Enrobing a ski in a coating of carbon is like dosing it with Xanax; it calms the nerves and helps it focus on the task at hand. The inescapable comparative adjectives are “silkier” and “smoother.” With no metal underneath its ebony hide, Elan’s Ripstick 96 Black Edition needs something other than Titanal to give it the sangfroid required to batter crud aside. Its carbon sheath muffles the rough edges caused by crud-busting without hauling around the extra ounces Titanal entails. In lighter, softer, generally more congenial off-road conditions, the Ripstick 96 Black raises its game. It doesn’t matter if the depth of the latest layer is 3 centimeters or 3 feet, put any kind of cushion under it and it will practically purr with gratitude. Because it skis narrow, it’s also easier to find a high edge angle, which helps keep its rockered tip from getting twitchy and makes negotiating tight gaps in trees dependent more on the science of technique and less on the power of prayer.
Full Review with test scores available on members’ site.