Kastle MX98 174cm
New ski for 2014. Very small early rise profile. 2 sheets of metal, comes in 174/184/194. Softer profile than the old MX98, but not by much. Very similar to the old ski, which ended production a few years back.
Quick review: The MX98 goes up against the FX104. One is more of a wide do-everything ski; the other is…a wide-do everything ski. Same lengths too. Hard to say what Kastle was thinking here: both skis are great, but there is a lot of overlap, considering that both skis are available in 174/184. Kastle could have done something different, maybe offered a 170/179/187 on this model to offer a ski as an option to those who can’t buy an FX104 due to falling in between lengths.
I skied this as the SIA demo, and also here locally on Monday. The demo was short: just a couple of groomers. First impression was this is simply a wide MX88. No real surprises. The tip tracks a touch better in junk snow, it is a wider ski, not quite as powerful edge to edge as the 88. All stuff you would expect. Also, the ski is ridiculous with regards to stability. Skiing a 174cm makes other 180’s feel like sub 170cm lengths. This thing has a ton of power.
When skiing it locally in heavy Cascade cement yesterday, the ski made for a good option over the MX88. It is still a strong ski, and in heavier, rougher snow, it tracks better at speed than the FX series, without a doubt. The MX has a stronger tail, stronger tip, stronger flex at speed. The FX is no slouch, but the MX is a segment leader here. Nothing can touch this ski in terms of GS turns in crud. Surprisingly for such a strong ski, the tip and tail is very easy to work in funky snow at tight spaces: it is not a burly ski by any means, especially when you consider the top end it has as well. It is so easy to release and move the feet on in that junky snow in the trees; easier than 85% of the stuff out there, and the tail has a bit more subtle release than the MX88. It is just tweaked a bit more toward off-piste use, while remaining the premier hard snow ski in this width. I would say the float and ease of use, while solid, are a little behind the FX104, as they should be, given the design differences, but the MX will come out on top for precision on firmer snow and groomers, as well as skiing fast in resort-type settings. It does have a ridiculous engine under the hood: don’t overestimate the length you need. I would say head height is a good baseline, maybe 3cm above, 6cm below is a good range. I wouldn’t go too long though, you just don’t need a ton of length on this ski is to get class-leading stability.
Who would choose this ski? Someone looking for a bit wider than average width power ski that can rip with the best on the groomers, yet remain extremely versatile all over the mountain. Also, with a big bank account: retail is $1390 flat.
- See more at: http://www.dawgcatching.com/blog/ski/2015-ski-reviews-wider-all-mountain-designs-kastle-mx98-fx94-fischer-ranger-blizzard-bonafide-and-others#sthash.AreeuR9j.dpuf