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Elan Ripstick 88 W (or 94 W)

FayGoneAstray

Certified Ski Diva
Hi has anyone tried or own the current generation of the ElanRipstick 88 W (2022 I understand is a carryover of 2021) or 94 W.
It gets great reviews - heard it's lightweight, fun and non demanding. Also any views of sizing?
For my 5 foot 1 frame the 149 and 156 might be options to try (I'm general over 100 pound - probably around 102-105 range consistently). I ski a 153cm BP 88 (older generation - not current BP).
94 shortest length is 156cm.

I'm considering this alongside Nela 88 and Captis Birdie (90) [Rossi Stargazer and if I demo'd and they had a Santa Ana 88 I'd probably demo that too).
94 intrigues me to find out more though I"m a bit weary of a wider width than 92 as I like cruising blue groomers and dip off between runs and occasional bowls.
 

SMichael08

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I can’t speak to the Ripstick, but did look at it when considering new skis last season. Just wanted to offer that the sizing on those is actually 146 or 154 and both come in either size. Maybe check the Elan website directly if you’re seeing something different from other retailers. I do know a couple folks here have Ripsticks and have good things to say about them.
 

FayGoneAstray

Certified Ski Diva
I can’t speak to the Ripstick, but did look at it when considering new skis last season. Just wanted to offer that the sizing on those is actually 146 or 154 and both come in either size. Maybe check the Elan website directly if you’re seeing something different from other retailers. I do know a couple folks here have Ripsticks and have good things to say about them.
Thank you! I totally misremembered or I am just getting plain old confused now! LOL. I looked and their website you are indeed correct! 88 W comes in 146cm and 154cm. 146 seems short unless it skis long??

94W also comes in 146 and 154cm
Elan ranks them as advance skis which seems contrary to what reviews I've read that put the range from intermediate and up.
 

SMichael08

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Thank you! I totally misremembered or I am just getting plain old confused now! LOL. I looked and their website you are indeed correct! 88 W comes in 146cm and 154cm. 146 seems short unless it skis long??

94W also comes in 146 and 154cm
Elan ranks them as advance skis which seems contrary to what reviews I've read that put the range from intermediate and up.
It does sound short to me. I’m also 5’1”, though heavier than you. When I was younger I was pretty consistently around 110 lb and skied 154 Rossis for years at that height/weight. When I was shopping last year, I ultimately landed on the Elan Wildcats (I can’t offer any commentary yet as I unfortunately never made it to the mountain this spring), which come in 152 or 158, so I had to either size up or down. Having gained some weight and with the Wildcats being wider than my old Rossi’s, I opted to size up to 158. Hoping they don’t feel too unwieldy once I finally get to ski them.
 

Analisa

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I got a pair of the 102s to review, but there are definitely strong similarities. I'd put it in the same ballpark as the Line Pandora 94 or Salomon QST Lux 92. Maybe the outgoing Armada Victa 93 as well. The Victa and Pandora both come in a 151 size if you feel between sized with the Ripstick 94's 146 & 154 sizes.

I really like the asymmetrical tips of the ski that give it a right and left ski. The outer edges are more rockered, and they're also thinner and softer. It makes it very intuitive to bend those outer tips and roll them up on edge. If you carve a lot on groomers (or aspire to improve your carving skills), the shape really stands out compared to its peers. But they still have just enough rocker in the tails to smear and pivot a bit.

Captis Birdie is a much different ski - more "freestyle" or park inspired where the mount point is closer to the center of the ski and full twin tip. It really favors a smeary, surfy style of turns. I'd say the Ripstick would be a smaller adjustment from the BPs.

For sizing, they ski true to size women. (For men, they tend to measure 2-4cm shorter than the stated size, since someone needs their ego padded). Not the deepest rocker lines, so a good chunk of the ski is in contact with the ground compared to more of a twin tipped, progressive ski.
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@FayGoneAstray will you get to demo all the skis? and I'm not sure what your snow conditions are or what type of terrain you ski but here is my 2 cents:
I have an older pair of Elan 94W that are super fun in different conditions. More float than you would think and more a lot of carvablity. Easy. I think it's a ski that is fun for a lot of different skiers. I have also been on the Captis Birdie and the Armada Victa that @Analisa mentioned, but in the Victa Ti version which is stiffer. I tried the Elan 88 from ? 2020? pre covid and it is a much softer ski. I am not sure if they changed the construction since it was introduced as I was on the first year model.
But the 88W was not for me. For off piste in variable snow I'd prefer the Black Crows.....
 

gingerjess

Angel Diva
I skied all season on the 2018 94W (actually a 96 in my length) last year on the US west coast and was really happy with it. The Amphibio profile and cambered inner edge means that it skis a bit narrower than its stated width when compared to other all-mountain skis with more of a rocker profile.

Overall I don't think it's the best ski for carving if that's specifically what you want, but it's certainly lively enough on groomers, and I don't think you'd regret it.
 

FayGoneAstray

Certified Ski Diva
@gingerjesss - I don't think I know how to carve! I'm only intermediate. So hmmmm.... I hope to keep increasing my skills and plan to have lessons this year. My husband noticed an improvement last season before our season was cut short with closure. He says I turn more abruptly than fluid, flowing turns.. I'm a bit zig zaggy!

@WaterGirl @Analisa - I don't know if I will be able to demo this year. Whistler is my area. I cruise groomers. I'm cautious. But I am enjoying and wanting to get more off piste - and in ungroomed Whistler bowls (Glacier bowl). I did my first Whister (easy) black past season. My kids (8 and 11) and partner love off piste, bumps, glades and some (easy) drops. I'm trying to follow in less difficult terrain - going up and off the sides of the blue groomers. I felt a bit thrown around on my BP 88s sometime - not sure what I don't like about them - like going through crud and those ice balls! I want something that feels grippy to give me confidence on steeper more skied out groomers. I get a bit scared re. big bumps and steeper terrain . Sorry I don't know how to explain it. Control issues? (mental - I always ski in control but I think I need to let go a bit and not be so tense!).

They said they don't know if they will run demo this season. They did not demo last season (also not sure what they would have in my size anyway). Based on feedback I think maybe Captis Birdie sounds more appropriate.

I'm now thinking if I had to demo I'd like to try Captis and Nela 88. They are very different skis??
 

elemmac

Angel Diva
gingerjesss - I don't think I know how to carve! I'm only intermediate. So hmmmm.... I hope to keep increasing my skills and plan to have lessons this year. My husband noticed an improvement last season before our season was cut short with closure. He says I turn more abruptly than fluid, flowing turns.. I'm a bit zig zaggy!

@WaterGirl @Analisa - I don't know if I will be able to demo this year. Whistler is my area. I cruise groomers. I'm cautious. But I am enjoying and wanting to get more off piste - and in ungroomed Whistler bowls (Glacier bowl). I did my first Whister (easy) black past season. My kids (8 and 11) and partner love off piste, bumps, glades and some (easy) drops. I'm trying to follow in less difficult terrain - going up and off the sides of the blue groomers. I felt a bit thrown around on my BP 88s sometime - not sure what I don't like about them - like going through crud and those ice balls! I want something that feels grippy to give me confidence on steeper more skied out groomers. I get a bit scared re. big bumps and steeper terrain . Sorry I don't know how to explain it. Control issues? (mental - I always ski in control but I think I need to let go a bit and not be so tense!).
With this description of your skiing, the terrain you ski, and what you want to get better at, I would consider adding a second ski to your quiver rather than replacing your BP88 (unless you really dislike your BP's).

Get a frontside/all-mountain ski that excels on groomers but can still dabble off-piste. Something like an Elan Wildcat 82, Rossignol Exp 80, Stockli Nela 80, or Armada Reliance 82C. A ski with a narrower waist than your Black Pearl will help you learn to carve and push your skills to the level. This will push you towards your overall goal of enjoying off-piste more. It will help your confidence on those steeper, skied-off groomers by giving you better edge grip, and a quicker transition between edges (quicker transitions will give you better control, more control generally leads to more confidence).

Keep the Black Pearls for snowy, soft-snow days.
 

vickie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I don't think I know how to carve!
He says I turn more abruptly than fluid, flowing turns.. I'm a bit zig zaggy!
I felt a bit thrown around on my BP 88s sometime - not sure what I don't like about them - like going through crud and those ice balls! I want something that feels grippy to give me confidence on steeper more skied out groomers.

All of those things say to me that you should get a narrower ski with a reputation for grip. And use that to learn to carve. A ski that grips will give you confidence. That confidence will go a long way when you are on steeper terrain.

I am skiing at a PSIA level 6, working on level 7 skills, and my instructor doesn't want me on skis wider than 84mm waist. I am slightly taller than you and 30 pounds heavier.

Not to say you can't have a wider ski also. But it sounds as if having skis that you can easily get on edge and they will bite like crazy would be a good learning tool.

Edit: And I see @elemmac was posting a similar thought at the same time!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
For my 5 foot 1 frame the 149 and 156 might be options to try (I'm general over 100 pound - probably around 102-105 range consistently). I ski a 153cm BP 88 (older generation - not current BP).
94 shortest length is 156cm.
Thinking back to my first few ski purchases when I was an adventurous intermediate 15 years ago, I agree with the idea of a narrower pair of skis to complement the BP88. I'm 5'0", 110 lbs, and over 60.

The new Stöckli Nela line is very interesting. Haven't had a chance to demo yet. I love my Stöckli Stormriders, 85mm, 159cm. Bought them in 2017.

Here's a summary of my ski purchases as context . . .
My first pair of skis that I considered as all-mountain were 75 underfoot. I had a chance to demo that model for 3 days as part of a 3-morning clinic set up at Diva West in Tahoe in 2010. Included one day with fresh snow that was deep powder. Next pair of skis were the original Black Pearl (2011, bought used in 2012), 88mm, 159cm. Still have those as rock skis. With a lot of mileage and lessons from very experienced instructors (mostly semi-private or Taos Ski Weeks since 2013), I became a solid advanced skier. My current all-mountain skis that I use out west are 85 underfoot, 159cm, the Stormriders (treated with DPS Phantom). For skiing groomers in the east, I have skis that are about 10cm shorter and 78 underfoot.

I was able to get to free demo days fairly often for several years. Even though I tend to keep skis for quite a while, I like to demo as often as I have the opportunity arises. If I rent powder skis on the mountain because I get lucky and catch a powder storm, I always switch out skis at least once. Sometimes at the end of the day, I'll take out another model for just a couple runs. So it becomes a "personal demo day" and not just a day on one pair of demo skis.
 

FayGoneAstray

Certified Ski Diva
With this description of your skiing, the terrain you ski, and what you want to get better at, I would consider adding a second ski to your quiver rather than replacing your BP88 (unless you really dislike your BP's).

Get a frontside/all-mountain ski that excels on groomers but can still dabble off-piste. Something like an Elan Wildcat 82, Rossignol Exp 80, Stockli Nela 80, or Armada Reliance 82C. A ski with a narrower waist than your Black Pearl will help you learn to carve and push your skills to the level. This will push you towards your overall goal of enjoying off-piste more. It will help your confidence on those steeper, skied-off groomers by giving you better edge grip, and a quicker transition between edges (quicker transitions will give you better control, more control generally leads to more confidence).

Keep the Black Pearls for snowy, soft-snow days.
@elemmac @vickie I think you just blew my mind!!!!

Wow low 80s ski... I need to get my head around and process this. LOL But what you are saying makes sense - to get my skiing ability better and I'm mostly on piste. Why am I afraid of "skinny" skis? At Whistler skis are sooo fat that I thought my 88s were were narrow. So something like the Stockli Nela 80 for example (sorry it's the ski I know most about and read reviews on) could take me from top of Whistler peak with more soft fresh snow down down to the bottom through the bumps, heavy wet snow, or spring mush that feels like I'm skiing through wet mashed potatoes? Though I never ski below mid mountain until I'm skiing out.
 

Analisa

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@FayGoneAstray - when you say thrown around, do you mean that they're hard to control in those times where you're nervous and apprehensive, or that when the snow is chewed up and inconsistent, it creates vibrations & feedback that tends to toss the skis around? (Or both, or neither?) The prior scenario is generally a sign that you're in the backseat and leaning back behind the sweet spot either because of fear, technique, or your boots aren't working with your anatomy to keep you over the sweet spot. The second happens when the ski is lighter/softer and can't stay composed in chopped up, wet heavy snow that we tend to get in the PNW (I'm down south in Seattle). And are these control issues consistent throughout the day or in certain conditions or when you're skiing intimidating terrain?

If control is a major issue you want fixed, I'd look at a private session with an instructor. Not so much for a traditional lesson, but a pro who can spot what's driving the issue. Do you have a subconscious nervous habit? Is there something going on with your boots that's keeping you from getting into the right position? Are there signs your skis need a tune up or are the wrong ones for your goals? They'll be able to give you something more specific and tangible to adjust in your setup or technique, and if it's something like the the stance of your boots, you'd likely run into problems with control on the next setup.

I think a skinny ski only makes sense if you're willing to put in time to lessons and groomer practice. It's the quickest way to get better. It wasn't for me. I wanted to ski off piste and keep up with my boyfriend as quickly as possible. The game changers for me were 1 - getting a fat ski that planed easily, even if I was skiing slowly. With narrower models, I either needed speed on my side to keep me on top of the snow, or I needed to lean way back into the backseat to keep my tips up, which is no bueno for control. And 2 - getting a boot with a slimmer calf where I didn't have room to shift back. Can I carve? I think so? Not with perfect form. Was it an easy process? Not nearly as fast as working with a pro. But I have a lot of alignment between the terrain I ski, my skills, and my gear, and I really enjoyed the process. In other words, if you want to progress while doing all-mountain skiing with your family, I don't think a skinny carver is the golden ticket.
 

FayGoneAstray

Certified Ski Diva
@Analisa - thank you for your input and questions!
1) more chewed up inconsistent snow I feel thrown around but my biggest technique issue/struggle is getting out of the backseat especially in more difficult terrain/ when I get nervous and conditions aren't the best (icy, compacted , skied out steeper runs!! or larger moguls on steeper terrain) or when I get tired. I start to ski across the hill rather than down it and I start trying to fight gravity! So yes I think subconscious bad habits kick in. But before last season ended early I started to ski much better and faster my husband commented - a lovely sprinkle fresh snow but not super deep powder! Then the mountain closed suddenly due to covid.

2) I plan on taking some group lessons (hopefully women only clinics) as a private lesson is just under $1k! I'd do it if I knew it would change my skiing but I've had variable quality of lessons and instructors. So I'm a bit nervous about the cost vs group cost. But I hear you and I think instruction is needed but likely a series of lesson.

3) I went to my local ski shop (to get my kids skis swapped out) and while I was waiting he discussed the Nela 80 with me (they had not come in but they last season's ski in a long lenght on the shop floor) - he said I didn't need the Nela 88 at my ability weight and size the 80 would suffice and the 88 might be more difficult for me to ski. He said they are incredibly smooth skis but I could probably bend the 80 ski and it came in a length 149 that was suitable for my size. He didn't seem interested in selling me the Rossi Stargazer. Anyway the conversation got interrupted with kids and their gear... In an ideal world I'd demo Nela 80, Capits Birdie and Earhart 88, take a series of lessons and take it from there. Hopefully I can demo the first two at least as I know I can't demo the Earhart without buying it first!
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
@FayGoneAstray - you have looked at the North Face Women's camps at WB? It's been a few years since I've done one, but it was time well spent for me and a few other Diva's.
 

FayGoneAstray

Certified Ski Diva
@FayGoneAstray - you have looked at the North Face Women's camps at WB? It's been a few years since I've done one, but it was time well spent for me and a few other Diva's.
Yes! I guess season before pandemic season I took the clinic (sense of time is getting a bit hazy now). It was good. I'm hoping they run them this upcoming season!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@Analisa - thank you for your input and questions!
1) more chewed up inconsistent snow I feel thrown around but my biggest technique issue/struggle is getting out of the backseat especially in more difficult terrain/ when I get nervous and conditions aren't the best (icy, compacted , skied out steeper runs!! or larger moguls on steeper terrain) or when I get tired. I start to ski across the hill rather than down it and I start trying to fight gravity! So yes I think subconscious bad habits kick in. But before last season ended early I started to ski much better and faster my husband commented - a lovely sprinkle fresh snow but not super deep powder! Then the mountain closed suddenly due to covid.

2) I plan on taking some group lessons (hopefully women only clinics) as a private lesson is just under $1k! I'd do it if I knew it would change my skiing but I've had variable quality of lessons and instructors. So I'm a bit nervous about the cost vs group cost. But I hear you and I think instruction is needed but likely a series of lesson.

3) I went to my local ski shop (to get my kids skis swapped out) and while I was waiting he discussed the Nela 80 with me (they had not come in but they last season's ski in a long lenght on the shop floor) - he said I didn't need the Nela 88 at my ability weight and size the 80 would suffice and the 88 might be more difficult for me to ski. He said they are incredibly smooth skis but I could probably bend the 80 ski and it came in a length 149 that was suitable for my size. He didn't seem interested in selling me the Rossi Stargazer. Anyway the conversation got interrupted with kids and their gear... In an ideal world I'd demo Nela 80, Capits Birdie and Earhart 88, take a series of lessons and take it from there. Hopefully I can demo the first two at least as I know I can't demo the Earhart without buying it first!
It's refreshing to hear a shop person not try to sell you on a fatter ski just because everyone should be on fatter skis because you never know when you might get a powder day. Weighing in on the Nela--I skied the 88 and they are sublimely smooth. Talk about confidence building--absolutely. You will be spoiled, though, to ski any other ski (except maybe another premium brand.) The Nela is a versatile shape and construction that should carry you into all kinds of mixed conditions easily.
 

MaineSkiLady

Angel Diva
The 94W was one of the biggest (and nicest) surprises I had during a private group demo the year that it first came out. Many agreed. I felt that it might be a bit wide (although it did wonderfully in very sub-par eastern conditions that day) for everyday Eastern.

I bought the 88W untested and have been very pleased. Hard to know what to compare it to, though, sorry. Black Pearl? I’d say, with your stats, the shortest length would be appropriate. I’m a bit larger than you are, have the 162 (also the length I demo’d in the 94W). I don’t have the mileage on them to give a full review (early season end, 2020), but - so far, very nice. Bonus: a reasonable price point compared to others of same ilk.
 

FayGoneAstray

Certified Ski Diva
@MaineSkiLady - so glad to hear!!!
Coincidental but after consulting/discussion at my local ski shops re various ski options and my ability, size, terrain, goals (and comparing to what I'm on now) I pulled the triggered on the Ripsticks 94 W in 146cm.
Time will tell .... But I"m super excited to get on them!

(and yes I basically threw everything out the window with regards to demoing etc.)
 


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