If skiing is an addiction, then buying skis is the indulgence that feeds it. A decent pair of skis can last years if maintained and cared for, but it can be hard to resist the allure of the new: new shapes, materials and graphics. The truth is, no ski does everything perfectly. An all-mountain ski does everything well, but only a dedicated powder ski will keep you floating in three feet of fresh snow, and only a true carving ski will keep you locked into a 55 mph turn on bulletproof hardpack.
The do-it-all ski doesn’t exist, the proverbial “quiver killer” if you will, and so the addiction is forever fueled. Whether you’re in search of a ski fit for a weekend warrior, or just something special to round out your ski locker, look no further.
How to Pick the Right Ski
A good ski can help you get more out of the sport, but only if you get one that’s suited to the type of skiing you do and the type of skier you are. A shorter ski will be easier to turn, but less stable; a longer ski will be more stable at high speeds but will be harder to control for less experienced skiers. Narrower skis will also be easier to turn and are typically built for resort skiing and groomed trails. Wide skis provide float in deeper snow but the larger surface area of their bases can make them harder to put on edge. A solid all-mountain ski typically has a waist width in the 90-100 millimeter range but can also be narrower, or wider. If you have any doubts about what size is right for you, pay a visit to your local ski shop and talk to the staff there, or demo a few different pairs to see what feels most comfortable.
Elan Ripstick 106
Best All-Mountain: All-mountain skis are designed to cover a lot of ground, and too often it’s the case that a would-be amazing ski is a jack of all trades but a master of none. That’s not the case with Elan’s latest freeride ski. The Ripstick truly is a go-anywhere ski that handles groomers, powder and even melt-freeze chunder effortlessly. The skis are constructed with a complex core called TubeLite, which is made from wood that’s been hollowed out and fitted with carbon stringers, making for a lightweight ski that still has a decent amount of torsional rigidity to it. Another innovative feature is Elan’s Amphibio profile, which features a cambered inside edge and rockered outside edge along the length of the ski’s tip. It’s designed to create better grip and stability through turns. It does mean that there are left and right-foot specific skis, and it does sound like a gimmick, but it does work and solidifies the Ripstick’s place as one of the best do-everything skis of the year.
Length: 167, 174, 181, 188cm
Sidecut: 140-106-122mm (181 length)
Turn Radius: 18m (181 length)
Weight: 7lb 9oz (174 length)