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2011 Kästle MX88 Ski


Ski Review by Faripour Forouhar March 2011


I am 5’8’’, 145lb, level 9 and higher, moderately aggressive skier. Spend 65% of my time off piste (back side) and 35% on piste (front side) on the groomers and bumps.  My present skis are Volkl Mantra (177, 4 yrs old 130/94/116) mostly for west and Blizzard Magnum 8.7 (174, 128/87/113) for east coast skiing. I also use racing slalom and GS skies (volkl) and Rossi bump skis, on occasion.

Last week I demoed three pair of skis in Snow Mass. Co., Volkl Kendo (170cm, 127/88/109mm; R19.9), Salomon Sentinel (170cm- 129, 95,121mm) and KastleMX 88, 168cm length (128,88,113mm; R17.5m). I skied each pair for approximately 2 hours and did exactly the same thing with all three: starting with groomers, then wind packed crud, then frozen chunky crud, then steep densely packed large bumps with zipper lines of descend and then super steep EX-EX tree runs off  Sheer Bliss lift to the right. Below is the results of my experience:


Kastle MX88, 168cm (128,88,113mm; R17.5m): I am not sure if I should write this because the pair I demoed were improperly tuned for all mountain ski : super sharp ( ? flat base with 88-89 degree vertical edge angle from tip to tail) so that I had to be concerned with catching edges. It won’t do ski justice for me to express detailed opinion. However, here are a few things unrelated to tune that I noticed especially in comparison to Kendo: these were considerably heavier skis, felt damper/less reactive, skied longer than 168 cm. and had a different flex pattern. Kendo seemed softer in the front third, the shovel area, and then stiffened under the foot. Kastle felt stiffer ( and narrower ) in the shovel and evenly flexed more or less like a bow. I noticed exceptional quickness capability, edge to edge. Clean carve on groomer, good and stable on crud. Because of dangerous catchiness of the edges (bad tune) I did not risk it into steep tree runs. It could have pitched me in a bad time. I liked Kendo better but again I do not know how accurately discount the bad tune. Also, my familiarity with Volkl and Blizzard (the two are very similar) biases my senses especially to the different feeling that different flex patterns produce.

For comparison with Volkl Kendo and Salomon Sentinel and Dynastar Sultan 94 see the general comprehensive document.

2011 Kästle MX88 Ski

The MX88 is a true freeride ski with unrivaled power,stability and control to handle every imaginable condition on the mountain.

Turn Radius17.5m @/168
ConstructionFiberglass titanal wrap sandwich
Core Materialashwood and silver fir
Binding IncludedNo
Recommended UseAll mountain
Recommended LevelAdvanced
Model Year2011
Binding System
Binding Type
Recommended Binding
Recommended use
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC


From Dawgcatching's 2011 Ski Reviews: Mid-Fat skis, 80-100mm Waists, 11/28/10


Kastle MX88: unchanged for 2011, is extremely well regarded as a do-it-all tool. If people could own only one ski, this would be at the very top of the list for a whole lot of people. 2 sheets of metal, silver fir wood core, top-notch race-room construction, 88mm underfoot, 18m radius.



These were tested over several days: conditions included lots of manmade snow, firm and rock-hard bumps, fast groomers, a few inches of new snow, steeps, icy chutes, some heavy new snow, and a fair amount of crud.  Since I only got a couple of runs on these skis, for the most part, I didn't do the 1-10 scale for these skis.  


About Me

5 foot 9, 155lbs, competent all-mountain skier, and could zipper-line double-black 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. Overall fitness is high, as I am on my road bike 15+ hours a week 9 months of the year, and race pro-level races as a Cat1. 



I owned the MX78, and the 88 is identical in layup, but I found that it had a different flex (stiffer) and was suited to different types of skiing. The 78 was more nimble, quicker, and better in bumps: the 88, at my weight, was decent in bumps, but a little stiffer than is ideal. Edge hold was superb; this is one of those skis that has a very even flex pattern edge to edge. The skier can roll it onto edge at any speed, and engage it as slowly or as quickly as desired. In this respect, it feels like a race stock GS, whereas so many all-mountain skis have a really aggressive on/off feel: you aren't on edge, and then, once you move past a certain edge angle, the ski really hooks up and takes off: you can't feather it like you can a good race ski (I always felt the Volkl AC40 was either on/off). The MX88 is the opposite: it reacts to as much or as little input as you give it, and won't surprise you in any way, which is what you want for an all-mountain ski. If you can find a speed limit on this ski, more power to you. I couldn't. This ski was made for high-speed crud turns, medium radius to larger radius skiing. I don't believe it really liked to go slow; even as it is versatile enough to ski slowly, the “suspension” of the ski is such that it wants to carry speed, and be comfortable in rough conditions where most skis would get tossed and ask the skier to dial it back. It barely deflects in crappy snow, at least in compared to most others I have skied. The speed limit on the MX88 is a good 5mph faster than any other ski I have tried, in this range. In rough snow, it is exceptional. Also, this isn't any sort of auto-turning ski: it requires skier input for direction. The sweet spot is simply huge for a ski of this caliber. I did personally feel that the ski, for a person of my weight, could have been softer, but anyone who out-weighs me will find it perfect. Probably built with the 165-200lb skier in mind; at close to 150, I am a touch light, but I still would own it, given the chance. When skied on boilerplate, it held as well as any ski I tried in this width, but several others were just as good, so I wouldn't characterize edge hold as superior, just very good. The overall performance envelope, forgiveness, and snow feel is what sells the MX88. It would be like comparing a Corvette to a Porsche 911 GT3: they may have the same specs on paper, but 1 lap at the track and you know these 2 cars aren't in the same class. The MX88 gives the skier several “best in class” attributes and rolls them into 1 ski, all with a very refined feel.



Pros: stability; snow feel; construction; edge hold; smoothness in crud; forgiveness

Cons: a bit stiff in bumps for me; expensive, not all that lively. Then again, you get what you pay for.


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