We wanted to keep our lap quick, so we dropped straight into Errare Humanum Est, a 2000-vertical-foot chute that drops you right back at the base of Marte. Here we found deeper snow in most places, while in other spots along the way down the wind had done its work to create everything from a soft crust to an impenetrable slab.
Because of the steepness of the slope, varying snow, and exposure, I kept my speed well under control with short- and medium-length arcs. Again, the West 110s offered up no surprises. The full-length, 24-meter sidecut provided just enough pull through each turn to keep me from feeling like I had to push the ski into each turn. It also did so while not being so aggressive that changes in snow caused them to feel like they wanted to over turn and constantly battle me for the position of who’s in charge.
My opinion of the flex pattern remained positive as well, providing a large sweet spot I could trust, while being soft enough at the tip to stay on top of any snow condition I encountered.
For the remainder of my time riding the Kästle West, the story remained the same. Whether I took them into a tight chute off the Las Centinelas, where I had to execute quick, short turns between two rock walls on chalky hardpack, or into the wide open spaces below Eduardo, where I let the skis run through the sun and skier effected chop, the West simply took everything in stride.
On my final day on the West 110, I decided to spend the morning lapping the park here at Las Leñas. Although conditions were a little firm (and, admittedly, I’m a little rusty), I had a great time getting a few simple moves back under my belt.
For being nearly 187cm long (straight tape pull), the West 110s spun with great ease, and throwing shifty 3s and a couple of 5s didn’t feel like a bit of work. I also had fun trying a few nose butter 3s off the smaller features. And, once again, that progressive flex pattern provided a stable platform for takeoffs and landings.
Though my time in the air is limited on the West, I feel confident in saying the skis won’t be holding anyone back from throwing down on natural features and backcountry booters.
The West felt very comfortable skiing switch because of its symmetrical shape, though I would have really liked to have been able to move the bindings another 1-to-1.5cm forward for switch pow and see its effect on overall performance.
The Kästle West 110 definitely contends with any ~110-underfoot powder/jib tool I’ve ridden over the past few years. And as there are so many great options out there, the key is to find the ski with the characteristics that you’re looking for most.
The Kästle West’s biggest strength is its rock solid ski-ability with an incredibly predictable feel. With its Hollowtech tips, the 190cm West offers the stability of a longer ski, but feels much more like a 180cm ski in terms of swing weight. This is a great benefit when in tight spots or in the air.
For me, the 11/12 Sickle still ranks at the top of my list for overall feel, but the Kästle is right there. The slight continuous rocker profile of the Sickle provides a little surfier feel when feathering the edges, while still being able to carve any turn in any condition with a vengeance. The Kästle West 110 has a little more of a traditional feel to it.
The 11/12 Sickle is also slightly wider in the tip, which combined with its continuous rocker leads me to think that it might handle the super deep days a little better (which is only important, of course, if this is your deep-day ski). And I also like how a little more sidecut through the tip of the Sickle feels when carving off jumps.
However, one big trump card the Kästle has over the Sickle and other skis in this category is length. (And for 12/13, the Rossignol Sickle actually gets a little shorter than the 11/12 Sickle.) For those looking for a playful ski that still feels comfortable on big-mountain lines at resorts like Las Leñas or Jackson Hole, the true 187cm length of the West 110 will set the Kästle apart.
I’m confident there are going to be a lot of people out there who dig this ski.
NEXT PAGE: ROCKER PROFILE PICS
Next up: the Kästle West XX110. Kästle goes new school with the West, and so far, they appear to be doing it proper. Very proper.
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