Length: 158, 168, 178, 188
It's hardly an indictment of rocker, but the fact that a fully cambered ski wins the Men's Mixed Snow East category is interesting. Kastle embraces rocker for soft-snow applications, but prefers the snap and positive edge-grip of camber for frontside skiing. In this case, testers agreed. They enjoyed the rebound (No. 3 in the category) and stability (No. 2) that they expected of a metal-reinforced, non-rockered Kastle, but were at the same time astonished by the MX88's fun-loving forgiveness (No. 1). Our 178 cm test length was equal parts agile and smooth, bending readily into silky, glued-to-the-snow arcs, with predictable, easily managed transitions in between. "Silky, always flowing. Moves through the tight spots like greased lightning." Notes: The MX 88, with its versatile waist width (88 mm), is Kastle's No. 1 seller worldwide and in the U.S. It's wide enough to be fun and floaty in powder, but eager to carve as well. The MX line, which has been highly successful for the resurgent brand, features all-mountain skis built like race skis--wood cores, vertical sidewalls, metal laminates, thicker profiles--to keep the most demanding technicians happy. Kastle resists the trend toward putting rocker on frontside skis such as these, preferring the rebound and positive edge engagement of camber. Kastle's Elliptical Sidecut is progressively tighter tip and tail, for quick turn initiations and strong finishes. Sturdy vertical-sidewall, laminate construction enhances edge grip. Two sheets of metal keep it damp and torsionally rigid. The Hollowtech tip is a Kastle signature: All but a thin translucent layer of glass is removed from an egg-shaped section of the tip. This reduces swing weight, and because there's less mass, tip vibration is reduced, both in amplitude and duration, so the ski is quieter on the snow and the edges are locked into the snow sooner and longer. Kastle this year increased the size of the Hollowtech oval and says it now cuts up to 15 percent from the weight of the shovel.
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