Model: Wildcat 86 C Black Edition
Overall Ranking: #8
Overall Score: 3.74 / 5
Tip / Waist / Tail (mm)
156, 158, 164, 170
14.7m (164cm length)
Waist Width (mm)
Laminated Wood Core, Carbon
Stability at Speed
4.35 / 5
Quickness / Maneuverability
4.05 / 5
3.9 / 5
3.5 / 5
Hard Snow Performance
4.1 / 5
3.55 / 5
Balance of Skills
3.9 / 5
2.5 / 5
This is an Outside+ member-exclusive gear review in which we give you ALL the SKI Test data—more tester feedback, more scores, and more analysis. Normally, you’d need to join Outside+ to access these goods. But because we’re ski bums at heart who love a good freebie, this one’s on us. If you want to read more of SKI’s Gear Guide coverage exclusively for Outside+ members, that’s on you. Get the low-down on Outside+ here.
There’s a new Elan Wildcat hot off the press, and this one comes in a sexy little package. We skied and loved the Wildcat 86 CX last season, but the Elan Wildcat 86 C Black Edition is our new fave, and not just because it’s got Swarovski crystals in the top sheet. The additional carbon reinforcement and laminated wood core make all the difference in how zippy and playful this Wildcat is.
Every tester declared this Elan ski to be fun and exceptionally energetic, and it’s pretty hard to come by that kind of agreement in our test crew. The Wildcat 86 C Black Edition shows off her fun personality best on groomed terrain, but she’s also a hoot in bumps and trees.
On that topic: How to manage speed when you’re skiing trees
“Holy crap these are such a blast,” exclaims tester Courtney Harkins. “They love being on edge and nailing turns, not matter the turn shape. But they also cruise through soft snow easily. Stable but energetic.”
The only downside to the ski’s energy is that it could be harder for an intermediate skier to command. Testers acknowledge that the Wildcat 86 C Black Edition loves to go fast, but it doesn’t love being told to slow down. And while you can get it to smear turns at low edge angles, you’d be asking this ski to do something it wasn’t necessarily designed to do.
“It’s more responsive at speed,” says tester Wendy Crosby. “At lower speeds, it takes more work to turn and can feel burly. It performs better for the more aggressive skier.”
It’s worth noting that the Elan Wildcat 86 C Black Edition received low marks in Forgiveness across the board, which means even our aggressive testers agreed that it’s not the most approachable ski in the cohort. But if you’re willing to put in the work to rise to this ski’s ability, you can and will become a better frontside skier. Says tester Erika Northrop: “The Wildcat goes edge to edge with little effort and dominates whatever slope you encounter.”
- Strengths: Stability at Speed (5th in category), Quickness (7th)
- Weaknesses: Forgiveness (12th), Crud Performance (10th)