This is my review of Ripstick 96 from Elan. In my opinion, it is a true all-mountain ski that does a good job across nearly all winter conditions, although it doesn’t excel in any one area.
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, The House
- Best for: Riders looking for a reliable ski that will give them good results across both unique and standard settings.
- Pros: Good on powder. Tough construction that holds up in all conditions. Easy to ski. Lightweight.
- Cons: A little slow edge to edge. Not the poppiest ski out there. Also suffers on crud.
- Alternatives: Volkl M5 Mantra, Blizzard Rustler 10, Black Crows Daemon
What is this ski’s profile?
The Ripstick 96 comes with a rocker, camber, rocker profile.
What core does the Ripstick come with?
This model utilizes a lightweight Tubelite Wood Core construction that offers decent stability and durability.
What is this ski’s turning radius?
This model has a 16-meter turning radius.
Why Trust Me
I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent ample time researching these skis by breaking down their various traits, talking to riders who used them first hand, and studying how they operated in a multitude of climates and conditions.
Detailed Review of Elan Ripstick 96
The Ripstick 96 is an all-mountain ski that seeks to handle all different snow settings or mountain environments. In that route, it succeeds. However, it is not an exceptional ski in any one way. Instead, it does a lot of things well without doing anything great. That does hold it back a bit, but it’s easy to ride and does a solid job for both intermediate and advanced skiers who want something they can both take out into the groomers and use to explore the mountain.
Truly Reliable Stability
Stability is one area where the Ripstick lives up to its name. The ski is made to tear across the mountain at just about any speed, and that’s exactly what it does. While those that like to push their gear (and themselves) to the absolute limits might see some chatter at the edge of the most extreme speeds, skiers will be able to easily pilot the Ripstick 96 without any worries. Even if you do really push your skis, you’ll likely only see some issues from time to time.
These skis are both stiff and damp. While they don’t have any metal, something I’m a bit wary of when it comes to stability or strength, they still give you great stable performance. On top of that, the light wood core enables you to maneuver as you like without worrying about losing control. The soft flex pattern also works here, giving you a good amount of extra stability.
Carving and Crud
The Ripstick also excels at carving. Elan is known for this category, and this model lives up to the high standard. That’s mainly due to the Amphibio profile as well as the inside edge camber and outside edge rocker. That combination enables you to initiate and release on turns easily. If there’s one downside in this area, it’s that the Ripstick is slow on edge to edge transitions. Even so, their performance makes them good for carving.
Unfortunately, that same standard doesn’t hold up in the crud. The ski is lightweight and, as with so many other light models, it tends to chatter or deflect when on top of refrozen snow. While the vaportip technology seeks to cut down on that, it doesn’t do enough. You may get fine results when going over softer crud, but if your goal is to get through firm terrain you’re likely going to want something better suited for that task.
Powder and Bumps
The Ripstick also does a solid job on powder. It’s not as impressive as models made for fresh snow, but you should still have quite a bit of fun. It’s floaty enough for all but the deepest conditions, even if the tail is a little stiffer and less lively than other more-dedicated models. As you might imagine with a non-specialized ski, the Ripstick survives on powder without ever truly excelling. That should be good enough for most.
You’re also going to see decent performance on bumps. There are a few setbacks, including the fact that the large size does mean some tail hooking, but the soft tip flex means you’ll be able to tightly maneuver around tight spots when the time comes. It also helps that the light swing weight gives you the ability to absorb hits and quickly switch directions.
There’s no doubt that the Ripstick is not a big-air ski specifically designed for the park. You’re not going to get a lot of mileage out of a superpipe. Even so, it does a decent job when it comes to hitting small jumps. The stiffer flex that runs through the tail isn’t the best for this end, but you should be able to switch around in mid-air when performing certain tricks. Not the most playful ski, but there’s still something there.
Price and Value
As with everything else with these skis, the value is about average. The price range is right in the middle compared to both budget and premium models, but the strong construction gives you extra longevity. Intermediate skiers who need a reliable model for different conditions will get a lot out of the Ripstick 96. In contrast, those who like more specialized models won’t. The value comes down to how you most often ride.
What I Like
In my opinion, the biggest draw of the Ripstick 96 is its versatility. These skis have a strength to them that enables them to ride well in numerous conditions. While you’re not getting anything particularly spectacular, more options are never a bad thing. I like skis that don’t put me into one box or force me into one skiing style. These keep things open.
The durability is something I like as well. I’m always a sucker for well-made items out on the slopes. You never know what weather you’re going to encounter, and you never know what beating you might take. The Ripstick 96 gives you a lot of peace of mind by ensuring you can ride, jump, or fall without any lasting damage coming to the pair.
What I Dislike
I found the Ripstick’s biggest weakness to be how it performed on crud. The ski just doesn’t have what it takes to push through the tough stuff, and that’s a bit disappointing for something that gives you a decent amount of versatility. This is mainly due to the lightweight design, and it’s not entirely unexpected, but it’s something you should know if you want to try to make it through varied terrain.
The other issue at the core of this ski is the lack of great traits. This won’t be a huge problem for some, but it’s important to know you aren’t getting anything special when it comes to traits when getting this ski. If you want a more premium model that goes above and beyond, this one isn’t it.
The Ripstick 96 is a ski that gets by in the middle of the pack. That will be good enough for a lot of skiers, but those that want something that tries to go above and beyond will be better suited checking out these great models:
- Volkl M5 Mantra – The M5 Mantra (review) is an excellent product from one of the bigger companies in the skiing game. This model has a good build as well as a large sweet spot. Though you will experience some chatter when truly pushing the limits, it’s consistent and works well for those who like to go fast. There’s a ton of versatility with this pair as well.
- Blizzard Rustler 10 – Yet another ski built to handle the mountain in various ways, the Rustler 10 (review) is a good pick if you want some extra versatility on different kinds of snow. Though it definitely excels in powder conditions, the ski also holds its own on crud or in shifting conditions. It’s poppy, easy to swing, and a lot of fun to use no matter where you typically ride.
- Black Crows Daemon – The Black Crows Daemon is a ski built for hard-charging skiers who want something they can easily handle. As with other models in this list, it’s a true all-mountain ski that gives you the ability to hit different runs or terrain depending on your personal preferences. It does chatter a bit when really pushed, but the ride is mostly smooth.
When you strip everything away, the Ripstick is a jack of all trades, master of none. However, for intermediate skiers who want a good cruising model, that’s not a bad thing. The pair is quite strong and able to handle many different types of snow.
You can ski just about anywhere as long as you stay away from crud. High-performance seekers will want more from their gear, but those looking for a smooth, stable ride will undoubtedly be impressed with the Ripstick 96.