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Another take on Kastle MX 88's

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
 Kastle MX 88, 178cm


What a carving ski!  They effortlessly suck you into deep, carved turns.  On piste I had the sensation of being a water skier leaning WAY OVER, turn after turn, ready to touch an elbow to the snow.


And this is at 88mm wide.


On the hard stuff, on the softening corn, in the grabby mank-- turn after turn, they love to carve.  Especially a turn of a CERTAIN RADIUS.  Tighter than GS, but not quite slalom.


Turn after turn of a certain radius.  Easy-- yet powerfully carved-- and deep.  Turn after turn.


They feel like a slalom racing ski that has been softened and widened.  A very narrow performance envelope, precisely tailored for carved turns of a CERTAIN RADIUS.  They don't want to slide or slarve.  I was happy that their preferred radius is about my favorite one.


They aren't very stiff-- they are easy to steer in softer snow as well.  But stay precise-- they want to carve and don't allow for sloppy, loose skiing.


I only skied on one ski that day at Mammoth, but I think I could have skied faster in the rough, semi-soft off-piste snow on Heads or K2s, for examples.  The Kastles seem to have no speed limit on smooth snow.


It's curious-- they're not very stiff (just a bit stiffer than medium), yet they really want to be steered with precision. In this trait they're like nothing I've ever been on before.


"Heads are a poor man's Kastle," said a guy at Footloose Sports at Mammoth Mountain.  I can see why.  They're damp and they carve well with the whole length of the edge engaging the snow, just like Heads.


I can see why so many are raving about them, yet they aren't for me.  Strong and precise skiers will love them, but I'm more of a fast and half-out-of-control skier, and want a more forgiving ski.


So I think I still like the Head Monster 82 (same as Peak 82), Monster 88, and presumably the Peak 88 better.  The Kastles carve better, but the Heads are more of an all 'round ski.


And since these are so good for carving, maybe I'd prefer the MX 78 instead of the 88.  It'd be a mostly on-piste ski-- maybe a replacement for my Head Supershape Magnums.


And yet... they're 88mm wide, are soft enough for off-piste, and carve easily with a tight radius.  I think a 200-pounder might like them as a one-ski quiver.  Or love them.

post #2 of 5
You mentioned a 200lb'er might like them? How much do you weigh? If you are much lighter try the FX84 (and upcoming FX94) I will suggest these for the lighter skier feels the MX series is too demanding. 

Next years Peaks are a step away from being the ski that you hoped they will be. Alternatives to the MX88 for what you are talking about, Elan 888, it is a bit more suppler and forgiving than the MX88 the new Volkl Kendo, an 88 waisted Mantra and the Nordica HR Pro an 84 waisted flat ski that just rips. 
post #3 of 5
Interesting review. Oddly, I found the MX 88 in 178 easier to handle than the iM88 in 175. Asked for and gave back more precision, but easier to initiate and less demanding to manage at speed. For better or worse, not that freight train feel of the old iM. And way less effort in bumps or tight places. Would only give iM88's the point in blasting heavier crud. Also found it stiffer mid-ski than a iM88 (going by what it takes to bend into belly of a turn), but considerably softer front and back. Different strokes, different folks.  Incidentally, agree with Phil about alternatives. Nordies or Elans, for sure. Can't speak to the Kendo, but if it's a narrower Mantra, would have a really different feel than Heads or Kastles, more like a Blizzard Magnum 8.7 I bet. Which I admire greatly, but lively, lot of snow feel, not damp at all. 
post #4 of 5
Crudmaster ,
Great review on the Kastle M88, 178, and I take it you are <180 lbs..

I kinda got the same impressions re the 176 Kastle M78 in that it carved a little better than a 177 Head iM78, but was less forgiving and not as versatile in mixed conditions, esp. soft manky spring crud where the tips of the iM78 floated easier..
The Kastle was a handful whereas the Head was like-cheating-easy..
Also the M78 didn't ski at slow speeds nearly as well.
So YMMV on these 2 skis which perform at the top of their class.
Edited by nfp158 - 5/6/10 at 7:36pm
post #5 of 5

The Dynastar Mythic Rider is a great crud-buster, also.  I'd like to compare it to the MX88.

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