(Photo: Courtesy Elan)
2023 Winter Gear Guide

2023 Elan Ripstick Tour 104 Review

Glen Plake’s first ever signature model is a backcountry tool that skis like Glen Pake

Lily Krass

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The Scores (out of 10)

  • Crud Performance: 6.8
  • Responsiveness: 6.9
  • Stability at Speed: 6.7
  • Flotation: 5.8
  • Playfulness: 6.7
  • Forgiveness: 6.6
  • Versatility: 6.8
  • Quickness: 6.9

The Specs

  • Price: $800
  • Lengths: 166, 173, 180, 187
  • Dimensions: 129-104-109
  • Radius: 23m
  • Weight: 1,540g
  • Level: Intermediate to Advanced

In a Nutshell

  • Pros: Responsiveness, Quickness
  • Cons: Flotation, Forgiveness

Buy Now

Testers were not surprised that Elan and Glen Plake morphed the popular freeride Ripstick into a deft touring iteration suitable for the majority of backcountry users and conditions. Plake’s first ever signature model (about time!), the Ripstick Tour 104 slices through crud, sucks up bumps, and holds its own in most terrain. Testers say you can take these skis anywhere. “Impressive amount of power in a light package,” said Colorado-based tester Keri Bascetta. “The perfect ski for strong skiers who like to charge hard and power through all types of snow conditions.”

Related: Our gear editor’s favorite tools for waxing her skis at home

The 104 is the widest Ripstick Tour in the collection, with a slimmer 94 and 88 available for spring tours and mountaineering objectives. Carbon reinforcements create a lightweight and stable platform, with a high rebound for building energy with each turn. A single carbon stringer rod embedded in the core gives the ski its stability, rebound, and vibration absorption in the tips. “This ski can handle chop and powder, but excels on corn and chalk and in tight terrain,” said tester Lily Krass, a backcountry fanatic from Jackson Hole.

“Beefy enough to have confidence in chopped up variable snow, and forgiving enough to manage making turns in near vertigo inducing flat light,” added tester Jon Sexauer, who touted its approachable nature and versatility in and out of bounds. Just like the inbounds Ripstick skis, Elan’s Amphibio technology on the Ripstick Tour 104 allow for rocker on the outside edges with more camber on the inside, making it easy to turn like a short-radius ski, but amenable to opening up in big backcountry bowls.

Related: See how the Elan Ripstick Tour 104 stacked up against its competition

That being said, it’s not as playful as some would like, and it definitely has a speed limit. “Gets nervous when pushed,” said one tester who prefered maneuvering this ski through tight trees and chutes and called it “predictable, soft, and not intimidating.” If you open it up in the wrong conditions, be prepared to find some chatter, but soft, smeary snow lets you step on the gas. Still, for a ski this light, testers were satisfied with the stability-to-weight ratio.

Testers weren’t overly impressed with flotation, but felt that the 104mm waist could keep most skiers happy for a good portion of the winter in all areas outside of places like the Pacific Northwest, which sees deep, heavy storms. The Ripstick Tour 104 would have no problem floating through a low-density Colorado storm.

In short, the all-new Ripstick Tour 104 is fun, zippy, and can handle big terrain. ​​”You could slarve a spine, rip through the woods, or open it up in a big bowl,” sums up tester Mike Britt, a ski patroller from Aspen. “If you want to be as cool as Plake you should think about this ski.”

Lead Photo: Courtesy Elan

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