Kastle FX95 HP (2017)


Rating: 2.28 / 5
Price: $1199.00
Year: 2017
Gender: Female
Waist Width: 95
Tip/Tail/Waist: 126-95-115
Lengths: 165, 173, 181, 189

Stability at speed: 2.61 / 5
Hard snow performance: 2.03 / 5
Crud performance: 2.16 / 5
Flotation: 2.33 / 5
Forgiveness: 2.45 / 5
Overall: 2.28 / 5

The FX95, is the wider of Kastle's two FX (Free Cross) models. Both are expert-level skis designed for all-mountain freeriding, spending as much time off-trail as on. But with its 95-mm waist width, the FX95 is more buoyant in soft-snow conditions, better suited to everyday use in Western locales. Both are offered with or without metal reinforcement. The metal-free versions are lighter, more playful, and more forgiving; the metal-reinforced versions (bearing the HP, or high-performance, designation in the model name) are heavier, more powerful, and calmer at high speeds. The HP version of the FX95 is Kastle's top seller. Both are offered either flat (no binding) or with binding (13-DIN on the 85; 13- or 16-DIN on the 95). Unlike the full-cambered, trail-oriented MX models, FX models are rockered tip and tail-for loose, smeary performance in soft snow-with low traditional camber underfoot so that they still have a measure of hard-snow grip and will still carve readily. The FX's Hook Free tail is rounded, making it easier to skid the end of the turn and control speed as needed. (Compare to the MX, which has a square tail for maximum turn-finishing power.) FX models are laminate constructions built on full wood cores (fir), with vertical sidewalls for sturdy edge grip. HP versions feature metal reinforcement above and below the core for durability, dampness at high speeds, and maximum torsional rigidity (twist resistance). The Hollowtech tip is a Kastle signature: All but a thin translucent layer is removed from an egg-shaped cutout in the tip. This reduces swing weight, and because there's less mass, tip vibration is reduced, so the ski is quieter on the snow and hooks up into a carved turn more readily. Kastle's Elliptical Radius sidecut is progressively tighter tip and tail, for quick turn initiations and strong finishes. K_stle, based in Hohenems, Austria, was founded in 1924, when race coach Aton Kastle developed an all-ash ski. In the 1960s, it had great success with its CPM (compound-plastic-metal) constructions. The brand has an illustrious racing heritage, with World Cup stars such as Pirmin Zurbriggen and Kjetil Andre Aamodt. In 1991 it was purchased by Benetton and folded into the Nordica division. In 2007 it was divested and returned to Hohenems. Its U.S. headquarters are in Vail, Colorado. - J.C.