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2017-2018 DPS Lotus Alchemist 124 Spoon

Paul Forward reviews the DPS Lotus 124 alchemist Spoon for blister Gear Review.

DPS Lotus Alchemist 124 Spoon

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.)

Powder

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.

Paul Forward reviews the DPS Lotus 124 alchemist Spoon for blister Gear Review.

Paul Forward on the DPS Lotus Alchemist 124 Spoon, Chugach powder Guides, AK. (photo by Adam Clark)

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.

Paul Forward reviews the DPS Lotus 124 alchemist Spoon for blister Gear Review.

Paul Forward on the DPS Lotus 124 Spoon, Chugach powder Guides, AK. (photo by Adam Clark)

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.

11 Comments

  1. jnge April 11, 2017 Reply

    Great review. How would you compare it to the 186 BMT 122? Would it make sense to put regular bindings on the BMT 122 and use it as a heliski / soft snow ski for a lighter skier (5’10” / 155lbs)? Thanks

  2. Adrian April 11, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for the review Paul. Given how much you loved the 138’s (be great if you could do a review of the updated spoon version btw), do you now favour the 124’s over the 138’s on a pow day, or just if conditions are more variable?

  3. Blister Member
    Brian Whittred April 11, 2017 Reply

    I had a similar question, but the reverse. Would you recommend the Lotus 124 as a touring ski with AT bindings? In such a configuration how would you compare it to the Volkl BMT 122?

    • Author
      Paul Forward April 11, 2017 Reply

      Hi Brian and jnge, Thanks for reading.

      Big picture: the DPS is a more robust ski and will do better in hard snow, inbounds snow, and variable snow. The BMT is a great ski, but definitely does best in powder and gets knocked around a bit more inbounds. That said, I was just talking today with one of the other guides about putting a pair of Jester’s on some BMT 122’s that we have in the hangar at CPG to use them as Heli skis. I don’t think I’m going to get to do that, but I do think they’d be plenty fun as a Heli ski, a little less so as an inbounds ski. But they’d be fine unless you’re the kind of person who wants to charge hard all day at the resort, even after the powder is tracked up, in which case you’d get some deflection and might be wishing for something more stable. Come up to Chugach Powder Guides for a Heli day and I’ll loan you my BMT 122’s with Kingpin demos for some awesome April pow skiing ;-)

      Regarding the 124 as a touring ski, I’d say go for it! As long as you don’t mind touring on a 2150g ski, the performance will be excellent. I’d probably opt for a stiffer boot like the MTN Lab or Zero G so you can take best advantage of this ski. Otherwise, I think it’d be a blast. I emailed DPS and asked them if they’ll ever make a Tour1 version in the 191 cm. I’d love a pair, but it doesn’t sound like that’s in the works at this time, and it’s hard for me to imagine wanting anything shorter than the 191.

      • Blister Member
        Brian April 17, 2017 Reply

        A 191 Tour 1 version of the Lotus would be great. DPS never builds their skis in the longer lengths in Tour 1. Given a choice though between a 185 Tour 1 Lotus 124 and a 186 Volkl BMT, which would you choose? That seems to be my dilemma right now. I know you haven’t skied the Tour 1, but your comments on DPS making a 191 Tour 1 version make me curious. The shape would be the same as the 191 you reviewed, if not the build, so it would be an interesting comparison to the BMT 122. Not many people have skied the Tour 1version and it is only available in a 185, but I think I would be more inclined to be wanting to use it as a powder touring ski. You thought the BMT was pretty great in that role.

        • Author
          Paul Forward April 17, 2017 Reply

          Hey Brian, I’ve been guiding big and technical terrain in great pow with 124’s every day for the last week again. Such a great ski. They are my favorite overall ski of 2017. That said, I’d be surprised if I found them to be as confidence inspiring in the 185, at least at my size (6′, 193lbs) and with guide pack. The BMT 122 is excellent for pow touring and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them so that would be suggestion to you at this time. I’m hoping to try the Tour1 124 in 185cm and, if a pair shows up here, will get that review up promptly. Thanks for reading. Paul

  4. Davyn April 14, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for the review Paul. Have you skied the Praxis Protest before and how would you compare these?

    • Author
      Paul Forward April 14, 2017 Reply

      Hi Davyn, I have skied the 196cm Protest quite a bit. The Protest is definitely more powder specific and is a great ski but less versatile when the snow gets firm. For super deep pow I’d take the Protest (or the 138 Spoon), but for every day pow riding where I’m not 100% what I’m going to get throughout a run, I’ll go for the 124.

  5. Davyn April 15, 2017 Reply

    Great, thanks very much Paul

  6. Blister Member
    David April 30, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for another great review. I am looking for a dedicated powder ski for a heli trip in northern British Columbia and cat skiing in Grand Targhee. If I can use it for resort powder days as well, great, but that is not my main concern. I had pretty much decided on the 192cm Lotus 138 Spoon, but reading your review makes me wonder if I should consider the 191cm A124 instead. I am 6”1” 160lbs. I’m not a super hard charger, so I’m less concerned with how it handles at high speed or on super steep terrain, and more interested in it being fun and surfy at moderate speeds and also reasonably quick and easy to turn in the trees. Any thoughts/guidance would be appreciated!

  7. Blister Member
    Chris July 12, 2017 Reply

    Paul, I purchased a pair of Magnum Opus last year based on Blister’s review and really had a blast with them. I’m 6″2 230 lbs and found the Opus to be a great all around powder ski but didn’t quite give me the float I wanted on my Heli/Cat days on lower angle slopes. Do you think the Lotus 124 will offer more float? If so my thinking is to tour with the Opus and get the Lotus as my Heli/Cat ski. Thanks

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