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Video Review: 2010 Kastle MX78

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Kastle MX78 video review:
Skis: Kastle MX78, 176cm, 18m radius, 78mm underfoot.  Dual ti construction, wood core, rubber dampening layer, race stock base, race-stock (phenol) sidewalls, not the softer ABS sidewalls found on all-mountain skis.   Quite stiff flex underfoot and toward the tail, but fairly moderate tip flex. Binding: Look PX12 lifter.
Skier: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, skis 30+ days per year.
Terrain: Mt. Bachelor, mostly backside.  Windblown punchy snow, some fresh stuff, some groomers.  Typically 28-36 degree pitches. 

Review: not much to say that hasn’t been said before, but this is an OUTSTANDING ski.  If you haven’t skied it, you are missing out.  Don’t diss it because it isn’t wide enough or long enough; there isn’t much this ski can’t do, save for it’s likely limitations in deeper snow, but so what? Simply a superb carver, frontside ski, backside ski, moderate depth crud ski, moderate depth new snow: you name it, this ski rips.  First clip is of a sustained windblown section that is fairly steep (same pitch as Face on Headwall at Squaw, about the same length too) and the MX78 was absolutely rock solid in some fairly interesting snow, which was heavily wind-blown and around 8 inches deep, quite hollow underneath. Due to the nature of a zoom lens, it appears I am not moving much, but in fact I was skiing pretty darn fast through that section.  The MX78 made mincemeat of that snow and was extremely stable; you would think it was 180cm plus.  Down lower, in tight trees and steeper pitches, it is extremely quick with tons of feedback.  It does everything you ask of it, and lets you be the driver, but isn’t boring in any way.  More than enough width for that day’s skiing, and so much more FUN than the wider skis were.  You can work the ski and get a ton of energy in the soft stuff; at speed in the crud, I was really enjoying bending of the ski and the near explosion out of the turn as I floated down the hill and into the next turn.  It has a large sweet spot, but never, ever feels dead: the feedback you get from this ski is on par to a race-room ski.  Just a whole lot more versatile.  Not the most forgiving ski in the world: it doesn’t like back-seat driving, but it does give you enough feedback to push you a bit without wearing you down, and makes you a better skier. I have footage of me skiing the Pro Rider the same day, and I am clearly not skiing as well on that ski, nor having as much fun.  On groomers, this is as good of a 78mm ski that exists today.  Not much to be said there: it is basically a race-room ski, only wider, and makes most mid-70’s skis feel like kids toys.  Bumps are solid: the ski is fairly stiff and doesn’t offer a lot of room for mistakes, but I can ski bumps well on it.  It does like speed, and skis fast if you push it.  The base quality is as good as it gets: get a whole lot of hot-scrapes in these, and they will be the fastest skis on the hill.  I can see many my size skiing the 168, but the 176 is a more all-mountain length.   These feel quite similar to Head, but with more energy, or perhaps Elan, with a bit more dampness, and a large step up in performance and stability.  A little softer than the traditional Stormrider series Stockli.   I would put this in the hands of anyone who is a good skier, appreciates the feel of a true handmade race-room ski, and is looking for a good ski for everything from Eastern ice to moderate new snow and crud.  Especially useful if you are a perfectionist that wants to constantly improve: the MX78 will give you the feedback to let you know when you nailed a turn, and when you goofed.  A truly rewarding ski in all aspects.  If I could have only one ski, this would be a serious contender, lack of width be damned. 

Complaints and comparisons: the only other ski I tried that day was the Legend Pro Rider 184cm. I spent the first 3 hours on the LPR, and honestly though the MX78 wouldn’t be the best choice in those conditions when I grudgingly went back to the car to swap mid-day.  Oh, was I wrong.  In the tight trees, the LPR was harder to turn. The sweet spot was a tad larger, but it lacked responsiveness, which allowed me to ski more in the backseat and oddly enough, get into more trouble due to sloppy skiing. The 78 didn’t let me do that; once I started to drift and get lazy, the ski sent up a red flag.  If I were a better skier and totally solid all of the time, then perhaps that isn’t an issue, but I am still working on being more consistent in every turn and appreciate the feedback.   Float was more than adequate on the MX78: I never wanted for more at any time.  In the shallow new snow, I would hit bottom and bounce right up for another turn.  On the LPR, I was basically just surfing the snow, which was quite a bit more boring than getting that load-up and de-camber release feeling.  No contest on the groomers: sporty and fun on the MX78, “get back to the lift” on the Pro Rider.  The only slight advantage the Pro Rider had was on that first long sustained pitch: the extra length was appreciated in the punchy windpack snow.  Not that the MX78 wasn’t stable enough (it actually felt more stable than the LPR), it was the longer length gave me more contact surface area and less risk of punching through the snow and hooking a tip, or at least it felt that way.  When you look at the comparison video though, I get better edge angles, more confident releases, and ski better on the MX78.  176cm can be a little short in dodgy snow, though, at least at high speeds. That would be my only issue, but it really isn’t an issue; a 180cm+ MX78 would be a ton of ski and nowhere near as much fun, and when needed, I have bigger skis. Perhaps a MX88 in 178cm is in my future?  I would not mind an MX98 in 184cm either.  Since it will come up, I am not sure where the break-even point with width and float is on this ski.  I am thinking at around 6-8 inches of heavier new snow and crud you could use something wider, and probably 12 inches of lighter snow, at my weight.   If I had only this ski and my 1010, I would probably pull out the 1010 if the snow was 8 inches or more new, but if it was primarily cut-up crud, the MX78 is going to be the more stable ride when the snow gets firmer and you need a bulldozer on your size.  Probably the MX88 or MX98 is ideal in those conditions, but the MX78 would do just fine too.  

Bottom line: This has to be a contender if you live in the East and need a daily driver.   One of the best skis available for a narrower ½ of a 2 ski quiver out West.
post #2 of 36
Did you get a chance to ski the MX78 with the KTi plate? It is a sweet set up and makes it a bit more of a frontside driver without loosing much off piste. I am considering the MX108 to replace my PBR's next year. 
post #3 of 36
I really want to try these skis. I just can't get over the the fact that they cost more than I spent for my 3 ski quiver (with 2 pair of bindings).  Yea, I got good deals, but are they that good?
post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post

I really want to try these skis. I just can't get over the the fact that they cost more than I spent for my 3 ski quiver (with 2 pair of bindings).  Yea, I got good deals, but are they that good?


 Yeah, they are THAT good. 
post #5 of 36
Great job Dawg.

Brown Santa delivered my 168cm mx78s last night.

4" of new today - they'll be perfect - will post back later.

But I have to admit that I won't be disappointed by the opportunity to bust out my sS7s and Huge Troubles the next few days

...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM MST MONDAY...

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW REMAINS IN EFFECT
UNTIL 6 AM MST MONDAY.

* SNOWFALL WILL INCREASE ON TODAY AND BECOME HEAVY TONIGHT INTO SUNDAY.

* STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL WILL RANGE FROM 1 TO 2 FEET BY MONDAY
MORNING. THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL FAVOR NORTHWEST FACING SLOPES.
post #6 of 36
hmm.  i'm trying to decide between mx78 and mx88.  anybody know someplace in aspen/snowmass where i can demo both?

i like shorter turns (and i live on the east coast), so i'm guessing i'll be biased towards the 78, but we shall see.
post #7 of 36
Quote:
 I am considering the MX108 to replace my PBR's next year.

Phil,

Set aside a pair of 2011 108's for me next year. 
post #8 of 36
Quote:
 hmm.  i'm trying to decide between mx78 and mx88.  anybody know someplace in aspen/snowmass where i can demo both?

Hamilton sports(Durant St-Downtown Core-Aspen)carries almost the full line of 2010 kastle. You can demo the mx70, 78, 88, 98, & 108. Enjoy!
post #9 of 36
Just drooling to try these skis...
post #10 of 36
Impressions on the mx78 168cm after 3 days in Snowmass. Mounted flat with Head Mojo 12s. Conditions very variable. I've seen 4-8" fresh in the trees, hardpack and windblow crud.

Me: 5'9", level 9, 160 lbs, 40 yo

Other skis in my quiver: 170 Mach 3 carbons, 178 Dyna Mythic riders, 184 Volkl Mantas, 184 Huge troubles and 186 Rossi S7s.

The Kastle mx78 is definitely the most unique feeling "carver" I've ever been on.

The uber-light front end combined with the powerful tail took a couple of runs to get used to, as I have become accustomed to the stiffer and damped Mach 3 carbon. Compared to the Mach 3, edge to edge quickness is comparable, but the Kastle requires far less effort to engage and, once the edge engaged, has a radius that is far easier to vary mid-turn. Many skis I've tried in this category feel a bit "railed" in the sense that once on edge, the ski has a tendency to follow it's own course. Not so with the mx78. Short turns, medium and long terms are all very stable and confidence inspiring, although medium turns feel most natural. Snow feedback is very sensitive, yet damp at the same time. That sounds like a bit of a contradiction, but it's a difficult sensation to fully describe. From what I gather from reading reports of other Kastles, this is a trait shared across the lineup.  The tail offers moderate, but very controlled, rebound and it releases easy on both groomers and off-piste. Edge hold is tenacious on the firm snow and very confidence inspiring.

Moderate-big bumps are a blast on this ski. The front end swings through remarkably quick and the follow through is controlled - provided you don't get in the back seat. This is a far more wieldy ski in the moguls that the Mach. 4-8" of Snowmass fluff was very manageable. Of course, this doesn't have the float of some of my bigger skis and isn't my ski of choice for a true powder day, but for recent mixed conditions it does just fine.

Downsides?....It didn't like the untracked windblown snow up high, but I've never been on a skinny 168mm ski that does.

I'm looking forward to the next few days, and I'm definitely going to try the mx98 as a possible "daily driver" for next season. I have a feeling the mx98 might render both my Mythics and Huge Troubles irrelevant.

spoiler alert: next year's mx98 will come in more sizes and will have a rocker-ed tip.
post #11 of 36
Demo'd MX78 168cm yesterday at Telluride. 5'09" 172 lbs. Agree with light front end, forces you to stay out of back seat or else, but that's good for me. Conditions varied from groomed to piles of powder from 24" or so of snow last few days. MX78 handled all well, nice pop in the bumps. You work the MX78's well they pay you back with great performance, but bring your A game. Rode a full day and not fatigued, exhilirated...
post #12 of 36
Squeaky, i had them in wind blown crudded up crap in the 176 from the top of the poma at Snow mass over to AMF chutes and on some other crap, two things: 1- I de-tuned the tails 2" back from contact point, made it much more mangeable in that kind of terrain, 2- drive the shins!   
post #13 of 36
Quote:
 hmm.  i'm trying to decide between mx78 and mx88.  anybody know someplace in aspen/snowmass where i can demo both?

Hamilton sports(Durant St-Downtown Core-Aspen)carries almost the full line of 2010 kastle. You can demo the mx70, 78, 88, 98, & 108. Enjoy!
Also Four Mountain sports. Aspen Highlands is where they get tuned - I'd get it from there.
Between the two Hamilton would probably have a vastly better tuned ski based on Four Mt. experience in Snowmass.
post #14 of 36
 I have both to demo. 
post #15 of 36
Great review dawg!
I love what passes for a "groomer" out there!
The video of that section confirms the tip flap at speed. Or..perhaps I'm just seeing what I want to see. I found it didn't really affect the stability that much, just flapped around.

The video review brings up an interesting question. If you were skiing on a ski that you hated, and just didn't work, would an outside observer be able to tell? Maybe a very skilled observer. Usually though, the compensation by a good skier would make it look like nothing at all was difficult about making the ski perform.  The video does not show how the ski feels to the user and the feedback one gets.
post #16 of 36
Tog brings up a Good point.. 

My concern with the Kastles is the feedback or feel of the ski..  I have not skied them yet, but have heard they have a "unique" feel..   Case in point, I bought a pair of Watea 94's couple of years back and really did not like the feel of those skis, they just felt funny to me, particularly in rough snow conditions way too much feedback for my personal preference..  

That's why it can be difficult to choose ski's based on review alone, everyone has their own personal preference, and what works for one person may not for another even though they might be great skis..  Most manufacturers have a unique feel to their ski's Volkl, Head, Atomic etc, one must know and narrow down the manufactures that supply the "feel" one is looking for in a ski.  Although every now and then we see something out there that we must take a leap of faith on, these Kastles might just be those for me...
post #17 of 36
You're going to have to try them. If you like the feel of laminate skis, you'll like them.They have good feedback but still are somewhat damp.   I guess it's the rubber layer in the construction.
They are not twitchy at all. -opposite of the Blizz. Atlas Titan which is king twitch in soft-packed-soft snow.
I really liked the tail on the 70mm Kastle you could give it a little extra weight at the end of the turn and feel  a real nice controllable kick. So you could get a little extra fun out of the tail - or not, your choice.I would think the FX series would not have this since the tails are round and lightened.
post #18 of 36
 Do the Kastles have a unique feel? I say yes, that "feel" in one word would be "refined", they are about the smoothest skis I have ever skied, little or nothing bothered them and handled everything I gave them. I agree with 1SD that Fischers DO have a unique feel (and sound) and I like the 94 myself but the Kastles are just a bit more substantial in feel vs. the glassy feel of the Fischer. 
post #19 of 36
 hi,
me 6' 200lbs 50 yrs young, level 7-8 depends on where / 8 in the east 7 out west. skied 16 days this season thus far.
usual skis prophet 90's, dynastar 4X4's, rx8's 
I demoed the mx78's 174? at okemo last weekend,  i dont get it........ i skied 4 runs, 2 groomed and 2 bumped. the skis were hooky
in the tails and almost unmanageable. they felt odd right off the first chair. i couldn't wait to get these off, i skied my prophet 90's the rest of the day without any issues.
I was so disappointed with this ski, perhaps a bad tuning? I can't imagine a ski shop letting a ski of this price range out without a good tune. perhaps its too much ski for me...... has anyone else experienced a similar situation?

i was so hopeful that i'd love them.......
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisandy View Post

 hi,
me 6' 200lbs 50 yrs young, level 7-8 depends on where / 8 in the east 7 out west. skied 16 days this season thus far.
usual skis prophet 90's, dynastar 4X4's, rx8's 
I demoed the mx78's 174? at okemo last weekend,  i dont get it........ i skied 4 runs, 2 groomed and 2 bumped. the skis were hooky
in the tails and almost unmanageable. they felt odd right off the first chair. i couldn't wait to get these off, i skied my prophet 90's the rest of the day without any issues.
I was so disappointed with this ski, perhaps a bad tuning? I can't imagine a ski shop letting a ski of this price range out without a good tune. perhaps its too much ski for me...... has anyone else experienced a similar situation?

i was so hopeful that i'd love them.......


 Chris,

 It sounds like a bad tune.  Please PM me regarding where you demoed the skis from, I will pass along the information.
post #21 of 36
 thanks .... will do.
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post





 Chris,

 It sounds like a bad tune.  Please PM me regarding where you demoed the skis from, I will pass along the information.

I have to agree with Phil. Nothing hooky about mx78s
post #23 of 36
 perhaps a case of the indian blaming the arrow? maybe these skis are for experts only?
post #24 of 36
Well I wouldn't put a intermediate on them but the ski needs more of a finesse rider, If you are in the backseat, the tail will hookup and not be so willing to release out of a turn, is that what you felt? 
Edited by Finndog - 1/29/10 at 8:24am
post #25 of 36
 yes , i did feel that the backs were hooky, while i do occasionally drive from the back seat, i don't think it was the case during this day. i felt it was very difficult to direct them, i typically ski bumps and i'm hyper- aware of my body positions. 
these skis never responded to my footwork whether on easy groomed or moderate bumps. i felt that i had to fight to stay forward an the ski was fighting back.
when i changed to my prophet 90's there were no issues....... my dyna contact 4X4's handle much easier as well, they are not as easy as my prophets in the bumps due to the stiffness.

 i'm going to try them again. we'll see what happens.................
post #26 of 36
than it definitely sounds like a bad tune for sure or if the binding was mounted too far back.  Were these on griff's or on the KP plate?
 
Contact Phil.
post #27 of 36
 griffs...... u know it doesn't make sense to me that a shop would allow the ski to be demoed with a bad tune
as costly as they are.
thanks to all for your replies.
 
post #28 of 36
Thread Starter 
It does happen, unfortunately.  Hopefully you figure out the issue. It is a demanding ski if you are skiing it head height though; more so at least than almost any other ski in that length.  If you are skiing it the recommended 5 to 10cm under head height, it is quite easy to ski.
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisandy View Post

 perhaps a case of the indian blaming the arrow? maybe these skis are for experts only?




Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

Well I wouldn't put a intermediate on them but the ski needs more of a finesse rider, If you are in the backseat, the tail will hookup and not be so willing to release out of a turn, is that what you felt? 


  My wife is on a MX78 and she is far from an "expert" skier, she is a solid blue/easy black skier and she likes the ski. It had to be a bad tune. 
post #30 of 36
 got it.......
hopefully we'll meet up in okemo. i am a level 9 with a scotch and a barstool. going to demo the kastles again...... 
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