When I was asked what kind of ski I wanted to test all I could say is “something fast with tons of control”. What I got was a pair of Elan Amphibio 10 all-mountain skis and they definitely did the job well.
This was something new for me. Elan have always been an innovative ski company, but it seems they may have struck gold with this design back in 2010. The idea of this technology is to combine advantages of normal skis with those that have a rocker profile. How does it work? Its simple, your inner edge has a normal chamber, while the outer edge is rockered for easier turning. This also calls for the need to have a left and right ski.
When turning your weight should be always on the inner edge of the ski that is facing down slope, in this case that is your normal chamber edge. This type of edge gives the best grip and control and carries you throughout the turn. But all that grip isn’t really needed on your outer edge. That’s where the rockered edge comes in. It’s has a different profile that makes less contact with the snow (imagine the foot of a rocking chair), than the normal edge. This allows for an easier transition between turns at the cost of grip. Combine the two and you have the best of both worlds. Easy turning with lots of grip.
Or as Elan would put it: camber + rocker = amphibio
You can read more about the amphibio technology on Elan’s website
Traditional skis have always needed to compromise flex stiffness and torsional stiffness. With a softer ski it’s much easier to initiate turns, but small bumps and high speeds can through you off. That’s why professional racers have really really stiff skis.
With the Waveflex technology Elan have been able to combine the best of both worlds. The core of the skis is wave shaped and this allows the ski to have a softer flex, while maintaining torsional stability. This, along with the amphibio technology allow the ski to start a turn with minimum effort, but can still hold an edge at high speed turns.
Elan also claims that this system reduces the ski’s weight by 15%, but we didn’t have a chance to confirm this.
Riding the Elan Amphibio 10
To be honest, on my first run I had no idea that there was a left and right ski and I put them on the wrong way. This meant that I was turning on the rockered edge and I had less control than what I was expecting. On the lift ride up I noticed that one of the edges had a reinforced edge and then it struck me, that they were left and right. After getting to the top and switching them I noticed the improvement instantly. The skis do have “Left” and “Right” written on them, but who looks for things like that?
The skis I was testing were 176cm long and I found them good for me, as I’m almost 190cm tall and need long skis. The turn radius is 16m which allows for nice long turns with relatively high speeds. What I really liked was how easy it was to go from one turn to the next. Just shift your weight and BAM, your ready. There wasn’t the additional stress on my legs that occurs from really stiff racing skis, nor did I feel like I was out of control, like with soft skis. The bindings were also top notch, with no wiggle between my boot and the binding.
I got to test the skis in a variety of conditions, from perfect groomers, to choppy slushy slopes. Blue, Red and Black runs and even with a little bit of fresh snow on the piste. What really grabbed my attention was how well the ski held its edge in not-so-perfect bumpy conditions. It would just cut through uneven piles of snow like a knife through butter with plenty of control. The rockered outer edge also helped in these conditions, as its harder to catch your outside edge on excess snow. Even on the icy artificial snow that was abundant during testing, the skis gripped perfectly.
If you’re and an advanced skier then these skis are definitely worth considering. I wouldn’t recommend them to beginners, as they probably wouldn’t notice the difference between the Elan Amphibio and a normal rental ski. These skis also aren’t great for skiing slow with short turns. If you’re going to be skiing with kids or beginners, then go for something with a slightly shorter radius.
We’ve also made a little video edit showing how the skis handled during our testing period.