A capable ski that provides plenty of fun and power in an effortless package, it features some unique design elements that help it stand out among the pack. These are a fast, versatile option that’s wide enough to handle big powder days in the backcountry.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of this ski, who it is best for, and other similar alternatives to consider.
- Where to buy: Amazon
- Best for: Skiers who want versatility in the resort and backcountry, as well as those looking for an alternative profile shape. They also make for a great backcountry option.
- Pros: The Innovative Amphibio Profile builds in side-specific rocker and camber. That creates great response and turning power that will obey your every command.
- Cons: Not as playful as some other freeride options. It’s also not great at busting crud. The light weight also causes some chatter at high speeds.
- Alternatives: Salomon QST 106, Volkl Revolt 104, Head Kore 105
Why Trust Me?
I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I have skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I talked to a few other experienced skiers who have spent time on the Elan Ripstick 106 and did thorough research on the skis to come up with the detailed review below.
The Elan Review 106 is a versatile freeride ski that has all-mountain capabilities and can easily fit into a great touring set up. They are lightweight without compromising all that much in the way of power and feature some unique profile considerations that give you a leg up as you explore the mountain. It’s not the fastest ski when pointed straight, but still offers great turning and carving quickness.
Skis focused on freeride performance need to give you different capabilities across all parts of the mountain. The Ripstick 106 does a good job of that in conditions where the snow is deep and where you want to cruise and float your way downhill. At speed, the skis hold up really well in both powder and packed powder conditions. However, they leave a little to be desired on inbounds groomers.
In big-mountain situations, these skis will provide you with all of the power and confidence you need to stay on top and in control. Their lightweight-but-strong build makes them responsive and effective in open bowls and steep technical runs (aside from groomers). You can also push them hard and fast. This makes them excellent in bumps and in trees because they are easy to maneuver underfoot and provide both power and control.
The light weight hinders performance a bit on groomers and steeper icy runs. They can get quite chatty at really high speeds too, and were found to provide less than precise control under those circumstances. If you’re a freeride skier who ventures into the backcountry, that should be of little concern. If you’re looking for a racing ski or don’t venture out of the groomed runs at the resort, you’ll want to explore other options.
The Ripstick 106’s freeride attributes is where it truly shines. A chief metric in looking at freeride performance is versatility. These skis are more than capable of taking you both in and out of resort boundaries without missing a beat. In powder and softer snow conditions, they are a lot of fun. They ski light and loose to allow for creative lines and more than hold their own. Just remember that they are not intended as a strict resort ski.
The 106mm waist width on these skis provides plenty of float and makes them a capable powder ski that will remain effective when the fresh tracks run out. They have a turning radius that allows you to hit those quick and demanding turns at a moment’s notice but also give you the ability to slow down and carve wide s-turns on a range of terrains and conditions. That also makes the Ripstick a good choice for a backcountry/touring ski.
Even if you don’t have any ambition to explore outside of the resort, these skis still have plenty to offer. I mentioned some chatter at high speeds in the section above, but that downside doesn’t come with too big of a reduction in stability or edge control. That makes them versatile enough to bounce from a powder day to a groomer pretty easily. However, the lightweight build doesn’t quite have enough power to be effective in cruddy snow.
Construction and Style
The main construction feature of the Ripstick 106 that really stands out is its Amphibio profile. If you didn’t guess from the name, that unique shape gives you extra versatility that puts both camber and rocker into each ski. While this is common in a lot of all-mountain skis these days, Elan took things to another level here and the result adds versatility, control, and power without any extra weight.
The difference between the Ripstick 106’s profile and other freeride or all-mountain options is a cambered inside edge that gives you excellent edge control and stability alongside a rockered outside edge that helps them remain fun, bouncy, and easy to turn. The Amphibo profile does make the skis side-specific, which means you have a left and right ski. Be sure to get this right when you first step into them.
A Tubelite Wood Core utilizes two small carbon tubes that run the length of the ski to provide you with extra strength and power. That minimizes any excess flex that you might expect out of a lightweight ski and, alongside the laminate wood core, they have plenty of power side to side and tip to tail. Elan also uses some special design features to work alongside the asymmetrical build to enhance the function of the Amphibio profile.
From a style perspective, there’s not much going on with the Ripstick 106. The contrasting colors of the latest model give them a bit of a throwback parabolic ski look that wouldn’t be out of place in the 90’s. Don’t let that fool you into thinking these aren’t fully suitable for modern skier demands, because they certainly are.
Price and Value
The Elan Ripstick 106 is an average-priced freeride ski that’s comparable to other similar options in the category. As such, they provide decent value if you use them for their intended purposes of full-on freeride functionality in a lightweight package. They can also be a great value for a backcountry ski that has the versatility to venture elsewhere if and when you want them to.
The 106 can be considered a 1-ski option, but I wouldn’t quite recommend it as such because it’s a bit more backcountry focused. For off-piste pursuits, they can certainly be the only ski you’ll need and are built to handle those conditions without weighing you down on the uphill ascent.
What I Like
These skis are awesome in the backcountry and more than capable in all sorts of other freeride situations. They excel in soft snow and the unique profile gives them a feel that’s hard to directly compare to other options. That makes them somewhat novel and hard to judge, but I think they are a solid ski both in terms of capability and control. The 106mm width is also a preferred sweet spot that gives you a ton of versatility.
These skis also turn on a dime while allowing you to sit back and enjoy the ride. The cambered inner edge stands out here because it gives you the precise edge control needed when you’re mobbing moguls or trying to evade trees. Take them on a deep powder run and you’ll have a smile on your face as they provide a floaty feel that’s easy and effortless to control.
The lightweight construction also comes in handy when touring or for in-bounds hikes when you want to throw them over your shoulder or strap them to a back. The Tubelite core, with the carbon tubes built-in, is another awesome design element that adds strength and power you don’t commonly see in other lightweight options.
What I Don’t Like
The Ripstick 106 is a solid ski. There simply isn’t a lot to dislike about them. While they are versatile and capable in many situations, they aren’t quite a 1-ski quiver option, in my opinion. I prefer a more all-mountain focused model with that in mind. They can certainly provide everything you want out of a backcountry ski, but with other situations in mind, you might want another option in your garage.
My main complaint here is how they perform at higher speeds on packed snow. Chatter will start to be quite noticeable when you point them downhill. Though they remain stable, that prevents you from reaching warp speeds. They also aren’t effective at busting through cruddy snow and can get bogged down quickly in such conditions. I’d keep them slow and steady in the crud to avoid potential yard sales.
If you’re looking for an alternative option to the Elan Ripstick 106 that provides similar versatility in the backcountry while still being fully capable in-bounds, check out these other skis:
- Solomon QST 106 – These skis serve as a recommended alternative to the Ripstick 106 thanks to their all-over-the-mountain freeride capabilities with a fun and responsive nature. They aren’t quite as light, but that means you can push them with a bit more power. Not quite as well-suited for the backcountry, but can still be a nice touring ski.
- Volkl Revolt 104 – This ski is a bit more playful and well-rounded than the Ripstick 106 in bounds, but it still holds up in the backcountry. Plus, it’s shape and profile make it far more capable in the park, which then translates into increased freeride performance for those who like to spend any time in the air or searching for natural features.
- Head Kore 105 – This is another great option that compares to the Ripstick in terms of weight and versatility, but it packs a little more pop. While that makes it somewhat less effective as a backcountry ski, it’s still light enough to handle the task. The Kore 105 (review) is a solid in-bounds choice as well.
Is the Ripstick 106 a backcountry ski?
Yes, but it’s also versatile enough to be used as an in-bounds setup as well. It’s lightweight construction and freeride capabilities make it an excellent option for backcountry skiing and touring.
Will these skis work for beginners?
I wouldn’t recommend the Elan Ripstick 106 as a beginner ski. While they are lightweight and easy to maneuver, their design and construction focus more on skiers with intermediate to advanced abilities.
Is the Ripstick 106 really a side-specific ski?
Yes. You’ll want to get these on the right foot as they have a unique profile shape with a cambered inner edge and rockered outer. Mix that up, and they will ski funny for sure.
The Elan Ripstick 106 is a ski that comes highly recommended due to its versatile freeride performance. That makes it an excellent backcountry option, and the versatility translates to in-bounds pursuits for any skier who likes to do a good amount of both. Quick turns and a strong- but-lightweight design makes these fun to ski on, especially in softer snow conditions.
These skis earn few critical marks, aside from a few issues at higher speeds on packed and icy snow. For a backcountry ski focused on fun with some creative and exciting design features, they are hard to beat.