Elan’s Ripstick Skis have been amongst our favourites here at Backcountry Skiing Canada since reviewing the original Ripstick 106s back in 2017. Since then they’ve gone on to win two Backcountry Skiing Canada Gear of the Year Awards in 2020 for their Ripstick 102 W Skis (that’s the women’s version) and the Ripstick 106 Skis. Prior to this, we reviewed the original Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis in 2019, shortly after their initial release. We’re now back to talk about the new 2022 Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis and their improved construction. Available in both a 106 and 96 version, the new Ripstick Black Edition Skis are constructed with Elan’s new Amphibio Carbon Line Technology which builds upon their successful Tubelight wood core, now with QuadRod technology. This means that instead of the previous two carbon rods embedded into each ski, there are now four carbon rod reinforcements. This change helps create a lightweight, powerful ski with plenty of rebound.
Introduced in 2019 with the help of Glen Plake, Elan’s Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis have gone through an update and borrowed Elan’s Amphibio Carbon Line Technology from the 2020 Ripstick 106 Skis which we reviewed here. This Amphibio Carbon Line Technology is an asymmetrical ski design that strategically infuses carbon reinforcement at the inside edges of each ski which provides more power and stability during high-speed turns. To better understand what an Amphibio Profile is have a look at the two photos below and you’ll notice that the early rise in the tips are asymmetrical with a longer early rise on the outside edges of the skis and less on the inside edges which means there is a longer camber profile underfoot. This Amphibio Profile creates a dedicated rocker and camber profile into dedicated left and right ski which. The rocketed outside edge provides more forgiveness and easy turn initiation with smoother transitions while the cambered inside edge assures precision edge grip and stability. While Amphibio Profile is not new to the Ripstick Skis the Carbon Line Technology was introduced into the regular Ripstick 106 skis in 2020 and is now in the new 2022 Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis.
In addition to this extra carbon reinforcement that the Carbon Line Technology provides, Elan has also added QuadRod to the new Black Edition Ski recipe. QuadRod is a new lightweight reinforcement debuting in the 2022 Ripstick 106 and 96 Black Edition skis. In addition to the two full-length carbon tubes already inserted into the ski's lightweight laminate wood core (adjacent to the edges of the skis which makes up Elan’s Tubelite Woodcore) and found in all the Ripstick Skis, there are now two additional carbon tubes that are positioned in the centre of the skis. One of these carbon tubes is found in the forebody of the skis and the other in the tails. While these additional carbon tubes are aligned with one another in the centre of the ski, they are not connected. This gives the Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis more charging power and strength with the flex demanding skier desire from a high-performance ski.
Like the regular Ripstick 106 Skis, the Black Edition’s have rocker in the tips and tails with camber underfoot and also use VaporTip reinforcement to reduce the ski's swing weight while minimizing vibrations which improves the ski's overall stability. Unlike the regular Ripstick 106 Skis, the Black Editions use a 100% recycled VaporTip construction. They consist of polyethylene terephthalate or PET which is the main ingredient found in plastic bottles. This is processed into high-performance foam materials that are used in the tips and tails of the new Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis. These light yet strong materials ensure the Back Editions 106 Skis have a smooth ride on hardpack conditions and also keep the skis rigid and light.
The tips are plenty fat to float in deep snow and the tails are relatively flat so you can easily perform a kick turn on the uptrack. The tails also incorporate a built-in skin notch to ensure your skins stay put.
It’s been three years since we reviewed the original Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis and since that time Elan has been busy making them even better than before. As mentioned above the Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis now have QuadRod Reinforcement and Carbon Line Technology which provides them with even more muscle and horsepower while still retaining that trademark lightweight feel. Having tested a pair of the older pre-Carbon Line Technology Ripsticks back-to-back with these new Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis that do have Carbon Line Technology, I can tell you that the difference is noticeable. While both skis have the Amphibio asymmetrical design, the strategically infused carbon reinforcement over the inside edges of the skis provides more power at speed and also a more stable ride.
It is truly impressive how well these skis perform on any kind of snow, especially for a ski with these wide dimensions. They were responsive and maneuverable in deep snow and on groomers. Although they are not as quick edge to edge and are a little less torsionally stiff than the 96 versions, the 106 Black Edition Skis are still quite impressive in both these areas. The Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis really do carve like a much narrower ski and are smooth and forgiving when you get into trouble. Although the carbon makes them more rigid and stiffer overall they are still a medium-stiff ski that is super fun to carve hard ski when there is no powder to be had. They have a fun and playful personality with lots of energy rebounding out of the turns—they snap back and pop out of turns with all the energy you load them up with. This makes for a very versatile ski for advanced skiers.
Of course, you can find their limit on really hard-pack snow and icy conditions as they are designed for more soft powder snow. Their early rise and wide shovel really plane up on the snow well and you’ll have no problem at all on powder days. Touring in the backcountry I did find the Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis a little heavier than other touring skis we’ve reviewed but nothing that was debilitating or that slowed me down too much and I sure was glad to have them on the down. Surfy in deep snow and commanding in broken and wind blow snow, the Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis really let their true colours shine when conditions were mixed as they handled it all with relative ease. These are a true high-performance ski that provides uncompromised versatility—a true quiver of one ski.
If you are looking to go lighter in the backcountry and want a Ripstick Ski with a larger turn radius and are a few mm narrower overall then consider the new Ripstick Tour 104 Skis (Glen Plake's signature model) from Elan. They also come in 94 and 88 versions if you are looking to go truly lightweight. Hopefully, we’ll get our hands on a pair to review soon.
Price: $949.95CAN / $849.99US
Weight: 3,800g / 8.37lb
Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188cm
Turn Radius: 19.5m (for the 188cm length)
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