Attempting technical mountain ascents with traditional skis strapped to your back is cumbersome, as movement is hindered both above and below your head. In response, many companies have attempted to make a foldable ski but none have been to able to develop a product that upholds standards of performance — until now. Elan’s newest innovation is the Ibex Tactix, a folding ski that serves to change the sport of ski mountaineering forever.
Elan has been handcrafting skis for more than 70 years and the Ibex Tactix is at the forefront of this innovation. A folding prototype was initially developed for the military to help increase the mobility of forces in winter conditions. The Ibex Tactix allows soldiers improved ease of movement across mountainous terrain and the ability to more easily descend from a helicopter.
How does this translate over to the outdoor industry? Carrying traditionally-sized skis on a backpack results in a number of problems, including the inability to move through wooded alpine areas, clamber across mixed terrain, and climb technical rock faces. A folding ski solves these problems by increasing a person’s range of motion. For example, an ice climber will easily be able to swing ice axes with folding skis strapped to their back. Folding skis also solve a lot of transportation and storage problems posed by their traditional counterparts.
Not only did Elan create a foldable ski, it created a foldable ski boasting high-end performance capacities. The Ibex Tactix can be reduced from 163 centimeters in length down to 90 centimeters, making for an amazingly compact package. The skis feature a special carbon plate that is fixed to the bindings and capable of rotating 180 degrees. When in use for skiing, the fixed plate assumes all necessary forces. When folding is needed, the plate is rotated and the rear half of the ski folds underneath, ready to be transported with ease. The ski can be unfolded in under 20 seconds and just as quickly disassembled and strapped to the outside of a backpack.
The entire package includes skis, bindings, skins poles, and crampons, and weighs in at just over 12 pounds. You can find out more information about Elan on its website.
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