2021 Kastle ZX108

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lengths: 169, 179, 184, 191 cm
radius: 19.2 m at 184 cm
sidecut: 140.5/108/129.5 mm
price: $ 749

A new offering from Kastle for 2021, the ZX 108 is a culmination of the progress Kastle has been making in the freeride world over the past half-decade or so. Known appropriately and affectionately as "The Drifter," The ZX 108 borrows from the BMX 105 and the FX 106 HP models. Best suited on the feet of advanced and expert skiers in deeper and softer snow, these skis are light, playful, and a ton of fun. At 108 mm underfoot, they're going to give you a good amount of float, but that's not all they do. As one of the more versatile and well-rounded skis of this width, they do follow all of Kastle's protocols for high-quality and precision, but the best part is that they're a lower price point than the premium models while retaining the quality and engineering of the pricier skis in Kastle's lineup. We're expecting some pretty good things to come out of skier's experience on the ZX 108 this year, and it's all due to the combination of shape, profile, and construction.

Rocker / Camber / Rocker
Powder, Big Mountain, All Mountain

The first and best thing about Kastle's skis is the materials used and how they put them together. In the case of the ZX 108, we're getting a poplar and beech wood core to start. They do this in an interesting way, with vertically laminated stringers of said wood being sandwiched together. This creates a stiffer flex for the ski without really having to add other materials. When placed vertically, most substances get stiffer, and this is a good way to achieve higher performance with less material. They add a full fiberglass wrap to the core and this does a couple of things. First, the top and bottom layer of glass make for a snappy and energetic feeling to the ski without the deadening of metal. Since the core is wrapped in a 360-degree manner, the vertical aspects of the glass add yet two more stringer-like beams that function in a stiffer and more responsive capacity. Again, it's all about economy of materials, using them in a manner that maximizes their efficiency and efficacy.

At 108 mm underfoot, we're already getting a floaty ski with a light-weight build, so for playfulness and flotation, we've already got a pretty good base. Add to that a powder-specific taper shape and rocker profile, and we're seeing why these things get their "Drifter" moniker. Borrowing the tip shape and profile from the FX 106 model, the skis are pretty dramatic in the taper and rocker department. Add to that their Hollowtech tips, and the front of the ski is light, smeary, and super-fun. With more tail rocker than the 106, the end parts of the turn are really where the drifting takes place. Skiers who view the mountain as their playground and who like to use each and every part of the ski will love this new profile for wheelies, nollies, smears, and beyond. It's all about using your imagination and creativity out there to make your mark on the snow, and the Drifter is just the paintbrush for your canvas.

With a fantastic new shape and build for 2021, the ZX 108 is going to find a lot of fans. The fact that it has more of an accessible price point will likely attract a new generation of skiers to the Kastle line. While a bit prohibitive in the past, the fact that they're reaching a new demographic should do good things for the brand as a whole.