Individual Review Long-Term Review: 2020 Elan Wingman 82 CTi

Tony S

thread drift a specialty
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Introductions

I met the Wingman 82 CTi last spring, as part of the Phil and Tricia skibrary (tm) program. We hit it off immediately, and this fall I acquired a pair. I mean, I bought the skis.

So it is that I'm in a position to put up the first of what I imagine will be several posts over the season, comprising a long term review.

Me, 5'7" 140lbs 57yo, beer leaguer, east coaster. I've been accused by several Pugs of being a "finesse skier." Whatever.


Introductions II

Aesthetically the skis are much more attractive on the snow than they are on the ski wall at the shop. The nicely-done textured finish doesn't come through under the shrink wrap. The day-glo orange sidewall pops, in natural light, contrasting cheerfully with the demure rust lettering and matte navy background of the topsheets. Do graphics matter? Hell yeah.

The bases were judged by my trusty tuner to be pretty good, but not perfect in the flatness department. We elected to give them a light grind to get them really flat. Along the way I had him put a 3 degree side edge on them.

The bindings are new Attack 13s, mounted on the standard line. Their minor green accents look good against the orange theme of the ski.


In Practice

I got my first proper day out on them at Sugarloaf recently. Obviously I was anxious to see if they performed as well as I'd remembered. They did.

This is not meant to be a "comparison review." Buuuuuut ... it just so happened that I took the 82mm Wingman out on the exact set of terrain I'd been on less than a week earlier on my 2017 Kästle MX 84s. The MX is an iconic, universally lauded ski of essentially the same width and intended use as the Elan. The temptation to contrast it with my new boards is pretty much impossible to resist. When you read my notes, keep in mind that the Kästle retails for almost double the price of the Wingman.

There is one area where I think the MX is clearly a stronger ski. It feels quieter and more reassuring at GS speeds. Many have noted that the Kästle "wants you to go faster." Acknowledged. Beyond this, it's a matter of taste, imo.

I'm going to claim immediately that the Wingman's grip on hard snow is at LEAST as good as the Kästle's. It doesn't feel or sound like it's going to be, but that's your old prejudice against light skis talking. You're carbon-dating yourself. Just trust it and go. It has your back.

Also - and this is huge for me - the engagement at turn initiation is better on the Elan. I know some people prefer the "don't do anything until I tell you to" aspect of the MX design, but I don't. To me, after being on a ski that has more solid hookup, the MX just feels like an old car without power steering. You can have your antique plates. (NOTE: Those of you like Josh M. who claimed that there was more of a difference in this regard between the original attitude-rich MX 83 and the subsequent MX 84 than Kastle let on ... I've come around to thinking you were probably right.)

Once you're into an arc'd turn on the Elan, it bends, and bends easily. However, it doesn't bend too much or too abruptly; there is no sense of "folding," even when you really push to tighten the radius. This is such a great quality, and is one of the things that would make this a great instuctor's ski, IMO. There is no need for crazy speed or thighs of steel to get the thing to perform. Rebound is available, but controllable. It's a slice-y ski, but it's not ONLY a slice-y ski.

Brushed turns on steeps - easy. Soft emerging bumps - easy. Light crud - easy. In future episodes, we'll see how they fare in serious moguls, on proper ice, in the glades, on apres-ski decks, under an inebriated pilot, and elsewhere. Maybe we'll even come up with some video. Stay tuned.


Postscript

It's very validating to observe, after my initial demo and subsequent purchase, that several respected ski review teams have had similar reactions to this super-fun ski. Both Ski Essentials and Real Skiers have notes that align remarkably well with my impressions. Proskilab awarded its 86mm sibling with the same construction a "best in category."

(Wait, does that mean I'm slipping somehow? Am I becoming ... normal? Crap.)


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mdf

entering the Big Couloir
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Those are nice looking top sheets. Glad you are enjoying your purchase!
 

James

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Sounds great!. You discovered it!
"Brian's Song" soon to be joined by "Tony's Ski". I expect tickets for the opening.

But, we know the final straw to purchase it was that it matches your jacket.

Fwiw, you're more in the endless turner category, not finesse skier.
 
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Tony S

Tony S

thread drift a specialty
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:rolleyes:
 

Noodler

Back in the game! :)
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It was fairly obvious last Spring after you got off the demo boards that these were going to end up in your quiver. Congrats again on the purchase and I'm looking forward to the "long-term" review going longer. :)
 

dbostedo

Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020
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Coincidentally, I was thinking I could use a new ski in the 80mm range, and was looking at reviews of these when I saw your thread. I'll be curious to know how these work for you...
 
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Tony S

Tony S

thread drift a specialty
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My protein content is still low, but my fat content has crept up. Fortunately I still have two months for Wendy to drag me around on the skate skis and hopefully burn some of it off before I have to show up in Taos. Second day of xc today and it was fricken murder.
 

tch

What do I know; I'm just some guy on the internet.
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I'll be interested in your long-term take on the Amphibio element of the skis. I'm def. interested in some Elan skis...but the whole "only one edge" thing gets me. Seems harder to tune -- especially if you are giving your skis to someone else -- and not so flexible in use (you have to remember which ski is which and there's no way to switch out to alternate wear on the inside edges). The whole concept seems too specific and inflexible to me right now.
 

BS Slarver

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@tch - I was also skeptical of the L R ski and believe tony was as well but Elan has something special with the Amph line up.

Tony, glad to see your enjoying the wingman - look forward to hearing your impressions of the ripstick black !

With 6 of my first 9 days on the RS-B, its ranking as one of the best OSQ I've been on in years.
 

James

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Maybe it's good despite amphibio. How are they if you switch to the "wrong" side.
 

BS Slarver

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@James - funny you should ask that question!
We got 3-6” last night and switched L -R skis for a few runs. Skied fine, just a little “ planky “ almost like the new QST
 

James

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So, basically you have to keep them on the proper feet or they lose their special character?
 

Josh Matta

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yeah the old MX83 construction + the new shape on the MX84 would have been great IMO. but we never got it.

I typically hate skis that dictate turn shape , but IMO its nice to have tip pull and IMO the MX83 basically had none.....in alot of way my Monster 83s are the ski I always wished my Kastles to be. Straight enough to not dictate but has tip that will engage on less than perfect snow.

are these normal symmetrical camber or amphio? Tony?
 

James

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Yep... they're cambered on the inside edge and somewhat more rockered on the outside edge.
Well I know that. I remember when they brought it out. Had the most ridiculous marketing campaign that involved a hammer. It was kind of a cross peen hammer iirc. You pushed the hammer one way, it was easier. The other way, not so much. If that makes no sense, you're right. Speechless.
I confess I've been predisposed to despise such a thing since.

So, you put the skis on without looking. You're doing 40. Now you realize your skis are in plank mode?

 
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