or Connect
EpicSki › Ski Equipment and Resorts  › Ski Gear › Alpine Skis › Freeride Skis › 2012 Elan Spire Ski

2012 Elan Spire Ski


Pros: Stable, predictable, easy turning, solid at speed.

Cons: Haven't found any yet

Length skied: 181cm.  Height: 6'. Weight: 185.  Older expert skier, 50+ days per year.  I do not knowingly go airborne.  Skis set up with a Marker F12 tour binding.  Boots are Dynafit Titans (bone stock), 3rd year.

I've been skiing on the Apex and like everything that that ski does.  I'm looking to go wider with a ski that I can tour on and ski in resort.  My current "wide" ski is a Volkl Mantra 177cm.(the older red ones).  I had Explosiv's (190cm) before that.  I ski mainly east coast.  Mostly groomed.  Hike and ski in the east when the conditions warrant or I feel like a workout but it's not an all the time thing.  I do spend a few weeks a year (since the early 80's)  touring and off piste skiing in Europe in the spring.

I got the Spire's this week and spent a few hours setting the base and side bevels.  Filing and polishing the edges & waxing and mounting the binders.  The skis came through in good shape.  There's a thick glue line in the tip of one ski but that shouldn't be a factor.

My expectation was they would be a bit slower reacting (larger turn radius, 23meters), a little less stable (they are softer flexing), and slightly less solid on hard snow (wider skis don't work as well on hard snow), and a little less stable at speed (see softer flex), but would more than make up for any shortcomings by being a lot better in cruddier snow conditions.  I only had hard snow to ski on and it turns out that my preconceptions were wrong pretty much across the board.  To me, the Spire was better at speed than the Apex and held as well if not better on hard snow.  It was very easy into the turn (a wee bit slower into the turn vs. Apex due to added girth) and very comfortable cruising through typical 2012 Vermont trail conditions today. I am interested in trying the Spire on powder, crud, and other mixed conditions.  It performs well in conditions that one would expect to bring out its weaknesses, so I'm anticipating solid performance when it is in its element. 


This will be the ski that I'll take to Austria in March to deal with piste skiing, off piste skiing, and touring.  The downside is the weight of the ski (though light by 98mm ski standards) as a touring ski, but we're not going to be setting a torrid uphill pace and are only doing day trips with a light pack, so I will be able to manage that aspect just fine and get a better ride on the way down.  I can't comment on durability but the Apex hasn't had any issues, so I'd say that the Spire should be okay as well.  I have not skied any of the other current skis in the 98 category, and I'm sure that there are some stars in there.  Elan has never had the sex appeal of a Volkl or some of the other demand brands/models, but these guys are innovative, know how to make really good skis, and they offer tremendous value.  This is the after one day report so I'm no doubt trying to justify my purchase.  I'll repost if things start to wear off after the honeymoon and/or buyer's remorse sets in.


Quick update.  Have about 5 days on the Spires and still feel the same about the skis.  Since I'm in Vermont, and there has been a paucity of snow in the last week (as well as the last three months), I haven't had the chance to ski them on anything other than pisted conditions.




Pros: All mountain performer, good in 15 -20cm pow, construction quality

Cons: skis shorter than indicated length

I'll say up-front that I am a loyal Elan brand skier.


This is a great all mountain ski (front side and side country).  Two layers of titanium/aluminium give it torsional stiffness that skis without metal don't have.  I tried the Spire and Faction Prodigy and the skis could not be any more different.  The Prodigy is a bigger, softer ski and on hardpack/groomed runs is not fun.  Too much skidding and not enough carving.  The Spire is the complete opposite:  great in moguls and great carving long languid turns.


The Spire skis okay in powder, but just doesn't have the girth to float freely.  It performs fine in 15-20cm of powder, but any more and it may become hard work.


A word of warning; the 181cm length is from the very tip to the very tail.  Since the ski has a generous turn-up in the tip, it skis more like a 176cm ski.




Pros: Stable, Crud Buster, Solid

I got back from Utah, where we skied in 4 days of powder dumpers, I had my Elan 82XTi's Amphibio's which were great boards but I decided I needed more underfoot...as an addition to the inventory.


I went for the Spires and they have not disappointed. I find they are true crud busters, and I can carve it up on all but bulletproof stuff.


We ended up with some heavy Midwest dumps at the season end and the Spires were a ball.


Bindings are Elan/Tyrolia OEM, size 181's.


Solid board...


As an aside, Elan is introducing an Amphibio 88Xti for 2013 that rocks the socks....single ti sheet with a carbon sheet and 15% lighter bindings...it's a winner...




Pros: Short turns, initiation

Cons: Long turns, edge grip

Ski: Elan Spire
Dimensions: 130/98/120
Tested Length: 181
Turn Radius: 23 meters
Price w/binding: $949, w/out binding $749


The Good: Short turns, initiation
The Bad: Long turns, edge grip


Verdict: The Spire is a soft snow-seeking ski, with an ability to crank out short swing turns with a wonderful ease of initiation. Crank it up too much in more mixed conditions though, and you’ll feel as if you are exceeding the ski’s speed limit.

2012 Elan Spire Ski

The Elan Spire is the choice of the freeriding purist. The laminated woodcore, beneath the aluminium topsheet, delivers a progressive flex pattern, welcome on every kind of terrain, from powder to groomed snow. The Dual titanium reinforcements ensures long-lasting performance and lighweight durability, while the incorporated carbon and SST sidewalls reinforce further the ski’s structural integrity. The Resort Rocker profile with the raised tail ensures superior powder floatation.

Lengths175, 181, 187
Dimensions130 / 98 / 120
Turn Radius23M@ 181 cm
Constructiontip / tail rocker
Core MaterialWood
Binding IncludedNo
Recommended BindingN/A
Recommended useOff-piste
Binding TypeFlat
Recommended LevelAdvanced
Model Year2012
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

10 Day on -- Finally got to ski in something approaching powder here in VT.  The Spires make powder laughably simple.  It's cheating.  In cut up snow and in transitions from scraped, to windblown to powder, they make the switch from condition to condition seamlessly.  I'm sure that there are similar boards that do the same sort of thing, but I'm stunned by how much easier these make everything and still have a strong solid feel on hard, groomed snow.  I'll admit that I've been behind the curve here, but I have now fully bought in.  No turning back.

EpicSki › Ski Equipment and Resorts  › Ski Gear › Alpine Skis › Freeride Skis › 2012 Elan Spire Ski