Featured Cage Match Comparison Kästle MX74 vs Stöckli Laser AX

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews and Comparisons' started by Philpug, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 10.39.36 AM.png
    Stöckli vs Kästle, Kästle vs Stöckli, these are the comparisons that keep people coming to Pugski. I feel like a ring announcer in Vegas: "In this corner, measuring in at 74mm underfoot, the Kästle MmmmmmmX Sev-en-ty Fourrrrrrr, and in the far cornahhhh, measuring in at 77mm underfoot, the Stooooooockli Laser AyyyyyyeX!" These two premium frontside-biased skis are super bantamweights in the ski world’s Cage Matches.

    The Kästle MX74 is deceptive with its unassuming white and blue motif; some might just mistakenly dismiss it as a women’s ski, which would be a grave mistake. Remember my Shrink It and Pink It article a few years back? I mentioned then that Kästle does not make men's skis or women's skis; it makes skiers' skis. The second narrowest of the MX collection is just that, a full-camber, full-sandwich, hard-snow-biased tool.

    The Stöckli Laser AX has been a darling of the Pugski community since it was introduced. What's not to like about it? It has a sweet spot that Willy Wonka would be proud of and performance so obtainable that almost any competent intermediate will appreciate it. I have said it before, this is one of the best values for an intermediate skier: even with a price tag north of $1,000, intermediates will never outgrow the Laser AX, so it will last them longer than the typical next three ski purchases and just get better right along with them.
    • Why choose the MX74? You want to drive your ski, but you do not want to give up refinement.
    • Why choose the Laser AX? You want to ride your ski, but still want the power when needed.
     
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  2. UGASkiDawg

    UGASkiDawg AKA David Pugski Ski Tester

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    And that's why you're the master! Bravo!:golfclap:
     
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  3. Dakine

    Dakine Getting off the lift Skier

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    One thing I like to do when comparing skis is to take them into a NASTAR course and ski some non tucked runs.
    For example, I found my Kastle RX's are only about 5-7 handicap points faster then my FX94's.
    That made me realize just how good wider skis have become on hard snow.
    How do you think a NASTAR comparison of these skis would come out?
    I'm not quite sure what this test measures but at least it is quantitative.
     
  4. Thread Starter
    TS
    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    If I had to choose between these two for a Nastar course? I would probably go with the Kastle every time...and twice on Sunday. It's shape and profile is more aggressive and IMHO will bite and hold better. The AX is a little too polite, even though it knows it is better than them. it will tell the other skis...."after you... no, I insist..." It is just in the skis upbringing, it takes being well mannered to a whole new lever. Now, if it was between the Kastle and the Laser SX...I would probably take the SX.
     
  5. Ron

    Ron Making fresh tracks Pugski Ski Tester

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    nastar? yep Kastle, free-skiing on groomed hard snow through 6" fresh, bumps, broken, crud, HANDS DOWN NO CONTEST, Laser Ax
     
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  6. ski otter 2

    ski otter 2 Getting off the lift Skier

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    The Kastle 74 carves, between slalom and gs. The AX both rides and plays, fast or slow. Both best at what they do. If you want to slow down a bit, but carve well, with easy control - Kastle 74. It is also optimal at this, with real ease, on "old snow" afternoons: when it's skied off on the groomers in the afternoon - beginning to bump up and get skied off and icy, and people are leaving, those Kastle 74s shine, at careful speeds especially. Easy, controlled carves. Not tiring. On almost any "old snow" terrain.

    By comparison, the AX makes me laugh in that compared to a race ski, it's so good yet danged playful, relaxing, at your choice of speed. You can ride the edge or throw it around; and yet you can charge it at will, on edge so stable. Like a race ski or freeride charger, when you want those qualities.
     
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  7. jmeb

    jmeb Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior Skier

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    I'm sort of glad that the Stockli costs the same as 2/3rds of my total quiver, and basically never comes up used. Else I might make a really irresponsible decision.
     
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  8. wutangclan

    wutangclan Getting on the lift Skier

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    Interesting ... I read through a pile of AX reviews, this is the first time I've heard of it described as being for Intermediates.
     
  9. Ulmerhutte

    Ulmerhutte Putting on skis Skier

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    Off topic... love to see a Kästle FX95 HO versus Black Crows Camox cage fight. Those 2 are on my short list to demo in January, as a 1-ski quiver for St Anton, ie a mix of on piste, side piste, and some back country.
     
  10. Thread Starter
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    The AX is so versatile and has such a big sweet sport that a solid intermediate could easily ski it and as the skier gets better, the ski will get better with them.

    We have tried numeorus times to get on Black Crow skis, it just has never worked out.
     
  11. Plai

    Plai Paul Lai Skier

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    I resemble that remark.
     
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  12. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

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    This Kästle Stöckli comparion is like a ford chevy comparison.... Comparing the Chevy Camaro with the Ford Edge.
     
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  13. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    one thing to note for eastern skiers is the Kastle will not hook up on groomed loose granular as well as the Stockli.
     
  14. wallyk

    wallyk Would rather be ski'n Skier

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    I have the MX74 that I bought from @dawgcatching last year......I use the MX74 as my primary ski for the local "hills" in Minnesota. Have also brought to Breck and Big Sky and the MX74 is a fantastic product. Exactly what one would expect from Kastle.....tenacious edge grip on the firm/icy/loose granular, and capable of making a variety of turns: short radius, medium to longer GS...eats bumps. A very smooth ride....more Mercedes AMG or than a Porsche 911....tail lacks some of the energy or "pop" that I was used to from a slalom ski, but still can get a nice bit of rebound if loaded correctly. That said, the MX74 is not a ski for an intermediate skier and I don't believe that the upper intermediate would get as much out of the MX74 as an advanced skier who knows how to work a traditionally built product. The ski is designed to be driven and those who can drive and work the length of the MX74 will be rewarded with a sweet, stable ride.

    I rode the AX last year late season at Zermatt and it is a fine product. As someone who owns a MX74, MX83 and a Stockli SR88 (the 17/18 product), I had a hard time seeing where the AX would fit in my line up. For most skiers looking for an fantastic one or two quiver ski, the AX is an excellent choice.....I think that the MX74 has more power than the AX and the better comparison is with Stockli Laser [email protected] has done some excellent writing about these two skis here.
     
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  15. ski otter 2

    ski otter 2 Getting off the lift Skier

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    Thanks, @wallyk . Very good description of the MX 74. But not as much the AX, IMHO - at least for me. Both top of my list skis. And I have a big ski quiver, in which the AX still stands out - unique behavior. Ride the rail rather than just carve. And yet it has an informality to it, a fun contrast to a race ski.

    The AX 77/78, by the way, is very, very similar to the old Stockli SR XXL 80 (from c. '08): some folks at Stockli spent a lot of time and effort to get them so similar, dialed in that way - real continuity, even though the build materials seem different, and the AX currently is lighter, slightly different flex. Skied back to back, these two Stocklis have the same feel, and performance envelope is more than similar. To me, these Stocklis have a characteristic "ride the edge" way to them, in addition to carving: stack that edge and ride it, forward or more upright, race style or freeride.

    The AX kills crud/uneven, for its width. It's very versatile that way, all over the mountain.

    (Note: I've only demoed the MX74, so pardon me if I've shortchanged it.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  16. wallyk

    wallyk Would rather be ski'n Skier

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    @ski otter 2 ..........thanks for the comment!!!! I chose not to write as much about the AX because there are so many reviews of the ski here. I like your comment about the "unique behavior" of the AX. Very true.

    While I skied the AX for half a day, the conditions at Zermatt were very similar to a good day on the east coast or an average day in the Rockies: light dusting on top of a good base, but no real opportunity to ski off piste. I liked the AX and had a blast mixing the turn radius around Zermatt and thought that the ski was a riot.

    Was Impressed that the Stockli demo center had a good tune on the AX....Speed that day was generally "fast", or fast for a 42 year old, to medium speeds.....I skied the edge of the piste and had no problems blasting in and out of the "loose granular" stuff or working the ski into wider GS turns. Huge sweet spot was awesome and the ski is a total luxury ride.....Mercedes S Class or BMW 7 series....Remembering back, I felt that the tail lacked some energy or "pop" compared to the MX74 but that was to be expected. A competent skier that can work the length of the ski will enjoy the AX and can appreciate what Stockli has to offer......Again, this was a half day demo and I was thrilled to be at Zermatt and skiing Stockli skis.

    IMHO can't go wrong with either product.....MX74 or the AX.....AX has a little more versatility than the 74. I primarily ski Minnesota so the 74 is prefect for these conditions: short runs with hard/icy snow and loose granular. Similar to Mt Snow or western Mass, Poconos.....but absent the vertical.
     
  17. ski otter 2

    ski otter 2 Getting off the lift Skier

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    Great comments on the AX. And MX 74. Music to my ears.

    I'm in the Rockies, so that might account for my AXes; back East or Mid-West, I'd probably go for the MX 74s also.

    What I tend to do with a quiver is have skis that do at least one thing incredibly, better than other skis I know of (at least one full "wow"), that I like to do often.

    Like the AX, the MX 74 has that. That makes this thread comparison so great, to me.


    (Like you, I also have other skis in that general width, each with some "wow" of it's own, but some aging.)

    (At the same time, don't know about you, but most of my skis are either narrower race skis (or near race skis) or fatter powder-&-crud skis.)



    But the MX 74s, I'd love to own too - somewhere down the road, perhaps (and maybe some SR 88s, at some point? :D).



    So many wonderful skis, praise the Lord.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018

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