Pugski Test Team

Testing skis so you don't have to.
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18 LX73 copy.png
Kästle LX73
Dimensions: 115-73-99
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 140, 148, 156, 164, 172
Size tested: 164
Design: Carryover

Tricia: (from last season) Kästle has changed its LX lineup; it added a sidewall construction, making this ski completely different from past versions other than the LX in the name. As you would expect from a Kästle, it carved beautifully and inspired me to push my own limits with that smoothness we’ve grown to love. What the LX line has lost in nimbleness, it has gained in power, cutting through the crud effortlessly.
  • Who is it for? Someone looking for a smooth, precise groomer ski.
  • Who is it not for? Skiers who like a midfat as their daily driver.
  • Insider tip: If you’re a previous LX72 or LX82 customer, try before you buy; it is not the same ski anymore.

19 LX85 TC.png
Kästle LX85
Dimensions: 126-85-109
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 144, 152, 160, 168, 176
Size tested: 176
Design: Carryover

Philpug: (from last season) The LX85 is not simply a replacement for the outgoing LX; it is MX Lite, closer in feel to the MX skis than the intermediate-inspired LX82s that are now extinct. As I was writing this, it hit me: these feel more like a replacement for the first-generation FXs. If you liked the on-piste feel of the old FX and miss it in the new FX, you will appreciate these.
  • Who is it for? Lighter experts and advanced skiers who have skills.
  • Who is it not for? Someone who expects to grow into the skis.
  • Insider tip: These skis are ready for prime time; if you aren't sure whether you're ready, you probably aren't.

Ron: (from last season) If you have read other Pug testers' reviews already, you’re going to hear this again: MX Lite. Yep, I wondered about this ski after ripping down a cut-up groomer at decent speed with confidence. What was Kästle thinking? Hmm, this ski is nearly as stable, quick, smooth, and energetic as an MX. I think the LX label took a lot of us by surprise; it’s not your mother's LX. I do wonder how it will work for its intended lightweight skier. In any case, it is a really nice ski that performs at a high level.
  • Who is it for? Well, who is it intended for? For lighter-weight skiers who possess the skills it wants, but you need to demo this ski if it is on your radar.
  • Who is it not for? It very well may be too much ski for the lighter skiers it was aimed at.
  • Insider tip: Demo first.

SBrown: (from last season) The LX85 reminded me a lot of my MX83, which is a great thing but possibly not a great thing. The stiffness of the tip surprised me a bit when I took it into moguls, throwing me around a little until I realized that yes, it IS as stiff as it hand-flexed.
  • Who is it for? Anyone who likes Kästle skis.
  • Who is it not for? Skiers looking for “friendlier” Kästles.
  • Insider tip: It’s been said, but this isn’t the old LX.

UGASkiDawg: (from last season) I never got on the old Kästle LX series, but I had heard that it was a meh ski in its lineup. I’m an unabashed Kästle fanboy, having basically loved every one I’ve ever clicked into except the FX94 -- which I wasn’t thrilled by but was perfectly acceptable. I had low expectations for this ski, but was pleasantly surprised. It certainly doesn’t have the power and thrill of the MX series but on the other hand rewards the intermediate/advancing skier with that silky Kästle feeling in a more relaxed package. This is a ski that my wife who is technically competent but not much of a hard charger would have a blast on and would get off thinking that wasn’t hard which is exactly what she wants and needs!
  • Who is it for? The skier whose skill set is advancing and wants a premium-feeling ski that rewards competence but doesn’t demand it.
  • Who is it not for? The hard-charging speed demon who thinks their ski choice should say something about them.
  • Insider tip: Get them as a gift for your significant other who skis but doesn’t love skiing and watch them smile.

19 MX74 PR.png
Kästle MX74
Dimensions: 124-74-109
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 148, 156, 164, 172, 180
Size tested: 172
Design: Carryover/NGT

Philpug: This is the MX that should be the first purchase when you win the lottery. Quick edge to edge, holds firm snow better than a hungry man holds a sandwich.
  • Who is it for? The skier that wants precision more anything.
  • Who is it not for? Advanced skiers and below, sorry, you are not worthy yet; for you there is the LX73.
  • Insider tip: This will be a tough ski to find in any shop, but the shop that does carry it is one that you can trust with your bootfitting, too.

19 MX84 TC.png
Kästle MX84
Dimensions: 128-84-112cm
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 152, 160, 168, 176, 184
Size tested: 176
Design: Carryover/NGT

Drahtguy Kevin: (from last season) A carryover from last year when it was all new, the MX84 gets in and out of turns easily and with energy. Kästles seemingly turn cruddy snow and chewed-up groomers into cord again. The price of admission is high for a reason.
  • Who is it for? People who like the finer things in life.
  • Who is it not for? Misers.
  • Insider tip: Trust is all this ski needs.

FairToMiddlin: (from last season) Between getting on some "mulligan skis" and some other skis that just left me scratching my head, I needed some me time, and I needed it on a sure thing. The MX84 is a carryover from last year, but I didn’t get on it then, so it was waiting for me when I went in search of a hug.

Mmmm….

The MX84 is Kästle smoothness with a spicy 16m sidecut. Groomed? Yup. Crud? Certainly. Bumps? Yes, please. Strong, quick, predictable, stable; I would be a poor fella if I had to pay into some kind of "cliché superlative swear jar" while describing this ski.
  • Who is it for? If you want a winner and are willing to pay for it, the MX is in that very small club.
  • Who is it not for? Snowboarders.
  • Insider tip: Kästle (and Stöckli, and Renoun) are dangerous skis to try; the experience can take you to dark corners of your mind: “which of my children do I like less? I could be skiing on this if I give him/her up .…”

Philpug: (from last season) Still one of the reference skis in the hard-snow-biased 80-something category. This ski never fails to amaze me. It is just one of the best skis on the market, period, a ski built to a standard and not just a price point.
  • Who is it for? You know who you are.
  • Who is it not for? If you don’t know, then it's you.
  • Insider tip: If you want something special, look at the limited edition model with the wood/carbon fiber graphics.

Ron: (from last season) The MX84 is unchanged because there’s no reason to change it. It’s a superb carver that can dance in soft stuff, crud, and push piles at the end of the day. It can make any shaped turn at will. Its float in transition is addictive. Supremely smooth, precise, accurate, and exhilarating. Gobs of energy. An absolute joy to drive. Skilled pilots only. Etc, etc, etc ....
  • Who is it for? High-level skiers who appreciate all that this ski demands and needs to be enjoyed.
  • Who is it not for? Posers.
  • Insider tip: Even if you can’t afford this ski, go demo it to see what Kästle is all about. The 176 is plenty for anyone thinking they need a 180.

19 MX89 TC.png
Kästle MX89
Dimensions: 129-89-113
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 156, 164, 172, 180, 188
Size tested: 172
Design: Carryover/NGT

SBrown: (from last season) I took this one out after having a mildly scary experience with a not-ready-for-prime-time ski. It was early in the day and I wasn't sure if it was me or the tune, so I went for an old stand-by. Whew. It wasn't me after all. That said, this one can be a handful off piste for lighter skiers.
  • Who is it for? Strong technical skiers who like to haul ass in all conditions.
  • Who is it not for? Slowpokes.
  • Insider tip: Sigh.

Drahtguy Kevin (from last year): Kästle introduced Hollowtech 2.0 this year and revised the tip shape, sidecut, and lengths as well. All those changes seem to improve already-great skis despite some tuning issues at the Kästle tent. I got on these skis a couple different times to flesh out the tune troubles. When right, the tighter turn radius is a welcome addition to the smooth, stable, and inspiring ride of both skis.
  • Who are they for? Those willing to pay the price for a phenomenal ride.
  • Who are they not for? People not willing to commit to putting a ski on edge.
  • Insider tip: The new sizing is spot on.

FairToMiddlin (from last year): Kästle revamped the FX line last year, changing the skis' shape and feel noticeably. This year it was the MX's turn to go under the knife. The difference is minimal, but better. My old MX88 has a 20m turn radius in the 178, the 180 MX89 has a 18m turn radius. The MX74 and 84 have similar subtle sidecut reductions as well compared to the outgoing MX78 and 83. The result is a ski that feels very familiar, in a comforting way, but is even more enthusiastic (and accessible to more skiers) than in years past. Plenty of skis out there perform on hard snow, but few can reach into the sublime with trees, crud, and bumps with the ease that the MX does.

Quality control reared its ugly head again in the Kästle tent, however: the 89 I was given was noticeably concave shape on the base. When skied on edge, the 89 was stable and predictable; increasing edge angle to tighten a turn was a satisfying thing. But any other method of affecting turn shape (pivoting, side slipping, brushing the tails) was unnerving, the ski was fighting me, wanting to snag an edge. I'm picturing being given a track day in a Ferrari 458 Italia with bald tires….
  • Who is it for? Aggressive all-mountain skiers, folks who demand the ski on their feet to be smooth on any part of the mountain, and are willing to pay for it.
  • Who is it not for? Penny pinchers, easy cruisers; this is still a serious ski.
  • Insider tip: I can't believe I'm saying this about Kästle, but be wary of the tune out of the wrapper. Get it done by someone you trust.

19 MX99 TC.png
Kästle MX99
Dimensions: 135-99-120
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 160, 168, 176, 184
Size tested: 176
Design: All New

dean_spirito: The all-new MX99 was certainly one of the highlights of the show. I never skied the MX98, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I clicked in. My only previous experience with Kästle had been with much narrower skis (ie, MX74 and MX83). It didn’t take long to realize that the MX99 offers that same Kästle feel, just in a slightly larger package. I was blown away with how smooth these skis felt. They provided an incredibly stable platform at any speed. If you are a hard-charging skier who can afford to pay a premium for that extra degree of refinement and performance, take a very close look at the MX99.
  • Who is it for? Advanced to expert skiers looking for a premium all-mountain ski.
  • Who is it not for? Those on a budget.
  • Insider tip: If you have champagne tastes on a beer drinker’s budget, take a look at the Kore 99.
Kästle FX85
Dimensions: 119-85-105
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 157, 165, 173, 181
Design: Carryover

AmyPJ (157): I’m not sure if it was the short length, but these skis felt anything but stable and smooth to me, which has not been my experience on my own personal Kästles. I also found the tips, and therefore turn initiation, to be a bit of a mystery. They were VERY easy to initiate turns on, but yet I never felt I could actually find the tips of the skis, if that makes sense. I’d like to say it made them feel playful, but in reality, it made them feel a bit squirrelly.
  • Who is it for? Someone who does not care for a squared tip or tail on their skis.
  • Who is it not for? Someone who appreciate a ski that locks into and holds a turn.

Ron: (from last year) One of my favorite skis ever, the FX85 is still my go-to for everyday loose snow up to 6 inches or time in sidecountry and trees. Kästle has added a 157 to the lineup, beech and fir cores for better longevity and durability, and new topsheets. The nonmetal version is more playful and workable than the HP but still plenty stable for most mortals under 190 lb. The new core doesn’t feel any different, and I actually like the new topsheet. This ski is still off-piste-oriented so don’t buy it for frontside groomers: the tapered tips and tails aren’t as quick to engage on the smooth snow, but that’s what makes them so good off piste. It is an excellent example of why you should never buy a modern ski based on its waist width. I have skied plenty of terrain in boot-deep fresh and leftovers with utmost confidence. The ski flexes so evenly and has a moderate amount of pop, making it fantastic in bumps and trees.
  • Who is it for? Skilled drivers who want a narrower all-mountain ski or OSQ. I ski this all over and up to 6 or 8 in.
  • Who is it not for? Intermediate skiers won’t appreciate all it has to offer.
  • Insider tip: The HP is not necessary for most skiers.

UGASkiDawg (181): (from last year) Kästle made some changes to the wood types and the topsheet and the colors ... so what? The ski still kicks arse. I love the new FX series and I did not like the old FX94s. I’m an unabashed Kästle fanboy, and that continues. They are smooth as silk and a blast to ski everywhere. Go get on a pair on any kind of soft snow. The HP version adds a layer of metal that does exactly what you would expect it to do. This ski never surprises, and always delights. Just point and chute!
  • Who is it for? Anyone who likes to ski off piste
  • Who is it not for? I don't know, you got me...
  • Insider tip: Size up.

19 FX95 PR.png
Kästle FX95/FX95 HP
Dimensions: 126-95-115
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 157, 165, 173, 181, 189
Size tested: 181
Design: Carryover

Ron (from last year): Kästle has added a 157 (in non-HP) to the lineup, beech and fir cores for better longevity and durability, and new top sheets. The FX95 is more of a charger than the FX85 and does have more float, but it's not as floaty as many other skis in the 95-100 range. It is intended for those who prefer something a bit more stable than other 90-somethings, who yearn for that Kästle feel and stability. The 95 is still remarkably agile and nimble, though. Again, there are no changes other than the core and topsheets. It would make an excellent one-ski quiver for those who prefer something a bit wider as their everyday ski. Those who ski in the open may want to go HP for a decided notch up in stability, but otherwise you aren’t giving up much going without metal.
  • Who is it for? Skilled drivers who want a wider all-mountain ski or OSQ.
  • Who is it not for? Intermediate skiers won’t appreciate all it has to offer.
  • Insider tip: The HP is not necessary for most skiers.

19 BMX105 TC.png
Kästle BMX105
Dimensions: 134-105-123
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 165, 173, 181, 189
Size tested: 181
Design: Carryover

Philpug (from last year): I am not sure how I can be so blah on the FX95 and so enamored of the BMX105. The FX/BMX shape is indeed polarizing, with many really liking the FX; the BMX, although not a sales sensation by any measure, is a reference ski in the One Oh Somethings. In the heavy snow/muck/glop that we received at Snowbasin for this test, the BMX105 handled it with same comfort and reliability as it did last year in the perfect chalky snow at Copper. I think I found my new safe word: BMX105.
  • Who is it for? Those with deep pockets who ski bell to bell in wind buff.
  • Who is it not for? Bigger stronger skiers, but that is why they built the HP.
  • Insider tip: A great compromise between a finesse and power ski, a rare blend.
 

DanoT

RVer-Skier
Skier
Great Kastle reviews but the one thing imo that is missing is rocker info.
 

nochaser

Booting up
Skier
Posts
15
Thanks!!

Question on the BMX105...is it a wider version of the BMX98 with a similar feel but more float?

Background: The BMX98 178cm is the fattest ski I ever owned, and I still ski them on powder and soft/deep snow days. I like them a lot for soft snow but wish I had more width for more float on deep powder. With the amount of snow we have been getting at Mammoth and in CA, I wonder if I “want” a new set of “powder” skis (“want”...granted I can always work on/improve my skills). I’m 5’8” 145# coordinated and skilled.
 

Philpug

Notorious P.U.G.
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
22,384
Location
Reno, eNVy
Thanks!!

Question on the BMX105...is it a wider version of the BMX98 with a similar feel but more float?

Background: The BMX98 178cm is the fattest ski I ever owned, and I still ski them on powder and soft/deep snow days. I like them a lot for soft snow but wish I had more width for more float on deep powder. With the amount of snow we have been getting at Mammoth and in CA, I wonder if I “want” a new set of “powder” skis (“want”...granted I can always work on/improve my skills). I’m 5’8” 145# coordinated and skilled.
The BMX 105 is nothing like your 98, it has a completely different feel especially off piste. It is not thenwidth that you will feel that is different but the shape.
 

Daves not here

Getting on the lift
Skier
Posts
325
Location
Coeur d Alene, Idaho
@Philpug how does the BMX 105 (non hp) compare to the QST 106? I been in the 106 and liked it but not the 105 (hp or non).
 

Ron

Seeking the next best ski
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
5,865
Location
Steamboat Springs, Co
Imho, the new QST is just a better old QST. (in the 99, I didnt get on the 106 but I believe the construction is the same) I think the new construction is fantastic. although not as damp or refined as the BMX, its a very good ski and the feel is improved as is the feel of the tip.
 

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