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Elan Ripstick 116 Review

Nimble pow-slayer that also likes to lay it down on the groomers.
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Price:  $750 List | $749.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Surfy, fun, quick on edge
Cons:  Hooky, asymmetrical
Manufacturer:   Elan
By Rob Woodworth ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 1, 2017
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 6
  • Float - 25% 8
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 6
  • Playfulness - 20% 7
  • Crud - 20% 6
  • Carving - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 5% 7

Our Verdict

Showing off Elan's patented Amphibio Technology, the Ripstick 116 is an intuitively-shaped big-mountain powder board meant to shred top-to-bottom with ease. With a cambered inside edge and a rockered outside edge, the Ripstick is shaking things up with specified left and right ski construction. It has all the bells and whistle — a Tubelite wood core to increase dampness and stability and Vaportip Inserts that absorb vibrations in fore and aft without extra weight. All that plus classic fatty dimensions with tapered SST sidewalls and you've got a fully dialed powder ski.

Graphics Update and Price Decrease

The Ripstick has a new topsheet this season and a much friendlier price point. Previously $900, this ski now rings in right around $750. See the latest incarnation in the photo above.

December 2018


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Elan Ripstick 116
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $749.99 at Amazon$1,299.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$629.86 at Amazon$759.00 at Backcountry$748.95 at Backcountry
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Pros Surfy, fun, quick on edgeExceptional float, shmeary turn shapes, bomber constructionPowerful, damp, ready to get rowdyBurly, fast, versatileStable, damp, solid edge
Cons Hooky, asymmetricalExpensive, less exciting on pisteHeavy, less maneuverable at low speedsGrabby, backseat floaterHeavy, less nimble
Bottom Line Nimble pow-slayer that also likes to lay it down on the groomers.Unapologetic powder-hungry big mountain tool that provides enough flotation to satisfy US Coast Guard expectations.A strong powder ski that is capable of powering through any conditions.Big-mountain stability and freeride floatation; a solid choice for stunting big lines in deep snow.Ruthless big-mountain ripper that destroys chop as well as it floats.
Rating Categories Elan Ripstick 116 DPS Alchemist Lotus 124 Nordica Enforcer Pro Moment Wildcat Volkl Confession
Float (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
Stability At Speed (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Playfulness (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
6
Crud (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
9
Carving (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
Versatility (5%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Specs Elan Ripstick 116 DPS Alchemist... Nordica Enforcer Pro Moment Wildcat Volkl Confession
Waist Width (mm) 116 124 115 116 117
Rocker Amphibio Tip and tail rocker Tip and tail rocker Mustache rocker Tip and tail rocker
Available Lengths (cm) 185, 193 180, 185, 191 191 174, 184, 190 179, 186, 193
Shape 143-116-132 mm 151-124-133 mm 143-115-132 mm 141-116-131 mm 144-117-133 mm
Radius (m) 20.3 m 23 m 21.5 m 25 m 21.2 m
Weight Per Pair 8.8 lbs 9.3 lbs 10.3 lbs 9.45 lbs 9.92 lbs
Core Material Wood (tubelite) Aspen Poplar, beech, balsa Wood (aspen, pine) Wood, titanal bands (torsional multilayer)
Tested length (cm) 185 191 191 184 179

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our testers had mixed reviews of the Ripstick 116. Regarded as both "light and plinky" and "beefy enough to stomp", it's clear that funky design yields nuanced performance standards. Additionally, we were skeptical of this skis construction. Foam is widely regarded as a chintzy core material. That said, the Ripstick was subject to the same criteria for testing and stood up to the challenge fairly well. The variable user experience is perhaps explained by a steeper learning curve due to the ski's asymmetrical construction.

Performance Comparison


Yeehaw! Powder doesn't suck.
Yeehaw! Powder doesn't suck.

Float


Even though it isn't the widest ski available, the Ripstick 116 has commendable float abilities in all kinds of fresh snow. The lightweight wood core and rockered outside edge let the skier float with minimal effort while the gradually tapered shovel caters to a wide variety of turn shapes in powder. A quick swing weight and short sidecut radius make it a nimble option for those tight, surfy hero turns. This model offered high performance in the float metric, on par with the Moment Wildcat. The Line Pescado and DPS Alchemist Lotus 124 are even better.

Stability at Speed


On groomers, the Ripstick is considerably easier to turn at speed and is both predictable and smooth. However, when taken off-piste, the same rules don't apply. Fused with elastofoam, the Vaportip Inserts seemed to lack the necessary backbone to avoid deflection when skiing hard across the fall line. Models with metal reinforcement or carbon stringers seemed to perform better than the Ripstick in this metric. This contender scored slightly below average in this metric. Models like the Nordica Enforcer Pro and Volkl Confession were top scorers, taking the cake for stability at speed.

The Ripstick doing what it does best: laying an edge.
The Ripstick doing what it does best: laying an edge.

Playfulness


Even though this is a directionally focused, carve-friendly powder ski, it still managed to put a grin on our testers faces. The traditional camber and stiff tails of the Ripstick give it a poppy acceleration out of each turn, but it's not so stiff that you can't butter out the finish of an arc. It's not a stunt-noodle, but this pair of planks is downright fun to ski.

It's outperformed by the Moment Wildcat.

Crud


The tip deflection we noticed when letting the Ripstick run was also evident when skiing through bumps. While capable of cruising over soft, sluffy leftovers, our testing proved that Ripstick was less reliable on re-frozen bumps or hard contours. Again, we'd attribute this to the lack of structural reinforcements. If you're looking for a pair that will plow through the crud, we would recommend the Volk Confession or Nordica Enforcer Pro.

Skiing the Ripstick over marathon bumps set our quads on fire.
Skiing the Ripstick over marathon bumps set our quads on fire.

Carving


With camber running from tip to tail on the inside, this ski had the longest effective edge in the lineup. In this case, the dedicated downhill edge of the Amphibio design was instrumental to downhill carving performance. The Ripstick was quick edge-to-edge, responsive when laid over, and had energetic rebound out of each turn. Both on and off-piste, this ski was one of the more aggressive carvers. The Volkl Confession performed similarly.

Versatility


The dual-edged Amphibio Technology is great for skiing both freshies and hardpack without much compromise. But the Ripstick was challenged by many of the crummy conditions found anywhere between beautiful blower and manicured surfaces. Due to its inability to manage chop with finesse, we found this to be an overall less versatile ski.

Best Applications


The Ripstick is best suited to lift-access powder skiing when you expect to encounter mostly soft, untracked snow. The tails were obviously designed for climbing skin compatibility, though we'd expect many backcountry skiers to be happier on a more tour-friendly setup.

The Ripstick goes fast both on and off piste.
The Ripstick goes fast both on and off piste.

Value


Gram for gram, there are better overall performers in the powder ski category. And seeing that the price is above average, a budget-conscious ski bum would get better bang for their buck elsewhere.

Conclusion


There is no doubt about it — the Ripstick can certainly rip. Its large sweet spot and intuitive turn shapes made it a very comfortable ride on both groomed surfaces and deep snow. It was preferred by testers who liked a solid inside edge and more aggressive turn shapes—but also enjoyed by intermediate skiers. Whether soft and deep or firm and steep, the Ripstick will stand up and deliver.

Other Versions and Accessories


We tested the Ripstick 116 in the 185 cm length. This powder specific width is also available at 193 cm. Also utilizing the Amphibio Tehnology, Elan offers the Ripstick in a 106 mm and 96 mm waist width.


Rob Woodworth