Elan Skis Review: The Skis That Started A Trend

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Over the years, Elan skis have made a name for themselves by bringing new styles and stable products to the industry. After having skied with Elans for years, I understand why they’re considered a solid brand in the ski industry.

As technology has changed to bring in new shapes of skis from the original stick-straight versions to shaped to twin tips to the wide powder skis, Elan has been at the forefront of innovation. In fact, they invented the shaped ski that changed the industry back in the 1990s.

Elan is also known for its durable materials in production, explaining why many ski resorts use them as rentals and ski-school options. They handle and hold up well under daily usage.

History Of Elan Skis

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Twelve engineers and craftsmen started designing Elan skis during World War 2 to support the partisan troops fighting in the Alps. The formal founding of the company by Rudi Finžgar didn't happen until 1945. During the 1950s and 1960s, the brand expanded into boats and kayaks, but have since eliminated these non-ski-related products.

The Elan factory makes its home in the Alps of Slovenia. They receive inspiration from the mountains surrounding them to manufacture with “sharp minds and skillful hands." Elan continues to win awards for innovations, and athletes continue to set records on their skis.

They recently released a foldable ski for touring the mountainside and dropping out of helicopters. Movement is limited when a skier straps a full-length ski to his back, but folding solves that problem. The ski won the “Grand Award for Recreation” in Popular Science for the great innovations of 2017.

Product Specifications

Pricing


How Elan Skis Compare To Other Top Ski Brands

Elan skis are considered high-performance skis, and we’ll be comparing them to a few other top ski brands: Atomic, Salomon, Head, Nordica, and Dynastar. All of these brands offer a variety of styles for the level of skier and terrain. For now, we’ll look at their all-mountain skis similar to the Ripstick.

We've compared Ease of Use, Build Quality and Warranty for rating categories below. In the Ease of Use category, many user reviews mentioned these high-performance skis require expert ability to use properly and would be difficult to manage for beginners. This is why we chose a 3-star rating for most of them. The Build Quality rating is also based on the detailed reviews of skiers and magazines who analyzed the weight and performance of the skis. Warranty is based merely on a comparison of each brand's warranty. Some are longer and cover more usage than others.

1.) Atomic

A favorite among pro and recreational skiers, Atomic has an extensive line of products from skis to boots to backpacks. The Vantage is their All-Mountain, with the men’s waist-width ranging in size from 85mm to 100mm. They also carry a Vantage X line which is narrower.

Instead of carbon tubes, the Vantage has a carbon mesh between its Ash/Poplar woodcore and the outer topsheet. However, the mesh serves the same purposes of increasing stability without adding weight.

Atomic also adds a Titanium Backbone layer to the wider all-mountain skis for stability which won’t be found in the skis thinner than 90mm.

  • Atomic Vantage 100
  • Price: Starting at $
  • Ease of Use: 3.0 (advanced to expert ability)
  • Build Quality: 4.0
  • Warranty: 4.0 (2 years)

2.) Salomon

The Salomon QST is the same width as the Ripstick we’re looking at, but Salomon combines carbon with flax in their C/FX layer promising the strength of carbon combined with vibration dampening and absorption from flax.

This style shows up on many of the same lists with the Elan Ripstick as fun skis that will perform well in all conditions, but don’t leave you tired from the weight of power skis. Since the QST is also built for exploring all of the mountain resort, they handle crud well, but the width keeps them from sinking into powder.

  • Salomon QST 106
  • Price $-$$
  • Ease of Use: 3.0 (advanced to expert)
  • Build Quality: 5.0
  • Warranty: 4.0 (2 years)

3.) Head

2019 Head Kore 105 Skis (171 cm)
  • Sidecut: 135-105-125 @ 180cm
  • Radius: 17.8, @ 180cm
  • Graphene-KOROYD-Carbon Sandwich Cap Construction

Head offers similar sizing to the Elan Ripstick with their Kore skis in 93mm, 105mm, and 117mm widths. Instead of a fiberglass top sheet, the Kore has a polyester fleece to keep it the lightest possible.

Unlike the Ripstick unique Amphibio profile, the Kore skis have a standard rocker/camber/rocker profile from front to back. The rocker tip and tail keep it floating above the snow and camber midsection give it an edge on hard-packed snow.

During Powder Week hosted by Powder Magazine, the Head Kore 105 won 2018 Ski of the Year after 33 skiers reported they loved the ski.

  • Head Kore 105
  • Price: $-$$
  • Ease of Use: 3.0 (advanced to expert)
  • Build Quality 5.0
  • Warranty: 3.0 (1 year)

4.) Nordica

Nordica Enforcer 110 Skis Mens Sz 185cm
  • Energy 2 Titanium Construction
  • camRock: Blunt Nose Profile
  • Full ABS Sidewall

The Nordica Enforcer 110 is a similar width to the Elan skis, but that’s about where similarities end. This ski is heavier, has its own unique rocker/camber profile and even has twin tips.

Nordica’s “High Rise Tip and Tail Rocker” with a raised tip for flotation, as well as the raised tail to release from turns quickly. These are high-speed skis, especially in fresh snow or bowls, and take turns a little longer than the Ripstick would. With the added weight of this ski, you should feel more stability at those high speeds.

The core of the ski is a layer of Poplar/ Beech/ Balsa wood in the center with a layer of titanium on either side. Skiers prefer the metal for high-performance, but the wood helps lighten it up slightly.

  • Nordica Enforcer 110
  • Price: $-$$
  • Ease of Use: 3.0 (advanced to expert)
  • Build Quality: 5.0
  • Warranty: 3.0 (1 year)

5.) Dynastar

DYNASTAR Legend X 80 Skis w/Xpress 11 Bindings Mens Sz 173cm
  • Sidecut: 103-80-123
  • Technology: Powerdrive Access
  • Rocker: Tip & Tail Rocker

These Dynastars are slightly more traditional than the Ripsticks, with a flat tail and standard rocker/camber profile. They are a little heavier than the Elans but will speed down the mountain with stability.

While these have a wood core (Paulownia), the Legend X106 is not supported by metal or lightened with carbon like the other skis. The center layer of wood has a layer of fiberglass above and below it.

  • Dynastar Legend X106
  • Price: $-$$
  • Ease of Use: 3.0 (advanced to expert)
  • Build Quality: 5.0
  • Warranty: 3.0 (1 year)

Pros And Cons

While Elan has a whole lineup of skis for different terrain, the Ripstick 106 is a favorite for the year. If you’re a beginner skier or don’t plan to ski on fresh powder very often, then explore their other styles to find the best set for you. And while this pretty subjective, but mentioned by a few testers, the colors and design could be more exciting. If you’re spending money on skis, you probably want them to look as cool as they feel.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Floats on Powder
  • Maneuverable on Groomed Snow
  • Innovative Rocker/ Camber combination

Cons

  • Performs best at high speed
  • Advanced/Expert skiers only

Get On The Mountain!

Based on the many reviews and tests, we'll give the Elan Ripsticks a rating of 5.0 stars. Elan surprised the magazines and test skiers this season with the Ripsticks. Expert skiers claim they’ll only need one pair of skis in their quiver with this addition, and Elan stands out again as an innovative and stable brand. The lightweight aspect means you can carry it easily around the mountain (or even hike with it), while the wide-but-not-too-wide body allows for maneuverability in all conditions.

Are these skis worth the investment? With many skiers saying they found the only ski they need for the winter, we strongly believe they would be. With a strong manufacturer behind them, you can't go wrong with these everyday skis. Happy Skiing!

Do you have any experience with the Ripsticks or other Elan skis? What was your experience? Leave your reviews and opinions in the comments!

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