2011 Kästle RXSL Ski
|Turn Radius||13m @ 166cm.|
|Recommended Use||Racing, frontside groomers|
Kastle RXSL: length tested 166cm.
1st day: manmade, hard snow at Winter Park, at the US industry demo. Definitely the skis of choice for these days: most everyone was ripping around on frontside type skis, and I don't think I have ever seen such a high concentration of reallygood skiers (like ex-World or Europa Cup level) in one place. These conditions were made for the skis tested here; a good carver makes a bulletproof day a hell of a lot of fun. Definitely the most fun skis, especially on that kevlar-vest like groomer down to the base area, were the most powerful, pseudo-race skis. We all had big grins on our faces.
2nd day was in mostly softer snow and groomers, at Alpine Meadows. These skis still performed well (4 inches of crud isn't going to slow down a frontside type ski), although it wasn't the pure hard snow of Winter Park.
3rd day was mostly hard snow (rain over snow, then frozen) with some crud thrown in. Pretty good conditions to test out edge hold, although the snow wasn't as predictable as the 1st and 2nd demo. Still worth demoing these skis though, especially on groomers.
About me: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, competent all-mountain skier, and could zipper-line expert-level bumps for the first time in my life by early spring. Probably ski 40-50 days per year. I tend to enjoy big open, high speed bowls, bumps, trees, fast groomers. My skiing speed is fast to full-on.
This ski is pretty much derived from a race-room slalom. It is a stiff ski, with a 13m radius. Overall, I found it to be a demanding, yet thrilling ride. It is on the stiff side for a slalom ski, not unlike a Head iSL RD or a Fischer WC SL: powerful, but I had to have some speed to really make it come alive. This ski is a monster on hard snow: it feels right at home on the hardest stuff; but you have to be on it. Bigger guys could possibly relax, but it has none of the big sweet spot of the MX series. And, bumps were a handful. This ski likes to stick close to the groomers. I would rate it as a legitimate lower-level race slalom, and was significantly more ski than other “carvers” that I tried, such as the Waveflex 14 from Elan, Blizzard SLR IQ, Stockli Cross CX and SX, Progressor 10+ from Fischer, Spitfire from Nordica, and a bunch of others. It is a powerhouse of a ski! I wouldn’t prefer it as my all-day ski out West, but those on short-turn hills or who need a slalom that works in and out of the gates should give it a shot. Great Midwest ski: you could substitute this for a Fischer WC SL and have nearly the same performance.
When skiing this ski, I realized that the overall feel of the Kastles, the damp, stable, no speed limit, unlimited hold and power, is very prevalent in the better race room skis from several top brands, but typically lacking in most consumer skis. That is why I think Kastle is so sought-after: they take race-room materials and feel and put them into everyday skis, whereas many brands “dumb-down” their consumer models and don’t put out the same quality of ski that their athletes see. This isn’t really a surprise, as Kastle is made in the Head race-room department, so one would expect them to be at that level.