Not a lot has changed since last year at Kästle, but once again we received so many test cards on its skis, one could be excused for thinking every one must be new. That’s because once you ski a Kästle, you’ll want to ski it again. Since the shop personnel we depend on for data couldn’t afford one without a modern-day Medici as a sponsor, when they get an opportunity to take one for a spin, they take it.
Our team’s passion for Kästle drives them to ferret out even those models that will be in very short supply. For the second season in a row, they latched onto an MX Limited, as in limited to 200 pairs available, worldwide. Technically identical to last season’s Limited, this year’s topsheet veneer is made from a local cherry tree. If this sounds like a slo-mo production, it is. The handiwork is done in Kästle’s original facility in Hohenems, where they don’t have the time limitations of large-scale manufacturing.
Even more recherché than the MX Limited is the MX88 Anniversary, a slightly tweaked version of the immortal model that introduced Kästle’s signature tip design, Hollowtech, ten years ago. The Anniversary gets an extra sheet of carbon under its glossy topskin, which is inlaid with elegant anodized aluminum at the Hohenems factory. All for only $1,999, pre-mounted with a Tyrolia binding.
We wouldn’t even mention the new RX12 race skis as they’ll be as rare as albinos at the beach, but Realskiers testers are a determined lot. They found them, skied them, loved them.
The only new Kästles you’ll actually find at a retailer outside of Lech are a redesign and repositioning of its lightweight LX series, the new LX73 and LX85. Now clearly identified as women’s models, the 2018 LX’s are no longer cap skis, but square-sidewall, wood-and-metal laminate construction. Don’t let their simulation of a burly build scare away the so-so skier; the LX73 doesn’t size down to a 140cm to serve skiing’s elite, but to coddle its less fortunate.
The only other change of note: silver fir has been added to the beech core of the FX and BMX series to create a little more solid feeling in the uneven off-piste terrain these models inhabit.