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As a new model for 2024, the Elan Wingman 86 Black Edition has really piqued our interest. We were able to put a number of days on this ski and found a whole lot to like. By basing the build off of the existing Wingman 86 CTi, with a Black Edition treatment, the new model features the same shape and profile, but adds a new level of stiffness and response to the mix. Skis in this zone are extremely useful for a wide range of skiers, providing excellent on-trail carving and power as well as some off-piste properties as well. The overall footprint and character of this new ski certainly fall more to the frontside side of the spectrum, but any time you’re dealing with a ski at this width, an all-mountain application is sure to be introduced as well. While Elan has made most of their waves with the Ripstick line over the past few years, Wingman definitely has its own thing going on when it comes to stiff flex, clean carves, and pure on-piste performance.

From a construction perspective, we’re getting a lot of the same parts of the 86 CTi moving forward. The Black Edition boosts the stiffness of an already pretty inflexible ski. Built with a laminated tubelite wood core, the Black Edition is a strong ski from the start. With a burly wood core and two carbon rods that run the length of the ski along the edges, the Wingman 86 Black has a sturdy and energetic construction. Since these skis are asymmetrically built, this allows the engineers at Elan to put more material of the inside portion of the ski, resulting in their Amphibio TruLine technology. By raising the inside edges of the ski, more power is transmitted to the edge while the outer portions remain smoother and more stable. In the Black Edition, this 86 gets an additional carbon laminate that follows that TruLine shape, and this is the main difference between this ski and the CTi version. That extra Carbon Line Technology goes a long way in ensuring a stiffer flex and more responsive version of an already beefy ski. Yet somehow, it still feels light, and that’s a testament to the strong engineering involved in the ski’s shape and profile.

160, 166, 172, 178, 184 cm16.5 m at 178 cm130/86/115 mm

Preferred Terrain
Firm Snow
Bumps and Trees
Tubelite Wood Core
Titanal Laminate
Carbon TrueLine Technology

While the build is firmly in the front side category, the shape makes a bit of a move to the all-mountain side of the spectrum. The width, at 86 mm underfoot, allows for softer snow access, but the stiffness keeps it grippy and amenable to firm snow and clean, round carves. In the 178, the ski produces a 16.5-meter turn radius, and given the build, it prefers this arc. If you choose to shorten it up, be prepared for the relatively square tails to balk at that suggestion. While there’s an Amphibo rocker profile to mix with the build, it still feels a lot more like a fully cambered ski. For front side performance, we like it that way. By rockering the outside edge and lengthening the camber on the inside portion, the ski becomes smoother in the transitions and grippier when you’re standing on the downhill ski. This asymmetry is a hallmark of Elan’s skis and it still works great in this Wingman 86 Black.

When you add an Elan branded 12.0 Fusion X binding system to the mix, you’re getting a sweet setup that’s built to rip. Given the stiffness and relatively wide width, this ski falls more into the expert category, and those skiers will have the best shot at accessing the entirety of the performance. Advanced skiers may find it to be on the demanding side, and while it’s not the heaviest ski out there, there is that flex to contend with. Overall, this is a welcome addition to the Black Edition series of skis, and we are stoked to see it join the family.