Last season I spent a few days on the Kästle MX98 and MX88 skis and absolutely loved them. So I was happy to make some early season turns with Chris Davenport and the Kästle crew at Copper Mountain a few weeks ago. I was even more excited to attack a slender early season base on someone else’s sticks!
While I had a great time, I do have one gripe. Of all the trips Dav goes on every year – I believe Copper was bookended by Antarctica and B.C. – I get the chance to chase him down the White Strip of Death all day. Next time I’m thinking snowcats and pillow lines are in order 🙂
But I digress.
My first real ski day of the season began on the MX78 (the number in the name is always the waist measurement of the ski). Quick, fast race turns on ice. A good warm up. With my legs back under me, it was time to check out the new MX108. A massive ski with a giant turn radius in the 187cm length I was skiing. Feel free to dominate the mountain on this ski, but you will be carrying some bulk to do it. Not that the ski is heavy (additional weight was eliminated with an additional Hollowtech cut-out in the tail), but you will want a pair of Dukes and a burly boot to drive it.
A couple skating-rink quality runs on a powder ski and I was ready to mount the ski I had come for. The rumored. The mythical. The FX84.
The new Ski Mountaineering prototype from Kästle. A ski so elusive, I was unable to get even a single photo of it’s graphics.
Details on the new FX line are still vague, and the ski will not be released this year as it’s still a prototype. But based on what I skied, it is an amazing ski. The skis are (read: felt) light utilizing the same Hollowtech cut-out in the tail as the MX108 which removes additional ski material. But more important than than the weight is the ride. The FX84 has a race background in Kästle, it’s not a foam-core noodle. It will hold an edge on bullet proof ice without flinching. At the same time, the tail has been rounded to make kicking the tales out easier when necessary without feeling “hooked” out of a turn like many race skis. Take skis like this into the big mountains, on a steep line with sketchy snow, and know that when push comes to shove your nerve will be the weakest link, not the ski.
Kästle is currently planning on offering an FX74 and FX84. I look forward to seeing the final models when they’re ready.
So far, Kästle skis stand out as some of the best out there (in my opinion). However, excellence comes with a very hefty price tag. Case-in-point, the MX108’s retail between $1,400 and $1,500 depending on the binder you choose (Marker Griffon or Jester – a Duke binding was not available for pricing).
Now my decision is this. Buy a pair of Kästle’s, or save that money for the ski trip Davenport doesn’t look to be taking me on!
Dave “Snowman” Downing lives in Whitefish, Montana where Dave is a freelance designer and owner of Ovid Nine Graphics Lab Dave’s ski career began due to a lack of quality skiing video games for NES.