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Expert Review: 2023 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition Skis [with Video]

Published on 08/30/2023 · 13 min readSki Experts Brandon Westburg and Hayden Wright tested the 2023 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition skis on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
By Curated Experts Brandon Westburg and Hayden Wright

Curated Ski Experts Brandon Westburg and Hayden Wright got their hands on the 2023 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition skis this spring and put them to the test at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how they performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but consider the fact that each and every skier is different. If you have any questions about the Ripstick 106 Black Edition or need recommendations on which skis would be best for you, reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated.

Before we get started, it's worth noting that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands. All of these reviews are completely unbiased.

Brand Claims

What does Elan claim about these skis? [Brandon] Elan claims that the Ripstick Black Edition 106 is a hard-charging, all-mountain ski that's capable of skiing anywhere from the groomers, to powder, to anything ungroomed as well.

What’s new in this edition of the skis? [Hayden] The Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition is new this year. Some of the changes are that there are four carbon rods now that go through the ski. They follow the sidecut. And this is a very unique thing that Elan's doing. Basically what it does is it gives you a super predictable flex throughout the entire ski. It's stiff. It's burly. And because it is carbon, it's actually keeping the weight down.

Overall Impressions

What is your overall impression of these skis? [Brandon] My overall impression of the Ripstick Black Edition 106 was that it was really fun to ski on the groomers. I thought it was very stiff and a bit heavy on anything ungroomed, but it was really fun to move edge to edge on the groomers. I was a bit surprised by it being 106 millimeters underfoot. I thought it would be quite slow edge to edge. But it was very responsive, mostly because of the Amphibio profile in the tip, which incorporates some rocker and camber into the tip of the ski. This makes it very easy to carve and easy to initiate your turns with. So I was very impressed by its performance on the groomers. I did think it was a stiff and fun and hard-charging ski overall.

[Hayden] These skis weigh about 1,950 grams, I think. So they’re a sub-2,000–gram ski. They have tons of camber underfoot. We enjoyed these. Brandon and I actually got to ride the skinnier version, which was the 96 Ripstick. One of the most unique things about the Elan's, is the Amphibio design. And what that does is the inside edge of the ski is going to have more contact and more camber where the outside's going to have that early rise. It was so fun. Although they are 106mm underfoot, these things ski like a 90-millimeter underfoot ski. They don’t ski like a 106; don't be intimidated by that. Elan was talking about how these are the best groomer resort powder ski. So if you want that one ski that does it all, and you're not afraid of a little bit of ski under your foot, the 106 is definitely something to consider.

How is their flex? [Hayden] They're pretty burly; they got those four carbon rods that go out throughout the ski, following the sidecut. And they're stiff. You know, if you're looking for something that's a little softer, this isn't going to be for you. This is going to be for the skier who’s wanting to get going fast, lay on the brakes — these skis are going to be there for you. We experienced minimal chatter on these bad boys. I had no beef with them. They were fun.


How did they turn? [Brandon] I took it from slow speeds to high speeds quite quickly and did a good mix of shorter turns and longer turns as well. Again, it felt really stable, and I didn't feel any chatter throughout the day at all.

How about edge hold? [Brandon] I thought the Ripstick Black Edition 106 had really great edge hold on the groomers.

[Hayden] The Ripstick 106 Black Edition’s for carving. They were super quick edge to edge. Didn't matter if we were going at slow speeds or high speeds. And from what I know, that's got to do with that Amphibio. The skinnier version that we also tested and reviewed was even quicker, but we've reviewed other skis in the 104 to the 108 range. And these 106 Elan Ripsticks were amazing — quick edge to edge. I actually got on these when it was still pretty hard in the morning. And then here in Utah, warmed it up. And then in the mashed potatoes, these things were great too. I usually say 100 to 104 is my daily jammer. But you know, after riding a 106 that carved just like these, the 106 could be the new daily jammer.

Are they stable? [Brandon] I would say you should feel confident taking this ski at any speed; slow, fast, top speed; it will hold its own and prove to be a stable ski.

What about dampness? Any chatter in the skis? [Brandon] The ski is extremely damp. I didn't experience any chatter underfoot. We skied anywhere from harder-packed snow to some softer stuff in the trees, and I caught some air. I felt like it was an extremely stable and damp ski.

[Hayden] They’re carbon weave, and the carbon rods definitely made the ski burly and hold up. Like I said, when you hit the brakes, there's no chatter. Yeah, it was fun. It’s definitely a ski that will build your confidence.

How does the carbon weave impact the skiing experience? [Hayden] The carbon weave is something a few other brands do, and for my style of skiing, it's a little bit more jibby finding little jumps here and there. I just don't find myself bombing runs or smashing through crud. It’s fun to jump on these skis, and they’re skis that aren't necessarily designed for my style of skiing. I get to ski the ski for what it was designed for. It gets me out of my element, and it's all around just a fun time on the mountain, getting to ski new skis, and skiing areas I probably wouldn't have gone to.

How do they perform at speed? [Brandon] I think that you can ride the Elan Ripstick Black Edition at any speed. At top speed, it did feel very stable. But at slower speeds, and when we were smearing turns and going a bit slower, I did feel confident as well.

How is their energy of acceleration? [Brandon] I do think this ski has quite a lot of energy. It did accelerate quite quickly when out there on the slopes today.


Could you speak about playfulness and pop? [Brandon] I would not say that the Elan Ripstick Black Edition 106 is an extremely playful ski by any means. Again, because of how damp and stiff the ski actually is, but it is extremely supportive in almost any situation when skiing on the resort.

[Hayden] I keep going back to these carbon rods. I don't want to say these skis didn't have a lot of pop, but they are stiff. You could load them up, and they're going to snap back straight eventually. Keeping them on the ground, we found a few airs off some groomers and they did fine, but I wouldn't say it's the poppiest ski. You're not going to be taking this into the park. This is going to be that ski that's just great for ripping on and off the trail. Maybe not the best in mogul since it is a little bit wide at that 106. Maybe look at its little brother, but yeah, not the poppiest ski.

What about riding switch? [Brandon] Unfortunately, today, I did not get to ride the Elan Ripstick Black Edition switch at all, as it does have an extremely flat tail. So I would not recommend riding it switch, as you could get snagged or caught up because there's not a partial twin or a full twin on this ski. [Hayden] I did take this guy switch. It's got a little bit of rocker, or rise I should say, in the tail. But I wouldn't recommend it for a skier who’s planning on spending a little bit of time riding switch. This is a forward-jamming ski.

How are they on jumps? [Brandon] When catching air today, I felt extremely stable, and it does have quite a bit of pop. Although it's stiff, as discussed before, it does have a lot of energy. When leaving the ground and landing as well, it provides a really stable landing. So we had a ton of fun out there today catching air, on larger side hits and some smaller ones as well. It was overall really fun to get in the air with.

[Hayden] Anything over 104 millimeters is going to be great for having that burly ski underfoot. But these were stout with their TubeLite Woodcore and those carbon rods coming down off maybe an air on a groomer. The skis are going to be there for you. But again, it's more of a carving ski. I don't want to say playful. It's a carving ski. That's what it's designed for. Glen Plake — he's onto something.


How would they be in powder?

[Brandon] I would say that the Elan Ripstick Black Edition 106 has great performance in the powder. It is the most capable ski in the powder in the Elan Ripstick series. We, unfortunately, didn't get to ski any powder out there today at Powder Mountain. But because of the rocker profile in the tip, I do think that this ski would float quite well in almost all powder.

[Hayden] We were at Pow Mow. We didn't get the ultimate pow that we wanted, but if we got to rip these on a pow day, I would probably grab them right off the bat. Where this ski is going to excel is ... Let's say you're going on a ski trip. You're going for a week or so. A storm may be brewing in the second half of your trip, but it looks like it might be hardpack. This is going to be a great option if you think there's going to be a great day where you're going to get into some pow with that 106 waist and the bigger shovel. You're not losing anything from it as a carving ski, and it's also going to be awesome in the pow. And I would love to get out and log some more days in on the ski.

How are they in the trees? How is their maneuverability? [Brandon] We did get into some trees today in the Elan Ripstick Black Edition. I wouldn't say it's the most nimble, as it does have a slightly larger turning radius. But it was fun to move edge to edge in the trees. We didn't have a ton of difficulty, but I wouldn't suggest skiing tight trees in this ski. Maybe dial down your waist width just a bit. Any sort of open trees or flatter terrain, this ski will do just fine in.

[Hayden] As far as trees or maneuverability for the Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition, the ski has an 18-millimeter turn or 18-meter turn radius — so it’s not the tightest. These skis with that Amphibio design were kind of quick edge to edge.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend it for going into tight trees or strictly skiing moguls. That being said, if you happen to get into a mogul field, the skis are going to be there for you. It's just probably not your favorite ski.

What kind of terrain do they perform well on? [Brandon] We did get to ski in a lot of uneven terrain and in a little bit of firmer snow today, and it did really well. Again, touching on the dampness of the ski, it did suck up a lot of the chunder on this firmer or chopped-up snow. So it was fun to ride outside of the groomers. And that's really what the ski is designed for, which is to be able to plow through any snow and float on it when it is fresh.

Is there any location you'd pack these skis for? [Brandon] I would say this ski is very versatile in almost all locations. You can certainly ski this ski in the East. As mentioned before, it is an incredible groomer ski and very fun to move edge to edge in the Midwest as well. I would say this ski's purpose is for the West Coast and being a very versatile ski for fresh snow conditions and when there's lower tide and not much fresh snow out there. But almost everywhere in the US, you'll feel pretty comfortable on this ski.

[Hayden] If you're in the Pacific Northwest, you're skiing in Alaska and the snow can be pretty heavy. If you're in Utah here, you guys are lucky. Pow Mow's got just sugar pow. If you don't want to have four or five skis in your quiver, the 106 Elan Ripstick would be one to consider to have a ski that can kind of cover-it-all. And it's a little on the wider side but still carves and is a really fun ski.


Who would you recommend these skis to?

[Brandon] I would recommend the Elan Ripstick Black Edition 106 to any of those expert all-mountain or powder skiers out there. It’s a ski that an advanced skier will appreciate. It's very supportive.

[Hayden] It's definitely a ski that will build your confidence. If you're an intermediate to advanced skier, you are going to love this ski.

Who should avoid these skis? Are there better options for them out there? [Brandon] If you're just getting into skiing or are a beginner, I would definitely not recommend the ski to you, as it does take a lot of work to drive and use the ski properly. So, if you're a beginner, there certainly are better options out there for a bit wider ski in this width that might be easier to use and easier to turn for you.

[Hayden] I don't want to say it's not for beginners, but it's not the best ski that I would recommend for you on Curated when you come over to talk to me.

How do people go about making the decision of getting narrower versus 106 versus whatever other options there are? [Hayden] This one might not be the best example for the width range because it is a 106. So if just looking at it on paper, you're going to be like, “Woah, this is like a big pow ski, it's not going to handle the groomers well, it's going to be too heavy. It's going to be too much ski.”

They are a little different from some of the other skis that we've got to jump on this week. These didn't ski like a 106. If I had to say, there are some skis that are 95 millimeters wide, and these were quicker edge to edge. It could be with that Amphibio design that Elan's been playing around with.

Skis work differently for different types of skiers. If you have any questions about the Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition or want help finding the right skis for you, reach out to Brandon, Hayden, or any other Ski Expert here on Curated. Note that the 2024 version of the Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition is linked below - same tech, just different graphic:

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Brandon Westburg
Ski Expert
Hayden Wright
Ski Expert
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Brandon Westburg, Ski Expert
Brandon Westburg
Ski Expert
I’m a ski coach who clicks in for 200 days each season all around the US! I’ve skied on a wide array of mountains, skis and gear, and I love helping people find the perfect ski equipment. .Together, we’ll find gear that you’ll love :)
399 Reviews
1866 Customers helped
Hayden Wright, Ski Expert
Hayden Wright
Ski Expert
My name is Hayden and I grew up skiing in Alaska. After-school ski programs, ski competitions, and studying for college exams on the chair lifts is how I grew up. Beginner or expert come chat skis!.You use a ski instructor when you're new to skiing, I'm your gear instructor!!
327 Reviews
3890 Customers helped

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