At first glance, Elan’s Amphibio design appears contrived: Wouldn’t a ski with rocker on the outside edges and camber on the inside edges just act weird? Our test crew was never impressed with dedicated left and right skis in the past. But skeptical as we are, the Ripstick 96 is a revelation. By placing rocker on the outside edges you can surf the ski off-trail effortlessly, never feeling like you’re going to hook an edge and fall mousetrap fast. But load up the fully cambered inside edges on hardpack and you’re suddenly arcing GS turns taking advantage of the full running length of the ski. The ease of use is astounding. It’s as if a playful all mountain ski and a frontside carver were joined at the hip. “This stick rips,” said a tester. “An intermediate could handle it, but an expert will like it, too.”
Swami gripe: The only downside to an asymmetrical ski? If you hit a rock hard enough to dent your inside edge, you can’t swap feet and continue.
Swami like: If you’re adept at rock avoidance, the Ripstick is two skis in one—or four skis in two.
Overall: 4.5 Floatation: 4.2 Carving: 4.7 Dimensions: 134/96/113