The Slovenian ski boffins at Elan Skis have just unveiled a foldable ski (kind of like the Brompton of the ski world) that offers unrivalled portability. Billed as the “world’s first folding, all-mountain ski” and a total “game-changer”, the new Elan Voyager is convenient to transport, be it by car, train or plane. It simply and quickly folds in half, and packs into a custom bag in a space-efficient manner. The result? You get to bypass the wait at the oversize luggage belt (the custom bag can be checked in as a normal hold bag) and avoid the tedious queues in the rental shop. In truth, other foldable skis have hit the market before, but Elan claim the Voyager is the first ever “fully functioning” option – a breakthrough in a Holy Grail-like quest to create a portable ski.
But is performance any good? Elan says the Voyager “will happily tackle anything a demanding skier can throw at it, all without compromising an ounce of performance”, adding it’ll “allow you to carve up groomers, float through powder, attack moguls – and then slot into the back of your car with plenty of room to spare for other luggage”. It all sounds pretty epic – and a tricky design balance to have pulled off.
From their headquarters in the Slovenian Alps, Elan’s design team spent several years fine-tuning the Voyager, building on the legacy of the Elan Ibex Tactix, the brand’s first foray into the world of folding skis. The secret of the Voyager is an advanced four-axis mechanism that bonds and seals the ski together at the folding joint. This feature, combined with a carbon-reinforced fusion plate, serves as a load-bearing platform for support. The two components work together to provide torsional rigidity for “superior” ski performance, but also allow the ski to fold into a compact, easy to transport package, compliant with check-in baggage requirements.