 96 18/19

  2. We’ve been skiing the 18/19 version of the Ripstick 96, so all of what we’ve said in this First Look, in our Flash Review, and in our 18/19 Winter Buyer’s Guide is in reference to the standard version of the 18/19 Ripstick 96.

    We can’t comment on the 17/18 version of the ski since we haven’t skied it, but we will be offering our thoughts on the 18/19 version in our full review this coming season. The Black Edition of the Ripstick 96 also sounds intriguing, and we’re looking into reviewing that version of the ski this season.

  3. Thanks, but I tried the weight of 18/19 and in really huge like 1800g per ski (in comparison to 1650 of 17/18)… are you sure about your measurement…

    And what do you suggest for real 50/50 ski – 106 or 96?

    • We’re very confident in our measured weights. Did you measure a 181 cm 18/19 Ripstick 106? If you weighed a 188 cm version that might account for a slight difference in weight.

      As for your question about whether the 96 or 106 would be better for 50/50 use, I think that comes down to where you ski and what you’ll be using the ski for. The two skis feel pretty similar on snow, with the Ripstick 96 being a bit softer and lighter than the Ripstick 106. So if I lived in a higher-snow area, I’d probably go with the 106, and vice versa for a lower-snow area. We’ll be posting an in-depth comparison this season, and I’d also recommend checking out our 18.19 Winter Buyer’s Guide for more info on how both Ripsticks compare to other similar skis.

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