Kastle MX 84 review
The ski: Kastle MX84 176cm. All new ski: tighter radius, revised construction, new tip and tail shape. Still full camber, zero rocker, race room construction. 15M in 176cm. Mounted with Attack 13 demo binding.
Skier: 5 foot 9, 155-160lbs. Skis 10-30 days a year. See video for skill level and skiing style
Terrain: 4 runs at Copper Mountain. Groomers, steep bumps, some softer snow.
First off, a disclaimer and a little bit about me: we sell Kastle (and would love your business if you are in the market!) and were one of the original Kastle dealers in the US. We have most every model in stock, and I personally have owned around 80% of the skis that Kastle has produced since their re-introduction to the market in 2007. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the brand or would like to take advantage of special EPIC member pricing. The old MX83 and MX88 were probably my 2 favorite skis of all time: skis that could be amongst the best groomer skis on the market yet amongst the best off-piste as well. The MX is simply the best ski lineup ever conceived, IMO, and I have often said the MX88 was the one ski I would choose if I were stranded on a deserted snowy island. http://www.dawgcatching.com
In steps the new MX84 for 2017. It has a new length matrix: 168/176/184, in which the 176 is squarely in the meat for many skiers. It does ski true to length: no early rise, full camber, square tail. A new tri-radius sidecut replaces the old single-radius sidecut. The tail shape is refined, the tip as well, and construction is tweaked.
If you want the short version of my review, please see the following summary: this is the best ski I have ever been on.
Long version: first sensations on the MX were extremely positive. I was feeling a lot of energy out of the ski Just cruising, long arcs, very positive tracking in what was a choppy groomers (a few inches had fallen overnight). Amp up the energy a bit, start really flexing that long outside leg and rolling down the hill, aggressive releases, and the ski comes alive. It literally felt 97% as good as any of the new full-on carvers I tried (Fischer “The Curv” and Blizzard “quattro”). Maybe 98%. Just tossing me from edge to edge if I asked for it, a completely unweighted feel, yet accurately locked in when on edge. The ski has no mind of it's own; it completes the movements initiated by it's owner. If your skills aren't where they need to be, it's not the ski's fault. I was amazed at the energy, the snap, the edge grip, the dampness out of a 176cm, the stability, on groomers for the MX. Rough snow, bunches of late-day groomers: the ski blasted through them like they didn't exist. Yet is was easy to ski, relatively speaking. Big sweet spot, felt no more demanding than any other ski I tried, and less demanding than some. This was as much of a “race ski package in an all-mountain skin” as any ski I have yet tried. Isn't that the holy grail for many technical skiers?
In bumps, I found the MX to be about average. I could trust it. The ski required good input: this isn't a hack's ski. With that said, I hadn't been on bumps in about a year (we don't have bumps at Bachelor retirees complain and the runs get mowed down), yet I was as solid on the MX in my first bump run as I was all week. The ski just sucked up terrain, provided I was active, moving over the ski, committing to the turn. The tip was very solid and positive in feel. Steve and I skied the Laser AX and MX84 back to back: he preferring the AX in bumps, while I opted for the MX. He figured the reason might be that I skied a more “2 footed” style, he is more outside foot weighted. Hard to say exactly: I do know that the MX84 is a capable bump tool, as was it's predecessor, the MX83.
In longer bumps, the kind that have several ski lengths between them, the MX84 is as good as anything I have yet tried. It almost seemed to dance and drift between the snow piles.
Skied out trees; likewise, the MX84 was quick, and more versatile than it had a right to be. Just unweight and pull back those feet: the ski whips right around.
In softer snow, the MX didn't have a ton of float. It is only 84mm, underfoot, after all. It did blast through anything, and tackle rough snow in a manner uncommon amongst narrower skis. There is no stopping the MX84 in rough snow.
A word about the feel of the MX: it really hasn't changed from the last generation. You can look at the MX series as a BMW M3/M4: a race-derived ski that is an exceptional daily driver, and a ski that any enthusiast dreams to own. The combo of performance and practicality is unmatched. Smooth, snappy, powerful, huge sweet spot for what it is. The MX is uncannily damp, but with huge snap in the tail once woken up. It truly is worth the asking price.
What doesn't the MX do well? Given the size limitations, there isn't anything that comes to mind. You wont' find a more satisfying carver over 80mm; it is excellent in bumps and trees; has ridiculous top end. It may not be THE most forgiving ski on the market, but it is far from the most demanding.