2011 Elan Spire Ski
|Lengths||175, 181, 187|
|Turn Radius||23m @ 181|
|Construction||Dual Ti Technology|
|Core Material||laminated wood core|
|Binding System||EFS 14.0 WB|
|Recommended Use||All Mountain|
|Recommended Binding||EFS 14.0 WB|
Elan Spire: Basically a slightly refined 999: overall fairly soft flex, rocker tip, 98mm underfoot, 23m ski in 181cm. I found the old 999 to be one of the best wider all-mountain, with emphasis on off-piste performance, skis around.
These were tested over several days: conditions included lots of manmade snow, firm and rock-hard bumps, fast groomers, a few inches of new snow, steeps, icy chutes, some heavy new snow, and a fair amount of crud. Since I only got a couple of runs on these skis, for the most part, I didn't do the 1-10 scale for these skis.
5 foot 9, 155lbs, competent all-mountain skier, and could zipper-line double-black bumps for the first time in my life by early spring. Probably ski 40-50 days per year. I tend to enjoy big open, high speed bowls, bumps, trees, fast groomers. My skiing speed is fast to full-on. Overall fitness is high, as I am on my road bike 15+ hours a week 9 months of the year, and race pro-level races as a Cat1.
The new Spire is slightly different, but only with regards to the updated tip rocker. This ski was always soft: it is now even easier to release out of the turn. This surfs on soft and crappy snow as well as any ~100mm ski I have yet tried. I was on this immediately after the Olympus and Katana demo, and found that, in between 4 and 6” of heavy, wet snow, the Spire was the best of the 3. This was mainly due to a couple of factors: 1) snow not too deep, 2) tight chutes where a 100mm ski's quickness is appreciated, 3) mogul fields are pretty typical toward the lower parts of the mountain. With the new soft tip and the overall soft, light profile, this ski was a star in crappy snow, and with the 2 sheets of metal, it held almost as well as the stiffer Mantra. No question that it floated and handled the soft snow better than the Mantra, and was also much better in the bumps, as well as more manageable in the longer length. The rocker tip doesn't do anything to hurt mogul performance. It is a smooth, damp, soft-snow oriented ski. I could ski it aggressively, but it really didn't have the aggressive feel of, say, a Mantra or Atlas. Instead, it was more of a stable, yet mid-energy ski that has a mellow character, but amps up the stability when you are skiing hard. The downside of that is lack of energy, especially on groomers. It holds well and does big arcs at any speed, but really isn't much for power, pop, and energy out the backside of the turn. The Mantra is a better groomer ski. The Spire is no doubt a soft-snow oriented ski, really an all-conditions type of ski. You could think of it similar to the Fischer Watea series, but a little more damp, due to the metal and wood thin profile construction. Also, this would make a great touring ski. The Spire is actually the same weight as the AT-oriented Kastle FX 94, and the flex is very good for either telemark or softer AT boots. I was thinking of going with an AT setup on a 174cm, but Elan is currently sold out of that ski. If you want a “wide race ski” then perhaps this isn't your choice, but if a capable soft snow ski that won't beat you up but is extremely reliable in any condition sounds like your ski, the Spire is worth a good look. It is really the antithesis of the Mantra.
Pros: all-around soft snow ski, great for dicey conditions and unpredictable terrain, fun in bumps
Cons: not a great groomer ski