The Elan Wingman series is new for 2020 and is designed to provide frontside performance with some all-mountain versatility as well. The Wingman 86 CTI is one of two widest skis in the collection and it’s packed full of technology and innovative design elements. Elan uses their Tubelite wood core with carbon rods and unique titanal application that corresponds with the ski’s asymmetrical rocker shape. More rocker is found along the outside edge of the ski and more camber along the inside edge, which boosts edge grip when in an aggressive carve and makes turn initiation easy, and easy in a variety of snow conditions for that matter. At 86 mm underfoot, it’s on the wider side for a frontside ski, but the narrower side for an all-mountain ski. This is emerging as somewhat of a new segment, the mid-80 mm underfoot carving ski, and we were excited to see how it compared to some of the heavy-hitters of the category.
Bob St.Pierre skied the 184 cm length and his initial comment was “very fast!” He scored it 5 out of 5 for both stability and torsional stiffness/edge grip, both key attributes to a high-performance carving ski. The lowest scores from Bob were for flotation and forgiveness, which isn’t tremendously surprising. Bob “loved the stiffness and stability! Fantastic frontside ski with a high-speed limit. Stiff tail locks you in the turn. Watch out Brahma/Kendo!” Those are two of those heavy-hitters we were thinking of in this mid-upper-80 mm category. If Bob thinks the Wingman 86 CTI can perform alongside those skis, it’s very impressive. It’s also a little lighter and less fatiguing than those skis over the course of a long day, which is a valuable characteristic.
Kelby Furrer admitted that he doesn’t often ski anything like the Wingman 86 CTI. He mentioned that it feels relatively unforgiving, but forgiveness really isn’t a goal of the Wingman 86 CTI. It’s designed more for precision, responsiveness, and power. Kelby did really enjoy the asymmetrical design, but felt that given its unforgiving feel, it’s really best for advanced skiers and up. “The asymmetrical edges were fun to feel laying down a hard carve. Very interesting technology. You can definitely feel the difference riding an inside edge versus an outside edge.”
Marcus Shakun really enjoyed his time on the 184 cm Wingman 86 CTI. Lots of high scores from Marcus, in fact every criterion received 4.5 out of 5 with the exception of flotation. Like Kelby, Marcus thought it would be best for advanced to expert level skiers. Timid intermediates would likely find it’s a bit much. Marcus thought it loved “medium to long turns” on firm snow and actually thought it was “able to maneuver well through the woods and bumps.” That type of terrain isn’t a focus of the Wingman, but we know there will be skiers like Marcus who take it off-piste from time to time. Marcus did mention that it’s the type of ski that likes skier input, not a ski you can just ride. “Skiers will really appreciate this ski if they keep it on edge. Nice smooth turns and quick edge to edge.”
The Wingman 86 CTI is definitely a contender in this mid-80 mm frontside carving ski category. It’s stiff and stable enough for high speed, aggressive skiing, but is a little more versatile than some of the competitors in this category. Elan’s construction results in a ski that feels a little lighter than the traditional sandwich construction ski with two sheets of metal. That makes it less fatiguing, and also makes it feel a little quicker on your feet. Overall, we’re impressed, and we’re impressed with the bulk of Elan’s offerings for 2020 as well.