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The FX85 from Kästle is aimed at advanced to expert skiers looking for a versatile freeride ski that handles well on-piste too. Our team took them for a test drive in Austria.
Level
Advanced, Expert
Terrain
All Mountain
Best for
Versatile performance for advanced skiers both on and off-piste
Price
£545
Season
2016/17
lengths
157,165,173,181
Bindings?
No
Versatility
10
Off-piste
9
Value
7
On-piste
8
Performance
8
Overall Score
9

What's in a name? FX85 doesn't exactly conjure up exotic images of freeride skiing in the Alpine wilderness that some skiers dream of. But let's set that aside for now, because this ski will make your dreams come true, especially if you're a good skier looking for a versatile 'one ski does it all brilliantly' tool - we think Kästle's secondary description of the FX85 on their website should really be its first: 'The knife'.

Last winter we reviewed the HP version of this ski - basically the same ski with a metal plate insertion. The standard FX85 is more forgiving, easier to ski on and less demanding physically - but actually no less fun and certainly no less serious in regards to what you get out of it.

It does provide more scope for ability levels and as such the FX85 is accessible to a keen skier looking to improve and explore terrain beyond the marked runs.

It did struggle with edge grip a little on harder packed snow, but take it into anything chopped up, cruddy, bumpy and lumpy and it comes into its own. The same goes for powder snow too, despite the fact it is a mere 85mm under foot, not wide for a freeride ski these days.

The build quality, as you might expect for a ski with a higher price tag than many, is excellent and you can instantly feel that when you pick up a pair. A silver fir wood core construction is fairly traditional - there's not much super tech stuff going on here - but of course the trademark Hollowtech tip helps to minimise vibration.