Expert Review: 2023 Elan Ripstick 94 W Skis [with Video]
Ski Experts Jessica Whittam and Sara Beeken tested the 2023 Elan Ripstick 94W skis on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Experts Jessica Whittam and Sara Beeken got their hands on the 2023 Elan Ripstick 94W and put it to the test at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but don’t forget, every skier is unique; if you have any questions on the Ripstick 94W or would like recommendations on what ski would be ideal for your needs, reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated.
Before we jump in, a quick note that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands, so all of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does Elan claim about this ski? [Jessica] Elan categorizes these skis as a freeride ski that's good for frontside and backside terrain, along with resort and backcountry skiing. These are built very lightweight, so Elan markets these as a great backcountry touring setup option.
[Sara] Elan calls this an all-mountain free-ride ski for women.
What is your overall impression of this ski? [Jessica] My first impression of these skis are that they're a great on-mountain option for intermediate to advanced gear. I took them through some variable terrain at the top there and they held up really well.
[Sara] My first impressions of these skis were that they were really light. These are also sometimes used as a touring ski, so that makes sense that they would be really light.
How is the shape and profile of the ski? How does it impact the skiing experience? [Jessica] Elan makes skis that have an amphibio profile, which means that there's a left ski and a right ski. There's a lot of tech that goes into why they do this per ski, but what you guys really need to know is that there is a specific left and right ski, and that can help you with carving and help you with all sorts of things all over the mountain.
[Sara] The ski is pretty flexible. It's got a little bit of camber underfoot, so that makes it still a good groomer ski, but it's got some rocker in the tip rocker in the tail, which makes it more of a freeride ski. This ski also has something called an “amphibio profile”, which means that there's actually a left and right ski. The difference is that the edges are a little bit different on the inside and the outside edge of the ski. And that's just going to help maximize the performance of the edge control and edge hold.
Is this a good carver? [Jessica] This ski carved pretty well on the groomers, but again, it does have a wider turn radius than some other options, so I think that the ski does excel mostly in the trees and in the big mountain area, on black diamonds and stuff.
[Sara] These did have some really good edge hold. The stability was good as long as you stayed on the groomers.
How is it at speed? [Sara] It was also easy to control at speed on the groomers. As soon as you get off the groomers, they get a little bit wobbly at high speeds.
Any playfulness in the ski? [Sara] I landed a few jumps on these. Definitely not what they're made for, but they're still perfectly stable on jumps. I wouldn't take this into the terrain park or anything like that. It's a little too wide for that and just not what it's made for, but it is really light so that does make it easier to kind of get some pop off of jumps and whatnot.
How would it be in powder? [Jessica] This is a 94 underfoot so this would be a great ski for a powder day. At the tips of these skis, they are 134, so that's a pretty big difference from the waist. These wide tips give these skis a lot of float and they'll do very well in light powder, up to 10 inches.
[Sara] Unfortunately, we didn't really get to ski any powder today, but I'm confident that these would do well. It's 94 under foot, but it does have a pretty wide tip, so it's going to float really well in powder.
How does it do in bumps and trees? [Jessica] This ski holds up well in bumps and trees. It's not as nimble as I thought it was going to be. In the trees, I wanted it to turn a little bit quicker than it did, but it was pretty responsive. It just didn't have the response that I was looking for, so it wasn't quite there in the trees for me. But, on open faces and bowls, they performed very well.
[Sara] In trees they were really easy to maneuver. I felt like on a fresh snow day, these would be absolutely fantastic in the trees.
How is it on uneven terrain? [Jessica] I took them through some variable terrain at the top there and they held up really well. It was like dust on crust. It was like once you got through the top layer, they held up really well through the chatter. There were a couple sections here and there where I'd hit big ice chunks and there's not a lot that you can do as a skier if that happens, no matter the ski. Yeah, so they held up really well and they were fun to rip on the groomers too.
[Sara] Sometimes if I got into some chunky, hard snow, they were floppy flopping around a little bit. The tips are really light, which is great for touring, great for powder, and great for maneuverability, but sometimes that will get a little bit noodly on you on the choppy snow.
What location is this ski ideal for? [Jessica] I think that these would do really, really well in three inches of powder if you're consistently skiing in the West.
[Sara] Because of this wide front tip here, I think that these would do really well on the West Coast. The East Coast, maybe too, but the West Coast is going to have a little bit more snow on average so I think these would be a good daily driver for there, or maybe a powder ski for the East Coast.
What terrain is the ski not ideal for? [Sara] Uneven terrain, variable terrain was kind of where I felt this ski struggled the most. It's great for what it's great for, but I didn't feel like it did the best in less-than-ideal conditions.
Who would you recommend this ski to? [Jessica] This is going to be a more freeride all-mountain ski. I would recommend these skis to a high intermediate to advanced skier. This is more of a hard-charging ski.
[Sara] I'd recommend these skis to advanced skiers, or someone who wants a little bit wider ski underfoot and is looking for a little bit of powder.
Who should avoid this ski? [Jessica] If you're looking for a ski to ski primarily groomers, this isn't the one for you. I think it's a lot of ski for somebody who's a beginner. If you're looking for something light and nimble and really responsive, I don't think this is going to be the ski for you.
[Sara] I would not recommend these to beginners, and maybe not intermediates. I would also not recommend these to somebody who's a really fast skier and a hard charger. I think that they're going to be disappointed with the flex of the ski.
Skis work differently for different types of people. If you'd like help finding the right ski for you, chat with Jessica, Sara, or another Ski Expert here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations on the best setup for you.