Rating: / 5
Waist Width: 76
Lengths: 152, 160, 168, 176
Lacking the metal of the flagship-model Explore 10, the 2017 Elan Explore 8 offers a lighter, livelier performance for $50 less. It returns unchanged-except for a new graphic and a different (though still 10-DIN) binding-at a lower price.
Elan’s Explore series is a four-model line of value-priced, narrow-waisted frontside carvers designed for skiers who stick mostly to groomed runs. The top three models (Explore 10 Ti, Explore 8, and Explore 6) all have 76-mm waists; the low-end model (Explore 4) has a 72-mm waist. (For wider frontside skis with more soft-snow versatility and higher performance, see the Amphibio series, with widths ranging up to 88 mm.) All Explore models have subtle rocker for shock-absorption and an easy-to-pivot feel that’s easy to skid for speed control. All feature Elan’s lightweight Waveflex technology, in which the top of the ski from the core up has a series of structural waves designed to make the ski stiff and edgy laterally yet still supple-flexing longitudinally. (Think corrugated cardboard: easy to bend in one direction, rigid in the other). All but the all-foam Explore 4 are built on Elan’s Dual Woodcore: foam down the middle for light weight and soft flex, with parallel wood stringers down the sides for strength and durability. All are sold only as systems (with binding), with “street prices” ranging from $350 to $500 in most shops.
Elan is based in Behunje na Gorenjskem, Slovenia, where it was founded during World War II to make skis for Yugoslav partisans. Partner brands include Alpina boots. Long state-run, it was privatized in 2015, when a Russian venture capital fund acquired a 95 percent stake. -J.C.