ONCE YOU GO BLACK…
Elan killed it with its freeride-inspired Ripstick last year. It pleased chargers and laid-back skiers alike, with dedicated left and right skis, tapered flex and lots of shape. This year Elan takes it to the next level by wrapping the wood core with extra sheets of carbon fibre, stiffening and dampening the ski. That means it’ll perform better at higher speeds and with more demanding drivers. Known as the Black Edition, the topsheet graphics have been adjusted accordingly, giving the ski a stealth-bomber look. The Ripstick Black Edition uses the 96mm chassis. ($900; elanskis.com)
ELAN RIPSTICK BLACK EDITION
$900 * BEST FOR: Exploring the whole mountain at any speed.
LENGTHS: 167, 174, 181, 188 * RADIUS: 16@174 * SIDECUT: 134/96/113
We loved the original Ripstick when it debuted last year. The asymmetric ski has a traditional inside edge and a more rockered freeride shape to the outside edge. The mix almost creates two skis: a carver and a nimble freerider. The only thing it lacked for some testers was high-speed stability. By adding carbon fibre to the layup, Elan not only made the ski look as if it could go faster, it also added a bit of stiffness and more vibration dampening. “It feels a lot more powerful and stable,” wrote SC’s Ryan Stuart. “I could ski it slowly if I wanted, and got scared trying to find its top end.” The Black Edition is based on the Ripstick 96, a great western all-mountain ski shape. It’s narrow enough to hold an edge on groomers but has enough early rise and softness in the tip and tail to handle just about any conditions. “Elan hit it out of the park with this one,” wrote James Jamieson after his first date in mixed conditions at Whitewater’s Coldsmoke Powder Festival. “It’s fun in the trees, light in the air and stable on the landing. I really loved the way this ski made it fun to go anywhere.”