Ski: 2020-2021 Elan Ripstick 102 W, 170 cm
Available lengths: 156, 163, 170, 177
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 169.9 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1687 & 1695 g
Stated Dimensions: 143-104-120 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 143.1-104.6-120.2 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (170 cm): 17.0 m
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 57 mm / 21.5 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3 mm
Core: Poplar/Paulownia/Maple + Carbon Tubes + Carbon Edge Reinforcement + “Vapor Tip Inserts” + Fiberglass Laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.85 cm from true center; 76.1 cm from tail
[Editor’s Note: We’re very excited to be bringing on Analisa as a new reviewer. For more on her background, check out her bio.]
Blister has now reviewed several of Elan’s men’s Ripstick skis, including the new Ripstick 106, previous Ripstick 106 & 96, and the Black Edition of the Ripstick 106. We’re now kicking off the reviews of the women’s Ripstick W line, starting with the updated, 20/21 Ripstick 102 W.
Our reviewers on the men’s side have found that the Ripstick skis stood out for being light, yet still stable and versatile options that work great in a “50/50” scenario where you’re splitting your time between the resort and the backcountry.
On the women’s side, the Ripstick 102 W sits in much more crowded territory. Lots of brands are making moderately lightweight, ~105mm-wide skis with turn radii in the high teens, moderate taper, and directional flex patterns that are neither distinctly burly nor particularly playful. The 102-104 width class may have won this year’s Blister Award for Most Intriguing 3mm in Skiing, but the women’s side for this width class looks pretty homogenous.
Consequently, I’m very interested to see what distinguishes the Ripstick 102 W from the numerous other options in this class, such as the Blizzard Sheeva 10, Line Pandora 104, K2 Mindbender 106C Alliance, and Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free. Let’s take a closer look at the Ripstick 102 W’s design for now:
The Ripstick 102 W is the product of “W Studio,” Elan’s women’s product development and marketing initiative. However, the Ripstick 102 W’s construction is no different than the 20/21 men’s Ripstick skis. The core is a lightweight poplar/paulownia/maple blend with carbon rods near the edges, carbon fiber reinforcements above the inside edges, Vapor Tip inserts (composite materials in the tips for better damping with less weight), and a fiberglass laminate. As with the men’s Ripsticks, the biggest construction update to the 20/21 women’s Ripstick line vs. the previous skis is the addition of a carbon-fiber weave over the inside edges. This asymmetrical construction works in line with Elan’s overall asymmetrical design, which takes us to…
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Ripstick 102 W’s shape is moderately tapered, fairly similar to the K2 Mindbender 106C Alliance, and slightly less tapered than the Line Pandora 104. While the tip and tail splay numbers are similar in all three of those skis, the Ripsticks 102 W’s rocker lines are shallower, especially compared to the Pandora 104 and Blizzard Sheeva 10. I’m curious to see if the subtle rocker profile on the Ripstick 102 W will make it feel longer or feel less forgiving than its peers.
The rocker profile on all of the Ripsticks is also unique due to Elan’s Amphibio design, where the rocker profile is asymmetrical and the rocker lines are slightly deeper on the outside edges of the ski. The idea is that the elongated camber on the inside helps with edge hold, while extra rocker on the outside improves maneuverability and makes turn initiation easier. As with the other Ripstick skis we’ve reviewed, the asymmetry of the Ripstick 102 W’s rocker profile is very subtle and tough to see just looking at the ski, though running your hand down the side of the ski reveals the subtle asymmetry.
I’ve never skied an asymmetrical ski before, so I’m curious whether I’ll notice the difference (especially when I inevitably put them on the wrong feet).
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Ripstick 102 W:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9.5
Behind Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
The flex pattern on the Ripstick 102 W is very similar to many of its peers with a pretty moderate, fairly directional flex. The Ripstick 102 W’s flex pattern is quite similar overall to the Mindbender 106C, Pandora 104, Blizzard Sheeva 10, & Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free. Compared to the Rossignol BLACKOPS Rallybird & Rallybird Ti, the Ripstick 102 W has slightly softer tips and shovels, and a much softer tail.
This is one of the main differences between the Ripstick 102 W and men’s Ripstick 106. While the Ripstick 106’s mount point measures close to -10 cm from true center, the Ripstick 102 W’s mount point is a bit farther forward, with our pair’s mount point measuring around -8.8 cm from true center.
While the men’s Ripstick 106 is quite light compared to other men’s inbounds skis, the Ripstick 102 W comes in at a more middle-of-the-road weight compared to other women’s skis, with our pair of the 170 cm length coming in at an average weight of 1691 g per ski.
All of the Ripsticks have notches in the tails for skin clips and aren’t unreasonably heavy for uphill travel, but I don’t expect they’ll be my favorite choice for a 50/50 setup (especially with the Armada Trace 108 and outgoing Atomic Backland 102 W coming in around ~150-200g lighter and skiing quite well). That said, the Ripstick 102 W is still notably lighter than some inbounds-oriented skis like the Volkl Secret 102 & Rossignol BLACKOPS Rallybird Ti.
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.
1440 & 1366 Line Pandora 110, 170 cm (20/21)
1533 & 1537 Armada Trace 98, 172 (17/18–19/20)
1593 & 1609 Armada Trace 108, 172 (17/18–19/20)
1626 & 1645 Line Pandora 104, 165 cm (18/19–20/21)
1651 & 1669 Moment Sierra, 172 cm (17/18–18/19)
1687 & 1695 Elan Ripstick 102 w, 172 cm (20/21)
1709 & 1710 Blizzard Sheeva 10, 172 cm (17/18–20/21)
1711 & 1772 DPS Alchemist Zelda 106 C2, 171 cm (19/20–20/21)
1735 & 1740 K2 Mindbender 106C Alliance, 175 cm (19/20–20/21)
1764 & 1778 Rossignol Soul 7 HD W, 172 cm (17/18–19/20)
1792 & 1792 Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free, 172 cm (20/21)
1839 & 1797 Rossignol BLACKOPS Rallybird, 170 cm (20/21)
1852 & 1831 Rossignol BLACKOPS Rallybird Ti, 170 cm (20/21)
2104 & 2115 Volkl Secret 102, 170 cm (19/20–20/21)
Bottom Line (For Now)
The Elan Ripstick 102 W looks quite similar to many of the other ~100–110mm-wide skis on the market — at least on paper. The Ripstick 102 W’s rocker profile is a bit more conservative than most and the asymmetrical rocker profile & construction is intriguing, so I’m curious to find out how the Ripstick 102 W differs on snow. Blister Members can check out my Flash Review linked below, then stay tuned for a full review next season.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Ripstick 102 W for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.