2019-2020 Kastle MX99

Ski: 2019-2020 Kastle MX99, 184 cm

Available Lengths: 168, 176, 184 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 182.6 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 2240 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2324 & 2359 grams

Stated Dimensions: 135-99-120 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 135.5-97.8-120.0 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (184 cm): 22.6 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 67 mm / 5 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 5 mm

Core: fir/beech + titanal (2 layers) + carbon sheet + fiberglass laminate

Base: sintered

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -9.5 cm from center; 81.8 cm from tail

Blister reviews the Kastle MX99
Kastle MX99
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

To all those who have been asking, we can now confirm that we’ll be reviewing some Kastle skis this season!

We recently received the 184 cm FX106 HP, 178 cm TX98, and the ski we’re talking about today: the 184 cm MX99.

In other news, we’re also going to start rolling out video First Looks this year to supplement our written First Looks. So check out the video below for the quick highlights of the MX99 (and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see all of our upcoming videos). Then in this written First Look we’ll go into more detail. Spoiler alert (if you couldn’t guess by the specs): we’re really, really excited about this ski.

What Kastle says about the MX99

“With a new, innovative sidecut, EARLY RISE technology, Hollowtech 2.0 and a race-inspired sandwich construction with carbon layers, the MX99 is the all-mountain ski that excels off-piste. From piste to powder, this all-rounder pumps out maximum performance and stability.”

This description is nothing out of the ordinary in and of itself; lots of brands make similar claims about their ~99mm-wide skis when it comes to versatility. It is interesting to me the things that Kastle chose to highlight (early rise and off-piste performance), based on the design of the MX99. Because compared to most other ~99mm-wide skis on the market, the MX99’s design is pretty different.

Construction

The MX99 combines time-tested and more modern technologies in its construction. Its silver fir / beech wood core is made of some pretty heavy hardwoods, and those woods are sandwiched between two layers of titanal in a traditional, full-sandwich construction. But then Kastle also added a full carbon-fiber layer on top, and implemented their “Hollowtech 2.0” design, which removes material from the tips of the ski. The most obvious upside to this would be a lower swing weight, but Kastle makes several other bold claims about the benefits of Hollowtech: “the ski becomes up to 30 % damper, the ski feels more stable, edge-grip is more powerful, steering is more precise and the overall weight is reduced.”

Well, that’s certainly a lot of claimed upsides to removing weight from the tip of the ski, but what about potential downsides?

Shape / Rocker Profile

The MX99 has a very traditional shape. It has very little tip and tail taper; the MX99’s tail shape is pretty similar to the Volkl Mantra 102 and old Head Monster 98’s (two skis we’ll be talking a lot about here). The MX99’s tip is a bit more complicated — it’s “straighter” than the Mantra 102 and Monster 98’s tips, but it doesn’t taper to a point like the Dynastar Legend X96 or Moment Commander 98. The MX99’s tip shape is somewhat similar to the Nordica Enforcer 100 and Folsom Blister Pro 104’s tip shapes, though the MX99’s tips don’t taper as much at the very end.

Bottom line with the MX99’s shape: it looks like it’ll offer a lot of effective edge and if I had to guess, I’d feel pretty confident saying that the MX99 is going to prefer being on edge and not be a particularly loose or surfy ski.

Another reason that I’m pretty confident with that hypothesis is the MX99’s rocker profile. While Kastle is emphasizing its “early rise” design, this ski has almost no rocker. Looking at the current crop of ~100mm-wide all-mountain skis, you could be forgiven for saying the MX99 has no rocker at all. In fact, it has a tiny amount of tip and tail rocker, but we were surprised by how similar the MX99’s rocker profile is to much narrower skis.

I was trying to think of a similarly wide, current ski that has shallower rocker lines than the MX99, but I’m currently drawing a blank (please let me know if you can think of any).

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the MX99:

Tips: 6.5-7.5
Shovels: 8
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9
Underfoot: 9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-9
Tails: 8.5-9.5

This was surprising to me. The MX99 is very strong in the middle and back-half, which is what I expected from this more traditionally shaped and reportedly very stable ski. But its front half is actually pretty accessible. The hollowed-out portion of its tip starts fairly soft, then stiffens quickly, but the front half of the ski is far from unbendable.

Compared to the Mantra 102, the MX99 is notably softer in the tips and shovels, but similar everywhere else. Same story with the old Head Monster 98, except the Monster 98 is even stiffer in the front.

Overall, the MX99’s flex pattern is pretty similar to the K2 Mindbender 99Ti’s, with the Mindbender having slightly softer shovels.

Now, to be clear, the MX99 is far from a noodle. It’s very strong around the bindings and behind them. But it seems like the flex pattern of the front of the MX99 should make it relatively easy to bend into turns, particularly given how little taper and rocker it has. And then you’ve still got a very supportive midsection and tail that should powerfully finish turns.

Weight

If you peeked at the specs of this ski, you probably know what we’re going to say. This thing is heavy.

At an average weight of ~2341 grams per ski for the 184 cm length, the MX99 is the heaviest currently available ski we’ve weighed in the ~100mm-wide category.

And all my talk about the MX99 potentially being really stable on edge … its weight has a lot to do with that. It looks like it’s going to be a straight-up rocketship, at least on paper. If I was a betting man, I’d say the MX99 is going to be one of, if not the best ~100mm-wide ski on the market when it comes to nuking down roughed-up groomers, and maybe for nuking down any sort of conditions? We’ll see, but everything about the MX99 makes us extremely optimistic about its performance at very high speeds.

For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.

1629 & 1684 Elan Ripstick 96, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
1758 & 1774 Moment Commander 98, 178 cm (18/19)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–19/20)
1894 & 1980 Black Crows Daemon, 183.6 cm (17/18–19/20)
1896 & 1919 Dynastar Legend X96, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1928 & 1933 Moment Commander 98, 178 cm (19/20)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
1994 & 2011 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, 181 cm (19/20)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–19/20)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–19/20)
2050 & 2080 ON3P Wrenegade 96, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–18/19)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20)
2324 & 2359 Kastle MX99, 184 cm (18/19-19/20)
2373 & 2397 Head Monster 98, 184 cm (17/18)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) So many “all-mountain” skis are getting more tapered, more rockered, and lighter — basically the opposite of the MX99’s design. So how will it compare those skis, particularly when it comes to maneuverability and stability?

(2) The MX99’s shape and rocker profile have more in common with many on-piste skis than it does with many all-mountain skis, so just how versatile will the MX99 be? Is it a wider carving ski, an off-piste missile, or something in between?

(3) The MX99 is very heavy and it has a stiff tail, but it also has an accessible flex pattern in its tips and shovels and a potentially lighter swing weight due to Kastle’s Hollowtech, so how demanding will it be?

(4) The MX99 shares a lot in common with one of our favorite and now deceased skis, the Head Monster 98. So how similar will they feel on snow, and is the MX99 the replacement for the Monster 98 for which so many people have been looking? And what about the Volkl Mantra 102 and K2 Mindbender 99Ti?

Bottom Line (For Now)

The Kastle MX99 brings something refreshing to the market. It’s not very tapered, not very rockered, and it’s really, really heavy. We’re extremely excited to get this ski on snow (and particularly, some wide-open terrain where we can let it run), so stay tuned for updates. Crested Butte Mountain Resort opened this week, so we’ll be posting a Flash Review for Blister Members ASAP.

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Rocker Pics:

Full Profile
Tip Profile
Tail Profile
Top Sheet
Base
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20 comments on “2019-2020 Kastle MX99”

  1. Awesome can’t wait for the review guys! I am just about to mount up the exact same ski this weekend :) I actually sold the MX98 redux to buy these. I loved that ski but the 27m radius was a bit of a limiting factor especially for most modern skiers who are used to just rolling their ankles and expecting things to happen. The old MX98 was the most refined ski with the most beautiful rebound and flex of any ski I have ever owned – made it just so damn versitile and fun. With the new 22m radius, bit more shape, slight tip rocker and Kastle’s construction this should be a killer ski for variable condition big mountain crushing – which from your post and excitment you guys think so to!

  2. I would be curious how you think this compares to the older bona-fide, after the carbon but before the most recent accessibility changes.

    • Im interested in hearing your thoughts as well. I havent skied the new series, but the old series(mx88, mx98) had a fabulous construction and feel on groomers, but for me, much too hard to ski off piste. I know olenty of super strong local skiers who ski the mx98 in a 194, but i couldnt handle in a 184. First because or the long TR in the mx 98. But more important imo is the square tail that doesnt release easy. even a 178cm mx88, which is amazing on groomers, was difficult for me off piste in stark contrast to my 177cm monster 88 and are amazing off piste and in bumps for me. Since they are both stiff, similar TR, and lack rocker, i am left concluding that the square tail of the mx that is the difference. the monster is rounded and seems to allow easy release. If the mx99, has gotten rid of that tendency w a hair of rocker(bc it still looks square), i might be very i interested.

  3. Real happy to see some Kastle skis on here. I’m a bit of a Kastle fan boy.

    Looking forward to what you guys say about the TX98. I used to have a TX90, and while fine when the snow was untracked or packed, they were way too light for the in between conditions (chop/crud). I opted for the Salomon MTN Explore 95 instead, thanks to your review suggesting it was a just heavy enough backcountry ski.

    • Also really looking forward to the TX98 review. It’s my favourite touring ski by far and I find it skis heavier than others in the same weight class – but of course there has to be a trade off.
      Interestingly this season’s MTN Explore 95 is now virtually the same weight as the TX98 and has a very similar geometry at a cheaper price.

  4. I’m going to reach back further in time, and predict that this ski turns out to be the modern day reincarnation of the old Enforcer.

    In so, so many ways!

  5. I’ve got one run on the 99s, and it was alright. I’m a HUGE fan of the 194 MX 98, it’s been my daily driver for 3 years, and I’ve heard different things, good and bad, about the MX99, but don’t have enough time on them to have a decent opinion. Hence why I’m very curious to see what Blister thinks of it. If the 99 is nearly as good, and keeps the durability that Kastle is know for, my first pair of 98s lasted almost 300 days before the top sheet of metal popped off the core, then I’ll know what to replace my 98s with when my back up 2 pairs die in 5-7 years.

    If you know someone with a pair of 184 MX 98s, and you compare that early rise and tail rocker of the 99 to the 98, you’ll see the difference and why Kastle brings up how it’s been added. The contact point with the snow on the 99 is a lot further back then it was with the 98s.

    As long as people can get on the front of the 99s, they will be able to drive it in any conditions and anywhere on the mountain. Their was no relaxing on the 98s in tight places, and that’s ok, because if you got room to run, you could lay them over and look very far down hill, and let the skis run. It just takes a skilled pilot who wants to be in charge, and they will be fine.

    • Hello Matt,
      Just monted up a 184 MX99 and just sold an MX98 which I was the 2nd remake of the ski. Knowing the MX98 very well I can say their are suble differences between the two in tip, tail and flex. I have yet to ski them but here is what I notice

      Tip/ rocker – the new tip is like an MX89, its a bit lower, longer and less blunt than the MX98. This will move the contact back a smidge. Rocker? I’d say its a longer more gradual tip, rocker is a stretch by modern std’s.
      Tail – The new tail is flatter with less upturn. This was a surprise but the MX98 had a fair bit of lift. Tapper seems to be about the same maybe a tad more on the MX99.
      Stiffness – Shovel about the same , mid section and tail stiffer, no question about it. The MX98 flex seems a bit more round and buttery by comparison. My guess is on the hill this translates to a bit smaller sweet spot and more power – See Alexn’s comments. My guess is with considerably more sidecut 22m vs27m, the MX99 can get away with more stiffness without being a bear, the MX98 needed to be more pliable to make it work in a variety of turn shapes by being easier to bend.
      Unless we get some real snow I may not get out on them for a few weeks. Whistler Base is still around 40cm, most of us have a 1M rule especially for new gear..

  6. Looking forward to the review, and the video is a great addition! Have you considered a shot of handflexing the skis in future videos, maybe alongside a notable reference ski? It would have been interesting to see back-to-back shots of handflexing the MX99 vs. the Monster 98 (or even a simultaneous splitscreen flex if you really wanted to get fancy).

  7. This should be an interesting review. I own the MX 78 version of the ski. To me they are a fully cambered race ski construction that has been softened and made more appropriate for recreational skiing. They have a unique damped feel. I have never skied the 98/99 width, but would like to. I suspect the MX style works best for a groomer carving ski. It can handle some level of off piste skiing as a powerful ski. I think they work best in 70-88 mm widths, as you don’t necessarily expect them to be great off piste skis by design. The 99 being wide enough for most off piste duty, but with a carving ski construction, might not be the best example of the MX series. Then again, it depends on your style and what you like.

    Looking forward to see what you think. IF you can get on the 84 and 89 width skis, definitely worth it.

  8. I skied that ski for the second half of the season last year. It’s the best ski on the market, ridiculously stable, super powerful and yet surprisingly very accessible. That does not mean that it has a huge sweet spot, you need to be on the front all the time, but you don’t have to drive it all the time as you have to for a race ski. But if you do what you are supposed to do, it’s the magic ride. My prediction is that it will be very polarizing, with some people loving it and some hating it. If you knew how to ski the old Mantra, you will love that ski, if you skid your tails, or run the “ new school” technique, it will kick your butt.

    • Tom- Sorry, hav3 not been on that Volkl. I’d guess that the difference will be in damping. Kastle skis are usually less ‘buzzy’ than just about anything else. This is what expensive construction buys you.

  9. When are you gonna review some Lib Tech skis? I would be super curious to know what Blister thinks about Magne Traction on skis. If you can get your hands on some Wreckreates or Wundersticks that would be sick!

  10. There’s a number of skis being released that are sort of unapologetically at one end of the spectrum. I for one applaud this trait in the ultra-crowded 99-109 underfoot range of skis. Looking forward to the early season CB review of this ski. My guess is it goes mach chicken with zero effs given.

  11. I saw the MX99 yesterday at BooneMtnSports- bad mofo. I have skied 180cm MX89 for 3yrs. If the 99s are similar: heavy, NO speed limit (very stable), fantastic edge hold, confidently land jumps, easily outrun ski patrol. Skis require lots o input from a strong driver

  12. I think you can’t outrun ski patrol, they will just meet you at the bottom, no? Can’t comment on jumps much but agree with the rest of your characterization.

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