2023 Kästle DX85 W Review
A dialed groomer ski that excels in short to medium turns
This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
The Scores (out of 10)
- Overall Score: 7.3/10
- Rank: #8
- Hard-Snow Integrity: 7
- Stability at Speed: 7.17
- Carving: 8.33
- Quickness: 7.67
- Responsiveness: 7.33
- Playfulness: 6.67
- Forgiveness: 6.83
- Crud Performance: 5.5
- Versatility: 6.67
- Price: $699
- Lengths: 144, 152, 160, 168
- Dimensions: 126-85-109
- Radius: 14.5 (160cm)
- Level: Strong Intermediate to Expert
In a Nutshell
- Pros: Carving, Quickness
- Cons: Playfulness, Crud Performance
Meet the Kästle DX85 W—an approachable groomer tool meant for all on-piste skiers. DX stands for Dynamic Cross, which is a good description of a ski that crosses over all frontside skiing.
The DX series replaces Kästle’s MX line to offer recreational skiers a series of more accessible frontside skis. There’s no metal in the DX85W, which makes it light and easy to swing around—especially on the side of the trail.
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Last year’s test skis in this category were the MX75: a 75mm-waisted ski with plenty of metal that was fun and stable but scored low in Quickness and Forgiveness. But the DX85 W’s scores in the Quickness and Forgiveness ratings landed solidly in the middle, as this ski’s easygoing nature allows beginner skiers to roll into a turn easily while still being stiff enough to allow a stronger skier to bend the ski and rail carves at high speeds. “This ski would be great for an intermediate skier, but could suffice for someone more advanced,” said tester Abby Ghent.
Though it looks more like an all-mountain ski, the DX85 W really wants to stay on the groomed runs and bounce back and forth between short to medium-sized turns. Its turn radius is shorter—ranging from 10.5m to 16.5m depending on length—but it doesn’t recoil well in terrain changes and in off-piste conditions. “It’s stiff and can cut through crud when it’s soft,” said tester and SKI Magazine Editor-in-Chief Sierra Shafer. “But watch out for the death cookies. Stay on piste!”
And when you’re on piste, the DX85 W performs best at slower speeds, as the ski would get a little chattery when nearing its speed limit. There’s no burning rubber with this ride, but at cruise speed, it rules. It is dependable and a perfect ski for a beginner to intermediate skier who wants to feel comfortable on the snow. Plus, this ski’s softer construction will help that skier learn to drive the ski and find the responsiveness that’s hiding in it. Blue squares with a mellow pitch are the perfect habitat for these Kästles.
The Kästle DX85 W didn’t have a ton of energy out of each turn, but it’s an easy ride that will increase confidence for anyone who is looking to advance their skills on the mountain. ”So predictable and easy to ski,” said tester Tracy Gibbons. “I just felt relaxed on these skis. It’s a nice ski for an intermediate who is looking for a smooth ride and a confidence boost.”
Courtney Harkins grew up ski racing, starting on the icy slopes of New England and finishing at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She now lives in Park City, Utah and works as the Director of Marketing & Communications at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team. She also freelance writes and consults in the skiing and Olympic industry. When she’s not traveling with the team, her home mountain is Deer Valley Resort, where she loves to arc turns on groomers, but also knows all of the secret spots for days-old powder. Harkins has been testing skis since 2016 and has been a SKI gear tester for three seasons.