Review: Elan Playmaker 101 Skis · 2024

Published on 04/05/2024 · 3 min readCurated Expert, Henry Kvietok, has tested this product to give you their unbiased, definitive take.
Henry Kvietok, Ski Expert
Lucia L, Ski Expert
By Curated Experts Henry Kvietok and Lucia L
8 photos
Photo by Henry Kvietok & Lucia L

The Curated Take

4.6/5

The Elan Playmaker 101 Skis are ideal for playful skiers who enjoy versatile skiing experiences. These lightweight skis offer effortless turn initiation and playfulness, making them great for those who like to boost off-side hits, enjoy park tricks, and hit rails. While they provide some stiffness underfoot for edge hold and can handle various conditions, including powder, they may exhibit tip chatter at high speeds on hardpack. Overall, they are designed for freeride and freestyle enthusiasts who value playfulness and balanced performance across powder and groomed runs.

Ideal for
  • Lightweight and easy to swing around
  • Playful ride feel, yet some stiffness underfoot for edge hold
  • Versatile 101 width—not too wide to get on edge and carve, but wide enough to float in soft stuff
Not ideal for
  • Some tip chatter at high speeds (40+ mph) on the hardpack, but this is not what the ski is made for
Turn Ease
Henry Kvietok, Curated Expert
The Elan Playmaker has what they call "Surf Rocker." The rocker in the tips and tails makes it easy to initiate a turn and release from the turn as well....Read more
Lucia L, Curated Expert
I found the Elan Playmakers to be super easy to turn. When I put these skis on a groomer, the flex of the ski digs into the snow, making the...Read more
Playfulness
Henry Kvietok, Curated Expert
The Elan Playmaker 101 is a very playful ski in every sense of the word. It's easy to bend and butter. It's quick turning and quick to release from turns....Read more
Lucia L, Curated Expert
The Elan Playmaker is surprisingly playful compared to other skis in the lineup. Due to their lightweight, I found the skis easy to swing around and move in the air....Read more
Durability
Lucia L, Curated Expert
I have seen many Elan skis go in and out of our shop over the years, and they are built to last. While they have less sidewall than most skis,...Read more
High Speed Stability
Henry Kvietok, Curated Expert
The Playmaker 101s have rather flexible tips and tails, which is a huge benefit for making it a playful ski. However, the downside here is that this results in some...Read more
Lucia L, Curated Expert
I found the Playmakers to be surprisingly stable and damp on groomers, especially when riding at higher speeds. However, because of their lighter weight, they can get a little shifty...Read more
Carving
Henry Kvietok, Curated Expert
For the Elan Playmaker being 101mm underfoot, I was pleasantly surprised by its carving abilities. The rocker allowed me to easily initiate carves and lay the ski on edge. It...Read more
Lucia L, Curated Expert
While the Elan Playmakers are not built to be a carving ski, they do a great job getting on edge and holding a solid carve. I think this is mostly...Read more
Versatility
Henry Kvietok, Curated Expert
This ski is quite versatile at 101 underfoot and with a healthy dose of rocker (plus good carving ability). I felt comfortable on it whether I was carving on the...Read more
Lucia L, Curated Expert
I found the Playmaker 101 to be one of the most versatile Elan skis I have skied. The tip and tail rocker make it easy to float and play with...Read more
Flotation
Henry Kvietok, Curated Expert
Given the very large shovels and solid 101mm underfoot width, the Playmaker is a capable powder ski. In fact, I felt that it was rather comparable to my 108-110 skis,...Read more
Lucia L, Curated Expert
The Playmakers do a great job of riding through the fresh snow and staying afloat in some powder; however, they wouldn't be my ski of choice on a deeper day....Read more

Curated Experts are not sponsored by brands. Their reviews are based on their honest experiences testing products.
About the ski gear
  • Model: Elan Playmaker 101 Skis · 2024
Test conditions
  • Where I’ve used them: Eldora Ski Resort (Colorado Front Range), early season ice/hardpack, slush, chop, and jumps
  • How many times I've used it: 1

Expert Reviews of the Elan Playmaker 101 Skis

 A new ski from Elan for 2024, the Elan Playmaker 101 is for those with a very playful style who love to boost off-side hits, hop in the park, and hit rails but still want the versatility for off-piste runs and powder days. For a 101-waisted ski, I was pleasantly surprised by how much float these skis offered when I rented them. With a tip width of 132mm (signature wide shovels of lots of Elan skis) and ample tip/tail rocker, these skis punch above their class in terms of flotation. I thoroughly enjoyed laying down some trenches on these skis at slower to medium speeds. The rocker made turn initiation fairly easy, and I found the camber underfoot capable of holding an edge in dicey conditions. With that said, sizing up here would not be a bad idea due to the rockered nature of these skis and the fact that they run short. It has generally softer tips and tails, but these are beneficial for butters, jumps, and other tricks. The tips can be a bit chattery/loose at high speeds, but railing high-speed carves on the hardpack isn't why someone should buy this ski. It's for the freeride and freestyle skiers who value playfulness and balance of powder to groomer performance. Overall, these are true to their name, so go make some plays on these.
 I found the Elan Playmaker to be a fun and playful ski during testing. At first, the lightweight was different than the hard-charging skis I am used to, and the tips felt a bit squirrely. They have a playful, soft tip that takes a little time to get used to. Once I got used to the way the skis rode, they were a lot of fun, especially through powder and fresh snow. The ski is super poppy and light and will fly off any bump or side hit. With a 101 waist, the skis were easy to get on edge and hold a carve with, but they are definitely a little chattery at higher speeds. If someone is looking for a light ski that can charge but is snappy and responsive, the Playmaker would be for them.

Product Specs

Age GroupAdult
GenderUnisex
Includes bindingsNo
Model year2024
Ski typeFreeride, Freestyle, All Mountain
Skill levelIntermediate, Advanced

Review Ratings

Averaged between reviewers, view below how all experts voted.

Turn Ease

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. The Elan Playmaker has what they call "Surf Rocker." The rocker in the tips and tails makes it easy to initiate a turn and release from the turn as well. The tails are not grabby/hooky at all. The ski has some good camber underfoot, and I found it capable of holding an edge on hardpack.
 gave 5 of 5 stars. I found the Elan Playmakers to be super easy to turn. When I put these skis on a groomer, the flex of the ski digs into the snow, making the turns strong and easy. I found that they also turn well in powder, especially if the snow is light. When skiers get into the cascade concrete kind of snow, they need to be on top of the skis to ensure they turn where they want them to. The light weight of the ski makes it easy to snap around.

Playfulness

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. The Elan Playmaker 101 is a very playful ski in every sense of the word. It's easy to bend and butter. It's quick turning and quick to release from turns. It is comfortable in the air and has a low swing weight. Combined, this makes for playful skis.
 gave 5 of 5 stars. The Elan Playmaker is surprisingly playful compared to other skis in the lineup. Due to their lightweight, I found the skis easy to swing around and move in the air. I wish they had a little more pop in the core, but if they were in the right terrain, they would be super fun to ski.

Durability

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. I have seen many Elan skis go in and out of our shop over the years, and they are built to last. While they have less sidewall than most skis, the edges are built well and don't chip at all. I found the bases to be strong as well. They don't core as often as other skis, especially considering the conditions this season. The Playmakers will last for seasons to come.

High Speed Stability

4/5
 gave 4 of 5 stars. The Playmaker 101s have rather flexible tips and tails, which is a huge benefit for making it a playful ski. However, the downside here is that this results in some chatter at high speeds (40+ mph) on hardpack conditions. But I still give it 4 stars because I found the ski to be surprisingly stable underfoot at those medium speeds.
 gave 4 of 5 stars. I found the Playmakers to be surprisingly stable and damp on groomers, especially when riding at higher speeds. However, because of their lighter weight, they can get a little shifty and chattery when there is a little crud or chop on the trail. That being said, these skis shine when riding hard in off-piste terrain and powder and are pretty stable when charging out there.

Carving

4/5
 gave 4 of 5 stars. For the Elan Playmaker being 101mm underfoot, I was pleasantly surprised by its carving abilities. The rocker allowed me to easily initiate carves and lay the ski on edge. It doesn't have the longest effective edge, so sizing up on this ski is not a bad idea if one wants more edge.
 gave 4 of 5 stars. While the Elan Playmakers are not built to be a carving ski, they do a great job getting on edge and holding a solid carve. I think this is mostly due to the ski's flex and how well it can get into the snow. However, when skiers hit patches of ice or cruddier terrain, the skis can get a bit chattery and can be sketchy to carve.

Versatility

5/5
 gave 5 of 5 stars. This ski is quite versatile at 101 underfoot and with a healthy dose of rocker (plus good carving ability). I felt comfortable on it whether I was carving on the hardpack, jumping off side hits, slicing through slush, or skiing in some variable chop. This is a one-ski quiver option for those who ski powder regularly.
 gave 5 of 5 stars. I found the Playmaker 101 to be one of the most versatile Elan skis I have skied. The tip and tail rocker make it easy to float and play with the ski in big mountain and off-piste terrain. The ski's light weight allows it to float in powder and be playful over bumps. When on a groomer, the ski is narrow enough to get on edge and hold a nice carve throughout.

Flotation

4/5
 gave 4 of 5 stars. Given the very large shovels and solid 101mm underfoot width, the Playmaker is a capable powder ski. In fact, I felt that it was rather comparable to my 108-110 skis, which says a lot about the shape of these Playmakers. It won't be a dedicated powder ski, but it will be pretty great as a daily driver powder ski.
 gave 4 of 5 stars. The Playmakers do a great job of riding through the fresh snow and staying afloat in some powder; however, they wouldn't be my ski of choice on a deeper day. The 101 waist is supportive in anything less than a foot of snow, but on a deep day, I would rather go with a wider ski. The tip and tail rocker help guide this ski up and prevent it from sinking, but in the deeper snow, they can (and will) go under.

FAQs

What do you love about this product?

I love how these skis really punch above their class in terms of powder float. While they are 101 underfoot, they ski a lot more like my 108-110 underfoot skis, given how wide their shovels are. So, skiers essentially get the benefit of carving with a narrower waist while still getting the powder float of a wider ski. I also love how flexible they are. They truly live up to their "Playmaker" name.
I love how the Elan Playmaker 101s are light and airy underfoot, especially when hopping off features.

What was your favorite moment with this gear?

Carving down a chalky groomer and hitting little side hits was my favorite moment on these. These are surprisingly capable carvers even at the 101 underfoot widths. Elan keeps them fairly lightweight, so it's rather effortless to turn them over on edge and really engage in a carve. They can effortlessly go from a carve to a jump without skipping a beat.
My favorite moment with the Elan Playmakers was riding over small bumps. The skis pop and kind of fly off the bumps, making them really fun.

Why did you choose this product?

I chose to demo this product because I wanted to try out Elan's new ski for 2024. This is their foray into the freestyle/freeride realm, and I am quite pleased with the result. It combines many of their other skis' lightweight/fun aspects with a more playful/loose feel.
I chose these skis because I liked riding the Elan Ripstick 106, but I wish it was a little more playful and twin-tip. The Playmaker seemed like a good option with a little more playfulness to it.

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Henry Kvietok
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Lucia L
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