2023 Kästle TX93W Review
If you gravitate towards a damp, stiff ski for backcountry adventures, this is your stick
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This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
The Scores (out of 10)
- Crud Performance: 8
- Responsiveness: 9
- Stability at Speed: 7
- Flotation: 5
- Playfulness: 8
- Forgiveness: 8
- Versatility: 9
- Quickness: 9
- Price: $999
- Lengths: 154, 162, 170
- Dimensions: 129-93-115
- Radius: 13.2
- Weight: 1,215g (162cm)
- Level: Advanced, Expert
In a Nutshell
- Pros: Responsiveness, Versatility
- Cons: Floatation, Playfulness
Light and reliable, the Kästle TX93W is a solid choice for long backcountry missions and impressed us with its quickness in tight trees and chutes. The TX93 W heads into a new season without any major updates, a testament to the age-old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The women’s line features a 93mm and 87mm waist options (clearly designed for cruising uphill at a solid clip), and a 103mm is the fattest in the bunch on the unisex side of the TX line.
With a springy paulownia core wound with carbon and fiberglass that makes for a solid and stable ski with plenty of energy, the TX93W is equally at home in the steeps as it is slarving its way through creamy spring corn. It’s an ideal daily driver for weight-conscious backcountry skiers looking to explore the far reaches of a range but are still searching for real performance when precision counts on the descent. In anything but deep snow or PNW mank, testers agreed this was a tough one to beat for intermediate to advanced skiers looking to go far.
“If you’re tackling long missions with lots of vert, you’ll forget you have a ski on,” said tester Jordan Garrett, who’s no stranger to long slogs in the Colorado backcountry. “When you need to throw in a jump turn in an icy chute, the perfect amount of camber underfoot will have you feeling confident. Definitely not your sometimes-flimsy touring ski that can’t pack a punch.”
Kästle’s signature Hollowtech tip and a short 13.2 meter turning radius responds quickly while weaving through tight trees and narrow couloirs, with a low swing weight that’s forgiving and easy to maneuver even when your legs are trashed at the end of the day. “After skiing through 2,000 feet of trees and bumps, the legs were burning and I felt a little lazy,” said Garrett. “This ski didn’t punish me for relaxing a bit, which I appreciated.” The softer tips eliminate any sort of hooky feel that light and stiff skis often have, making it easy to push through turns without feeling locked in.
While the damp and stable feel won testers over for its trustworthy characteristics in challenging terrain, this may not be the ski for you if your style is on the more playful side. Despite its lightweight and softer tips, it’s still a Kästle ski, which means it’s stiff and directional. Another drawback to this backcountry ski is float; although the 129mm shovel and early rise tip does its best in soft snow (and suits the low-density storms you find in the Rockies just fine), it isn’t an ideal everyday ski for anywhere that sees significant snowfall. If you live in the PNW or Jackson Hole, keep this one on reserve until springtime.
Lily Krass is a freelance ski journalist based in Jackson, Wyoming with work featured in SKI Magazine, Powder Magazine, Freeskier, Teton Gravity Research, and Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal. She spends winters backcountry skiing in Grand Teton National Park and riding lifts at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, with the occasional trip to the Alps (for the food, obviously). While she’s been in ski boots since she learned to walk, Lily has been professionally writing about skiing, gear, and all things outdoors for the past seven years. In addition to an all-consuming addiction to powder skiing mixed with heavy doses of Type II fun, Lily takes snacking seriously, and when she’s not writing or sliding on snow, she’s likely deep into a baking project in her tiny kitchen. She is the co-author of Beyond Skid: A Cookbook For Ski Bums, a collection of dirtbag-friendly recipes inspired by life in a mountain town.