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Quick reviews ; Blizzard Atlas and The One, Dynastar Sultan 94, and Kastle MX98

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Conditions, excellent 8" new, fresh snow over good packed conditions (not hard).  Skier 6'1", 230#, middle aged, probably level 7 or 8, skiing forever.  Very cold day, but had a blast.

 

I demoed all of these skis last spring at various industry trade fairs, but not in the conditions that they were intended for, today I skiied them in the condtions that they were made for, so have a better read on them.  Skis listed below in the order that I skied them. 

 

Kastle MX 98 - 178cm - 2010/11 model - This is the MX 98 with the early rise tip and no metal in the construction.  Definitely skis short with the early rise tip.  At my size, I was wanting a longer ski, it was a little critical of balance in this length.  I found this ski surprisingly quick and agile, with good edge hold, and the typical, buttery, smooth Kastle feel.  The more I skied it the better I liked it.  Great ski for these conditions.

 

Volkl Gotama - 186cm - 2010/11 model -  I had only skiied this at a trade fair on soft groomed conditions, wasn't bad there, but.....  I couldn't wait to get off of these in the crud conditions.  Found that they got deflected badly by big piles of crud, and did not ski nimbly at all.  They did however ski very well in untracked conditions.  Overall, very disappointed with these.

 

Blizzard Atlas - 180cm - 2010/11 model.  Now were talking!  These things were bomb proof, just add a little shin pressure, point 'em, and hold on.  The Atlas blasted everything in their path, great edge hold and stability, but still pretty nimble in the soft stuff.  This is, by far, the best crud ski that I have ever skiied.   Definitely like to be driven hard, great ski for a bigger guy that skis hard.  I think that the Atlas might be a handful for lighter skiers, and not good for backseat drivers.  This ski is what the Volkl Mantra always should have been. 

 

Dynastar Sultan 94 - 178cm - 2010/11 model - similar dimensions to the Atlas, but a very different ski. Skied this right after the Atlas, and kind of felt like I was overpowering it for the first half a run.  After I stopped stomping on the ski and " finessed" it a bit, it came alive.  Very, very, quick, agile, and light for this waist width.  Definitely liked to carve, but the tip wasn't "hooky" in crud.  Nice trick!  Probably a better ski for for a wider range of skiers than the Atlas.  Forgiveness was off the charts.

 

Note:  Skiied the Sultan at the trade fairs, and thought that it was ok, but I think that the tune was off (railed, like most Dynastars are out of the wrapper), these were freshly tuned out of our shop, and they skiied great.  Tune them before you ski them, it makes all the difference.

 

Blizzard The One - 177cm - 2010/11 model - I thought that I would overpower these and expected to hate them.  WRONG!   What a huge suprise, this ski just rips!  It has a fairly soft tip and tail, but the mid-section of the ski is stout with great torsional stiffness. This is a "rocker" design, with a fairly flat camber under foot with minor tip and tail rocker.  This ski can really carve, and it feels super solid in the belly of the turn and it handled crud and powder with aplomb.  I really feels powerful with a center-forward stance, similar to the Atlas in that aspect, just apply shin pressure, point 'em, and rip.  

 

I think that Dawg is on the right track about the rocker thing, there are so many factors that go in to ski design and performance, that it is really hard to guess how something is going to ski, until you actually get out there and ski it.  Demo if you can.  

 

 

post #2 of 9

Nice reviews! At your size, you are made for that Atlas.  Curious; did you like The One or the Atlas better? I pretty much figure bigger guys like you would be happier on the stiffer ski, but what were your thoughts?  Did you feel The One was a good length for someone your size? It was probably like me skiing the 170cm: I couldn't believe how well that ski held up in such a short length (and with the twin, which is even shorter with regards to running length).  Great ski, no doubt; I think people assume they will be more soft-snow oriented due to the rocker design, but in reality, they seem to be as 50/50 oriented as, say a Sultan 94.

 

I bet you would like the MX98 in 188cm better. That 178cm is the length I ski, and you have me by 4 inches and 75lbs.

 

Interesting observations on the Atlas vs. Sultan. I figured that the Atlas was the ski that 80% of people want to own (the biggest, burliest kid in town), and the Sultan (being more forgiving) is the ski that 80% of people should own (being more forgiving yet high in performance).  Sounds like you kind of found it to be more forgiving as well.

 

When and where was the demo event?  I have a pair of MX98's in 178cm, fresh from a demo event, and was thinking that you perhaps were on my skis prior to me receiving them.

post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolhand View Post

This ski is what the Volkl Mantra always should have been. 

 

 

 


Have to admit I find comparative comments like this quite helpful.  After reading Mantra reviews for years, and demoing a pair once, it helps me to quickly visualise where a ski fits in the spectrum.  Nice work.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Dawg:

 

I agree with you about the length issues.  I definitely would like the MX 98 in a 188cm, if I were to own one. 

 

As far as The One, I think that I would be better served with a 184cm overall, but this ski didn't fold with me at a 177cm, and is good in tighter quarters.  I think that for big guys that are harder chargers, the 184cm would be best, but the 177cm definitely holds it own.  This ski really surprised me at how good it really was. 
 

The One vs. the Atlas.  Hmmm...  The One probably has more range and is suited for a wider variety of skiers, whereas, you pretty much have to be on your game when skiing the Atlas.  For my big, fat, butt the Atlas would be my choice, but not by a real big margin.  The One is that good. 

 

This was yesterday in nowhere Wyoming, and were our shop's demo skis.  We carry nearly the same mix as you guys. 

 

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolhand View Post

Dawg:

 

I agree with you about the length issues.  I definitely would like the MX 98 in a 188cm, if I were to own one. 

 

As far as The One, I think that I would be better served with a 184cm overall, but this ski didn't fold with me at a 177cm, and is good in tighter quarters.  I think that for big guys that are harder chargers, the 184cm would be best, but the 177cm definitely holds it own.  This ski really surprised me at how good it really was. 
 

The One vs. the Atlas.  Hmmm...  The One probably has more range and is suited for a wider variety of skiers, whereas, you pretty much have to be on your game when skiing the Atlas.  For my big, fat, butt the Atlas would be my choice, but not by a real big margin.  The One is that good. 

 

This was yesterday in nowhere Wyoming, and were our shop's demo skis.  We carry nearly the same mix as you guys. 

 


Cool, thanks! 

post #6 of 9

I just came back from the Alta women's camp.  I had just purchased my Kastle MX98 and had only one day in CA to use them (hard packed and warm soft snow day).  The conditions were icy/packed with fresh 6-12" on top - unusual for Alta - so not big powder days.  Once I got on my Kastle's I couldn't get off them.  They cut through snow like butter, held on the ice when I found it unintentionally and had great float and balance.  Very stable in all the conditions I found.  I didn't feel like I needed to drive the ski always and didn't get that tired on it.   

 

My all mtn ski is/has been the Dynastar Eden Legend, and the Kastle's definitely have that "feel" that everyone talks about.  I'm not a pro, but just a girl that likes to ski 25-30 days a year, trying to find all the stashes I can and I could feel that "feel".  

 

One of the luxuries at the camp is unlimited demo ski's from Deep Powder House.  The most popular skis women demo'd were the Blizzard's (and one of the more common skis on the hill I saw).  Most of the gals tried the Crush's and the pro's used the One.  I tried the One as they were stiffer than the Crush.

The Blizzard was a bit unruly in the back for me and most of the others felt the same way.  Again, there were not any big powder days, so I think that's where these skis might fit me in the future.  I had also demo'd the Misbehaved's on a powder day in Tahoe and thought these were a blast.    I think if I get into really big powder days (3+ feet), I'd rent one of the rockered skis, but wouldn't want it for my all the time ski.  Caveat is I would try my MX98's first and if I felt I needed more float, then go rockered.  I'm 5'4" and 125lbs and both my skis are 158cm.  

 

TBL (the bottom line) - I'm thrilled with my Kastle's and glad I bought it for the the performance, feel and stability and also the cool factor that in the sea of Blizzard's, K2's, and Rossi's, the few Kastle's I saw really stood out; including mine!  I have a sneaking feeling my Dynastar's are going to get a bit lonely....  

 

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlaSF View Post
I think if I get into really big powder days (3+ feet), I'd rent one of the rockered skis, but wouldn't want it for my all the time ski.  Caveat is I would try my MX98's first and if I felt I needed more float, then go rockered.  I'm 5'4" and 125lbs and both my skis are 158cm.  


Just for the record, if your skis have the cutouts in the tip and tail, you have the 2011 MX98 which is rockered (mildly). Rocker comes in all different flavors and it can be pretty subtle as you have found.

post #8 of 9

At 230 lbs., i am surprised you were testing that 177-178 range.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

John J:

 

These are our shop's demo skis, we don't carry enough inventory to justify demos in every size.  So we stock our demo fleet with the most popular sizes.  Regardless of what length of ski that I actually own, these reviews are valid.  Personally, when I test skis at industry trade shows, I don't mind skiing shorter lengths, because at my size, I will find the limits of a particular model sooner than most. 

 

Although, even though I am a bigger guy, I usually adapt to what the ski is most willing to do.  Really, I consider myself more of a finesse/technical skier, rather than a blunt force brusier.  I ski fast and aggressively, but don't need high DIN settings on my bindings to stay in (ski 9-10 DIN, on Markers even), I haven't pre-released in years - just ride the ski, don't force it. 

 

It is kind of a dis-service to other skiers to recommend ski lengths based entirely on weight or height.  So many other factors are relevant, terrain, snow type, preferred turn radius, etc.  and probably more importantly skiing style and technical ability.  If you have a quality ski underneath you, it probably won't fold under your weight.  Most recreational skiers don't pressure a ski well enough to break it or overwealm it to the point of unusability.  Only the very strong, elite, World Cup, level athletes, can do this, but their skill set is good enough, that even they won't.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Quick reviews ; Blizzard Atlas and The One, Dynastar Sultan 94, and Kastle MX98