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Kastle BMX 88

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Product: Kastle BMX 88

Length Tested: 168
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 122-88-110, R 17.5m  
Camber: Early Rise Tip w/camber
Binding: Tyrolia Peak 15
Mount point: Suggested

Environment & Conditions: 

Location of Test: 2 days at 7 Springs, 5 days in SLC (1 day at Deer Valley, 2 each at Alta and Snowbird)
Snow Conditions: Groomers, soft and firm bumps, trees, 4-6" fresh powder, 12-16" fresh powder
Demo or Own: own

Tester Info:

Username: kauffee
Age: 34
Height/Weight: 5'5" 160lbs
Ski Days/Season: 30ish
Years Skiing: 25
Aggressiveness: Moderate to Aggressive, Level 8
Current Quiver: Head SuperShape Magnum 09/10 163cm, Head Mojo 94 173cm, Kastle BMX 88 168cm
Boots: Lange RS110SC 23.5 with a lot of work done including 2 extra bolts in each for stiffness
Home Area: 7 Springs, PA
Preferred Terrain: groomers, bumps, off-piste, trees
I was looking for a middle ski in a 3-ski quiver to replace my Mojo 94. (My current powder ski is a rental until I move to Oregon next year.) The Mojo is a great ski, but it's too much for me in the conditions I wanted it for. It's a charging ski, and I want it for east coast "powder" days, trees, bumps, and as a western daily driver ski for non-powder days. I can make the Mojo's perform just fine on groomers, but off-trail I needed something softer, more playful, and less demanding. The Mojos felt too planky for me in those conditions.
The BMX 88 does not get a lot of love here on the forums, so I feel some need to defend this ski. First, I've demoed almost the entire Kastle line… MX, FX, LX, and RX. I did not expect to like the BMX 88 based on what I read here, but I loved it almost immediately. I also spent 2 days last spring at the industry demo at Snowshoe where I skied a lot of mid-fats from Dynastar, Rossi, Head, Elan, Fischer, and others. The only ski I would have liked to try but couldn't was the Blizzard Bushwacker, but the size breaks didn't work as well for me. Point is, I tried a lot of great skis before I chose the BMX 88. 
Also, I apologize, but a 98mm ski doesn't work for me as a western daily driver. It's not quick enough edge-to-edge to make me happy on groomers. 
Finally, take into account I'm a smaller/lighter guy and I'm sure this has a big influence on how this ski and others behaves for me. 
Groomer Performance:
The BMX88 performs really nicely on groomers. It's relatively damp considering it has no metal. In my opinion, it retains that Kastle feel (which is similar to the Head feel that I'm used to). It has good rebound and energy in the carve and is pretty quick edge-to-edge. I can easily vary my turn shape on it or just let it fly. I won't say there's no speed limit, but you have to really fly to reach it. I thought I might have a few times on the Powder Paradise groomer in Mineral Basin. I couldn't really hit it on any of Alta's groomers or the Gad Valley groomers. 
Bumps and trees:
This is a great bump ski. It's very forgiving. My first few day at Alta was over a week past the previous storm so the bumps were pretty firm. I had no problem with the bumps over on Backside or in some of the chutes at Wildcat. I hit a lot of bump stashes off of Supreme on a light powder day and they were great. 
Tree performance is also excellent. I spent a lot of time in the trees at Snowbird and they performed well. On a big powder day they are a little narrow, but anything short of that and they will be great.
Overall, the softer flex and lighter weight worked really well for me in these conditions. Very easy to turn and maneuver in tight spaces.
Light Powder (4-6"):
The ski really shines in this condition. It started snowing late morning at Alta and was coming down with a vengeance and this ski did really really well all over the mountain- trees, bumps, steeps, and what were the groomers. The little but of tip rocker made a difference.
Deep Powder:
I would normally rent a full rocker ski in this condition but I was feeling lazy and also wanted to see how the ski performed. Obviously, this is not the ski for 12-18" at Snowbird. I got an early line on Upper Cirque and felt very much "in" the snow rather than on it. Still, the soft flex made it easy to turn the ski - something I had difficulty doing on my Mojo 94 in powder. Similarly, I had to work a little harder when the powder got chopped up late in the day than I would on a wider, more rockered ski. But overall, it still got the job done better than I expected.
I really love this ski. It's just so much fun in so many conditions. Having skied so many skis in this category, I just can't understand why this ski gets a bad rap here. It has that smooth Kastle feel and doesn't require you to be 100% on it at all times. I could easily use this as a OSQ in the east and I'm looking forward to it as my narrow ski out west.
Here's a few pics from the Snowbird photographer with the orange tips sticking out...



post #2 of 7

Kauffee, thanks for this review.  I would like to sample several Kästle skis - the BMX88 168 being near the top of my list.  However, there are no Kästle dealers in my area  and I don't have the opportunity to travel to them.  Have you also skied the BMX98 in 168?  If so, how would you compare them to the 88?

post #3 of 7

Nice review, and I agree that the BMX88 should get more attention as an all purpose softer snow ski for lighter skiers. I've only been on a pair once, very briefly, year they came out, but recall they were very nice in bumps and softer irregular snow, left a touch to be desired for grip. Which is not their primary purpose anyway. They sound perfect for your mission. 


Resonate, I own the BMX98 in 178. I'm a lighter guy, 165, find them pretty easy to flex. If you're on the shorter side, then the 168 might be perfect, but if you're say 5'8" or above, the 178 works well. 

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Resonate, I didn't ski the BMX 98 in a 168... only the 178. But I also skied the BMX 88 in the 178 and found that its flex and characteristics were virtually unchanged in the 168. The 178 BMX 98 was a really nice ski. Stiffer than the BMX 88, but less stiff than the FX 94. You have to be on it a little more than then 88, but it's still forgiving. Like I said, I just prefer a little more quickness edge-to-edge than what I get in a 98mm ski... but remember I'm a small guy and I also have a suspicion that my small boot (23.5) has something to do with that. 

post #5 of 7

Good for you Kauffee, no one can question you choice of ski because you selected a ski after lots of demo. I too am a lighter skier,

( 5'7", 150lbs) and have found that a softer flexing ski (and boots) provide better snow feel. I also agree with you that the BMX98 is a bit work in the bumps and groomers. I have been skiing a FX84 for my daily driver for a couple of years and ski mostly Tahoe resorts. Haven't skied a BMX 88, but maybe I should demo (that magic word again).


Resonate, I ski a BMX98 in a 168 (technically a MX98, 2nd generation, but the same ski, I think). It has a soft flexing front end and for me, has a very surfy feel in deep snow. I'm all smiles in deep or chopped up conditions, but not so much when the snow gets harder. I'll switch to the FX84 for firmer conditions or to a pair of skinny Dynastars when it get icy—but its so hard to abandon that silky, elegant Kastle snow feel.

post #6 of 7

I recently purchased the BMX88 skis.  I love them so far after two times out on them.  They are silky smooth yet playfully quick.  They have reasonably good grip yet are easy to maneuver in crud and bumps.  There is some truth in the adage it's not the ski, it's the skier.  Nevertheless, Kästle's BMX88s enable me to enjoy runs which heretofore were less than fun.  For me, they are a wonderful ski.  The grins they evoke, for this skier, are worth their price.

post #7 of 7

Great review, you hit the nail on the head.


I am also a smaller and lighter skier, 5' 7" and 154 lbs and I got the BMX 88 in the 168 cm last winter as snow conditions early-mid season were pretty dire in Whistler and I wanted something for firm conditions to complement my fatter soft snow skis.


They are nimble, have good edge grip, very quick edge to edge, are light feeling but damp and smooth at the same time. I don't really like very stiff skis so was pleasantly surprised to find how forgiving and easy to ski these were. Great skis for hardpack and firmer conditions. 

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