Ski: 2021-2022 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm
Days Skied: 9
Available Lengths: 167, 174, 180, 188 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 183.8 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1951 & 1953 grams
Stated Dimensions: 143-106-120 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 142.8-104.3-120.1 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (188 cm): 19.5 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 58 mm / 23 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 2.5 mm
Core: Poplar/Paulownia/Maple + 2 Carbon Tubes + Carbon Edge Reinforcement + “Vapor Tip Inserts” + Fiberglass Laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -9.7 cm from center; 82.2 cm from tail
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 20/21 Ripstick 106, which returns unchanged for 21/22.]
Ski: 2021-2022 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition, 188 cm
Available Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 184.3 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2011 & 2046 grams
Stated Dimensions: 143-106-120 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 142.9-104.2-119.7 mm mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (188 cm): 19.5 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 57 mm / 19 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3 mm
Core: poplar/paulownia/maple + 4 carbon tubes + carbon edge reinforcement + “vapor tip inserts” + fiberglass laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -9.85 cm from center; 82.3 cm from tail
The Ripstick collection has been serving as Elan’s freeride lineup for a few years now. We’ve been on the previous Ripstick 106, Ripstick 96, and Ripstick 106 Black Edition and have come away pretty impressed across the board. The skis were quite light and easy to ski, yet could still be pushed quite hard for how light they were, making them some of our favorite options for 50/50 use inside and outside of the resort.
For 20/21, Elan tweaked the whole Ripstick collection, and the standard Ripsticks all return unchanged for 21/22. They’re also adding new “Black Edition” versions of the Ripstick 96 and 106 for 21/22, so here we’ll be discussing how both the standard Ripstick 106 and new Black Edition compare to their predecessors, and what sort of skiers are going to get along best with these two lightweight freeride skis. But first, let’s cover the updated design:
This is the biggest update from the 19/20 skis.
The core construction of the Ripstick is still pretty similar, carrying over a blend of lightweight woods in the core, two carbon tubes running above the edges, lightweight plastic inserts at the tips, and a fiberglass laminate.
The notable change here is Elan’s addition of a carbon-fiber weave placed over the front-inside edges of each ski. This carbon weave is placed at a 45° angle to the ski and further extends Elan’s “Amphibio” design by making the actual construction of each Ripstick ski asymmetrical.
The idea is that the new Ripsticks will offer better power transfer and edge hold where you most need it (inside edges) while not adding a bunch of weight or making the outside edges excessively difficult to slide and release.
With the 21/22 Ripstick 106 Black Edition, the only difference is that instead of two carbon tubes, it gets four. With an unusually simple name, this “Quad Rod” construction is meant to increase stability while minimizing weight gain. Other than those additional tubes, the 21/22 Ripstick 106 Black Edition is basically identical to the standard one.
Shape / Rocker Profile
Not much change here. Elan says they tweaked the shape of the Ripsticks’ tips and tails, though our pairs of the 19/20 and 20/21–21/22 versions look and measure almost identical. The Ripstick 106 is still a moderately tapered ski, in line with skis like the Kastle FX 106 HP, Line Sick Day 104, Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, and Salomon QST 106 when it comes to shape.
The new Ripstick’s retain the old versions’ “Amphibio” rocker profile, which basically means that the rocker lines on the outside edge of the ski are a bit deeper than the rocker lines on the inside edge. As with the new construction, this is meant to give you a looser feel where you need it, without making the ski feel super loose on the inside edges.
Just like the previous Ripsticks, the asymmetry of the new Ripstick 106’s rocker profile is extremely subtle and barely noticeable to the eye. With that said, the old Ripsticks did offer a nice blend of pivoting and carving performance, so we expect something similar of the new versions.
Overall, the Ripstick 106 has pretty shallow rocker lines compared to most skis in its class, especially the more playful and forgiving ones like the Sick Day 104, Blizzard Rustler 10, and Armada Tracer 108.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the standard Ripstick 106:
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-8.5
And here’s who we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Ripstick 106 Black Edition:
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-9
No huge change here, but we do notice a few subtle differences. The new Ripstick 106’s flex pattern stiffens up a bit more quickly as you move to the middle of the ski, and the new ski is a bit stiffer around the bindings.
The new Ripstick 106 is still far from a super burly ski, with pretty accessible tips and tails and its tails aren’t drastically stiffer than its tips / shovels. The flex of the new Ripstick 106 is still very similar to the Line Sick Day 104, which we’re happy about. Hand flexing the Black Edition, the only thing I can notice is that it’s very subtly stiffer in the area between the heel and the tail.
No change here — the Ripstick 106 still has a pretty traditional mount point of around -9.7 cm from true center.
The Ripstick 106 is still a lightweight ski, with our pair of the 20/21–21/22 version only coming in a bit heavier than the previous version. Our average weight per ski for the newer 188 cm Ripstick 106 is 1952 grams, while the previous version came in at ~1885 grams.
The newer Ripstick 106 is now coming in slightly heavier than other 50/50 skis like the Sick Day 104 and Tracer 108, but the Ripstick 106 is still much lighter than most dedicated inbounds skis.
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.
1800 & 1804 Head Kore 105, 184 cm (21/22)
1806 & 1862 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (19/20–20/21)
1820 & 1821 Majesty Havoc, 186 cm (20/21–21/22)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (16/17–21/22)
1849 & 1922 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1905 & 1919 J Skis Slacker, 188 cm (20/21–21/22)
1947 & 2011 4FRNT Devastator, 186 cm (20/21–21/22)
1951 & 1953 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm (20/21–21/22)
1964 & 1972 Moment Deathwish, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1993 & 2026 Black Crows Atris, 184.2 cm (19/20–21/22)
1999 & 2020 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 180 cm (20/21–21/22)
2005 & 2035 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
2008 & 2065 Wagner Summit 106, 186 cm (20/21–21/22)
2011 & 2028 Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2011 & 2046 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition, 188 cm (21/22)
2034 & 2052 Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm (17/18–21/22)
2046 & 2120 Black Crows Corvus, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
2079 & 2105 Kastle FX106 HP, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20–21/22)
2097 & 2113 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106 C2, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2110 & 2119 Moment Wildcat 108, 190 cm (19/20–20/21)
2113 & 2121 Moment Meridian, 187 cm (16/17–20/21)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
2116 & 2181 Faction Dictator 3.0, 188 cm (19/20–21/22)
2120 & 2134 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (19/20–21/22)
2145 & 2167 Sego Big Horn 106, 187 cm (20/21)
2153 & 2184 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 187 cm (20/21–21/22)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20–21/22)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
2170 & 2180 Dynastar M-Free 108, 182 cm (20/21–21/22)
2232 & 2242 Blizzard Cochise 106, 185 cm (20/21–21/22)
2232 & 2244 ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm (19/20)
2295 & 2344 J Skis Hotshot, 183 cm (20/21)
2302 & 2342 Dynastar M-Free 108, 192 cm (20/21–21/22)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18–20/21)
2321 & 2335 Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, 189 cm (19/20–21/22)
2353 & 2360 Volkl Katana 108, 184 cm (20/21–21/22)
2449 & 2493 J Skis Hotshot, 189 cm (20/21)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) Given its slightly stiffer flex pattern and the addition of more carbon over the inside edges, how different will the new Ripstick 106 feel when it comes to edge hold and power?
(2) Will the new Ripstick 106 feel notably more demanding than the previous version?
(3) The Ripstick 106 hasn’t gotten much heavier, but will its new construction make it feel notably more stable?
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg): Several of us at Blister were fans of the previous Ripstick 106, so we were all curious to see what Elan had done with the latest version.
The good news is that, after many days at Mt. Crested Butte on both the standard Ripstick 106 and the new 21/22 Black Edition of this ski, I think they’ve managed to maintain most of what we liked about the previous ski, while tweaking some things that might make it more appealing to certain folks.
I’m typically not all that concerned with how a ~106mm-wide ski performs on piste, but it’s worth starting here because the Ripstick 106 is a very, very fun ski on groomed snow — for what it is.
Same as the old (pre-20/21) version, the latest Ripstick 106 initiates carved turns quickly, holds an edge quite well, and provides a really dynamic, lively experience on edge. It’s also quite versatile in terms of turn shapes — the stated 19.5-meter sidecut radius feels pretty accurate on snow and makes for a ski that can be bent into tight turns by experienced skiers, or casually carved or slarved around in larger, more casual turns.
The nice thing with the Ripstick 106 and Ripstick 106 Black Edition — particularly compared to similarly wide skis — is that it encourages you to push it hard and get the most out of its energetic flex pattern, but it’s also very easy to cruise around at moderate edge angles. Really lean into this ski, and it’ll produce a lot of pop coming out of a turn. But ski it from a more centered stance, and the ski will happily make mellower turns and release from a turn with ease.
Compared to the prior-generation Ripstick 106, the latest one feels pretty similar overall. On piste, the main difference is that the new Ripstick 106 (and to a slightly greater degree, the new Black Edition) can be pushed a bit harder without its tails washing out. If I was forced to carve a super firm slope, I’d prefer to be on the newer skis. The downside to this is that the new skis require a bit more effort and pressure on the shovels to really bend them into tight turns, but the differences are pretty subtle, overall.
Now, compared to some of the other standout carvers around this width, such as the Volkl Katana 108 and Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, the lightweight Ripstick 106 will get knocked around considerably more at very high speeds on inconsistent conditions. But apart from those gnarly, very roughed-up groomers at the very end of the day, I rarely felt like I was pushing the limits of this ski on groomed terrain. Across all terrain and conditions, the Ripstick 106 is not going to be the ski for those who like something very planted and smooth (thinking of our editor-in-chief, here). But for those who prefer something more lively and quick, the Ripstick 106’s stability and overall on-piste performance make it a very fun wider ski to use for carving up corduroy.
Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain
Similar to the previous version, the newer Ripstick 106 feels quick, maneuverable, and energetic when maneuvering through tight, off-piste terrain.
The current version of the Ripstick 106 does feel a touch more punishing and not quite as easy to slash / pivot around than the previous version, but I’d still put the new ski on the “more forgiving” end of the spectrum. Especially compared to similarly light but substantially stiffer skis like the Faction Dictator 3.0 and DPS Pagoda 106 C2, the Ripstick 106 and Ripstick 106 Black Edition aren’t as quick to punish some sloppy skiing. They’re just not quite as forgiving and easy-going as the previous version of the ski.
In terms of swing weight, the newest Ripstick 106 still feels like a very nimble ski. Little effort is required to muscle it around, and last-minute adjustments are quite easy. Combine that with its energetic, relatively forgiving, yet supportive flex pattern, and you’ve got the recipe for a ski that’s great for skiing through bumps, trees, and steeps with an aggressive, dynamic, light-on-your-feet style. Similar to skis like the Line Sick Day 104 and Wagner Summit 106, the Ripstick 106 encourages you to start finding new gaps in your go-to mogul line or tree run.
At the same time, the Ripstick 106 also makes it pretty easy to work your way through this terrain in a more conservative, controlled fashion. That same low swing weight and fairly easy-to-release tail make for a ski that’s easy to move around without wearing yourself out or feeling like you need to be on your A-game 100% of the time. I think those who want a light ski because it makes it easier to ski moguls and trees quite fast will appreciate this ski the most, but those who just find heavier options to feel sluggish and demanding have good reason to give it a look, too.
As far as how “surfy” or loose these new skis feel, I wouldn’t say there’s a massive difference when compared to the previous generation. The newer skis require a touch more focus and better technique to get their tails to release, and you can certainly find many skis with more tail rocker that are easier to throw sideways. But for directional skiers who drive their skis with a somewhat forward stance, the new Ripstick 106 and Black Edition aren’t very difficult to slash around.
Again, the current Ripstick 106 and Ripstick 106 Black Edition feel a bit stiffer than the previous versions and they do want you to stay over their shovels most of the time. But for high-beginner to intermediate skiers who are looking to improve their off-piste technique, I don’t think you have much to worry about. And for advanced and expert skiers who like to frequently get airborne in the middle of the run and who view the word “planted” as a synonym for “boring,” you should also have this ski on your list.
Powder & Soft Chop
Same as the last version, the newer Ripstick 106 is pretty average in soft snow for a ~106mm-wide ski.
On one hand, the Ripstick 106 has fairly wide shovels that provide plenty of surface area in deeper conditions. On the other hand, it doesn’t have nearly as deep of rocker lines as a lot of other alternatives. The result is a ski that will plane up in fairly deep snow when you’ve got the room to make fairly long, somewhat fast turns, but that isn’t the best for slowly cruising through deep snow (especially on low-angle terrain).
Skis like the K2 Mindbender 108Ti and Liberty Origin 106, with their deeply rockered tips, do a better job of rising to the top of deep snow at slower speeds and in terrain that isn’t pointed sharply downhill. But compared to the whole market of skis around this width, the Ripstick 106 is totally adequate on moderate pow days.
What about when that clean pow gets cut up by all those gosh-darn other skiers? Well, the Ripstick 106 can still be loads of fun, but it’s also still a lightweight ski, so how much fun you have on it will depend on your priorities.
If “soft chop” for you means skiing as fast as possible to beat those other skiers back to the lift so you can salvage what’s left of the untracked, the Ripstick 106 isn’t your best option. It can make big, fast turns in these conditions, but to do so, you’re going to have to be pretty focused on absorbing / avoiding / jumping over the zones with particularly rough, chopped-up snow.
If, instead, you tend to dial back your speed a bit when things get choppy and want a ski that makes that pretty easy, the Ripstick 106 could work well. While heavier skis get knocked around considerably less when making big, fast turns in chop, the Ripstick 106 is also easier than those skis when skiing at slower speeds.
All of this is pretty standard for a ski around this weight. I do think the latest Ripstick 106 and Black Edition offer a slightly more composed ride at speed in these conditions than the previous versions, but it’s not night and day. Overall, the Ripstick 106 still offers both the upsides — and downsides — of a lightweight ski when skiing in choppy resort conditions.
Firm Chop & Crud
These conditions are the weak points of any lightweight ski, and the Ripstick 106 is no exception.
Yes, the Ripstick 106 can casually cruise through rough snow and it has never exhibited any unpredictable behavior in it. But if you’re someone who doesn’t like the snow to dictate how fast you go on a given day, you should be looking at skis that weigh many hundreds of grams more than the Ripstick skis.
Again, I do think the newer Ripstick 106 is a touch more damp and stable than the last one, but it’s a small difference. The new Ripstick 106 Black Edition takes this a step further, but that step is even smaller than the one between the 19/20 Ripstick 106 and the 20/21–21/22 version.
Like all the skis we test, I started with the Ripstick 106 and Ripstick 106 Black Edition mounted on their recommended lines (about -9.7 cm from true center). Same as the last version, the skis feel pretty directional there — they want you to drive their shovels and they don’t feel super balanced in the air. But overall, I think they’d feel perfectly intuitive to most skiers who have gotten along with skis with similar mount points.
Because I’m super punk and recommendations are for suckers (read: I’m stubborn and a bit dull), I often end up moving the bindings forward on directional skis like the Ripstick 106. I settled on +2.5 cm (about -7.2 cm from true center) as my personally preferred mount point. There, the ski does feel a bit more punishing since there’s more tail behind the bindings, but I didn’t feel like I lost any ability to engage and drive the shovels, and the upside was that I could ski it a bit more centered and it felt nicer in the air.
That’s not something I think most people should be doing, but if you’re coming from more forward-mounted skis, it’s worth considering. And this is basically the same thing I thought about the previous generation of the Ripsticks — most people should mount recommended, but you can mount a cm or two in front of that if you want a more balanced feel.
Ripstick 106 vs. Ripstick 106 Black Edition
I’ve already alluded to this comparison several times, but let’s address it in one section.
Same as the previous Ripstick 106 vs. previous Ripstick 106 Black Edition, the new versions of both skis feel extremely similar overall. My suspicion is that, if you put a random skier on either for the first time, they’d come away with similar impressions regardless of whether you gave them a blue ski or a black one.
That said, they do feel a bit different on snow. The main difference is that the Black Edition feels a bit stiffer and more precise, while the standard version is a touch more forgiving and easier to release / pivot / slarve around. So for more aggressive or bigger skiers, the Black Edition might be a better call (assuming you already like the sound of the standard version; again, they’re not very different). For most people, though, I think the regular Ripstick 106 will be just fine. Unless you just like running a head-to-ski all-black kit, in which case (1) *high-five* and (2) … go for it.
Who’s It For?
Beginner through expert skiers who want an all-mountain ski that is light, nimble, and versatile across most conditions and terrain.
Now, that general description could be used for a number of skis, so what sets the Ripstick 106 apart from the others? The first thing I’d mention is on-piste performance. A lot of the light, quick skis in this class have more rockered and more tapered tips and tails than the Ripstick 106. While those things make those skis more surfy and maneuverable off piste, they also mean that the Ripstick 106 stands out in the category when it comes to turn initiation and edge hold on groomed snow.
The other thing is that, while this ski is still pretty easy to ski, it’s also quite capable of being pushed hard by experienced skiers who don’t want something really heavy. Those seeking flat-out stability and excellent damping should still look at something that’s much heavier on the scales. But compared to some other options in the lighter-weight category, the Ripstick 106 offers a platform that lets you lean into it pretty hard. And if you’re one of those skiers and you value on-edge precision more than playfulness and a loose, surfy ride, you have even more reason to check out this ski.
Given the weight of the Ripstick 106, I think it’d also make for a great 50/50 ski that you’d use inside the resort and for some human-powered skiing. I mean, it does have a skin-clip slot on the tail, so it’ll basically pull you up any hill itself, right? Really though, I think the Ripstick 106 hits a nice sweet spot of being heavy enough to not be scary in the resort, without being so heavy that it’ll discourage you from skinning uphill for a few laps.
As we’ve said many times before, lightweight skis like the Ripstick 106 aren’t the right choice if you know you like something that’s really damp, smooth, glued to the snow, etc. If you don’t want your skis to get knocked around at high speeds, more weight is more … better. And if you spend a lot of time throwing tricks and freestyle performance is a priority, go with something more forward mounted and with a more symmetrical overall design.
But for the other folks, the latest Ripstick 106 is a well-executed, lightweight, versatile all-mountain ski.
With the previous Ripstick 106, Elan had already made a very good, lightweight ski that was capable in the resort while still being nimble and light enough for some uphill activities.
With the latest version, Elan has made the Ripstick 106 a bit more precise and composed at higher speeds, but they haven’t seriously compromised much of what we liked about the old one. And for those who want to take that a bit further, the new Ripstick 106 Black Edition warrants a close look.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the Ripstick 106 to see how it compares to the previous Ripstick 106, Ripstick 106 Black Edition, Line Sick Day 104, Head Kore 105, Wagner Summit 106, Fischer Ranger 102 FR, Black Crows Atris, Blizzard Rustler 10, Liberty Origin 106, Volkl Blaze 106, Armada Tracer 108, Sego Condor 108, J Skis Slacker, 4FRNT MSP 107, Whitedot Altum 104, Moment Wildcat 108, & Faction Dictator 3.0.