2023 Elan Ripstick 94 W Review
If you’re a carver girl at heart but need something a little wider underfoot, the Ripstick 94 W is your compromise
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This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
The Scores (out of 10)
- Overall Score: 7.48/10
- Rank: #9
- Versatility: 7.8
- Crud Performance: 7.2
- Playfulness: 7.6
- Responsiveness: 7.6
- Hard-Snow Integrity: 7
- Quickness: 8.2
- Stability at Speed: 7
- Carving: 8
- Flotation: 6.8
- Forgiveness: 7.4
- Price: $850
- Lengths: 146, 154, 162, 170, 178
- Dimensions: 136-94-110
- Radius: 15m (162cm)
- Level: Strong Intermediate to Expert
In a Nutshell
- Pros: Quickness (#5), Carving (#7)
- Cons: Hard-Snow Integrity (#10), Stability at Speed (#9)
Some testers still aren’t sure about Elan’s Amphibio technology, where each ski has one cambered edge (inside edge) and one rockered edge (outside edge). They’re just not sold on the idea of a dedicated “left” and “right” ski. Nevertheless, Elan has been integrating this design in its all-mountain skis for a number of years with the goal of making these skis more versatile and user-friendly. The idea is that a cambered inside edge gives you high tip-to-tail edge performance, while a rockered edge reduces the amount of edge grip on the outside edge, making turn initiation and release that much easier. And if you look at the Ripstick 94 W’s success at ski tests over the years, there must be something to this idea.
The Ripstick 94 W, the middle child of the Elan’s women’s all-mountain series, features the newest iteration of this Amphibio tech, where the inside edges on the skis are not just cambered, but reinforced with carbon to further enhance edge performance on groomers and hardpack. Testers found that this design does translate to great carving and easy turning. The Ripstick 94 W, despite the 94mm-waist, wants to be on one edge and likes to get there on the double. “I was surprised how well they carve on groomers,” said tester Michelle Nicholson, a ski patroller from Jackson Hole. “Playful, zippy, super easy to carve,” added Avery Pesce, an expert skier from the East. Carving and agility are this ski’s strong suits, and testers awarded the Ripstick 94 W high scores in the two categories accordingly.
But testers aren’t as convinced that the specially designed inside edge (or the rockered outside edge) help the Ripstick 94 W hold steady on firm snow or at speed, where the ski tends to chatter and deflect. This may come down to the ski’s lighter-weight construction, however. Because this ski doesn’t boast a full sheet of metal and instead uses strategically placed carbon rods to reinforce the light wood core, the Ripstick 94 W is missing the heft and dampness to grip on hard snow and crush crud like some of the other skis in the all-mountain category. “This ski’s weakness is icy hardpack and crud,” said Pesce. “There’s too much chatter in the tips at high speeds and not quite enough beef in the tip to charge through crud without skipping about.”
On the flip side, it’s the lightweight and rockered design that make the Ripstick 94 W one of the top performers in the Quickness and Forgiveness categories. Testers love how quick it is to initiate turns and get up on edge, traits that make this ski accessible to strong intermediates who are still working on their skills but are ready to level up. That said, if given the choice, this ski prefers a more advanced and playful skier. It likes to be taken off-piste into steep terrain as much as carve arcs on groomers, “Best for the advanced intermediate to advanced resort skier who likes to play in the bumps, trees, and sidcountry,” noted Pesce. “For ladies looking for a ripping big mountain ski to tame the slopes,” added Nicholson.
It all boils down to this: If you’re a strong intermediate to expert skier looking for an all-mountain ski you can carve on in between laps off-piste, the Ripstick 94 W is a solid choice. It’s not the fastest horse in the race, but it’s one of the friendlier, livelier ones. “It’s energetic and stable through the bumps, nimble and floaty in the trees, and stable on the groomers,” said Pesce. “The Amphibio profile is no gimmick, it makes this ski super accessible to multiple levels of skiers looking for the perfect ride to explore all different types of terrain.”
Jenny Wiegand is SKI’s managing editor. Born and raised in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Jenny grew up exploring the Alps on skis, bikes, and her own two feet. She has since traded in the Alps for the Rockies to seek new trails, new adventures, and write about her favorite sport—skiing—in her new home of Boulder, Colo. Since joining the SKI Magazine editorial team in 2018, Jenny has written and edited stories for SKI’s print and digital outlets. A lifelong skier and former club racer, Jenny is also a self-proclaimed gearhead and puts that knowledge to good use as one of SKI Magazine’s official gear testers.