2021 Kästle Ski Brand Profile


Kästle isn’t what it used to be, and that’s a good thing.

Not to dis the current Kästle’s ancestry, but Kästles of yore could be clumped in two camps: race skis it took a god like Zurbriggen to bend, and kooky creations that should have been euthanized in development, like the Echo Thesis and B-52. All of which has little intersection with the Kästle of today except that both have a dominant strain of Austrian DNA and the new Kästle recently re-occupied the founding factory in Hohenems.

The current Kästle camp relies on modern execution of a traditional construction, with a signature damping system called Hollowtech adorning every tip. Colorful Hollowtech inserts catch both the eye and the snow, as they’re meant to dissipate shock faster than a conventional shovel. Not many brands are concerned with early contact any more, but a ride on the latest iteration of the venerable MX83 will remind you not only of what camber does, but why you ski.

Kästle has moved back into the facility in Hohenems where Anton Kästle created the first skis to bear his name, where its engineers can concoct prototypes and execute small production runs. But this detail, while redolent with misty-eyed history, buries the lede: Kästle’s new owner, ConsilSport, has its own plant in the Czech Republic to handle the brand’s production. The 20/21 season is the first in over two decades to see in-line Kastle skis produced in a Kastle-owned facility.

As recently as two years ago, the core of Kästle’s Alpine line was segmented into three series: the cambered MX series of Frontside carvers, the abundantly rockered FX series of all-mountain skis and BMX Big Mountain models. In 2020, the BMX name was eliminated in favor of extending the FX family into its turf.

Once upon a time, Kästle made a women’s ski named Vogue; in 2020, it revived the Vogue name to serve as an umbrella for three women-specific models, the DX73 W, DX85 W and FX96 W.

Because Kästle cuts no corners, its skis customarily command a premium at retail. This means most skiers will never know what they’re missing. It also helps explain why Realskiers’ testers can’t wait to ski them year after year. They don’t get re-skied because testers forgot how they skied; they’re re-skied every year because skiers can’t forget how incredibly they ski. It’s like a designer drug: once you try it, you’re hooked.

The 2021 Kästle Season

The 2021 season marks a watershed moment in Kästle’s long history. For the first time in over two decades, a Kästle-owned factory will make its skis. Underscoring the significance of the move is the return of its original MX series, the carving collection most responsible for Kästle’s return to relevance.


The seeds of the 2021 season were planted in 2018, when ConsilSport, a Czech manufacturer owned by former ski racer Tomáš Němec, acquired a majority stake in Kästle. Last year, production moved to the Czech factory in Nové Město na Moravě, while Kastle maintained offices and a limited production capacity at the brand’s original site in Hohenems, Austria.


Building one’s own skis may not sound like a bold move, but the MX83, MX88 and MX98 aren’t just well remembered by the skiers who once rode them; they’re revered. If the new versions didn’t live up to expectations, the ramifications for the brand weren’t likely to be pretty. I’m relieved to report that the first MX models to issue from the Czech facility are first-rate in both design and finish. Kästle’s enraptured fan base won’t be disappointed by the revived MX83 and MX88, and the new MX98 is better than its venerated namesake.


If you’ve never skied a Kästle before, any of the new MX’s will make an excellent first impression. The new MX series’ construction uses poplar in lieu of silver fir in the core, so they’re a bit lighter now, but two stout layers of Titanal and fully cambered baselines keep them welded to the snow. Because of their Old School design, the MX’s have a different snow feel than the rockered baselines and tapered sidecuts that dominate current all-mountain ski design. For skilled skiers who don’t need help with their technique, demoing a Kastle MX model is a dangerous thing to do, for once you experience their exquisite connection to the snow, you will have to have it.


Kästle is keenly aware that its prices are above the market norm, so it created the ZX108 so skiers who aren’t fiscally flush could afford to ride a Kastle on powder days. The ZX108’s MSRP of $749 is right in line with other top Big Mountain models, bringing Kastle quality within reach of the less affluent.

FX106 Ti

Any clear-eyed assessment of what transpires on a powder day at any popular resort would conclude that the “powder” part of the day begins around 9:00 and ends around 10:00.  For the rest of the day, all accessible terrain devolves into something considerably less idyllic.  The Kästle FX106 Ti is built to cope with this reality, for it wields its smear-ability like a weapon when deep snow switches from a fluffy texture to something closer …READ MORE

FX86 Ti

I ski the Kästle MX83 on a regular basis, so I can’t help judging the FX86 Ti by the standard set by its stablemate. It’s not a fair comparison, because the two skis are aiming at different targets.  They don’t ski much alike because they’re made to ski differently.  Let us count the ways. Starting from the tips, the MX83’s full camber line is made to connect as early as possible, while the tapered and …READ MORE

FX96 Ti

Now that the FX96 Ti has returned to something closer to its original self, its performance ceiling has doubled. Sawyer Alford from Bobo’s fell so hard for the FX96 Ti that he beseeched Kästle for sponsorship. His notes on the FX96 Ti reveal the ardor of a young man in love. “This ski is the perfect directional 95-100mm underfoot ski. It’s damp yet stiff enough that any energy you put into the ski will be …READ MORE


Kästle’s current MX83, now in its fourth season, is both typical of a current trend and atypical in a way all its own.  The trend it’s party to is how a series of modest modifications amount to a significant change, especially in Finesse qualities.  It’s unique among such upgraded models in that the name it’s re-assuming happens to be the legendary MX83, inarguably one of the greatest Frontside models ever made. Unlike many Frontside models, …READ MORE


The Kästle MX88 has been around long enough – over a decade – to be secure in its own identity.  It does not lack for self-confidence. When confronted with a surface that would cause most double-rockered baselines to quake, the nearly fully cambered MX88 yawns.  You can almost hear it say, “That all ya got?” The MX88 never wavers because it has the bravado that comes from knowing it’s ready down to the last detail.  …READ MORE


The MX98 is an outlier in the All-Mountain West genre, the only ski in the category that headlines a family of fully cambered carving skis. Its only concession to the requirements of off-trail travel is a long (270mm) front rocker that’s so gradual it’s imperceptible. Given that its classic core of wood (silver fir and poplar), fiberglass and Titanal (.5mm sheets) isn’t particularly lightweight, how can it ski comparably to an armada of competitors with …READ MORE


Kästle’s MSRP’s hover near the peak of the retail pricing mountain, where the air is so thin only a few brands can survive in it.  Kästle’s relatively new Czech ownership wants to expand the line by dropping a few experimental models down to a lower altitude, where the people, particularly less affluent younger people, can afford to acquire them. Hence the ‘Z” in its name, a reference to Gen Z, otherwise known as young adults.  …READ MORE