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09-10 Kastle MX98 in 184 cm

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
 The ski: Kastle MX98, 184 cm. 132-98-117, 27 m radius (but dual, think this is the longer rear radius; front feels more like about 20-22 m). Cut out classic shaped tip, square tail with slight lift.

 

The place: Mammoth, over four days, conditions ranging from 6-8" of daily fresh  (Mammoth's version of Sierra Cement) to wind-scoured chalk and scratch up on top. Soft bumps, lots of crud and chop, no ice. Gradually warming through the week, so some stiff to soft to stiff cycles later on.

 

Me: 6', 162 lbs, middle aged, grew up in Calif skiing Mammoth and Tahoe, now east coast with couple of weeks out west each year. Technical style; do some racing, like to turn, decent in tight spaces, trees, solid but conservative on steeps. Just OK in deep pow, flail around in backcountry but trying to learn.

 

Other comparable skis I like: Stocklis, Blizzards, Goats, LP's, Mantras, Priors.

 

First morning, tried these out on groomers and light chop on the lower mountain. They kicked my ass. I own MX88's in 178 cm, assumed these would just be scaled up version with more float. Wrong. The 98's were a lot less tolerant of mistakes, felt big, while the 88's are forgiving, feel small. Found myself wishing the 98's came in a length between 174 and 184.

 

In the afternoon, started to figure them out. Excellent grip and very predictable release, cut through forming bumps like they weren't there. Took it up to a GPS indicated 54 mph, 98's were utterly planted and smooth, no discernable top end. Like all Kastles I've skied, combined Stockli-like silkiness with quicker edge to edge potential, and surprising snowfeel. The cut out shovels are very light, do a little flapping at speed, but it's all visual. The mid 3/4 is very beefy; at my weight took some work to bend them below 40 mph. The tails are also Stockli-like, progressive and predictable without that abrupt unloading that a lot of people like. The dual radius makes the 98's easier to initiate than finish. They tolerate almost any style, including scarves, pivots, and smears. But there are cheaper and easier alternatives if you like to skid your tails.

 

Warning: Whatever style, these want to be driven from the front, not neutral. And don't even think about the backseat. Get behind these and you will be in the next dimension before you can scream.

 

Next few days were spent exploring the top of the mountain. On steeper pitches with variable snow, from a foot of windblown to exposed chalk and stiff crud, the 98's really were in their element. In Climax or Cornice, they felt big and planted in a straight line or big open turn, but were surprisingly easy doing quick edge changes down the fall line. I don't do much air (bad knees), but they made lips and overhangs silly easy. The tips tended to stay higher than I expected, but the ski still drives through rather than rides over. Compared to a 184 LP, the 98's are far quicker and more responsive, less front deviation in heavy chop, about as damp, more stable at speed, heavier and more demanding to do it right. Best ski I've ever had in these conditions, but at the end of each day, my legs were toast.

 

In more technical lines, like the Dropoff and Hangman's chutes off of Chair 23, or Dragon's Back and Huevos Grande off the Gondola, the 98's were absolutely fail-safe. They went exactly where I pointed them, screw frozen chop or chalk or sudden double pitches, the edges always felt rock solid, and they did quick adjustments to avoid rocks without drama. If it were something serious, this is a ski I'd trust with my life. Period.

 

In moderate pitch trees with settled pow, foot or so, over toward Chairs 25 and 9, the 98's were nimble and predictable, but not really fun. The tips wanted to help, but the ski body stayed down in the snow, needed a lot of unweighting. Found myself wishing for more width. Moving the binding back might help but would negate some of the quickness, and doesn't cure the weight issue.

 

So I'm ambivalent. IMO, the MX98 is the best ski ever made for everyday hard charging on crud, chalk, and chop, which is what most big mountains have most of the time after the first hour the lift's open. And they're way better in tight spaces than any 98 mm ski has a right to be. But they don't make my size, they're too heavy to hike or skin unless you're a linebacker, they're overkill for groomed, and they're not wide enough for serious pow at sub-light speed. Might be the definitive middle ski, between an actual carver and an actual fatty, if you have the $. Or maybe a single ski quiver for a bigger guy who likes inbounds warp drive. 

post #2 of 24
 Yes, the 09-10 is a ski that requires the full attention and skills of the skier. The 10-11 MX98 will be a different animal. They "added lightness" to the new 98 by removing metal and extended tip profile along with a tail cutout to go with the tip. It is a much more nimble ski with more off piste tendencies vs. the previous one being more of a hard charging frontside power ski. I will be looking to the 108 to replace my PBR's at some point. 
post #3 of 24
I personally like this year's 98's better, due to how I like to ski.  Next year's are basically a narrower 108, and not the stiff crudbuster and powerhouse laminate/wide race ski the MX98 feels like.  It will be more suited as a softer snow ski, but not quite the "move the crud piles aside" feel the 98 currently has.  When I skied it on Tuesday, the 178cm felt the same as the current 174cm (due to tip rocker), still engaged fairly quickly, but didn't hold quite as well on hard snow, was definitely softer and had a larger sweet spot, and bent up well in the bumps.  It definitely felt more akin to more of a mid to slightly fast softer snow ski as I said, not the uber-stable current MX98, and would be a good choice for a wide Eastern ski, or perhaps middle quiver PNW ski. I personally like a little stouter feel, and it didn't blow me away. The upside is that it will suit a wider range of skiers than the current ski, be less work in soft snow at moderate speeds, and be more forgiving. Still, I really like the "50+mph or bust" of the 184cm MX98 current version.  I personally love the MX78 in the 176cm length and would purchase an MX98 in 184cm if they were still available.

In comparison, the Dynastar Sultan 94 felt very similar in 178cm, a bit quicker edge to edge, more at home carving on soft groomers, very easy to engage, smooth in bumps, but not quite as solid in crud (a little turny, due to the tight radius) and a touch lighter, perhaps a tiny bit less stable, not quite as damp and "Austrian". 

I do think that the new MX98 will make sense to more skiers; 98mm is the widest ski that the majority of people will own, and having a versatile all-around ski that handles bumps, crud, soft snow, and typical resort conditions that has a decently large sweet spot is a great target audience.  A very refined, capable ski, and much more suited to resort skiing than the FX94. 
post #4 of 24
 Dawg- Will you post the review of Sultan 94? 
post #5 of 24


Glad you had a good mammoth trip, Beyond.

Being your size, 6ft, 165, i'm not sure about the quote here.
Beyond  "But they don't make my size, they're too heavy to hike or skin unless you're a linebacker, they're overkill for groomed, and they're not wide enough for serious pow at sub-light speed. Might be the definitive middle ski"
I think some of the limitations you list disappear in the 174. Yep, it sounds short, but the contact length is the same as my 178 dynastar sultan 85, and it skis longer, as their is more shovel. It is a downright sweet ski, and having skied some heavy pow, today, it just plain rips. overkill on groomers?  not in the 174. I'm selling the sultan, as the 174 mx98 does just as well on hard snow, and is more fun in icy bumps and tight quarters. short swing turns on hard groomers, excellent. it doen't feel wide.

Yep, i have a wider pow ski i my 1010, but this is a close to a 1 ski quiver as I've ever owned.

Cheers,
Holiday
post #6 of 24
Great review beyond! sounds like the 174 might be the ticket for you. I think you should try it for control purposes.
I'm glad you mentioned the tip flapping. Every single Kastle i've tried has done that at high speeds. I agree it doesn't really matter. The midsection is always so beefy that it doesn't effect the turn. You're just zipping along and you kind of notice that the tips are flapping around.

Has anyone done much switch skiing on an MX ski ? I wonder how the dual radius goes backwards.
post #7 of 24
 Are you guys looking down all the time. I've been skiing these Kastles a lot and have never noticed the tip flapping. So assuming that it does flap, it certainly doesn't seem to effect the ride.
post #8 of 24
I haven't noticed a flappy tip. yes, the shovel is softer, which is one reason why I think it skis so well. I tend to ski from the shovel, and feel it traces the snow very well.

Please don't take this negatively, but in my experiece, a flappy tip tells me the skiers balance is aft and they are not controling the pressure along the length of the ski well. In landing big airs in and 40 to 50mph runouts through crap, slappy tips show up, but the best skiers at that level, maintain that pressure well and stay balanced over the whole ski after impact. too long a ski is another trait that creates tip flap, as the skier doesn't have the weight/strength to moderate the pressure over the entire edge length.

Cheers,
Holiday
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

 Are you guys looking down all the time. I've been skiing these Kastles a lot and have never noticed the tip flapping. So assuming that it does flap, it certainly doesn't seem to effect the ride.

I haven't noticed this on really any ski, Kastle or non-Kastle, to tell you the truth.  As Holiday said: pull back the feet, keep the tip in contact with the terrain, and it wouldn't be an issue. If the skier's weight isn't rearward, the tip should be touching the snow. 
post #10 of 24
Sounds like the 174 MX 98 would be a great 1-quiver ski for a light to medium weight skier..

Beyond, the 184 length was prolly too long, no?

I got to get organized and start saving....the ski costs more than my first car, and can't even go uphill by itself...BOO!
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nfp158 View Post

Sounds like the 174 MX 98 would be a great 1-quiver ski for a light to medium weight skier..

Beyond, the 184 length was prolly too long, no?

I got to get organized and start saving....the ski costs more than my first car, and can't even go uphill by itself...BOO!


 Heh, most nay-sayers have been converted... here is a post from Living Proof before he demoed them MX88...

Quote (LivingProof):
 
Are Kastle's the new Obama???o Shocked Shocked

To expand a little. The hype about this ski brand appears everywhere. Can it produce "change we can believe in"? I hope to demo a pair sometime with Phil and see firsthand. 

The one aspect of the Kastle's that John brought out, and also mentioned by Epic's Sierra Jim, is that they are more of a GS ski meaning they want to go hard and fast. Phil skis that way and he has the body angles to get them onto high edge, therefore, I would fully expect him to like this ski.
Phil expressed on Epic that less skilled skiers seem to express this ski is very good. But I think that a skier needs to bend skis and carve to use them at their design point. Last year, I used Hart's of a similar GS design. While I liked many things about them, I do not ski with the energy needed to bring it to life and that was seen in the tracks I left. 

One viewpoint, fire away!
He believes the hype now...

Quote (Living Proof):
 
Last Friday, I went to a demo day with Philpug at Elk Mountain in Pa. Skied the MX 88 all afternoon on some deterioration eastern hardpack and ice, and, into some bump runs. My experience was similar to what's posted above. 

My simple review, for now, is that " I put my money where my mouth is and bought them". Next week, they will go to Jackson Hole for the mini-gathering. I'll update this post following further testing.

I'm smiling



Quote (Living Proof):
 
I almost hate to "gush and golly" over the review of a ski new to my quiver. Face it, it's a common happening. But this ski is worth a try

I can post more of his accolades but no need, he went from a non believer to a advocate. 

Its funny, we can go back through old posts of myself and many others here who have fallen in lust with various skis over the years, all I can think is...wow, if these get better and better every year....what are we in store for in the future!!! 
post #12 of 24
Phil,

I'm not a nay-sayer, just a poor-sayer, just saying, but there's hope because I started selling pencils in front of the local supermarket...

$1200 divided $.05 per pencil is a lot of trees..

I'm getting there, perhaps in 2015..  (geez, I hope I live that long)

Keep the faith is what I'm saying!
post #13 of 24
PS on the tip flap thing, and GS style contruction comment.

A test I do on skis, is in the first lift line, I slap the shovel on a pile of snow, about a 12/18inchs from the tip and see how the tip behaves. A ski that doens't move much is too stiff for me, a ski that bends and responds back to center in one bump is too "on/off" like cap skis, and many atomics w/ the on/off feel, while a ski that flaps or move up and down a bit shows a supple complex flex that may be able to trace the snow, and is soft enough to bend up nicely at moderate speeds for me...

As far as GS style contruction, people have said this is burly race ski type build, etc.. what they miss, is that yes, it's a high end construction ski, w/ top end materials like they use in high end race skis, but they dial in the flex characteristics for the goal of the ski. The mx98 isn't a 98mm race ski, it is ski built w/ the best materials and what the designers believe is the flex profile to work beautifully in a mixture of off piste conditions, including holding on wind swept ice or deep pow... There are many more demanding skis out there, but very few skis as accurate.

Also, it's important to note some of those who love this ski, and past infatuations. With the layers of rubber for dampness, and thin layers of metal, but stability, but soft enough to flex at will, it's not a surprise that I like them as I like damp,quiet but accurate skis. Philpug was mr. volant, and volants were softer, quiet and damp as well. Dawg and I both like Elan (especially the 1010), which are softer, quiet and damp in many cases...

Another observation,
Beyond and I have had many similiar ski likes the past, and many of his discriptions of this ski sound exactly like things I might feel and say if a ski was too long for me.

I believe that part of the reason so many people think this ski is so burly is that they are getting it too long. As i said, the 174 is longer in front of the toe piece then my 178 sultan, so the 184 is a long ski. I also believe that kastle must flex the skis differently for the different lengths, and the 174 flex is great for me, so the 184 was not only too long for many who ski it, but too stiff.. voilla, "super burly GS type unforgiving ski..".


Cheers,
Holiday
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiday View Post


I believe that part of the reason so many people think this ski is so burly is that they are getting it too long. As i said, the 174 is longer in front of the toe piece then my 178 sultan, so the 184 is a long ski. I also believe that kastle must flex the skis differently for the different lengths, and the 174 flex is great for me, so the 184 was not only too long for many who ski it, but too stiff.. voilla, "super burly GS type unforgiving ski..".


Cheers,
Holiday
 
Kevin's 194's!!!  Great for doing max vertical in a day. 

I never did really get those 174's up to speed, but boy they felt solid in the bumps and in cruddy snow.  We still have a pair here in the shop in 174cm, it will be interesting to try them out again.
post #15 of 24
very interesting, so is a western moderate pow, left over soft snow ski? Good for BC use? How does this differ from the 88? How about in piled stuff ,steep lines, tighter trees? 
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

very interesting, so is a western moderate pow, left over soft snow ski? Good for BC use? How does this differ from the 88? How about in piled stuff ,steep lines, tighter trees? 

The ski is super turny for a 24m ski. It skis closer to a 20m ski.  A little heavy for AT (the FX94 is that ski).  The 98 is basically the same ski as the 88, just a bit softer throughout and especially in the tip. It still has the same responsive feel.  Great for everyday new snow use, in up to 12 inches for a guy my size, and much more fun than wider, more deep snow specific board in mixed conditions.
post #17 of 24
 how the mx98 would compare to a volkl mantra?
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sciatore View Post

 how the mx98 would compare to a volkl mantra?

I found the Mantra to be a lighter, more nimble of a ski, the MX98, beefier and more powerful. 
 
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'll try to address some of your comments. First, yep Holiday and I tend to like (and dislike) the same skis, we're the same size, and I pretty much buy his argument about length, flexes. Finally, he's dead on about the "GS" label. Oxymoron. I own a FIS spec GS ski. The MX98 is not a "GS-type" ski. It's a semi-fat recreational ski aimed at good skiers who want to go fast with some precision. Or topsheets you could shave by. 

Tip flap: Plenty of ultra slow mo's show not just tips but entire skis oscillating like they're made of rubber. So my assumption is that all skis' tips move up and down at speed, eg, flap, that absorbs shock that would otherwise travel down the body of the ski. The Kastle cut-out produces less inertia, which they claim produces less vibration. But a very beefy tip that took much more energy to deviate would also feel damp. Until it got going, which would shake the entire ski. So I'd love to have an engineer break this down. Meanwhile, seems to me where you stand on the ski will change the forces operating on the tip, eg, pressure it into the snow more or less, not to mention your point of initiation, but won't change its innate "want" to move up or down. Obviously missing something.  

Finn, I see this as a superb left-over ski if you're willing to bring your A game. Sidebounds, definitely, if you don't mind screwing with the bases of a 1K+ ski. But not a BC ski. Too heavy. Steep lines and piled up crud were what it loved. Quick edge to edge, rock solid, somehow combined good snowfeel with smooth response to clumps. 

Dawg, agree that the 98 is a great real world tool for most resorts. Especially with variable or difficult snow. But cannot agree that it is just a fatter (or softer) 88. I own the 88 in a 178 length (20 m), and it's a lot more relaxed than the 10 mm difference would suggest. An athletic intermediate could enjoy, if not really exploit, the 88. The 98 in 184 (27 m) is nimble, but expects you to know what you're doing. Based on what Holiday said, maybe the 174 would be the better comparison.

Sciatore, Mantras are the anti-MX98. Totally different feel, design, and mission. If I wanted a better Mantra (I've owned three over the years), I'd get a Watea 94 or an Atlas. 
post #20 of 24
thanks for the feedback. I am a little concerned a 174 is going to be short. I would really like to demo both lengths.  Sounds like another winner for Kaslte
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

thanks for the feedback. I am a little concerned a 174 is going to be short. I would really like to demo both lengths.  Sounds like another winner for Kaslte


It was a winner with Kastle, as mentioned, the 10-11 is a different ski. The new one has no metal, rocker tip/early rise and "low camber geometry", because of the change, each offering increased 4cm, to a 168,178,188. 

Because of this change, to eliminate later confusion, I clarified the title to say that the review was for the current MX98. 
post #22 of 24
as always, thanks Phil! Yes, I was a little confused as I had thought it had some rocker/early rise. THANKS!  Yes, it certaily sounds like a great ski. What length would you recomend on the 11'?  the 178 is my guess but would say it may have been better to have something like a 182-184 and then a 189-194?
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

as always, thanks Phil! Yes, I was a little confused as I had thought it had some rocker/early rise. THANKS!  Yes, it certaily sounds like a great ski. What length would you recomend on the 11'?  the 178 is my guess but would say it may have been better to have something like a 182-184 and then a 189-194?


 Personally, I am thinking about the 108 for myself, I think you can also do that ski too. 
post #24 of 24
The tip flap thing is interesting. Kastle's I've tried: Mx 70 in 168, 176 with and without kti plate.
Mx88 in 168, no plate.
Hey, maybe I'm too aft, but it's not something I normally notice in a ski.I didn't notice anything like that on the Bliz. Atlas Titans and I had those up to speed a couple times. - those had full scale tip deflection in chopped up snow though.

I don't want to make a big deal of the flapping because it doesn't seem to affect the performance -other than feeling it.  As Aspen Highlands with the 88 to be fair the groomer - that super wide one, looking up to left from base, had tons of marbles in the snow.
I swear you can see the tip flap in dawg's video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiday View Post

I haven't noticed a flappy tip. yes, the shovel is softer, which is one reason why I think it skis so well. I tend to ski from the shovel, and feel it traces the snow very well.

Please don't take this negatively, but in my experiece, a flappy tip tells me the skiers balance is aft and they are not controling the pressure along the length of the ski well. In landing big airs in and 40 to 50mph runouts through crap, slappy tips show up, but the best skiers at that level, maintain that pressure well and stay balanced over the whole ski after impact. too long a ski is another trait that creates tip flap, as the skier doesn't have the weight/strength to moderate the pressure over the entire edge length.

Cheers,
Holiday
 
I'm certainly not landing big airs!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiday View Post

PS on the tip flap thing, and GS style contruction comment.

A test I do on skis, is in the first lift line, I slap the shovel on a pile of snow, about a 12/18inchs from the tip and see how the tip behaves. A ski that doens't move much is too stiff for me, a ski that bends and responds back to center in one bump is too "on/off" like cap skis, and many atomics w/ the on/off feel, while a ski that flaps or move up and down a bit shows a supple complex flex that may be able to trace the snow, and is soft enough to bend up nicely at moderate speeds for me...

Love that test^^. I've never quantified it so much. Love the sound some skis make in that test and when you go over little hard bumps.only too

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Tip flap: Plenty of ultra slow mo's show not just tips but entire skis oscillating like they're made of rubber. So my assumption is that all skis' tips move up and down at speed, eg, flap, that absorbs shock that would otherwise travel down the body of the ski. The Kastle cut-out produces less inertia, which they claim produces less vibration. But a very beefy tip that took much more energy to deviate would also feel damp. Until it got going, which would shake the entire ski. So I'd love to have an engineer break this down. Meanwhile, seems to me where you stand on the ski will change the forces operating on the tip, eg, pressure it into the snow more or less, not to mention your point of initiation, but won't change its innate "want" to move up or down. Obviously missing something.  

Finn, I see this as a superb left-over ski if you're willing to bring your A game. Sidebounds, definitely, if you don't mind screwing with the bases of a 1K+ ski. But not a BC ski. Too heavy. Steep lines and piled up crud were what it loved. Quick edge to edge, rock solid, somehow combined good snowfeel with smooth response to clumps. 

Dawg, agree that the 98 is a great real world tool for most resorts. Especially with variable or difficult snow. But cannot agree that it is just a fatter (or softer) 88. I own the 88 in a 178 length (20 m), and it's a lot more relaxed than the 10 mm difference would suggest. An athletic intermediate could enjoy, if not really exploit, the 88. The 98 in 184 (27 m) is nimble, but expects you to know what you're doing. Based on what Holiday said, maybe the 174 would be the better comparison.

Sciatore, Mantras are the anti-MX98. Totally different feel, design, and mission. If I wanted a better Mantra (I've owned three over the years), I'd get a Watea 94 or an Atlas.

dawg's video showing the alleged tip flap:
You're going to have to watch this a couple of times, and maybe it's just an illusion, but this is where I mainly see it, though there's other parts too.
If you look at the groomed part at around 1:28 when he's making a left turn, and then back to the right but he's kind of far away at that point.
Again, I don't think this is much of a problem at all.

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