Ski: 2014 Kastle FX94
Skiers: Kevin, 6 foot 1, 195lbs on a 186cm; Scott, 5 foot 9, 155lbs, on a 176cm
Conditions: Winter Park/Mary Jane firm and steep bumps. Mt. Bachelor: misted-over snow, very chunky and funky
Number of runs used: around 8 over 2 test sessions
For those of you not following our other 2014 ski test posts, this was one impressive ski. It I could only take home one ski from 4 days of testing, this was the one. Same for Kevin. It just does so many things well.
Updates for 2014: early rise tip, slightly different layup, giving the ski an incredibly damp, stable, powerful, yet easy feel to it.
Quick text review:
Bumps: super solid, the rocker doesn't get in the way. Easy to drive the tip, super reliable in steep transitions. One of the best "wide" bump skis either of us have been on. Just super easy and predictable.
Firm Groomers: pretty solid, lacking energy, but with plenty of stability and grip. As a carver, it really isn't great. As a high speed low-energy cruiser, it is up there with the best.
Weird off-piste snow: probably the best ski I have ever tried here. This ski was made for kitchen-sink type snow conditions, and it shows. The tip has no hang up on any sort of funky snow change, from slop to ice and back again, yet is super solid, unlike many early rise or rockered skis, which can feel detached and want to just throw sideways at the top of the turn. This ski follows your command and guides you through the turn; it is there for you in a way that few skis are in junky snow.
New snow: I only skied it in wind chalk mostly, but it doesn't get more stable in a 176cm, not that I have tried at least. It felt a good 5cm longer than it reads in terms of stability. Kevin felt the same about his 186cm.
Trees: a home run here. So quick, so powerful, huge sweet spot. This has the same sweet spot as a Fischer Watea, but much more top end. There is no ski out there with the top end of the FX94 and the forgiveness of an easy-going, lower level ski. Huge range, any decent skier can enjoy it, at pretty much any weight. The fact that both Kevin and I came away so impressed says volumes: we are 40lbs different in weight, and often don't care for the same skis.
Conclusion: if you primarily prowl off-piste conditions, you owe it to yourself to try this ski. Even if you don't buy it, I would be surprised if you didn't at least come away with a new appreciation for what a ski can do.