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78mm-98mm ski demo report: K2, Nordica, Salomon, Dynastar, Kastle

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Here are my impressions after demoing a whole slew of skis in this size.



*Snow Conditions: Powder ---> Packed Powder/Crud (over the course of 3 days)

*Demo or Purchase: Demo, then purchase


Age: 25

Height/Weight: 5'9", 150

Average days on snow: 11-25

Years Skiing: 15+


Aggressiveness: Aggressive


I spend most of my on-mountain time at Stratton and I wanted a single ski for most Eastern conditions. Hard snow grip, mogul performance, and stability at speed were my main criteria.


Nordica Enforcer, 161cm (all they had):

These skied pretty narrow for such a fat ski, but I still found them unnecessarily heavy for such a short ski. These weren't terribly fun on groomers as they were a bit slower edge-to-edge than I like. In the bumps, they weren't much fun, but they weren't too bad a liability either. I really don't get why you would have these on the East Coast.


K2 Aftershock, 174cm:

I really didn't like these. Lifeless on groomers and not much fun in the bumps either.


Dynastar Sultan 85, 165cm:

I was pretty sure that I would like these, and I did. Nice balance of skills, fun to carve with, and great in the bumps. Not super stable at speed though.


Dynastar Sultan 85, 172cm:

These had the stability the 165's lacked, and pretty similar in the bumps. These also floated quite well in the powder on the sides of trails. I liked the added stability vs. the 165s, but didn't like how they felt a bit sluggish in the bumps and trees.  If Dynastar made these in a 168, I might have bought them (but only if I hadn't tried the Kastles).


Salomon Enduro 85, 163cm, 170cm:

These are STIFF. Great at speed, decent float (esp 170s obviously), fairly nimble, but a real bear in the bumps, which was the dealbreaker for me.


After trying everything First Run had, I still wasn't totally into any of the choices, so I went over to Equipe to give the Kastle's a shot.


Kastle MX78, 168cm:

WOW. These blow everything else I tried out of the water. Simultaneously smooth-feeling while maintaining quite severe feedback to bad skiing, stable without being overly stiff, and LIGHT. The edge hold was nothing short of outrageous compared to the other skis. Took some getting used to in the bumps (because of the edge hold), but I figured them out before long. I have never really liked groomers and spend 80% of my time in the moguls and trees, but these skis have made groomers exciting for me for the first time since I learned how to do bumps. They have also improved my form. You have to ski these in the front seat to get good edge hold, which I like.  They also don't look like crap, a quality that is becoming rarer every season.


Kastle MX88, 168cm:

Similar to the 78, but slightly slower edge-to-edge, a bit stiffer, and bit more stable. The first of those was what tipped me toward the 78s. If I skied out West, I might consider these as a front-side half.


I bought the MX78s, for obvious reasons. They really are worth the money, especially as an East Coast 1-ski quiver, which they are for me. In hindsight, I probably should have tried some more 75-80mm underfoot skis, but I really can't conceive of anything being better than the MX78s.

post #2 of 6

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.  If you think the MX78 holds well, be sure to hop on the RX12 sometime....

post #3 of 6
Good reviews and good choice of ski. Sounds like a ski I would enjoy.

Good Luck,

Rick G
post #4 of 6

I only got two on-piste runs on 177cm Solomon Enduros, but I think they're a terrific ski that has been mostly overlooked in this forum.


If there is any other ski that matches it in the combination of softness AND edge grip, I don't know what it would be.


They're remarkably nimble (as usual for Salomon) but also damp (unusual for Salomon).  And they have a pretty round flex-- not stiff underfoot with soft tip & tail like K2 Apache series and Rossi S86's.


Admittedly I haven't skied them off piste, but I didn't find them stiff at all, and might even like the 184cm model (and I'm only 155 lbs.).


Can't wait to try them again.

post #5 of 6

I'm with Crudmaster.  Found the Enduro 84 to be a wonderful ski.  Quick turning, good float and crud busting, stiff but not like the AC50's...worked ok in the bumps for me, holds a good line carving.  Beautiful all around ski.

post #6 of 6


By now I've skied on the Enduros a bit more, and I'm even more impressed.  They carve so well and so smoothly.


And their tips are remarkable.  On piste, the tips are engaged enough that it feels like the whole ski is biting (not just the center portion), but also soft and rockered just enough to be forgiving when hitting a bump or pile of crud.  Several times when skiing fast in tough old crud in trees I attempted some risky, last-second turns and the tips lead the ski through the turns beautifully.


So why didn't I buy them and end my search for a new daily driver?  Because they're somewhat stiff.  At 155 pounds I have to be really on my game to bend them well in tough snow, and I'm getting too old to always ski at 110%.  I think they're as good as any ski today as a 50-50 ski for a 180 pounder, and I'll have to keep looking.




How well you are able to ski is related to how hard you are willing to fall.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › 78mm-98mm ski demo report: K2, Nordica, Salomon, Dynastar, Kastle