Looking for opinions on these 2 skis for daily driver at Vail (and will rent in event of a big dump). Unfortunately, was not able to demo either this past season but coming off an 88 Blizzard Bushwacker and demoed some other 98s (e98, Ramp Groundhog, Sultan 98). Bottomline, need something for all over the mountain but not willing to sacrafice good carving performance on the frontside. Really liked the way the Ramp Groundhog stayed on top of the crude (may be a generous characterization) last April so my only reservation on narrower MX88 is does it have enough width to not get bogged down in the crud? BTW, I am 6', 175 lbs, 53, 30 year skier who skis about 12 days in Vail and 5 or less days back east.
Vail 1-ski quiver 2012 Kastle MX88 v 2012 Nordica Hell n Back
Not sure how you came up with this pair as they are not really the same type of ski. The MX 88 is a ski with a distinct hard snow bias that does reasonably well in crud or mixed up snow. The H&B is the opposite. If you prioritize carving and the damp feel of a near race level ski, the MX 88 is for you. OTH, the H&B is more or less a wider version of what you have.
Both are fine skis but the choice as you've stated it is more about two different categories rather than two different skis. If price is operative, I'm sure you could get a H&B for maybe half of a Kastle. If price is not an issue then maybe wait until next year, put some focus in your rather random demo program and then figure it out.
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Yes I am looking at different categories and struggling with the move to wider skis because not sure I want to sacrifice frontside performance. Thanks for the feedback on the MX88 which is on my list due to universal acclaim and my Vail buddy recommended the Hell n Back.
Often, the things that put skis in different categories are far more than just the width. For example, despite the same width, the MX 88 and Bushwhacker are different categories of ski due to the build which influences the capabilities of the ski. By the same token, the Bush and the H&B could well be thought of as the same category despite the different widths. They have very similar builds and capabilities. Sure the H&B is wider so it's better in softer snow, and yeah it's a little slower edge to edge, but really those two are more similar than different as far as basic capabilities.