If you’re looking to compete with the RTM 84’s of the world, you better bring something special to the table. Kastle’s DX 85 does just that and then some. While not the sharpest-looking ski in Kastle’s line, it’s got a lot under the hood to make it go. It’s pretty user-friendly thanks to the hook-free tail and early rise tip, but the standard camber and titanal laminate really make this thing come alive. Mainly reserved for on-piste skiing, the DX 85 holds a strong edge on hard pack and is easy to turn in softer snow. While not a terribly wide ski, it does have some floaty capabilities, especially with the tip and tail taper. But it really shines on the groomers, with a vibration-free experience due to the Hollowtech tip. Skiers from the intermediate levels on up will appreciate the strong construction, but relatively friendly nature of this polished on-trail ski. The friendly 18-meter turn radius at the 176 cm length allows you to make multiple turn shapes and styles, including high-speed GS style carves. Our testers were pretty impressed with the overall poise and power of the 2020 Kastle DX 85.
Steve Sulin skied the 176 and found it to be an appropriate length. That’s a good thing, because that’s the longest one they make. He had some pretty high scores, with stability, forgiveness, and overall impression all getting 5’s. This is some high scoring, and it doesn’t stop there. He also gave the skis 4’s out of 5 for quickness, maneuverability, playfulness, edge hold, and versatility. It’s awesome when a tester is able to call an 85 mm underfoot ski “versatile,” as these front-side skis tend to be more one-dimensional, but it looks like Steve sees something else in the DX 85. In fact, he calls it “my sleeper ski of the test. I’m blown away how good this ski is. It’ll do anything you want it to do.” Steve also notes the rather bland graphics, stating that the skis “need a new paint job.” It’s not that bad, and certainly shouldn’t stop the right skier from getting one of these for front-side and all-mountain activities.
Chuck Waskuch was also a super fan of the DX 85. He, too, skied the 176 and found it to be the right length. In terms of scoring, Chuck was pretty honest in his attribution of a 1 out of 5 for flotation, as these skis are mainly intended for groomed or hard pack use. He counters that low score with a couple of high ones, though, with forgiveness and overall impression both receiving 5’s. Quickness, maneuverability, and playfulness each got 4’s, so it’s looking like Chuck is quite a fan of the DX 85. Average scores of 3 out of 5 for stability, edge hold, and versatility round out his review.
The materials used and the construction techniques set Kastle apart from the crowd with all of their skis, and it’s apparent even in the mid-width cruising skis. From the Hollowtech 2.0 tip mitigating vibrations to the titanal and fiberglass laminates that stiffen and dampen the ski, Kastle is on to something once again, and in this ski, they’re after that mid-80’s underfoot cruising crowd. By making the ski stable and smooth underfoot and a bit more playful in the tip and tail, they’ve set themselves apart once again, and the result is pretty awesome. Our testers all gave the ski a 5 out of 5 for overall impression, and this is a strong sign of a successful design and build.