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Elan Ripstick 94 W Review

Fun and flexible, this is a ripping ski for ripping skiers (or those on their way to becoming one)
Elan Ripstick 94 W
Photo: manufacturer
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $600 List | Check Price at Backcountry
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Pros:  A blast to ski, easy to turn, relatively stable, fantastic in powder
Cons:  Not perfect carvers, some deflection in crud
Manufacturer:   Elan
By Renee McCormack ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 24, 2018
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84
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 15
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 8
  • Carving - 20% 7
  • Crud - 20% 8
  • Powder - 20% 9
  • Playfulness - 15% 10
  • Bumps - 5% 9

Our Verdict

The Elan Ripstick 94 W is one of the most fun skis in our test group thanks to its gnarly kick-back and elasticity and therefore takes home honors as our favorite choice for playfulness. The ski's shape and profile make it a pro in the powder and allows it to crush in the crud. It has only minor pitfalls in carving and overall stability, which still keeps it near the top of the pack in those performance metrics. This model is a hoot to ski in the bumps, and for the cost, it makes an incredible buy.

Update Grahpics
Elan updated the topsheet graphics of the Ripstick 94 since we tested it. See the latest graphics in the photo above.
December 2020

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Elan Ripstick 94 W
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Elan Ripstick 94 W
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at Backcountry
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$469.95 at Amazon$399.00 at Amazon$700 List
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Pros A blast to ski, easy to turn, relatively stable, fantastic in powderIncredibly versatile, easy to ski, fun and quick, only 92mm makes it nimbleGreat float in powder, playful, decent stabilityGreat stability at high speeds, good on hard snow and crud, affordableAffordable, quick edge-to-edge, beautiful graphics
Cons Not perfect carvers, some deflection in crudNot the perfect powder partnerMore expensive, slightly lumbering in bumpsOnly for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide themSlightly soft, lack of edge-hold
Bottom Line Fun and flexible, this is a ripping ski for ripping skiers (or those on their way to becoming one)This versatile model is a Goldilocks ski: strong enough to battle the crud, but soft enough to accommodate lighter or mellower skiersAn incredibly versatile ski that shines exceptionally bright on powder daysThis model will do great in everything but the deepest powder and is ideal for an aggressive skierAn affordable, handmade ski from Colorado offering a fun ride on a slightly narrower waist and gorgeous top sheet graphics
Rating Categories Elan Ripstick 94 W Volkl Secret 92 Rossignol Soul 7 HD W Faction Dictator 2.0X Icelantic Skis Orac...
Stability At Speed (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Carving (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Crud (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Powder (20%)
9.0
9.0
10.0
5.0
7.0
Playfulness (15%)
10.0
10.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
Bumps (5%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
Specs Elan Ripstick 94 W Volkl Secret 92 Rossignol Soul 7 HD W Faction Dictator 2.0X Icelantic Skis Orac...
Waist Width (mm) 95 92 106 96 88
Shape 135-95-110 130-92-113 136-106-126 127-96-117 126-88-108
Available Lengths (cm) 156, 163, 170, 177 149, 156, 163, 170 156, 164, 172, 180 155, 163, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187 155, 162, 169
Radius (m) 16.2 17.9 18 18 18
Rocker Tip and tail, cambered inside edge Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip rocker
Weight Per Pair (lbs) 6.7 8.2 7.7 7.9 6.5
Construction Type SST sidewall Full sidewall Sandwich Sandwich Full sidewall
Core Material Tubelite wood Multilayer woodcore, poplar/beech Paulownia wood Paulownia & Poplar Pacific albus wood
Tested Length (cm) 170 170 172 171 169
Intended Purpose All mountain play All mountain All mountain powder All mountain stability Fun and versatile
Ability Level All levels All levels All levels Advanced/Expert All levels

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Elan Ripstick skis absolutely rip. Every woman who tried this ski (and even some men!) loved how alive it felt underfoot and couldn't get enough. Everyone wants a pair.

The Elan Ripstick 94W is a phenomenal choice for an advanced to expert skier who can appreciate its qualities. Even if you are an upper-intermediate skier looking to delve into the foreign world of off-piste skiing, this model would be a superb chaperone. It is, relatively, not hard to bend, and therefore no one is far from experiencing the pure elation which comes from its dramatic rebound at the end of a turn. If you're looking to have an absolute blast being whipped around over the snow, especially in powder, bumps, or even on-piste, these rippers are for you.

Performance Comparison


The Ripsticks hold on tight when you're tearing up the mountain.
The Ripsticks hold on tight when you're tearing up the mountain.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Stability at Speed


The Elan felt unexpectedly secure, particularly underfoot, when we pushed it to go fast. It's not exceptionally stiff, so we were pretty stoked when the only fluttering we felt was that of our hearts as we blasted down the run.


There is a slight flap in the tips at the highest speeds, but even then, the skiable edges under our feet were calm and adhered firmly to the snow. Regarding edge hold, we were again surprised at how well the Ripstick performed, given its tendency toward the softer side. We did find some slight chattering on steep firm snow, but as long as we could keep our turns going (and not stall out) the shudder was minimal.

The incredible rebound we felt at the end of each turn naturally...
The incredible rebound we felt at the end of each turn naturally popped us into the next one - and made this ski so much fun.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Carving


This is the only area in which we felt we had to mark down this ski. If we could only just carve on the outside ski, this model would be phenomenal. Unfortunately, when it came to laying down TWO clean tracks in the snow, the Amphibio profile disappointed us, not surprisingly.

The outside ski (with its inside edge of regular camber) loves to grasp the snow and dig in, whereas the inside ski (with its more rockered outside edge) just wants to skitter and slide. True, the outside ski is the one we're most reliant on, and it's the one we're putting the most pressure on, but some of our testers like the feeling of getting both skis engaged and tracking simultaneously. It's a difficult enough task to get your inside ski to carve appropriately on any pair of skis, and the Ripstick did not make that goal any easier to attain. However, the incredible feeling of the outside ski in a carve turn was almost enough to make up for any shortcomings. That outside ski locks onto the snow like a pitbull's jaws, and it feels easy to bend.


Therefore, the Ripstick 94 W missed a perfect score in our carving metric. This ski one of the shorter turn radii of the group, at 16.2m, and we thought it was a riot to coil up and then release the pressure, feeling it launch back into action for the next turn.

Despite the rockered outside edge, the Elan still loves to hold on...
Despite the rockered outside edge, the Elan still loves to hold on and bend a beautiful arc.
Photo: Scott Rokis

One of our testers felt like the 170cm Ripstick skied a tad shorter than they would have expected, and some others agreed that perhaps it would be worth trying the longer 177cm version, especially for those who enjoy higher speeds and larger turn shapes. This ski feels incredibly quick edge-to-edge, partially thanks to its amazing rebound, which flings you from one turn to the next. The upside of the rockered outside edge is that while the ski can be coerced to carve, it can also very easily be convinced to smear, and the outside edge does so with style.

Great shape, profile, and lightness allow the Ripstick to rip in...
Great shape, profile, and lightness allow the Ripstick to rip in powder.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Powder


The Ripstick is a dream in powder: A vision in magenta sailing through the soft snow, the bright color seeming to reflect and splash up onto the fluffy flying stuff which is streaming over the very happy skier's head.


The ski's slightly spatula-shaped and rockered tips help keep it perfectly afloat in even deeper snow. At the 170cm length, the Ripstick actually has a waist width of 95mm (though the name suggests it's only 94mm — that's only for the shorter lengths), so that offers a little added lift in fresh snow. If you really want the extra fatness, get the 177cm length and have 96mm underfoot!

The beautiful buttery-ness in the powder makes the Ripstick a...
The beautiful buttery-ness in the powder makes the Ripstick a delight. The bright colors seem to reflect the snow which evidently hypnotized tester Renee McCormack as she can't stop staring at them!
Photo: Scott Rokis

Powder is where this ski's "amphibious" nature shines; the rockered edge has an easier time staying on top and helps you butter around in the deep. We loved smearing through powdery trees on this model!

The Elan built confidence in all types of cruddy snow, including...
The Elan built confidence in all types of cruddy snow, including spring slush.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Crud


The Ripstick absolutely ripped through all varieties of cruddy snow, either demolishing or cruising on top of all the junk.


The mini-spatula tips seem to diminish the surface area which might be deflected in chunky conditions. It's possible that the Vapor Tip Insert provides stability to the otherwise floppy rockered tip, giving it the power to blast through lumpy terrain.

The Ripstick, with its lightweight structure, was super-easy to get...
The Ripstick, with its lightweight structure, was super-easy to get in the air.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Playfulness


These sticks RIP!!! Everyone we've met, official tester or not, has talked about how much darn FUN this model is to ski, men's and women's versions alike.


This ski knocks this classification out of the park (although it's also quite enjoyable within the park, so to speak), becoming the first ski ever in the OutdoorGearLab review to be accorded the Top Pick for Playfulness award. We loved how light on our feet we felt, and it was wonderfully zippy in the bumps as well as on steeps and in the trees. This is also one of the lightest skis in our review at 6.7lbs.

Every turn we made, we were sling-shotted exuberantly into the next. We felt like kids in a candy shop, or rather, kids on a very springy trampoline! If you want to throw this thing into the air and spin it, it will fly and twirl with effortlessness and panache. We felt immediately in tune with the Ripstick skis; the response time between our movements and the skis was close to instantaneous.

We even enjoyed hopping over the bumps on the Ripstick, though it's...
We even enjoyed hopping over the bumps on the Ripstick, though it's also flexible enough to stay planted on the snow through moguls.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Bumps


While none of the skis in our review could be called a bump-specific ski, the Ripstick surpasses most of the others in this type of terrain.


The sprightliness and flexibility allow it to either move fluidly over the dynamic landscape or to pop up and simply soar over a section it doesn't like! The ski's ability to move sinuously between sharply carved arcs and velvety smeared turns provides a versatility we appreciated in varying terrain. We relished the ski's plasticity through the troughs and high-points, and its agility between the moguls.

An overall fantastic ski!
An overall fantastic ski!
Photo: Scott Rokis

Value


With a very conservative cost, this ski seems like an absolute steal! It is incredibly versatile, and we would be ecstatic to pay much more for the pleasure it gave us. If you buy this model, go ahead and let your friends ski them, and "play" it forward. Elan has been in the business for a very long time, and they know how to make a durable and lasting ski. We're just so grateful they've now made one with such spunk!

At the killer cost of $600, you'll be smiling all the way from the...
At the killer cost of $600, you'll be smiling all the way from the shop to the slopes.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Conclusion


With a reasonable price point, and an amazing ability to achieve in every metric we tested, the Elan Ripstick 94 is a thoroughly pleasing ski.

Renee McCormack