I know that it is sacrilege to speak out against Kastle's, but I just wanted to share my experience.
First a little about myself. 5'10 150 lb. Second generation ski instructor. Learned to ski at Alta at age 2. Highschool racer. Started ski bumming at Alta at age 19. Moved to Squaw Valley at 21 after the Goldminer's Daughter exploded. Tuned skies at night and instructed on the weekends for five more years before going back to college. Currently live in Alpine Meadows. Definitely old-school. Carve wherever possible, using tight turns to control speed.
Reading about the Mx88's over the last few years made me think that they were the perfect ski for me--a great go anywhere ski for a very technical skier. Well $1200 is a bit more than I care to pay, so I ended up demoing--and loving--the Elan 888. Well I stop by Squaw's outrageous sale this fall and find a pair of 178 Mx88's for a price that can't be published. Of course I bought them, with the plan to put them under the Christmas tree.
Unfortunately I hurt my back on 12/23, and sacrificed it for three epic runs on the 24th (maybe some of you remember that day at Squallypine). I waited about a week to try out the Kastles. 12" of uncut powder and they were super sweet, but seriously what ski isn't good in those conditions. But two runs were all I could take before my back started seizing up.
I waited three weeks, at which time a had booked a trip to Alta/Snowbird. Conditions there were not the greatest. Two week old, cold snow. Chalky and firm...really nice if you could find uncut, but basically not available. The groomers were getting firm, but the ungroomed under places like Little Cloud in the afternoon were very fun, and my back was okay.
Well back to the skis. Running the true bar over them they looked a little concave, but Kastes are supposed to be perfect out of the factory, so I thought that I would try them before giving them a tune. Well, they definitely felt railed to me, but the snow was a little funky. I brought them into a shop to buy a stone to knock a few burs produced by the Circque Traverse, and the shop guys also thought they were a little concave. Okay, I can live without a perfect tune.
So out on the groomers, the first thing that I notice is that the ski is softer than expected, and it doesn't respond to speed as well as my Elan's. It didn't inspire confidence. The other thing that I noticed was that they were rather touchy about fore/aft position, demanding a more upright position, or the tail would break free.
After a week we got 6" of fresh, and the skis felt much better, but again what ski wouldn't feel better. I skipped this weekend's conditions at home of rain followed by dust on crust, but I plan to give the ski a proper tune and ski it against the 888's this weekend.