Freeride enthusiasts will love the 2021 Kastle FX 106 HP and the no-nonsense approach to high-performance skiing. Unchanged for this year, the FX 106 HP offers the same build and shape and un-matched precision for so wide of a ski. The new thing for Kastle is removing the metal layers from the HP skis and replacing them with basically a wrapped wood core with fiberglass and carbon. The whole core is wrapped, and this leads to a stronger overall build in a far lighter package. Still with the Hollowtech tips, the skis are light and maneuverable with a minimum of swing weight. Additionally, the lack of chatter on harder snow is very noticeable, as that tip does a fantastic job in damping the vibrations. Strong through the tail, the FX 106 HP is one of the stronger turners of this category, but it achieves that at the cost of losing some playfulness. For hard-charging and aggressive skiers, this is a good thing, but for more freestyle-oriented skiers, this may get in the way of your flow and fun-levels. Our testers note all of these things and how the ski sets itself apart from the more forgiving 106's.
Rocker / Camber / Rocker
Big Mountain, Powder, Touring
Evan Caha skied the 184 and found it to be the right length for him. His highest score was a 4 for flotation, with 3's given for stability, edge hold, versatility, and overall impression. Built with low camber, Evan notes that the lack of "camber was surprising after testing-almost wish it had more camber but was fun at times." Kastle is also pushing this ski as a backcountry and touring choice, hence the lighter weight, which Evan picked up on as well. For an alpine ski, it "probably doesn't weigh enough." Michael Carroll-Sherwin feels a bit differently, also on the 184. Mike calls them "freight trains!" and "very responsive for a 106." And in terms of versatility, they "could easily be a one ski quiver for those who are privileged to have deeper snow."
Bob St.Pierre got to ski the 184 on a nice snowy day and was a huge fan of the precision and overall poise of the 106. He scored the ski a 5 out of 5 for flotation, quickness, edge hold, and versatility. "It could have been the tune, but on the harder surfaces we found, I was pretty shocked with the edge hold. Fortunately, that didn't mean that the ski was grabby either on those surfaces or the deeper snow on the hill. When the conditions got soft, the tips stayed right on top and the low camber really made a big difference when smearing turns. While certainly being a stiffer ski through the tail than other skis without metal, I like the responsiveness, and as a bigger skier, I appreciate the support coming from the back end of the ski. Just don't expect it to perform like a wide twin tip or some backcountry jib stick-these things are still very much in the high-performance and rugged category. The most interesting thing is how they're softer in the shovel and then very progressively and predictably stiffer until the back end. It's consistently inconsistent, if that makes any sense." Yeah, Bob, I think we're getting it.
While the skis have lost their metal over the years, it opens up a lot more possibilities, at least for a strong touring option. The older versions were not too much fun on the uphills. If you're looking for that high-end feel and precise turning through any and all conditions, the FX 106 HP is a hot ticket.