Pugski Test Team

Testing skis so you don't have to.
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Pugski Ski Tester
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Mar 5, 2017
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263
Elan Amphibio 16 Ti2 Fusion
Dimensions: 121-73-104
Radius: [email protected] cm
Sizes: 160, 166, 172, 178

Size tested: 172
Design: Carryover

UGASkiDawg: Since we (and I’m using the royal we, here) were testing frontside skis and I was walking past the Elan tent, I decided, What the hell let’s grab an Elan. I don’t know much about frontside skis other than race skis, and what I know about those is basically two things: 1. Wow, they are expensive, and 2. My daughters have an endless appetite for them. When I asked the Elan guy what I should grab, he gave me some long spiel about the Amphibio and 4D blah, blah, blah something or another. I just wanted to get out and ski, so off I went on the Amphibio 16. I’m glad I did because this ski was fun and forgiving, but if you wanted to carve trenches, you could. It was an easier ride than the Redsters but almost as much fun. It was much easier to change the turn shape and more user friendly but with less pure power and concurrent edgehold. I don’t see Elans in every shop, but they aren’t as hard to find as Stöcklis, so I may try these skis next year early season to see if a whole day on them changes anything because the marketing materials promising the sun, moon, stars, and the whole galaxy make me want to doubt my opinion.
  • Who is it for? If you are looking for a fun, serious-ish, ripping groomer ski, check this one out.
  • Who is it not for? People who ski on the inside edge of the inside ski.
  • Insider tip: It’s a sexy-looking ski, so make sure your outfit matches; stand on the outside ski, and hold on for the ride.

Elan Ripstick 86
Dimensions: 128-87-108
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 168, 176, 184
Size tested: 176
Design: All New

Philpug: When we skied the Ripsticks last year, we were a bit divided on how they performed. This year Elan added a model to the collection, the 86. It will go up against some pretty nice skis and hold its own, especially at an aggressive $499 MAP price point. The ski is playful yet held pretty darn well on the firm morning corduroy at Snowbasin.
  • Who is it for? Budget-conscious skiers who don’t want to give up performance.
  • Who is it not for? Like most price-point skis, stronger skiers can overpower it.
  • Insider tip: The Amphibio design can be felt; make sure you keep the left-right design straight, especially in firm conditions.

Elan Ripstick 96
Dimensions: 134-96-113
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 167, 174, 181, 189
Sizes tested: 181, 189
Design: Carryover

Ron: (from last year) I gave the Ripstick my award for coolest graphics. I really wanted to like this ski, and maybe in the longer length I might have, but with its large tip reminiscent of early rocker incarnations, it was unstable at the slightest hint of a ripple on the snow. I tried skiing it in different styles in off-piste conditions and bumps, but to no avail. On the groomed, it performed best when skied very centered and staying off the tips, but I am not sure who needs a 96mm ski for just groomers. I am curious to hear feedback from lightweight skiers or those who tested the longer length.
  • Who is it for? Perhaps some lighter-weight skiers may have a different experience?
  • Who is it not for? Demo first and draw your own conclusions.
  • Insider tip: Maybe try a different length?

Elan Ripstick 106
Dimensions: 140-106-122
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 167, 174 181, 189
Size tested: 181
Design: Carryover

Drahtguy Kevin: (from last year) The Ripsticks make cruising fun with their easy turn initiation and energetic feel. Both skis were extremely quick edge to edge. The skis have no metal and react like it when push comes to shove in crud and moguls. I found the tips a bit soft for my larger-than-average size and aggressive nature.
  • Who are they for? Weekend warriors and those skiing a few days a season who like to cruise groomers and dabble off piste.
  • Who are they not for? Heavier, hard chargers.
  • Insider tip: Ski these from the middle of your foot and don't drive 'em too hard

FairtoMiddlin: (from last year) These were probably the most polarizing skis of the test. A slew of folks loved them (and for good reason), and a smaller but equally vocal crowd didn't like them at all (also for good reason).

The Good: On Day 1 of the test, I rode the 181cm Ripstick 96, and loved it. We were on low-angle groomers, bumps, and trees. The Ripstick is light and quick (the 106 is probably the quickest edge to edge of any ski I've been on in its class), and it has an excellent tip shape for initiating turns, with an aggressive sidecut behind the tip. This shape gives you immediate response to your inputs, without feeling overly nervous. A fun, nimble ski that provides excellent feedback, the Ripstick is a wider ski that could be used to good effect in a lesson: a student will know right away if he or she is executing the instructed technique properly.

The Bad: I started to hear about its limitations, namely, strength and stability. I had only been on it in the aforementioned mellowness, and some others had taken it into steeper off-piste, avy-controlled terrain where it was found wanting. I defended the ski, and told them I would take it into the same area and show those gapers that they didn't know what they were talking about.

Turns out I was the gaper. Dangit, I hate being the gaper!

Drahtguy Kevin and I took the 188cm 96 and the 181cm 106 up to the Sierra lift and through the plentiful cut-up pow, crud, and soft bumps. The same area that I charged with the Enforcer 93/100 and FX85 required a more deliberate approach on the Ripsticks. It isn't that they were unsuitable for the terrain, just they were unsuitable for the terrain at mach schnell.
  • Who is it for? Lighter or mellower (or both) skiers who want a wider ski that is playful and encourages good technique, instead of the more common wider ski that dulls the feedback and tends to promote sloppy skiing.
  • Who is it not for? Heavier, charge-ier skiers who need a ski that won't fold and deflect when the going gets tough.
  • Insider tip: This is a design that manages different sizes very well. Skiers on the fence about length and width can follow their gut (or their optimism) and not have to worry if they made the right choice. Going wider for more float or longer for more fore-aft forgiveness doesn't seem to have an effect on the personality (or nimbleness) of the ski.
  • Industry tip: Dear Elan: you have a really nice shape to these skis, now give them some power. Don't change the skis you made so far; simply make a Ti version as well; ask Blizzard, Kästle, and RMU how that's done. XOXO, FTM

Elan SLX SL
Dimensions: 121-68-104
Radius: 14/[email protected]
Sizes: 155, 160, 165, 170
Size tested: 165
Design: All New

Drahtguy Kevin: A dual-radius ski (14/12m) with tons of personality, the Elan SLX was super easy to turn with energy to burn in about any shape you want. The carbon plate underfoot combined with the metal ridge starting near the tip quiet the ski and smooth the tummy-tickling ride. Elan has a winner in this 68mm wide ripper.
  • Who is it for? People who like to turn right and left or left and right.
  • Who is it not for? Straightliners.
  • Insider tip: This ski loves to be on edge.

FairToMiddlin: New for this year, Elan’s rec SL gets a three-step program for success. You can see what’s coming just by looking at the topsheet: a relatively thin and soft tip, followed by a stepped increase (near the snow "contact" point) in thickness as sheets of Titanal beef up the ski. Finally, instead of the race plate you would see in a World Cup SL, an integral full-width slab of carbon sits atop the Titanal to let you know there is some real horsepower under the hood. Weirdly, they finish it off with a non-horsepowery 12 DIN binding that left me scratching my head a little, but it didn’t spoil the fun.

The Fun.

There is a lot of that in this ski. Every year, there seems to be a "come play with me" ski that stands out (which has proved to be expensive for me in the past), and this year, particularly among the skis under 80mm, this is it. If the stepped-thickness technique was an attempt to make an aggressive shape accessible, then this is a great example of accessibility done right. For all the power this thing has, all the immediacy of response to tipping on edge, it is oh-so-intuitive to decide how much of that power gets used. Feedback is immediate, but not brutal: it is delivered with a Coke and a smile, not a … whatever the opposite of a Coke and a smile is.
  • Who is it for? Skilled folks that want a big grin, not a big workout.
  • Who is it not for? The heavy and aggressive. With the 12 DIN binding on board, you may run out of retention as you dial in the Gs.
  • Insider tip: No great mystery to reveal here; click in and let the good times roll.

Women's
Elan Ripstick 94W
Dimensions: 136-94-111
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 156, 163, 170, 177
Size tested: 170
Design: All New

Tricia: (from last year) Elan’s promise of a fun ski to charge off piste was met with much anticipation. I really enjoyed this ski in moguls and when playing around in the soft fresh snow. I only wish I had a chance to really push its limits: there was definitely a lot of feedback, which is something I don't usually like, but this was still a fun ski.
  • Who is it for? Someone looking for a playful off-piste option.
  • Who is it not for? Someone looking for a calm ski.
  • Insider tip: If you like a damp ski, this isn't the one.
 

Henry

Getting on the lift
Skier
Joined
Sep 7, 2019
Posts
177
Location
Traveling in the great Northwest
I have 5 days on my new-to-me 2018 Elan SLX Fusion slalom carvers. FUN! Easy to ski, holds an edge great on hard pack with no chatter, no problem in deep piles of man made snow. Smooth easy carving with great control. They were steady as fast as I wanted to go. I'm 5-11, 180#, and the 165s were just right for me. The bindings are an Elan version of the Tyrolia PowerRail bindings...maybe PRD 12...with Elan's single length adjustment rail gizmo. I'm glad I got them.

These were used demos from Powder7. The condition was very good and the price right. They had been tuned, but not a great job. The bottoms were fine. The edges were ground rough and maybe 4°. I smoothed the sides with my 3° guide and file. Bottom edges just needed polishing.
 
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