2011 Kästle MX98 Ski
|Lengths||158, 168, 178, 188|
|Turn Radius||21m @168 cm|
|Construction||Fiberglass sandwich wrap|
|Core Material||ash wood and silver fir|
|Recommended Use||All mountain|
Kastle MX98: new ski, re-designed for 2011. It is 98mm underfoot, but the metal is gone. Weight of each ski in 178cm is right at 2000g per ski, which makes it 40g lighter than the MX88 in the same size, and 80g heavier than the FX94, again in the similar size. The ski now has a bit of a rockered/early rise tip. About the same as the Elan Spire, although again, I haven't measured it.
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.
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 found the MX98 to be much, much different than the outgoing model, which was a wider MX88, with squared off-tail. The new 178cm skis the same length or a bit shorter than the 174cm. With the softer flex, it is now a bit more soft-snow focused. I had it on some boilerplate, and the edgehold was more than adequate (comparable to a Mantra-style ski) but the ski had little of the energy typically contained in a ski with hard-snow performance in mind. It was a big-turn, low-energy carver, and reminded me a bit of the Legend Pro from 2 generations ago, but a bit stiffer laterally. In bumps, it was solid, direct, and the soft tip was a good match. The overall feel of the ski was that it had quite a bit of forgiveness: this is more of an everyman's ski than the old MX98 was. IMO, the old MX98 was more of an expert-level ski: the new MX98 has a huge performance envelope. The feel of the ski is damp, smooth, large sweet spot, snow-hugging, low to moderate energy, and the very refined feel of a well-made wood core ski. Based on the flex, this is going to be an excellent crud, off-piste, and new snow ski, with plenty of stability and few surprises. I would say it has a little more going for it than many of the other skis on this list, especially for the more aggressive skier out there. This is one that I can't wait to get on in some more suitable condition. I have it's big brother, the MX108, on order as my soft-snow ski for the coming season. The MX98 may be just the ticket for cruddy and crappy snow days when something a bit more nimble is on order. It could be many people's Western 1-ski quiver, although technical skiers will want a more nimble ski as well.
Pros: well-made wood core ski, smooth, damp, confidence-inspiring, easy to turn, exceptional all-mountain performance. Will provide great float in soft snow and cut-up crud, also a good bump ski.
Cons: price, and maybe isn't quite as good on groomers as the Enforcer from Nordica. Better than most, though.