Elan’s Ripstick line of skis has been the recipient of much praise and accolades as its satisfied the cravings of many a skier including us here at Backcountry Skiing Canada who gave the 106 Ripsticks a rarely awarded rating of 9.5/10. Given how impressed we were with these skis we wanted to follow that review up with Elan’s much lighter and svelte Ripstick 96 Black Edition Skis but with the amount of snow we get here at Backcountry Skiing Canada’s HQ in the Selkirk Mountains, anything sub 100mm underfoot isn’t enough ski. Thankfully next fall Elan will be bestowing their award-winning Black Edition carbon construction upon the 106 Ripstick skis. Freeride Skiers demanded a fatter, blacker version of the 106 that could conquer the entire mountain and Elan graciously responded. The carbon infused edition of the Ripstick 106 skis arrived last month and we got to work on reviewing it to see if it lives up to the Black Edition accolades.
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The chassis of the Ripstick 106 remains primarily unchanged in the new Black Edition, the main difference is that it gains an additional layer of carbon which wraps the skis internal paulownia, birch and poplar wood core from edge to edge. This increases performance with added strength and power without upping the ski’s weight. Make no mistake though, this Black Edition still comes wth all the internal goodness that the regular Ripstick 106 possesses including Elan’s unique Amphibio asymmetrical profile, three-dimensional carbon wood core and composite material in the tips. The Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis additional carbon not only improves their performance but also looks sleek and sexy with its all black top sheet
The chassis of the Ripstick 106 remains primarily unchanged in the new Black Edition, the main difference is that it gains an additional layer of carbon which wraps the skis internal paulownia, birch and poplar wood core from edge to edge. This increases performance with added strength and power without upping the ski’s weight. Make no mistake though, this Black Edition still comes with all the internal goodness that the regular Ripstick 106 possesses including Elan’s unique Amphibio asymmetrical profile, three-dimensional carbon wood core and composite material in the tips. The Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis additional carbon not only improves their performance but also looks sleek and sexy with its all black top sheet.
So as to not repeat the entire Ripstick 106 review here, read that first and instead I’ll simply recap the technology contained within both the Ripstick 106 and 106 Black Edition below.
Elan’s TNT technology uses a Tubelite Wood Core with carbon rods along the edges of the ski, combined with Vapor Tip Inserts. This results is a lightweight high performance ski with exceptional power, cushioning and stability.
Elan inserted two lightweight Carbon tubes into the ski's laminated wood core in order to allow the Ripstick Skis to absorb vibrations and yet still be lightweight and responsive. At just 5mm in diameter, these hollow tubes run the length of the ski following the arc of the side cut. They provide material reduction and save on weight while increasing torsional stability.
Vapor Tip Inserts
Lightweight composite Vaportip inserts are found in the tips and tails of the Ripstick Skis to help reduce swing weight and vibration which improves the skis stability and provides a smooth ride on hardpack conditions.
SST Sidewall construction
Vertically oriented ABS material located above the edges from the tip to tail of the ski increase torsional stability for improved ski control. This SST Sidewall construction helps channel power transmission from the skier to ski and provide fast edge to edge turns.
Elan has combined rocker and camber profiles in a single ski. Each ski features a cambered inside edge for grip and stability, and a rockered outside edge for easier turning. This Amphibio profile construction is unique to Elan Ripstick Skis and the reason why there is a left and right ski.
Carbon layers incorporated into the Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis improves torsional stability and provides a powerful rebound and dynamic performance on the down while remaining light on the up.
Tips and tails with more rocker up front than in the back.
Just like the non-carbon version of Elan’s 106 Ripstick skis, the Black Edition seems to be able ski just about anything. Over the past few months we threw pow, crud, chop, hard pack, groomers and chunder at them and with out fail they ate it all up with an endless appetite for more.
The differences between the regular Ripstick 106 and the Black Edition ski are pretty subtle without a side-by-side comparison but with that extra layer of carbon the Black Edition Skis are slightly more torsionally stiff and lighter. Ading additional carbon to a ski will increase its rigidity it also decreases the skis dampening abilities, however I didn’t find the Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis chattery in the least. This is likely due to the ski’s Tubelite Wood Core construction and Vapor Tip Inserts. As with the regular Ripstick 106’s, I’m a big fan of the asymmetric design with traditional cambered on the inside edge for grip and a more rockered freeride shape on the outside edge for easy turn initiation. This combination is effective in allowing the Ripstick 106 Black Edition skis to triumph in any conditions.
Given that there is a minimal weight savings between the Black Edition and the regular Ripstick 106 Skis and the fact that there’s almost a 50% price increase means you really need to want to have a full carbon layup ski. If you are looking for serious weight savings then the Ripstick 96 Black Edition is the ski to choose. Don’t get me wrong, the Back Edition is a great ski but is it worth the added price of admission,… that’s up to you to decide.
Price: $949CAN / $1050US
Weight: 1799g / 3.96lb (per ski 181cm)
Turn Radius: 18m (181cm skis), 20m (188cm skis)
Lengths: 167, 174, 181, 188cm
|Powder Performance 2/2
Groomer Performance 1.5/2
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