Kastle FX94 (2011) - Ski Mag

Kastle FX94 (2011)

Chris Davenport is a cool dude, being one of the world’s greatest big mountain skiers and all that. So it follows that the ski he inspired, as one tester put it, “RULES!” The FX94—the newest in Kastle’s freeski/mountaineering line—eats up the fall line regardless of what lies beneath: powder, trees, crud, cord, bumps. It’s ravenous for speed and can never get enough. Two sheets of metal sandwich a wood core—the sturdiest in the category. (It’s also the only unisex model; Kastle’s women’s line is in the works.) “Crushed the chop, great float, and could still carve way out from under me,” said Schultz.
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2011 Kastle FX94

Rating: / 5
Price: $1440.00
Year: 2011
Level: 3
Gender: Female
Waist Width:
Tip/Tail/Waist: 128/94/117
Lengths: 166

Stability at speed: 3.80 / 5
Hard snow performance: 3.11 / 5
Crud performance: 3.91 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.44 / 5

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2011 Kastle LX

Kastle LX82 (2011)

This one should come with a helmet. A damp powerhouse that insists on speed, the LX 82 goaded our testers to the edges of their comfort levels. We should have expected as much from the only unisex ski entered in the category (see also: Men’s Hard Snow) but its lightweight construction—the trademark of the new LX line—had us fooled. The secret is a light, soft wood core sandwiched in metal then wrapped in fiberglass, giving it the torsional rigidity to bite on ice. It only has one speed, though: hauling butt. “Good for someone who charges all the time,” said Gillet.

Kastle LX82

Kastle LX82 (2011)

What’s with the oval cutaway in the tip of every Kastle? That’s Hollowtech, and it’s a Kastle hallmark harking all the way back to the ’76 Innsbruck Olympics. A lighter tip vibrates less, so the edge remains engaged, and reduced swing-weight gives it a more nimble feel. At 82 mm, the LX82 lacks some quickness edge-to-edge. That might be a problem in bumps, but it’s a blessing on powder days. And overall this flagship of the new LX line of lighter, softer Kastles offered a smooth and velvety ride that was enjoyable in crud as well as on the groomed. “Nice balance of power and finesse,” said Scholey.

Nordica Nemesis 2011

Nordica Nemesis (2011)

Nordica took last year’s burly, damp Nemesis and lightened it up, replacing the two sheets of metal with carbon to make it significantly easier to handle. One thing hasn’t changed: It’s still an aggressive charger with a more demanding feel. Pro: It carves cleanly on hardpack, making it one of the more multitalented skis in the category. Con: It doesn’t have the buttery smooth feel of some of the powder purists in the category, and it requires a skilled, powerful driver. (It scored last among winners in Forgiveness.) “Solid at speed and holds a nice edge,” said Humes. “This is definitely a ski for an aggressive woman.”

2011 Blizzard The Crush

Blizzard The Crush (2011)

Let’s hope the still-small, reemergent Blizzard factory is fully staffed: These skis are going to sell. The redesigned Crush blows through everything in its path. All you have to do is look down your line, and this ski will take you there. Steep, tight trees? Chuck yourself in. Chopped up crud? Ditto. Groomers? It rips. A rockered tip and tail work with its sidecut for supreme contact on hard snow, making it the most versatile in the category—tops in Hard-Snow Grip, Crud, Rebound and Stability. And yes, it smears lusciously through pow. “I couldn’t go as fast as this ski wanted to,” said Beale. “What a standout.”

K2 Aftershock

K2 After Shock (2011)

K2 goes deep with rocker. Almost every ski in the line gets some, from huge helpings in powder skis to subtle tip rocker that makes hard-snow skis easier for skidders to pivot. In an all-mountain ski like the After Shock, a 15-cm section of tip rocker gives it float in powder, smooth shock-absorption and quickness in bumps and crud, and forgiving maneuverability on hard snow. That left our 174 cm test length with about 160 cm of traditional camber—plus two sheets of metal—with which to carve trenches as deep as we cared to. “Fun, lively, quick and easy. A true one-ski-quiver ski,” said Garrett.

2011 Exclusive Eden

Dynastar Exclusive Eden (2011)

Some skis are like Meryl Streep, expressive and sensitive to your every thought. This one is like Rambo—out for first blood. Our stronger and/or heavier testers were huge fans, feverish about its wood-core, sandwich/sidewall construction and scoring it highly in Overall Impression—perhaps the most important criterion in the test. Our lighter girls, though, found it a bit bullheaded and ranked it last among winners in Forgiveness. But everyone agreed that when crud comes your way, the Eden will flex all its muscles, if only you have the strength to hang on. “A powerhouse!” said Shultz.

2011 Rosignol S86W Freeski

Rossignol S86W Freeski (2011)

Rossignol’s S86 ranked No. 1 in the Men’s Mixed Snow category (see p. 73). The women’s version is, thankfully, not watered down: Vertical sidewalls, two sheets of metal and a full wood core give it plenty of hard-snow integrity. Meanwhile, a rockered tip and tail ease through crud and bumps like water running downhill. (It scored No. 3 in Forgiveness.) Testers agreed that the S86W suited the category perfectly: a Jill of all trades that scored highly in every criterion, but didn’t stand out in any one. A very versatile ski for all levels. “Super fun and smooth,” said Gillet. “You could really take them anywhere.”

2011 Elan Apex

Elan Apex (2011)

In a category where versatility is prized above all else, the Apex gets the job done with a pleasing blend of power and forgiveness. Testers gave it high marks for its hard-snow performance. Yet with plenty of taper (i.e., relatively narrow tail in relation to tip), it releases readily at the end of each arc, so you’ll never feel overmatched. It’s a no-gimmicks, unrockered, wood-core, vertical-sidewall, metal-reinforced construction with a smooth, supple feel—plenty of fun at speed. “Direction changes are quick, stability is super high—it does everything well,” said Preston.