The Kastle FX 85 HP is back for the 2016-2017 season pretty much unchanged. It is the narrowest ski in Kastle’s freeride collection. It shares some of the same all-mountain attitude as the wider Kastle FX 95 HP, but with a bit more focus on carving front-side groomers. I really enjoyed the smooth and easy going feel of this ski at slower speeds, but loved how much power and energy it had when I wanted to push it a bit harder. I feel like this is one of the more approachable Kastle’s I have skied, and yet it doesn’t sacrifice power and energy. This may be a good fit for skiers that want to carve hard and fast, but don’t want to work super hard to do it.
Kastle FX 85 HP On-Mountain Video Ski Review
Jacket: Trew Cosmic Pants: The North Face Sickline Goggle: Smith Squad
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Tyrolia Aaattack 13
Conditions: Soft Chop, Groomed, Hard Pack, thick variable and tracked snow
Ski Personality: The Kastle FX 85 HP is a front-side all mountain ski with a powerful and energetic feel that doesn’t take a lot of work to unlock.
On the Snow Feel: The Kastle FX 85 HP has a pretty stable feel, especially on edge.
Powder: Not much to say about the Kastle FX 85 HP here. Sure it has a decent amount of tip rocker and a fun Hollowtech tip, but it’s a stiff and relatively burly ski with a narrow 84mm waist.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The biggest surprise I found with the Kastle FX 85 HP was just how smooth and easy going the ski felt at slower speeds. Sure it’s a pretty stiff and relatively unforgiving ski, but I felt like it really didn’t take a lot of work to get the ski on edge. At lower angles, the ski was actually surprisingly maneuverable. I ski still feels pretty substantial, but I definitely expected a bit more burly (clunky) feel, especially at slower speeds. I guess I need to thank to Hollowtech tip for lightening swing weight, and making it easy to tip on edge. What I found most beautiful about this ski was that it still has that smooth, powerful, and energetic feel when you do put more input into the ski. It wasn’t the quickest from edge to edge, but still had a fun and lively rebound energy. I felt like it preferred medium radius turns, but it wasn’t a chore to shorten things up. Likewise, I found that the ski handled well when lengthening my turns. I feel it’s important to understand that I’m not saying this is super forgiving, nor is it overly playful. But I felt that the Kastle FX 85 HP was surprisingly accessible for this type of ski. Maybe we can call it an accessible all-mountain front-side charger.
Speed: Thanks to a Hollowtech tip and two sheets of metal, the Kastle FX 85 HP seems perfectly at home going fast. I Never noticed chatter, and the ski felt stable and damp. It definitely doesn’t have the same feel as the BMX 105 HP, and it certainly felt more at home on smooth groomers. Still, I think people that like speed on groomed terrain will feel relatively confident with the 85 HP.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: I haven’t skied any of the non HP FX models, so I can’t speak to how much more stable they really are. But, with two full sheets of metal, the HP versions all seem very stable, damp, and smooth. Actually, the BMX 105 HP is probably one of my top picks for most stability in a ski. The FX 85 HP is quite stable in its own right, but I found that with the narrow 85mm waist, it is far easier to get it in over it’s head. I really liked this ski for shallow chop, or tracked out after a couple inch storm. But I could see it becoming a bit lost in deep snow, and especially in really deep chop or crud. Fr me this ski leans front-side, more than it does all mountain. I feel like a lot of skiers will find it capable in deeper chop, but may also find it a lot of work in those conditions.
Edge Hold: I didn’t get the Kastle FX 85 HP on any snow that was really hard, but feel like it could hold up well enough. The ski has a decent amount of traditional camber underfoot, and the tail feels relatively locked in when on a high edge angle. The ski feels powerful, and stable when carving moderately long fast radius turns.
Bottom Line: I really like the Kastle FX 85 HP and could see this being someone’s narrow all-mountain ski. I think it would be able to handle a lot of different conditions, and could really compliment a 100mm ski really well. I thought it was a ski that feels smooth, stable, and powerful, but doesn’t feel like it takes a lot of effort to access it. It may be great for those who want a smooth and predictable carver that still has a decent amount of power and energy.
This review reflects the OPINION of our testers based on their personal experience with a particular product. We do not guarantee that you will have the same experience with, or opinion of, a product as our testers did. This review
should only be used as a general guide.