The Elan SL Fusion is a great Slalom ski. One may look at the brand’s catalog and may think the Elan SL Fusion is practically the same as its brother the SLX Fusion. Don’t be fooled, because there is a good difference between the two, and it shows clearly.
The Elan SL Fusion has just one titanal layer instead of the two that the SLX has. Conventional wisdom says that the more titanal in a ski the stronger it is and the most performance can come out of it. And that is simply not the case here. Not only in the Elan SL Fusion but in every other ski. Yes, the majority of you have come to believe something that is completely inaccurate. And that is simply because there are some concepts that, if not really well explained, can be misleading sometimes.
Titanal layers are incorporated onto ski designs since it pays off the stiffening of the product in exchange of the rebound smoothing it offers. Yes, skis with titanal layers are often more stiff that the ones that do not have it. But this doesn’t necessarily make the ski harder or more difficult to ride. Quite often the case is some skis are easier if metal layers are added, since these layers (or a single layer as with the Elan SL Fusion) smooth the fibers reactions and the rebound comes nicer, becoming more controllable. Some designs would be really difficult to ski if no metal layers were added to them. One may be simply finding himself in the air half of the time, and passing the other half trying to make a new turn. Which is obviously stupid.
So… why don’t intermediate or novice skis have those metal layers? Well, most of the time they are not really needed in those circumstances. And there is a very good reason for that. Novice and intermediate skis will not travel at the same speed as the top of the range models will. The forces involved will be minor, etc, etc. And they are designed accordingly, by giving them less fiber, thinner wood cores (which are made of easier to bend woods), etc, etc.
All in all, we will find more metal in the SLX than in the Elan SL Fusion. So the end result is clear. The latter has stronger reactions and it’s more alive. It is indeed a pleasure to ski with it. It feels balanced all the time, but when you push it hard you’ve just bought a ticket for a new fly. The trick is to drive its force upwards to push it forwards. That will allow us to make many turns at an incredible fast pace.
Light and medium weight skiers will be very pleased with the Elan SL Fusion. There are other options in the market that are harder to ski and they are more demanding. That doesn’t make them better. Quite often they are over our real possibilities and leave us on the dust after a couple of hours of skiing. Skis like the Elan SL Fusion are great because they offer a very good slalom performance with a very easy turn entry, a tail that feels snappy and maneuverable (allows tail slides) and with a nice powerful rebound that comes with every authentic Slalom ski, without requiring us to be very well trained or having super ultra high skills. Anyone with a decent ski technique and some good skills (but not top notch) will enjoy it very much.