2019-2020 Kastle FX106 HP

Ski: 2019-2020 Kastle FX106 HP, 184 cm

Available Lengths: 168, 176, 184, 192 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 183.9 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 2000 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2079 & 2105 grams

Stated Dimensions: 137-106-125 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 137.6-105.5-124.6 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (184 cm): 20.4 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 59 mm / 20 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 2 mm

Core: Poplar/Beech/Paulownia + Carbon & Fiberglass Laminate

Base: Sintered graphite

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -12.15 cm from center; 79.8 cm from tail

Luke Koppa reviews the Kastle FX106 HP for Blister
Kastle FX106 HP
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

For the 19/20 season, Kastle overhauled their “freeride” skis with the introduction of a revamped “FX” lineup. While the old Kastle BMX and the old (pre-19/20) FX95 HP had previously served as the brand’s freeride skis, the new 19/20 FX skis are quite different. The new FX line consists of the FX86, FX 96 W, FX96 HP, FX106 HP, and the FX116.

We’re reviewing the FX106 HP, the mid-fat ski in the group that’s designed to handle a bit of everything, with an emphasis on backcountry and off-piste performance. The entire FX line is an interesting move for Kastle, as they’re going in a very different direction from the old BMX and previous FX skis of the past.

Check out our video First Look for a quick rundown on this ski, and below we’ll dive into more detail.

What Kastle says about the FX106 HP

“The FX106 HP is made for the backcountry and when teamed up with the FREETOUR 12 2.0 binding is also designed to be used as a touring ski. The 3D shape, triple wood core and carbon-fibreglass wrapped core of the lightweight TRI technology results in maximum transfer of power, stability and perfect float. Combined with Hollowtech 3.0 this ski raises the bar in terms of minimised weight and maximised downhill performance.

With the FX106 HP, epic lines and big drops are a breeze for Freeride World Tour Champion Lorraine Huber. This HP (high performance) ski is the weapon of choice for pros like Lorraine, from the first lift right through to the last ride of the day.”

The FX106 HP is designed to excel off-piste, and Kastle’s also making a point to emphasize pairing it with their Freetour 12 2.0 touring binding (equivalent to the ATK Raider 2.0 12 binding). So this ski is supposed to be light enough for human-powered skiing, and yet it’s also supposed to be supportive enough for FWT athletes like Lorraine Huber. That’s not something we hear about many skis, but the FX106 HP definitely has some unique things going on with its construction, so let’s first dive into that.

Construction

The FX106 HP uses a blend of several interesting technologies and techniques in its construction.

First, it uses Kastle’s new “Tri Tech” construction, which consists of three key elements. First, the FX106 HP uses three different types of woods — poplar, beech, and paulownia. The center of the core is a poplar / beech blend, designed to offer power, rigidity, and damping due to the heavier beech wood. Then the outer portions of the core (near the edges) feature a lighter poplar / paulownia blend.

That mixed wood core is implemented in a “3D” construction where the center band of poplar / beech is thicker than the outer poplar / paulownia stringers. So, combined with the different wood types, you get a thicker, stronger core in the middle of the ski and then a lighter core near the edges.

Luke Koppa reviews the Kastle FX106 HP for Blister
Kastle FX106 HP — Core Construction

The FX106 HP’s center band of poplar / beech is also wrapped in a carbon & fiberglass “sleeve,” designed to increase torsional rigidity and bonding strength between the different woods. For the FX86, FX96 W, & FX116, the middle core is wrapped in a pure fiberglass sleeve, while the FX96 HP and FX106 HP get a carbon & fiberglass sleeve for reportedly more power and rigidity (hence the “HP” moniker). While Kastle used to add the “HP” label to skis that featured titanal layers, none of the 19/20 FX skis feature titanal.

Finally, the FX106 HP uses Kastle’s signature “Hollow Tech 3.0,” which means the ski has core material removed from the tip / shovel and replaced with a synthetic material (the obvious green cutout at the tip) that’s designed to decrease swing weight while actually making the ski’s tips more damp.

Shape / Rocker Profile

While the FX skis use a much lighter construction than the old BMX skis, their shapes haven’t drastically changed over the years. Overall, the FX106 HP looks pretty similar to the old Kastle BMX 105 in terms of shape. The FX106 HP has a pretty tapered shovel and a significantly less tapered tail.

The FX106 HP isn’t as tapered (particularly in the tail) as some skis like the Rossignol Soul 7 HD or Dynastar Legend X106, but the FX106 HP is more tapered (particularly in the shovel) than more traditionally shaped skis in this width like the Liberty Origin 106, Black Crows Corvus, and Icelantic Nomad 105.

The FX106 HP’s rocker profile is pretty different from the old BMX 105. The FX106 HP has a fairly deep, but pretty low-slung tip rocker line and a significantly shallower tail rocker line. The BMX 105 had deeper tip and tail rocker lines that started rising more abruptly.

The FX106 HP’s tip rocker line is similarly deep vs. the Salomon QST 106, but the QST 106’s tip rises much more abruptly and has much more tip splay. Similar story in the tail, but the QST 106 also has a deeper tail rocker line. The Line Sick Day 104 is fairly similar compared to the QST 106 when it comes to rocker profile — deeper rocker lines and rocker lines that rise quicker than the FX106 HP.

Compared to the Rossignol Soul 7 HD, the FX106 HP has a deeper tip rocker line, but the Soul 7 HD’s tip rises much more abruptly. The Soul 7 HD’s tail rocker line is also a bit deeper and it has slightly more tail splay.

All in all, the FX106 HP’s rocker profile is nothing super out of the ordinary for a ~106mm-wide, directional freeride ski. There are lots of skis in this class with deeper rocker lines and more tip and tail splay, but there are also some with even less rocker and splay.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the FX106 HP:

Tips: 5-6
Shovels: 6.5-7.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-9
Tails: 8-7

The FX106 HP has a very directional flex pattern with very soft tips and significantly stiffer tails. The hollowed-out portion of the FX106 HP’s tips is very soft, but it then ramps up pretty quickly as you move to the middle of the ski. The middle is very strong, it stays strong behind the bindings, and then it smoothly softens at the very end.

The FX106 HP’s flex pattern reminds me of the Rossignol Soul 7 HD, but the Soul 7 HD’s tips are a tiny bit softer and its tail stays a bit stiffer. Flexing the Soul 7 HD vs. the FX106 HP, the FX106 HP’s flex-pattern transition in the shovel feels a bit smoother (doesn’t feel very hinge-like).

Mount Point

The recommended mount point on our pair of the FX106 HP comes in around -12 cm from true center, which is very far back.

When I measured the FX106 HP’s mount point, I triple checked it since I had just measured the much heavier, more traditionally shaped & rockered Kastle MX99, which has a recommended mount point that isn’t even that far back (the MX99’s is around -9.5 cm from center).

So, combined with its shape, flex pattern, and rocker profile, the FX106 HP’s very rearward mount point makes it look like a very directional ski that will best reward a forward stance.

Weight

Given the FX106 HP’s lack of metal and use of construction elements that reduce weight, it’s not that surprising that it comes in at a fairly low weight of around 2092 grams per ski for the 184 cm length. That’s not nearly as light as most dedicated touring skis, but it’s also significantly lighter than many other “freeride” skis in this waist width.

What is interesting is that the old Kastle BMX skis and the old FX95 HP were definitely not light skis. The BMX 105 (non-metal version) came in around 2271 grams per ski for the 189 cm length, which is far heavier than the FX106 HP. So, again, Kastle seems to be going in a pretty different direction with their new FX skis.

The FX106 HP’s weight puts it in the same class as many skis we’d classify as “50/50” skis — light enough for touring, but not so light that we wouldn’t want to ski them in the resort. We’ll be interested to see how the FX106 HP stacks up against both heavier and lighter skis in its class.

For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Since Kastle is marketing the FX106 HP for both lift-accessed and human-powered skiing, we’re listing both resort- and touring-oriented skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.

1605 & 1630 Line Vision 108, 183 cm (19/20)
1606 & 1641 Blizzard Zero G 105, 188 cm (19/20)
1642 & 1651 Renoun Citadel 106, 185 cm, (18/19)
1642 & 1662 Atomic Backland 107, 182 cm (18/19–19/20)
1660 & 1680 Moment Deathwish Tour, 184 cm (19/20)
1692 & 1715 Moment Wildcat Tour 108, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
1706 & 1715 Volkl BMT 109, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
1733 & 1735 Blizzard Zero G 108, 185 cm (17/18–18/19)
1745 & 1747 4FRNT Raven, 184 cm (16/17–18/19)
1752 & 1771 Amplid Facelift 108, 189 cm (18/19–19/20)
1755 & 1792 Line Sick Day 104, 179 cm (17/18–19/20)
1787 & 1793 Fauna Pioneer, 184 cm (19/20)
1787 & 1806 WNDR Alpine Intention 110 (cambered), 185 cm (19/20)
1806 & 1862 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (19/20)
1814 & 1845 Elan Ripstick 106, 181 cm (17/18–19/20)
1825 & 1904 Black Crows Corvus Freebird, 183.3 cm (17/18–19/20)
1843 & 1847 Head Kore 105, 189 cm (17/18)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
1849 & 1922 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
1853 & 1873 WNDR Alpine Intention 110 (reverse camber), 185 cm (19/20)
1923 & 1956 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm (17/18–18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
1970 & 1979 Atomic Backland FR 109, 189 cm (17/18)
1996 & 2012 Dynastar Legend X106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2005 & 2035 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20)
2011 & 2028 Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20)
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2079 & 2105 Kastle FX106 HP, 184 cm (19/20)
2097 & 2113 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm (19/20)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2110 & 2119 Moment Wildcat 108, 190 cm (19/20)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2120 & 2134 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (19/20)
2143 & 2194 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20)
2177 & 2180 Moment Commander 108, 188 cm (19/20)
2182 & 2218 Nordica Enforcer 110, 185 cm (17/18–19/20)
2188 & 2190 Prior Northwest 110, 190 cm (19/20)
2190 & 2268 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2202 & 2209 Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105, 186 cm (19/20)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20)
2232 & 2244 ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm (19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2241 & 2295 4FRNT Devastator, 184 cm (14/15–18/19)
2250 & 2307 Argent Badger, 184 cm (19/20)
2283 & 2290 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm (18/19–19/20)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17–18/19)
2321 & 2335 Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, 189 cm (19/20)
2376 & 2393 Blizzard Cochise, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) The FX106 HP is a fairly light ski, but it’s also a uniquely constructed ski. So will the FX106 HP’s construction make it notably more stable than similarly light skis, or even heavier ones?

(2) The FX106 HP has more taper and rocker than many of Kastle’s other skis, so how loose and easy to pivot will it be, and how solid will it feel on edge?

(3) The tips and shovels of the FX106 HP are quite soft, but it has a stiff midsection and a stiffer tail, so how forgiving vs. demanding will it feel?

(4) Given its very rearward mount point, what sort of stance will the FX106 HP prefer, and how will it feel with the bindings mounted in front of its recommended line?

Bottom Line (For Now)

The new Kastle FX106 HP seems like a new step for the brand — it’s a fairly light ski with a modern shape, rocker profile, and construction. But Kastle is claiming that the FX106 HP can hold up to aggressive, freeride-style skiing, so we’ll be getting the ski on snow ASAP to see how it compares to the other options in this category.

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Rocker Pics:

Full Profile
Tip Profile
Tail Profile
Top Sheet
Base
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