Ski: 2019-2020 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm
Available Lengths: 167, 174, 181, 188 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 184.0 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1828 & 1842 grams
Stated Dimensions: 140-106-122 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 143.1-104.5-119.9 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (188 cm): 20.4 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 55 mm / 16 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Core: Poplar/Paulownia + 2 Carbon Tubes + “Vapor Tip Inserts” + Carbon Laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -9.7 cm from center; 82.3 cm from tail
Last year we spent time on the Elan Ripstick 106 and came away with very positive impressions. It was a pretty light all-mountain ski that performed well for its weight, was versatile across a wide range of conditions, and offered a really nice combo of forgiveness and strength.
For 19/20, Elan is releasing a limited-edition version of the Ripstick 106 — the Ripstick 106 Black Edition.
So, why did Elan choose to make another version of this ski, and how is it different from the original?
What Elan says about the Ripstick 106 Black Edition
“The highly praised chassis of the Ripstick 106 gains the special award-winning Black Edition carbon upgrade. Externally, an additional layer of carbon wraps the skis’ internal wood core
from edge to edge for added performance with more strength and power without adding weight, while the carbon top sheet adds style that stands out on the chairlift and ski rack with
distinction. Internally, carbon rods provide the skis with high energy, rebound and stability. All the additional carbon greatly influence the performance of the ski without adding a significant amount of weight.”
The most notable updates to the Black Edition of the Ripstick 106 are the addition of a carbon layer and a pretty cool looking all-black top sheet. Elan is claiming that the addition of carbon increases the strength and power of the ski, but does so without adding weight. And based on our measured weights of the 188 cm Ripstick 106 and 188 cm Ripstick 106 Black Edition, that second claim seems sensible as the Black Edition is actually coming in a bit lighter than the standard version.
Shape / Rocker Profile
No change here. The Black Edition of the Ripstick 106 retains the same shape and rocker profile as the standard version.
For a modern ~105mm-wide ski, the Ripstick 106 has a fairly average amount of tip and tail taper. It’s not as tapered as the Rossignol Soul 7 HD, but is more tapered than skis like the Blizzard Cochise. In terms of taper, the Ripstick 106 is pretty similar to the Line Sick Day 104 and 4FRNT MSP 107.
The Ripstick 106’s longitudinal rocker profile is pretty subtle, with shallow tip and tail rocker lines by today’s standards, and a very low, nearly flat tail. But the Ripstick 106 also features Elan’s “Amphibio” asymmetrical rocker.
The Amphibio concept basically means that the Ripstick 106’s rocker lines are slightly deeper on the outside edges, and slightly shallower on the inside edges. The difference is extremely subtle and difficult to see just looking at the ski. But after our time on the standard Ripstick 106, we do think that it does a very good job of being loose when you want it to and solid on edge other times, which Elan claims is at least partially due to the Amphibio asymmetrical rocker profile.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Ripstick 106 Black Edition:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-7.5
This is interesting. While Elan talks about the Black Edition of the Ripstick 106 being “stronger,” our pair of the 188 cm Ripstick 106 Black Edition is actually hand-flexing slightly softer than our pair of the standard 188 cm Ripstick 106. It’s not a huge difference, but we definitely wouldn’t call the longitudinal flex of the Black Edition stiffer than the standard ski, at least during a hand flex.
And all that said, I’m personally not at all upset that the Ripstick 106 Black Edition isn’t super stiff. This is a light ski, and skis that are both stiff and light are often harsh and unforgiving. The Ripstick 106 Black Edition’s longitudinal flex pattern does not feel like it’ll make the ski feel punishing, and I’m more curious to see if we notice a difference in the torsional stiffness of the two versions of the ski, as an increase in torsional rigidity often accompanies the addition of carbon in the layup of a ski.
Just a quick note — our pairs of the Ripstick 96 and 106 measure significantly shorter than their stated lengths. Both the 188 cm Ripstick 106 and 188 cm Ripstick 106 Black Edition measure closer to 184 cm with a straight-tape pull, so keep that in mind when comparing these skis to other “188 cm” skis.
The standard Ripstick 106 is already pretty light for its size and positioning as an “all-mountain” ski. The Black Edition of the Ripstick 106 is even lighter, making it one of the lightest ~105mm-wide, all-mountain skis we’ve reviewed.
That said, the Ripstick 106 Black Edition is still not nearly as light as dedicated touring skis like the Black Diamond Helio 105, K2 Wayback 106, etc. So we think the Ripstick 106 Black Edition will still be a strong contender for a 50/50 ski, and we’re curious to see how it performs as a dedicated resort ski.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.
1605 & 1630 Line Vision 108, 183 cm (19/20)
1642 & 1651 Renoun Citadel 106, 185 cm, (18/19)
1806 & 1862 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (19/20)
1828 & 1842 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition, 188 cm (19/20)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
1849 & 1922 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
1913 & 1943 Sego Condor Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
1923 & 1956 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm (17/18–18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
1996 & 2012 Dynastar Legend X106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2005 & 2035 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20)
2010 & 2018 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19)
2013 & 2013 Moment Commander 108, 188 cm (18/19)
2018 & 2045 RMU North Shore 108, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
2022 & 2047 Faction Dictator 3.0, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
2026 & 2056 Black Diamond Boundary Pro 107, 184 cm (17/18–18/19)
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2036 & 2064 Salomon QST 106, 188 cm (18/19)
2046 & 2120 Black Crows Corvus, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19)
2143 & 2194 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 184 cm (18/19)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20)
2182 & 2218 Nordica Enforcer 110, 185 cm (17/18–19/20)
2190 & 2268 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2241 & 2295 4FRNT Devastator, 184 cm (14/15–18/19)
2250 & 2307 Argent Badger, 184 cm (19/20)
2283 & 2290 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm (18/19)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17–18/19)
2376 & 2393 Blizzard Cochise, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) The obvious question — just how different are the standard Ripstick 106 and the Black Edition?
(2) The Ripstick 106 Black Edition does not hand-flex very stiff, so we’re curious to see if, on snow, it feels notably stronger than the standard edition, as Elan claims.
(3) The Ripstick 106 Black Edition is quite light for its size, so how will it handle the rougher snow you typically see in the resort?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The new Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition takes a very good ski and … doesn’t change a whole lot. At least on paper and in hand, the two skis seem very similar. But we’re eager to get the Black Edition on snow to see exactly what happens when you add some carbon to the original Ripstick 106. Stay tuned…