When we were going long and far, we wanted the IBEXs. These featherweight skis are unsurprisingly dreamy on climbs—and surprisingly good on descents. Elan shaves grams by squeezing carbon rods into the IBEX’s wood core and wrapping everything in a lightweight carbon shell. “They’re skimo light, but the wider, 94mm waist gave me great purchase when setting a steep skin track up Andrews Glacier in Rocky Mountain National Park,” our ski category manager says.
The carbon wrap enhances torsional rigidity, while the carbon rods in the core provide some rebound. (The flip side of all that carbon is the price tag—and the fact that these skis still ride a bit bumpy in subpar conditions.) The IBEX inspires confidence when side- hilling or otherwise holding an edge, but don’t confuse it for a downhill master: It’s too soft to open the throttle all the way.
“I grabbed the IBEXs for the climb up 14,265-foot Quandary Peak, knowing I’d want a light, efficient ski, but was impressed with how they held an edge in the 2,000-foot-long Cristo Couloir,” one tester says. “The route down the south gully held ice, crust, and corn, and the IBEXs handled it all.”
Weight: 5 lbs. 8 oz. (177)
Lengths: 163, 170, 177 (130-94-111), 184;
See more of the best Skis for Winter 2018
See the entire Winter Gear Guide