Product: 2013 Kastle BMX 98
Length Tested: 168
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 126/98/116 21M
Camber (select one, delete the rest): Early Rise Tip w/ camber
Binding: Marker Griffon
Mount point: Suggested
Environment & Conditions:
Location of Test: Fernie, Sunshine, Nakiska
Number of Runs: A lot
Snow Conditions: Hardpack groomers, soft groomers, powder, crud, windblown, crust, moguls, heavy sticky spring snow
Demo or Own: Own
Height/Weight: 5’5” 115lbs
Ski Days a Season:20-30
Years Skiing: 5
Aggressiveness: (select one, delete the rest): Moderate-Aggressive
Current Quiver: Kastle BMX 98, Nordica Soul Rider
Home Area: Fernie
Preferred Terrain: trees, soft bumps and powder
168cm BMX 98 - Medium tip flex progressing to stiff in the forebody and into the tail. Early rise tip w/ camber
I purchased the Kastle’s at the beginning of last season in hopes of being able to use these skis for any day of the year, no matter the condition. For me the ~98-100mm class makes the most sense. I’m not a huge fan of having to check the weather or snow forecast and allowing that to decide the skis I should use for the following day. Any condition, any day, I can take the Kastle’s as my only pair and know I’ll be happy on them.
I was very impressed with the performance on hardpack. The skis are more damp then lively and prefer a longer turn, however you can definitely bend them into quick slalom turns thanks to the softer tip. Stability is excellent, never found the speed limit (at my size), damper feel allows for excellent terrain absorption. Overall, edge grip was fantastic, I preferred them on hard snow compared to my Kendos that I owned previously. One thing to note, you don’t really notice the early rise on harder snow, it’s there when you want it (turn initiation) but it feels almost like a full camber ski when you want it to. Now with how impressive the skis are on harder snow, they only get better in any type of soft conditions.
Unfortunately I didn’t get many deep days this year, the most was probably around 18”. However these skis really do come alive in softer snow. The softer tip, with the hollow tech (which by the way works amazingly well to reduce swing weight), and low early rise, allow the skis to plane nicely on top of almost 2 feet of low density snow. Turn initiation is very easy and smooth, the small amount of taper in the tip really does make a difference. I will touch more on the sidecut some more later, but the long radius is awesome in powder personally, no hooking and it allows you to dictate the turn shape without the ski trying to fight back.
Once the snow starts to get more tracked up these are still a ball to ski. In crud and tracked pow the stability and dampness really shine. You can carve through the crud, or smear your way down the hill, the skis are very compliant between changing styles. One thing to note is that while these are easy to ski in most conditions, it’s definitely something that will kick you in the butt if you get out of shape or don’t ski with at least decent technique. Back to the crud.. Some of my favourite runs I can remember this year were on tracked up pitches in the afternoon of powder days, you have the stability to charge through, carving big GS turns, or slow it down and play on the side and get some easy face shots by throwing the skis sideways. Super fun ski, and other then in hero snow, this is probably where they work the best.
In moguls and heavy snow the ski performs well, as expected. Back to that longer sidecut, in moguls I don’t like a tight radius, I feel like it hooks up to quickly and doesn’t allow you to place the skis where you want them quite as easily. I prefer a more zipper line style in bumps, so something with a longer radius that allows me to turn the skis when I want and not worry about them catching is definitely a plus. The soft tip is great for initiation and stiffer underfoot and tail provides a solid platform. I don’t GS through bumps often, i.e. almost never, but for the few times I have they seem easy to use, the dampness helps with absorption, but if you don’t got great technique, especially decent adsorption, you could get bucked around pretty easily.
If you’ve ever been to Fernie in the spring, you know how heavy and sticky the snow can get off piste. It can get so bad in fact, that a lot of people don’t even bother leaving the groomed runs. But what’s the fun in that right? Again the long radius is key for this snow. In these conditions where the snow is trying it’s hardest not to allow the skis to release the turn, catching edges every 10 seconds, the straighter radius is a huge plus. Now I haven’t skied any ski, ever, that makes these conditions easy, but the Kastle’s are as close as I’ve found. Turn initiation is about as easy as it could be, given the conditions (still a lot of work though). I found it really works best to work the skis into the next turn, meaning, starting the new turn before the ski finishes it’s natural turn. So shorter turns seemed to work best. You can certainly GS down in this snow, but you just need to be more heads up, as the skis get catch and try to throw you off balance every few seconds in these tricky conditions.
Hardpack off-piste, still a lot of fun in these skis. I had an early season day at Sunshine this year where it hadn’t snowed in probably a week or so. Hardpack moguls and crust were everywhere, however these skis really did make the day enjoyable. Easy turn initiation, excellent grip and the dampness, the dampness was fantastic for that day, making these harsh conditions feel much smoother and easier to ski hard in all day.
Overall I love these skis, I was actually thinking of buying another pair and just having them sit around waiting until I wear these out. They are the perfect example of a true all mountain ski, the profile, sidecut and flex all work together wonderfully to create an outstandingly smooth and stable ride for every condition you’ll encounter on your mountain. I didn’t mention the rocker much during the review, but I think that’s the beauty of it. The tip rise is there when you need it, for turn initiation and softer snow, but otherwise you don’t really notice it, and I think thats a good thing. Oh, and don’t forget Kastle’s quality, it’s simply outstanding, the durability is almost mind blowing compared to other ski companies I owned in the past.
Good to great in all conditions
Nimble when needed, charging when you want
Playful in soft snow for a ski of this kind
Kastle price tag
Demanding at times
Not a true carving ski, not a true powder ski
Edited by tsk94 - 6/27/14 at 12:05pm