2020 Elan Wingman 86 CTI

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.

Testers

Bob St.Pierre

Age: 41Height: 6'2"Weight: 215 lbs.

Ski Style: Adaptable, versatile, ex-competitive mogul skier and coach

Marcus Shakun

Age: 39Height: 6'5"Weight: 225 lbs.

Ski Style: Powerful, but playful with the terrain

Kelby J. Furrer

Age: 29Height: 6'0"Weight: 160 lbs.

Ski Style: Awesome blend of speed and style

Jeff Neagle

Age: 33Height: 5'10"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Aggressive freeride with freestyle background

Chuck Waskuch

Age: 47Height: 5'8"Weight: 180 lbs.

Ski Style: Smooth and Controlled

35 Comments on the “2020 Elan Wingman 86 CTI”

  1. Did you had the chance to try the TI version also (the orange one)? How does it compare to the CTI? I’m an advanced skier looking for a good all mountain ski for East coast conditions. The CTI seems a little too demanding and unforgiving for me.
    I have tried the Wingman 82 last spring. Felt a little too light and I don’t know… underpowered maybe.
    Thanks! Love your tests!

    1. Hi Simon!
      We did not get a chance to ski the Ti version, but if it’s a little less demanding than the CTI, then I’d think that’s a good thing. I was very surprised with how stiff and stable the CTI was, and how it really needed/wanted to go really, really fast. I’d imagine the Ti version will be better for anyone who wants a bit more forgiving of a ski, especially if they’ve skied the CTI version. Thanks for the kudos, have fun!
      SE

  2. How much on-piste performance are you sacrificing if you went with the Ripstick 88 rather than Wingman 86 TI?

    I like the forgiveness and fun factor of the Ripstick 88 but will be spending most of my time on piste so dont want to give up TOO much on piste performance.

    1. Hi Mike!
      If you’re a larger or more aggressive skier, I’d go with the Wingman. The CTI version is one of the stiffer skis and likes to go fast. It’s amazingly stable, but not as light or maneuverable as the 88. It’s not like the 88 is a bad on-piste ski, either–just that heavier skiers might find them too soft at speed. Hope that helps!
      SE

    2. In looking to upgrade this year 175 lbs 5’10” looking for a front side groomer all round skii that’s comfortable and easy
      What would you suggest I skii more mid intermediate , and something I can improve in powder and moguls on too.
      Thx ken

      1. Hi Ken!
        Check out the Volkl Kanjo, Rossignol Experience 84 and the Salomon QST 85–all easy-going skis with a higher-performance ceiling. At ~85 underfoot, you’ll have a good amount of edge grip but also some versatility built in. Have fun!
        SE

  3. I’m a 215lbs advanced intermediate, ski the Northeast and often find myself going very fast with friends. I am looking for a stable ski at speed that is also very playful. I’m considering the Wingman 86 CTI, Mindbender 90 Ti, Kendo 88, or the Enforcer 88. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Ned!
      You’ve got a great list–all great skis. I’d say the K2 and Volkl (surprisingly) are the two most playful while still retaining some serious groomer chops. The Enforcer is a bit heavier, but the stability and snap are off the charts. The Wingman is an interesting option–it comes both in a flat version as well as with a system binding, so you have a choice within a choice. The system is heavier and reduces versatility, while the flat is stiff and snappy. I’m a bit heavier than you and have skied and liked all of these skis. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but you’ll likely go wrong the least with the Kendo. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thank you! One last question. I have read that the Brahma lies somewhere in between the Enforcer and the Kendo. Would you agree with this and would you include this ski as a consideration for stable at speed yet playful (for a heavier advanced skier)?

      2. Hi Ned!
        It’s almost there–I think the Brahma is the least playful of these skis and prefers higher speeds for energy. The Kendo and Enforcer are smoother operators at slower speeds. All will work great for us heavier advanced skiers. I skied the Enforcer 88 this morning and loved it!
        SE

  4. I am 6‘4 188 lbs. advanced intermediate and looking for a rather fast ski which works on groomers and crud, without being overly demanding (in the afternoon). I am looking at the Wingman CTI in 184, Kendo 184 and K2 Minbender 90 (also looked at the Brahma 88, but I am afraid that at my age, 44, it May be too tiring). I skied the Pinnacle 88 in 184 for a day and it felt a bit short and shaky. What do you think?

    BTW, you and Blister are our benchmark for ski reviews.

    1. Hi Frank!
      Thanks for the kind words! On your list, I think the Kendo makes the most sense. I’m 6/2 220 and I have been skiing on the Nordica Enforcer 88 for a few weeks in the 186 and love it. The Kendo is a good comparison with that ski as the Volkl is lighter and does perform well at slower speeds, meaning it’s not as tiring. I don’t think you’ll get the same shaky feeling like you got in the Pinnacle, as the K2 has a longer tip rocker profile that does make it flutter a bit. If you’re looking for the next size up, you might have to go with a wider model, but still in this general category. The Wingman has way more of an on-piste personality than the other skis on your list, but if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s also the strongest option. I was impressed with the Elan’s need for speed–it really kept wanting to go faster and faster. Stable, too! But it’s more pigeon-holed to railing carvers all day, where it excels. So fun!
      SE

      1. Hi,

        I am thinking in the Wingman 86 CTI 172 as mainly a resort ski but some sporadic touring use. I have in mind mounting a Salomon / Atomic Shift binding. Do you recommend me this set up?

        I am 145 pounds, 5´7” skiing for almost 30 years.

        Thanks in advance.

      2. Hi Cesar!
        The best way is to have two setups, but if that’s not possible, this setup will work fine. Not quite the alpine performance out of those bindings, so just make sure you’re touring enough to warrant the tradeoff. Have fun!
        SE

  5. Thanks, what are your concerns on downhill performance? I read in some places that Shift provides same energy transfer and efficiency that a regular alpine bindings. DIN is not a problem for me since I am 145 pounds.

    Assuming that Shift is not best option, what do you recommend for the Wingman?

    Thanks a lot.

    1. Hi Cesar!
      It’s just more moving parts, so there’s naturally going to be a bit of a lag in energy. With a ski like the Wingman versus a softer, less precise touring-specific ski, that lag makes more of a difference. We’d pair them with either the Marker Griffon or the Tyrolia Attack 13. Hope that helps!
      SE

      1. Thanks a lot for the explanation. Makes a lot of sense.

        Very las question, despite are heavier, what is you opinion about the Baron? Do they have same performance disadvantage in downhill mode like the Shift?

      2. Cesar,
        The frame bindings like the Baron have a different sort of problem. The frame sits up high and basically creates a race plate feel underfoot. It makes skis a lot more twitchy, which would actually be better for a ski like the Wingman versus the softer and fatter touring skis. I’d rather see a Shift on any ski versus the Baron at the end of the day.
        SE

  6. Hi,

    I’m 5ft7, 160 lbs and 48 and i think advanced/expert skier. I’ve been skiing in european alps all life.

    I’m considering wingmen 86, would i need cti or for my weight, will ti be enough?
    What length do you advise? Will i be able to go off piste?

    TX

    Tomas

    1. Hi Tomas!
      I’d say Ti would be enough–the CTi is quite stiff. While not the best for off-piste in terms of powder performance, it’s good for bumps and packed snow conditions. Have fun!
      SE

  7. Hi Guys, love the videos!

    Question: given the asymmetrical shape of the Wingman — how does it work with early weight-shift from downhill big toe edge to uphill little toe edge (which can be quite useful in some circumstances)? Or to pose the question in a more extreme way: can you, for training purposes, ski them on one ski at a time and make both left and right turns on that single ski (without it being more unwieldy than usual)?

    And if the answer is that it wouldn’t work that well with the Wingman, would it work better on Brahma 82 or V82-Liberty?

    Thanks,

    Jan

    1. HI Jan!
      The shape is symmetrical, it’s the profile and construction that’s different. As such, the transitions between turns is somewhat somewhat seamless–very smooth. The built-up inside portions of the ski make for better edge grip while the outer parts are more flexible for easier initiation. It’s a pretty stiff ski, so it’s not big on subtleties. Not sure if the Brahma/Liberty would be any better for your application. Have fun!
      SE

  8. I am 5-8 200lbs. I volunteer patrol at a resort In the Tahoe area and ski a 180 soul 7. This ski is great but not good in icy conditions, so I am looking at converting these skis to backcountry skis and looking at the 176 cm Elan wingman 86 CTI or recommendations. I skied the 170cm Elan Porsche in Livigno and it did well in all the conditions I could find on and off piste

    1. HI John!
      It’s the same build, just in a narrower shape, so you can expect the same overall feel, just with a wider platform in the 86, which I’d assume will be better for your application. Competitors include the Volkl Deacon 84 and the Fischer RC One GT 86. All are smooth, strong, and stable. Have fun!
      SE

  9. Hi,

    You keep referring to the ski being stiff, but how does it stack up to a similarly sized Enforcer, Bonafide, etc… skis with dual metal that in my experience like to rail all the time?

    1. HI Brett!
      From a hand-flexing perspective, the Wingman is stiffer. The flat tail of the Elan combined with the minimal tail rocker make it stiffer coming out of the turn as well. Underfoot it’s about the same, while the shovel of the Enforcer/Bonafide are generally a bit more flexible due to the freeride influence of the skis. Take care!
      SE

      1. Thx. I’m trying to figure out how these stack up against the Ripstick 88 for a west coast on piste quiver ski. Is one more serious and one more fun? Does the 86CTI have a higher speed limit? Is it the 86 only a carver? Is the 88 more versatile all around?

      2. Brett,
        You’re answering your own questions pretty well!
        The Wingman is certainly more business-like, as I found it to have no speed limit–in fact, I had a harder time keeping it slow. The Ripstick was kind of the opposite, with fantastic slow-speed compliance but some tip wobble at high speeds. I think you’d have to be a pretty experienced and aggressive skier to get the Wingman to be more than a carver, as its stiffness and shape lend to on-trail performance mostly. The 88 is considerably more versatile all-around. But, if you’re looking for on-piste performance only, the Wingman is pretty sweet. Take care!
        SE

      3. Thx. Have an enforcer 93, trying to figure out if I’m overlapping because enforcer is a railer, and is wingman too much for skiing with kids and playing around the resort. Also, does the 2021 Ripstick 88 do better at speed and handle crud better? If so you guys need to shorter sizes. Lol.

      4. Brett,
        I think it’s a bit of an overlap–definitely different styles of skis, but I usually look for 10 mm difference in ski width. You could check out the Wingman 82 CTI if you’re interested in that ski–more precise for sure with the narrower waist. The 2021 Ripstick is a bit stiffer which is better for hard snow, but I don’t think it gained much crud compliance.
        SE

  10. Hi guys. Thanks for all the great reviews and info. You guys have my dream job. Im 5’10” 195 lbs. Advanced to expert level skier. Aggressive and playful. I live in the interior of BC, Canada. Im looking for a firm snow ski to add to my quiver (rarely do we have firm snow here, but I always find it when I leave home). My current firm snow ski is the atomic crimson ti with the carbon tank mesh in 178cm (88mm waist I believe). I’m looking for something narrower and I like what I read about the brahma 82, enforcer 88 and the wingman 86 cti. I like to mix up my turn shapes and I love a ski that has snap out of a turn. Ive watched your most recent youtube review and still cant make up my mind. Can you list a few differences between the 3?

    1. Sure!
      The Wingman has the most on-piste capabilities as it’s shaped more like a wider race ski versus a narrower freeride ski like the Brahma/Enforcer which basically share the dimensions and build with their wider brethren. So if you’re looking for true carving performance and not a whole lot else, I’d steer you to the Wingman. That said, the Brahma 82, being the narrowest ski on your list, will have some excellent hard-snow and quick turning capabilities. The Wingman will want to hold you to the radius while the Brahma is a bit more compliant when it comes to different turn shapes. Great for the bumps and tight woods, as well as the firmer on-piste skiing, the Brahma sounds like a great choice. I personally own an Enforcer 88 for here in Vermont, and it’s a great ski with almost endless performance. For snappiest performance, I think the Wingman is the way to go, but you’re really not going to go wrong with any of these for your application. Hope that helps!
      SE

  11. I am 5’11” and 170lbs and am considered an intermediate/advanced skier. I have a pair of Atomic Bent Chetler and a pair of Blizzard Bonafides skis skiing in the Pacific Northwest. I was looking for an alternative ski and was thinking of the Wingman CTI or TI. Would the Wingman be a good option to complete my quiver? Should I go carbon or stay titanium?

    1. Hi Gerald!
      Both great choices for on-trail performance! The CTi has carbon and titanium, while the Ti just has titanal, so the CTi has a stiffer flex for sure. I thought the CTi was a fantastic ski with no speed limit whatsoever. The Ti was a bit more flexible if you wanted to take it in trees, bumps, or other tighter spots. Have fun!
      SE

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