2020 Kastle MX 99

The 2020 Kastle MX 99 returns for this season unchanged, and for the fans of this supercar-style ski, that’s a good thing. It’s an amazingly damp and stable ski, thanks to the design and construction, and there’s little to no doubt that these things are capable of handling a lot of different conditions and terrain. At 99 mm underfoot and built the way that they are, the MX 99 is a high-end ski for advanced and expert level skiers who are looking for power, precision, and versatility all at once. The width is on the wide side for a carving ski, and on the narrow side for a powder ski, but Kastle makes it work, and it works well. The Fir/Beech wood core is sandwiched between two sheets of metal as well as a full carbon layup. This is about as stiff and burly as skis get, as the race-style construction sets these apart from other skis in the market. The only playful aspect of the ski is the early rise tip that makes turn initiation a little more peaceful, as well as a bit more floaty. But other than that, these things are built to rip.

On his 176 cm tester, Justin Perry liked the length and loved everything else. His low score was a 3 out of 5 for forgiveness, as this can easily be explained by the rugged construction of the ski. All other marks were 5’s out of 5 with a 4 for flotation. Justin calls the MX 99 “the mid-fat ski to rule them all. I have tested this ski about five times and it always blows my mind. Edge hold is a 10/10, quickness is a 10/10, and fun is a 100/10.” When asked whether Justin would get a pair for himself, he replied: “I am in the process of buying a pair now.” I guess we’ll see Justin flying down the hill on a pair of MX 99’s next winter!

Connor Gorham had a very similar experience on his 176. Mostly 5’s for Connor, with a few 4’s floated in there for forgiveness and versatility. But overall impression was a 5, as evidenced by his initial exclamation. “Wow! Extremely reactive turning with incredible edge control. I took some turns while the groomers were still cold and they sliced on-demand. Speed comes with ease, but does not compromise control. Heavy off the pop, but enough ski to handle playing in deeper snow. I was told this ski was a must-try, and it did not disappoint!” In terms of the slick and subtle graphics, Connor gives them a rating of “Tuxedo.”

Michael Carroll-Sherwin was unsure as to whether his 176 was the right length or if he would prefer the longer 184. He did note that they “ski very long,” so he might have been happier on the 176. Either way, he loved the ski, scoring it a 5 out of 5 for overall impression, edge hold, stability, and maneuverability. No scores below 4 for Mike. He calls the MX 99 a “very sophisticated ski. For a 176, it could take as much speed and power as a much longer ski. They have great balance both on the trail and in the air.” In terms of an intended audience, Michael did not mince words: “Be brave! You’ll thank me later!” Ok, sounds good to us!

Josh Wolfgang echoes Michael’s sentiments in terms of downsizing. He skied the 176 and found it appropriate, but he’s certainly tall enough to handle the 184. “This ski is amazing. You can’t have more fun on the hill than with this ski. It’s unbelievably smooth and responsive in all turn shapes.” Josh made up his own level for overall impression, and it looks like he was shooting for a 7 out of 5.

These things will stack up against anything on the mountain today, from build or design standpoints. Advanced and expert level skiers will appreciate the quality and high-performance levels of the MX 99. It’s one in a million, to be sure.

Testers

Connor Gorham

Age: 29Height: 6'0"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Creative and inviting and always with a smile

Michael Carroll-Sherwin

Age: 30Height: 6'1"Weight: 185 lbs.

Ski Style: Quick and nimble with freeride influence

Josh Wolfgang

Age: 23/24Height: 6'1"Weight: 190 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast and carvy with a love for the fall line

Jeff Neagle

Age: 33Height: 5'10"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Aggressive freeride with freestyle background

Justin Perry

Age: 29Height: 5'9"Weight: 167 lbs.

Ski Style: Aggressive all-mountain freeride

3 Comments on the “2020 Kastle MX 99”

  1. Hi Skiessentials crew! Thank you for your thorough reviews. I am a big fan 🙂
    I am 5’8” 155Lbs and an advanced skier trying to become a solid expert in the next couple of seasons.
    I do like carving on the groomers a few times a day, but I normally enjoy and would want to be spending most of my time on steeps, chutes, and moguls. At least this is how I think I will advance to the expert level. I definitely need a lot of improvement on my hop(jump) turns and maneuverability. Mammoth is my home slope, but I take a few trips per season to Rockies as well.
    I currently ski a pair of Volkl AC 30’s from 2011. I am looking into buying a new pair and am wondering given my goals stated above what ski suits me best. I am considering these options:

    Kastle MX99
    Nordica Enforcer 104
    Volkl Mantra M5 (or 102)

    Or if you have any other suggestions, please let me know. Appreciate your feedback!

    1. Thanks, Ethan!
      I’d put the Kastle as more of a dedicated groomer ski based on the build and shape. Although it has the measurements to be an off-piste ski, the general demeanor of the ski is better suited to high-speed groomer runs. The Enforcer is more versatile and has a very high gear. Much more off-trail and soft snow oriented than the Kastle. A wonderful overall choice. Between the Mantras, the M5 is nice because it gives you a good blend of speed, versatility, and quickness. It’s 8 mm narrower in the waist versus the Nordica, so it is going to be quicker edge to edge. For the 102, it’s the same overall feel as the M5, just with more material and stability. I was very impressed with the 102’s carving prowess for how wide it is but it suffers a similar fate as the Kastle in which it’s wide, but is better suited for carving, groomers, and some off-piste adventures versus a full-time versatile tool like the M5 or the Enforcer. On your list, which is a great list, I’d look to the Enforcer 104 to do what you want. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thanks a lot for the feedback! I am happy with your answer as I was coming to the same conclusion. Cheers!

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