Review: 2013 Elan 888
88mm underfoot, 128/88/108. 2 sheets of metal, milled wood core, very light for what it is. It has a touch of early rise, enough to get you out of the junky snow, not enough to pull the tip out of the turn.
Conditions: firm hardpack, chalky and scratchy snow. On a scale of 1-10 for ease of skiing, I would put it around a 3 or 4 (1 being a sheet of ice, 10 being hero snow). Lots of small to medium bumps all over the hill.
Binding: Look PX12 demo. Tune; out of the wrapper. It was a touch railed at the tail, but the stock tune is really nice, better than most any ski I have seen all season. Not railed at the tip like the Blizzards and Dynastars have been this season.
Skier: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, ski 30-50 days a year. Check video for skill level and skiing style. I ski almost exclusively off-piste, looking for bumps, trees, fun terrain.
Overall impression: I know this ski well, it hasn't changed in 2 years. Milled out wood core, inside a 2 sheets of titanium sandwich. Light ski, moderate flex, great lateral edge hold. I like to mount it about 1-1.5cm back of center, depending on what I am doing and how I like to ski it. Hence the demo binding. This is one of the very best, most versatile skis we sell in the shop. It should be one of the top sellers in the US, based on how well it skis, but Elan's name isn't out there enough, so people don't get to ski it. This is a skier's ski: you can back off, or push it hard, and it works either way. For just sliding around, something with more rocker would be more pleasing, but if you can work a ski with a solid skill set, you will find this design very rewarding.
Off-piste hardpack: very smooth, easy. It is very stable, but only when you want it to be. Other times, you can dump speed and energy quite easily, check your speed, and then let it roll again. Very good in those small mis-shapen bumps, plenty of edge hold, but not an aggressive feel. It hooks up very progressively, and releases in the same manner, making it a well-behaved ski off-piste. Great for steeps, when a stiffer carving ski will be punishing and demanding, and a wider ski will be too loose and lacking edge grip. A great balance.
Bumps: a little stiff here, but pretty solid. I skied some tighter bumps in that video, the 888 handled them just fine. The tip is a little stout for direct bumps, but manageable. Tail releases easily. Very predictable in bumps.
Crud and new snow: this is a damp, stable, predictable ski. No surprises. It rocks in trees and crud, the tip doesn't catch whatsoever, but it comes onto and off of edges in a hurry. Very well balanced, great for arcing around trees in skied-out conditions.
Groomers: a little bit more of a GS crusier on groomers, not a lot of energy. Elan designed their Amphibio Waveflex ski lineup for groomers, and the 888 is not really that ski. There is no speed limit, but if you are looking for carver energy, you won't really find it here. Big GS arcs are fun, though, and it grips well. A lot of people will like it's mellow character on groomers, at least low energy skiers.
I always go back to our demo pair if I am searching for a ski and don't know what to bring with me on a road trip. Assuming there isn't a lot of new snow, this is one of the few skis I could take with me to ANY hill worth skiing, and know it can take on any condition and terrain. It has such a huge performance envelope and is a lot of fun. Highly recommended: I am sorry to see it go away at the end of this year.