Ski: 2017-2018 DPS Lotus Alchemist 124 Spoon, 191 cm
Available Lengths: 178 cm, 185 cm, 191 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 189.5 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2149 & 2158 grams
Stated Dimensions: 149-124-136 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 153-124-135 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 23 meters
Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 74 mm / 33 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Core: Alchemist construction
Base: “fastest and hardest world cup base”
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.75 cm from center; 87 cm from tail
Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: -7.75 cm from center; 87 cm from tail
Days Skied 20+
Boots (size 27.5): Head Raptor 140 RS, 17/18 Salomon X-Max 130, Lange XT 130
Bindings: Salomon STH2 WTR 16
Test Locations: Alyeska Resort & Chugach Powder Guides, AK
When I wrote my Flash Review of the DPS Lotus Alchemist 124 Spoon back in February, we had just had a great cycle of storms, and I was looking forward to getting back in the helicopter. What I didn’t realize at that time was that shortly thereafter, southcentral Alaska would fall under an extended blocking high pressure system for almost five weeks. So during that time I heli ski guided at Chugach Powder Guides for over 30 days, and the majority of that time was on the DPS Lotus A (for “Alchemist”) 124 Spoon.
Conditions ranged from thigh-deep, low-density powder; wind crust; recycled / faceted powder; a little hot pow; and quite a bit of perfect, superhero Chugach powder. Overall, it was ideal testing conditions for a ski like the Lotus A 124 Spoon, and I occasionally swapped out the ski for the 193 cm Volkl Confession, 196 cm Volkl 3, 192 cm DPS Lotus 138 Spoon, 192 cm Liberty Schuster Pro, and over the last few days, some resort powder skiing at Alyeska resort on the 16/17 Blizzard Spur and the Salomon QST 118.
I’ll be making some comparisons to those skis here, but will save a lot of the direct comparison work for an upcoming Deep Dive article. (Till then, however, you might check out the latest Blister Podcast episode on powder skis, where Jonathan Ellsworth and I talk about all of the skis that I’ve just mentioned, and more.)
I’ll admit that I was biased against the Lotus Alchemist 124 Spoon when it arrived last month. I’ve written a lot about (and really love) the DPS Lotus 138, and I’ve enjoyed the various iterations of the DPS Lotus 120, too. Much of what I appreciated about those skis was that they were designed to be almost uncompromising powder tools.
When DPS announced the Lotus 124 Spoon, they emphasized the versatility of the shape and even alluded to having incorporated design elements from their Wailer 112, a ski that is not a personal favorite of mine (though it’s certainly a favorite of a lot of people out there). So I expected to write about the Lotus A 124 that DPS had compromised their deep-powder heritage to create an easy-going resort powder ski that sacrifices powder performance. But based on the last month of riding the Lotus A 124 Spoon in all types of powder conditions, I can say that this is not the case.
Pretty much any fat ski is fun in deep, soft snow, but a really good powder ski allows for higher speeds and increased control, while the truly great ones give the skier an increased level of creativity across the fall line. And in the best conditions, the Lotus Alchemist 124 Spoon is exceptional.
Even at relatively low speeds, the 124 immediately starts to feel loose with easy, intuitive skids, turns, and pivots. Letting them run a little, however, allows for quick planing to the surface and, like their DPS predecessors, an exceptionally fun surfy, ride.
When laying the skis over and committing to higher-edge-angle powder turns, the 124 Spoon feels less supportive than fatter skis like the Lotus 138, and feels a little less stable than the 16/17 Blizzard Spur. But compared to both of those skis, the Lotus A 124 Spoon generates more energy out of the carve, allowing for more dynamic turn transitions.
Drifting / Slarving Turns
Rolling the Lotus A 124 off edge and allowing it to break free into a slarved turn also takes more effort than the Lotus 138, but the powder-surfing heritage of the 138 is apparent in the 124, which still produces a very balanced, predictable slarve.
Often, especially in big, steep or convex Alaskan terrain, it’s essential to be able to throw your skis sideways and powerslide or drift long distances to avoid obstacles, set-up for a feature or another turn, or sometimes just because it’s super fun. The Lotus A 124 is one of the more intuitive traditionally-shaped skis I’ve ridden in this regard.
I attribute some of this to the balanced feel of the Lotus 124, its tip taper, and maybe a tiny bit because of the spooned tip (more on that later). But I can’t totally put my finger on the design elements that allow for this ski to drift as well as it does. I usually associate being loose across the fall line with more heavily rockered and tapered skis (like the Salomon Rocker 2 122 and QST 118) or more specialized reverse/reverse powder shapes; not skis like the Lotus A 124 with its camber underfoot and relatively flat and strong tail.
On most skis shaped like the Lotus 124, there is noticeable resistance to the drift from the tail of the ski engaging. Again, I’m not sure how the 124 is different, but it sure is fun to throw them sideways and almost weightlessly drift over rollovers. This is also a super important attribute of a ski for big Alaskan terrain where it’s often imperative to slide down a ridge or spine, controlling speed and staying out of big sluffs. I had the pleasure of riding some very fun, steep lines over the past month, and I’ve quickly made the Lotus A 124 my go-to ski for the biggest days.
NEXT:Light Powder on a Firm Layer, Shallow Powder & Soft Variable Conditions, Etc.