BIG WHITE

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13. Feb, 2018 Written by: Gregor Šket
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Infinite white. Crystal blue. Icy chill. Soothing silence. Complete freedom. These are some of the quintessential characteristics of a dazzling winter landscape. There are unlimited variations on the theme and everyone has their own view, perceptions and emotions. But all lovers of nature share that familiar feeling of the beckoning outdoors, of yearning to be outside in nature and feeling the winter, the snow. With the right skis, the pleasure and the experience can be that much greater.

The exploration of winter wilderness and conquering of snowy peaks is a combination of mountaineering and skiing. In spite of sub-zero temperatures the way to the top is laden with sweat, tests of will and character and talks with your inner self. It is also the way to many wise thoughts. It is the embodiment of the sayings that slow and steady wins the race and every small step brings us closer to the goal. The experience is just as the famous German composer Richard Strauss described in his famous Alpine symphony. The main event of course is the summit where the 360 degree view opens up. The world glistens in bright sunlight as far as the eye can see. The heart beats contentedly and the face turns into a happy grin. And then comes the descent. It is all about leaving your own individual mark on the virgin white snow. It is one of the most magical feelings you can experience and it is impossible to ever get enough. You keep wanting more and more.

Ibex

Elan Ibex 84 XLT

The best way to move through a snowy landscape is on skis. They work in all directions, up, down and around. If we were to seek a comparison in the animal kingdom, a ski would perhaps be most alike to a mountain goat. Mountain goats or Ibex fear no steeps or precipices and move in the most difficult of terrain with complete ease and grace. That is why we named our new series of touring and ski mountaineering skis the Ibex.

The development of such skis has always posed many challenges. It is often a matter of bringing together the incompatible. Touring skis must be lightweight and exceptionally efficient. It starts with ski width. Skis must provide enough float when skiing deep powder but not slow the ascent with too much additional weight. All five skis in the Elan Ibex line tick both boxes without compromising on performance. Ski widths are between 84 and 94 millimeters. All skis feature Bridge technology -  a special 3D reinforcement that creates torsional stability while also preventing excessive snow buildup on the topsheet. Tubelight tubes inserted in the wood core further increase stiffness while keeping weight down. The Vapor Tip dampens vibrations and enables fluid skiing on all surfaces. The Ibex 84 Carbon XLT and Ibex 94 Carbon XLT boast an especially low weight due to their Carbon Power Shell layer that covers the entire length of the ski. The layer serves also as an additional reinforcement. This is the optimum combination of low weight, safety and ride characteristics.

Folding Ibex

Ibex Tactix - Folding skisThe Ibex line is the basis for another Elan innovation. Throughout history there have been many attempts to make a folding ski, but all have failed for one reason or another. Making a ski that folds over without sacrificing most of its fundamental characteristics was an impossible task. Until now. From its very inception, the Elan folding ski project enlisted the help of Davo Karničar, one of the best ski mountaineers of all time and the, first man to descend from the summit of Everest on skis. “I must admit I was very sceptical at first about how these skis could be skied as safely and effectively as normal skis. But my doubts soon vanished. I was thoroughly surprised by the efficiency and safety of these skis.”

Let us start at the beginning and ask why a skier would need a folding ski? Davo Karničar is perhaps best equipped to answer such questions. “The task of a folding ski is twofold. Folding skis strapped to a backpack allow for much greater maneuverability during technical ascents on foot. There is nothing sticking out above the head and below the belt to impede the climber. Folding skis also facilitate climbs that require the use of ice axes because the arms can swing freely overhead. This greatly increases safety. Folding skis also bring unique advantages to descents, particularly at times when they need to be taken off for whatever reason. Classical skis strapped to a backpack tend to snag on rocks and roots, even the slope itself can be a hindrance. Folding skis immediately resolve all these issues.

Of course skis must not comproise their primary function - skiing. “Folding skis work very well in spite of their slightly increased weight. The base plate under the boot is a particularly well thought out addition. It stiffens up the ski and allows it to be more active. It makes me feel much safer on these skis,” adds Karničar who has put the folding skis through their paces on several six thousand meter peaks. He is also intent on using them for more of his demanding ski mountaineering projects in the near future.

Ibex Tactix skis are available in recreational and military versions. They feature a special carbon plate that rotates by 180 degrees and take approximately 20 seconds to fold and extend. When extended, the skis measure 163 centimeters and fold down to only 90 centimeters. They allow for much easier, more efficient and safer movement through winter terrain.

Read more about Elan Ibex Tactix skis here.

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