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Review Consolidation: Kastle (Kästle) 2008-2009 Line

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
There have been some other great remarks about the new Kastle skis sprinkled around different forums...figured I might consolidate some links and post our own review in a dedicated thread for easy searching...

First a quick review of the MX78...then some links...

Kästle "MX78"
121-78-105 16m radius@168cm

[click here for LARGER version]

[click here for LARGER version]

[click here for LARGER version]

Manufacturer Info:

Kästle GmbH
Edisonstrasse 2 | 4600
Wels | Austria
Tel: +43 (0) 7242/207011
Fax: +43 (0) 7242/207011/70
Wels, Austria

Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
$ ?
€ ?

Usage Class:

High-End all-mountain expert skiers

Your Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")

8-9 for expert, dampened, hard snow carving and race-like hold. (not tested in softer snow)
6 for intermediates (not for less-technically inclined users)


Kästle's narrowest "all mountain" ski. This is the ski racers would want on their day off for hardpack frontside carving. Robustly damp and quiet power tool for holding race-like arcs on hard surfaces. Full top and bottom titanal and rubber layers above and below its core. Not for the faint-of-heart or weak skiers. This ski has a classic Austrian "sucked onto the snow" feel to it. No snap, just carving power on-tap an any speed you like. Strong finish in the tail. Don't get in the back seat with this ski. Remarkably long-feeling for its 168cm length. Buy this one shorter than you normally would. Quiet and secure. Nothing will shake this ski off its line. Wonderful shape to its turns. Rewards a strong technique. Thoroughbred carving weapon for purists. Other brands of skis should be concerned about this carver.

Ski Designer :

"Kästle" - Rumored to be race-room bred from the minds of Fischer ski technicians and manufactured perhaps in the Head facility in Austria?...can't be sure.

Technical Ski Data :

Ash-silver fir vertical-laminate wood core,rubber-damped edges, full rubber layers above and below the core, fiberglass sandwich with upper and lower 0.5mm Titanal layers.

Available in 156cm, 163cm, 170cm sizes.

Pre-Skiing Impression:

Damp and serious with a strong flex. Long metal demo plate and torsionally robust. Feels like a race ski with the dangerous rebound removed. Excellent fit and finish. Very cool hole in the tip with a colored insert. Simple white graphics. No-nonsense. This ski means business.

Test Conditions:

Dry, hard-packed and frozen granular surfaces. Typical "Eastern U.S." hardpack carving surface. Very nice for testing this kind of ski.

Test Results:

Skating to the lift immediately let me know this ski is secure and damp. Feels "sucked onto the snow". I will have to up my game a bit to get the most out of this ski. First few turns felt like it wanted more speed to build up exit-power from the turns. It feels like a race ski. The faster I went, the more it responded to input and edging angles. After a few hundred yards, the first thing that came to mind is "this can't be a 168...feels like a strong 175cm ski...at least"). The ski can be drifted just fine, but it really wants to be driven into a strong carve where it comes alive and sucks itself into the surface, creating an infallible grip. Addicting security on the hardest surfaces. Allows you to go much faster with less hesitation when the snow is hard enough to leave no tracks or edge marks. The geometry creates a really smooth and graceful arc when you pressure the length of the ski from front to rear in a balanced fashion. There is no snap at the end of your turns, just power to project you into the next direction. This smoothness can be deceptive, and if you get lazy at speed and fall into the back seat, you could end up behind the MX78 in a way that will surprise you. This is a smooth, professional carving instrument that can take any amount of pressure you can dish out and reply with a strong set of railroad tracks behind you. I was about 185-190 pounds on this test day, and I would hesitate to put lightweight skiers on this ski unless they had some race training or were strong enough to command it with accurate technique. Experts only is my opinion. This is a wonderful thoroughbred of a ski. I wanted to try the other models reallly, really bad.

Analogies: (this ski is like...)

Race car. Drive it accordingly.

After Skiing These, I Want To...

Try the other models in the lineup and spend a day with the MX78 in gates.

Self-Description of Skiing Style, Ability, Experience, Preferences :

5' 11", 190 lbs. Expert groomed-surface carver, "old-style" race inspired, "foot steerer" with fairly sensitive edging feel. Loves to hold long arcs with lots of pressure on the downhill ski (you know the type), but also loves the feel of both skis on-edge leaving tiny railroad track edge tracks. Not an instructor, but 10 year coach for youth race team in New England (bulletproof is the norm).
post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 16
Originally Posted by ExoticSkis View Post
Ski Designer :
"Kästle" - Rumored to be race-room bred from the minds of Fischer ski technicians and manufactured perhaps in the Head facility in Austria?...can't be sure.
Okay... I about left when I read that line above.

I absolutely CAN NOT stand the "I don't know who makes these skis, but..."

Dude, shut up. I understand that ExoticSkis demos random skis, but let's get real, the secrets are absolute crap and kill any chance of a sale.

Either they want us to know, or it's a secret for a reason. If a reason exists to keep it a secret, than I'd much rather move on to somebody willing to say "I made them!"


Or... tell us who makes them. Is Kastle making a come-back or are these Fischers or Heads with a trial-cosmetic?

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Kastle is indeed the company designing, marketing and causing the manufacture of these skis.

According to SkiPress:

Re-launched by a small group of passionate Austrian skiers, designers and entrepreneurs, the storied Kästle ski brand returns to the US market after almost 10 years of dormancy. With support from strategic partners and investors Cross Industries Inc., owners of KTM motorcycles, Kästle will manufacture a limited line of high performance skis for 2008 from Wels, Austria in the heart of the Alps.
and srd's post :

Kästle Returns

Wels, Austria (Ski Press)- Last year, Austrian entrepreneurs and former ski racers Siegfried Rumpfhuber, Alexander Lotschak and Oliver Binder acquired worldwide trademark rights for Kästle from the Benetton Group, which abandoned the brand in 1999 to develop its line of Nordica skis. With support from strategic partners and investors Cross Industries Inc., owners of KTM motorcycles, Kästle Ltd. will begin production with a line of four ski models for 2008.

Kästle is headquartered in Wels, Austria in the heart of the Alps. Kästle skis will be 100 percent developed and manufactured in Austria. For more information, visit www.kaestle-ski.com.

Kästle Ltd., the new owner of the Kästle ski brand, has retained Backbone Media to manage its public relations and media communications. A new line of Kästle alpine skis will be available in North America and Europe at selected retailers in early 2008.

“Backbone Media has the skills and the ability to help us successfully launch a new company and rebuild the Kästle brand to surpass even its former dominance,” states Kästle Ltd. president, Siegfried Rumpfhuber. “Like Kästle, Backbone is comprised of authentic, passionate individuals with tremendous experience in their industry. We are excited to work together.”
The rumors of involvement by Fischer race technicians and usage of the Head manufacturing facilities come from discussions with Kastle sales Reps and other people involved with the new company that people have reported to me...second or third hand...probably...but interesting to many folks and definitely possible, given the widespread sharing and cross-polination of ski designers, construction techniques and specialized contract-construction arrangements with large and small facilities going on in Europe now...

Sorry if rumors offended anyone...It's a bummer being lame...I just report information relayed from fairly reliable people who talk with the folks in the company and the industry...if anyone has better info...please let us know!
post #5 of 16
My understanding of the production is:

Kastle is leasing space in the Head factory. They have hired 12 tecnicians from Fischer and Head (most either worked for Kastle previously, or their perents did). They have their own space, their own molds, their own technology... they are just renting space to make their skis. The space is in the Head factory.

This information came from one of the Austrians who is in charge of Kastle, it's not third hand he was speaking to me. Hope this helps.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks whiteroom!

That makes sense, based on what we've heard in the rumor mill...
We're seeing this pattern of speciality designers or smaller companies leasing space and production time (and sometimes employees!) in different facilities all over the World. Facility owners want to avoid production line downtime, and lease factory facilities between large runs to those willing to pay. It helps reduce capital costs for the smaller designers, and keeps the factories humming along and getting income. Seems to work well for everyone.

There are several companies who have their own special molds and materials at various facilities around Europe with the capacity and infrastructure to do "custom work" for clients.

How is Stowe's snow holding out?
post #7 of 16
I have skied the following Kastles.

RX in a 176cm - most aggressive carver in the line. 70mm waist with the alu binding plate. strictly east coast/frontside carver

MX 78 in a 176cm with and without the plate. I agree with the current review by exotic skis - versatile shape and can't be beat on the hard snow with the alu plate. this ski flat is very lively and turns quick - it will go anywhere but may be too narrow for deeper snow conditions.

MX 88 flat in a 178cm. My favorite! Awesome response for a wider ski - this will be the money ski for most advanced skiers that seek to go off the groomers wherever possible. still holds great on the hardpack - Look at this ski if you are considering a Volkl Mantra.

Don't forget that at the 160cm length and shorter, Kastle is thinning the core profile to better suit smaller skiers and women.

I am 6'3 230lbs.
post #8 of 16
I have to admit, I skied the mx 88 and it did rip, i personally prefer the Blizzard 8.7 but this ski is awesome. The price is high
post #9 of 16
MX98! What a fun ski, although a touch short in 174cm in the length I tested. I loved the 78 as well, and have to say that it did everything the iM78's do, but with a little different feel. The price is the only "catch" as I can't say that they out-ski the iM78.
post #10 of 16
Now... that is some beneficial information. Cheers for that, guys!

Sorry to come off so harsh, I need to learn to use more smilies so I don't sound like such a prick.
post #11 of 16
The official retail price in Austria is arround EUR 1.100.- makes for you guys something like USD 1.500-1.600.-.

Funny price for a standard sandwich/titanal construction but this Kästle remake is for me a typical high-end-marketing ski. Irrelevant how good the ski is I wouldn´t spend that money

Cheeeers Christoph
post #12 of 16


…For those interested in this year’s Kastle line, I’d like to share the following (for what it’s worth):


I had the opportunity to demo a brand new pair of Kastle RX/176cm at Killington, VT, February 7th/8th, 2009.  Conditions on the 7th were typical – cold with standard hard pack/powder skied off to trail sides.  A light early morning drizzle on the 8th made the mountain pretty much bullet proof, but after a couple hours of late morning snow, you could make a decent go of things off some of the Canyon Quad trails.


I’m a front side, downhill skier who prefers hard pack and not startled by the sound of scraping ice.  I have demo’d (4) skis at Killington this year under such conditions:


K2 Apache Recon (177) – I’m old school and didn’t feel right sitting on such a fat waist.  Slow/sluggish under my foot.


K2 Apache Crossfire (177) – waist under foot more to my liking, but left me uninspired – (and that Halloween color scheme?).


Stockli Laser Cross Pro (177) – simply, a beautiful ski.  Responsive.  Loved to be pushed.  Performed best with speed and aggression.  No surprises.  I loved this ski – solid.  


I was ready to go with the Stockli, but found an opportunity to set up and demo a new Kastle RX (176).  I was told I would find many similarities between the two skis and I found this to be true.  As with the Stockli Cross Pro, the RX was simply a beautiful ski.  Highly responsive.  I thought the ski was a little quicker edge/edge than the Stockli and overall, a much faster ski.  I was surprised on the first run at finding myself in the back seat of this ski.  It wants to be pushed and it performed flawlessly when pushed hard and aggressive. 


As many have reported on other threads, this ski stuck to the mountain like a magnet with never any doubt of control or stability.  There is not much more to say than has already been said about this ski from a performance perspective.


BUT – for me – where the Stockli’s performance evenly kept pace with what I asked it to do, I felt the RX did the same but also contained a quiet, disinterested, “genie in the bottle” (your wish is my command) personality that told me it could be pushed a ton load harder if I had the ability to ask it to do so.


Hmmm – the Stockli or the genie in the bottle?  I opt’d for the genie in the bottle.  For me, I felt the ski had more to offer.


A lot of discussion has been made about the price of this ski.  Based on this man’s humble experience, what the RX delivered for me was worth the ski’s SRP price point relative to the SRP price point of the other 3 mentioned skis above.  Understandably, Kastle wants to re-establish its performance/premium status perception relative to its competitors (I think the ski delivers on this promise).  Unlike most other major ski vendors, Kastle’s limited dealer network (26 in the USA) are forbidden to publish/promote a discount on the ski.  But the reality is, everyone is in very tough economic times, and it’s near the end of the season.  The discount metrics on skis are well understood, and when you apply those in a negotiation in good faith - - it’s all good - - a win for me and a win for the ski shop.  I bought the brand new RXs I had demo’d, and I didn’t pay retail (I’m sure Kastle would not like reading that, but I’m certain they understand the nature of such things.)  Bottom line, don’t let the SRP prevent you from experiencing or considering this ski.


Last point – it seems the stark, Star Wars/Storm Trooper esthetic is a bit polarizing.  Personally, I love the look of this ski and prefer the no bullshit design.  In an environment where ski graphics increasingly mimic snowboard decks, I’m happy to run counter to that theme (no insult to boarders).


I hope you find this helpful.


(PS...if I had the money to get both, I would also get the Cross Pro - it was a really sweet, high performance ski)

Edited by JoeBoo - 2/18/2009 at 04:42 am


Edited by JoeBoo - 2/19/2009 at 02:41 am
post #13 of 16
The same people who makes the the HEAD skis bought KASTLE. One of fishers CHEIF designers left FISHER and now works for  KASTLE. KASTLE IS NOW BACK FOR GOOD!!!!!
post #14 of 16
MX 98,
me 165, 6ft, finess skier, likes a variety of turns/speeds, and blends of hold/drift, but lean toward off piste, moderate to slow speed/ medium shaped/blended turns.

I now have a few days on this ski, and will review here after a few more days, but,
suffice to say, this is one of the best feeling skis I've ever skied.

they have a somewhat traditional feel, and in some ways remind me of my stockli Scott Schmidt, but quiter and more fun at slower/teaching speeds. the tune is aggressive, stock w/ a 1degree base, 3 degree side, I'm pretty sure, but after detuning the tips/tails a bit, they become less "catchy" in broken off piste.

They have great rebound, but are damp, like speed, and rail carved turns amazingly well for not a lot of sidecut, but ski well at slower speeds and enjoy the traditional short swing turn more then many of the newer designs.

The rubber layers really show up as speed increases, and that quiet snow hugging feel takes center stage.

This ski is replacing my Watea 94 that I loved for a couple years as my 90% of the ski, and will be the anchor of a new 2 ski quiver (transitioning from 3 ski), as I don't need a skinnier ski w/ how fun this one skis on hard snow/ice.

the only thing is, w/ this 174 skiing so well, i may have to go to the 176 1010 from my 183 so there isn't so large a length adjustment between my primary ski and my pow ski.

more as I get more time on em later...

post #15 of 16
I skied the mx78 in Snowmass for 3 days in 4-6" of re-froze broken, some chalky tracked and some loose snow on bumped brush strewn runs, (Bear claw and lower sections, AMF chute) the 78 again has proven to suprise me in terms of its abilities. I had no problems turning the ski and it had great crud busting abilities, the ski did a great job of holding an edge and plowing through this crap (and crap is accurate) . I am on the 176 with the plate.
post #16 of 16
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

I skied the mx78 in Snowmass for 3 days in 4-6" of re-froze broken, some chalky tracked and some loose snow on bumped brush strewn runs, (Bear claw and lower sections, AMF chute) the 78 again has proven to suprise me in terms of its abilities. I had no problems turning the ski and it had great crud busting abilities, the ski did a great job of holding an edge and plowing through this crap (and crap is accurate) . I am on the 176 with the plate.
Yes he did. I think he really wanted the Mx98 for those brush runs though. There's nothing like the extra width to plow over tree shoots.I was glad for the width of the  Blizzard Atlas I was on- even though it was like a high strung racing dog with the jitters.

Does one have to worry about the fragile nature of the tip "insert" - or "desert"? Most of the Kastles we saw at Snowmass had a small crack in that area. It looked like a bug in amber, and several people on the lift actually asked if it was.
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