Best Men’s Piste (Hard Charging) Ski 2017/18: Kästle RX12 SL

Kästle’s new race-inspired thoroughbred the RX12 SL is bringing sexy back to piste skiing – but you better be sure you can handle it!

Kästle are bringing sexy back to piste skis in a big way with the all new RX12 SL, an aggressive race-inspired slalom machine with the edge and dark glamour of a Hollywood vampire queen. Like a hot-blooded Arabian stallion they exude beauty, purpose and a sort of animal magnetism. A palpable aura of power, even menace, emanates from the jet black topsheets, but there’s an undeniable attraction too.

When first handling the RX12 SL it swiftly becomes clear that this ski will take no prisoners: they are stiff, heavy, and heavily-cambered, with an aggressive 12.5m sidecut and brutally square metal-edged tails. The poplar and ash core is made of only the best quality wood, sandwiched between double sheets of titanal and fibre glass with an extra layer of rubber for dampening. Hand flexing them feels like drawing an English long bow, they’re that potent.

Charging short piste turns on the 2018 Kästle RX12 SL ski

Clicking in on snow they feel planted and stable, but with a sense of readiness – like a rattle snake, coiled and tensed for the strike. They’re not quite full FIS slalom race skis, but the heritage is obviously there. Point them downhill, engage the tip and work them into a turn and the edges cut and hold the most bulletproof snow with the silky smooth, even luxurious feel Kästle do so well; but slacken off or let your weight slip back over the tails and they’ll turn around and bite you, before running off laughing.

For skiers with the strength and skill to harness the RX12 SL’s power they’re sheer joy, honed and crafted into a single-minded tool for the slicing of corduroy, pinging back and forth across the fall line with surgical precision. Like a scalpel in their focus, but supercharged with lasers: they reward proper guidance with explosive performance and intoxicating composure at any speed on any slope angle – the faster and steeper the better – but like the double-bladed sword of proverb they cut both ways, and can punish sloppy handling mercilessly.

The RX12 SL makes no pretence at user-friendliness or versatility. This is not a ski to cruise to a nice long lunch on – it wants to carve hard and fast slalom turns everywhere, all the time, disdaining the very idea of a skid or pivot. And if that’s your idea of a good day on the hill, there’s no better ski out there.

Kästle RX12 SL Specifications:

  • Lengths: 155, 165
  • Sidecut: 118.5-66-100
  • Turn radius at length: 12.5 @ 165cm
  • Weight (g per pair): 3220g
  • RRP: £929 (including bindings)

Kästel RX12 SL 2018 product image

The Test Team’s Opinion:

“Intense edge hold but with smooth delivery, punchy but controllable”
Ian Davis


Want to learn all about the best new ski equipment for the 2017/18 season? Head this way to get the bumper Fall-Line Skiing Gear Guide.