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2016-2017 DPS Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2

Julia Van Raalte reviews the DPS Cassiar 85, Blister Gear Review

DPS Cassiar 85

2016-2017 DPS Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2, 178cm

Available Lengths: 168, 178 cm

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 176.5cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 122-85-109

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2030 & 2038 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius: 15-18 meters

Core Construction: Poplar + Titanal Metal (2 Layer) + Fiberglass Laminate

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 51 / 33 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 2 mm

Mount Location: +1cm of the Recommended Line (~76.4cm from tail)

Boots / Bindings: Lange RS S.C. 120 / Marker Griffon (DIN at 8)

Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley

Days Skied: 4

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Cassiar 85, which was not changed for 15/16 or 16/17, except for the graphics.]

Intro

It’s been a while since I spent time on a dedicated frontside ski—probably since I officially retired my race skis four years ago. So I was pretty excited to spend some time carving on skinnier skis the past week at Taos, where Blister had planned to test a number of designated carvers.

The snow gods had other plans, though, and we were blessed with over two feet of new snow … just in time for our carver test.

The good news, though (in addition to getting to ski a lot of pow) was that I was able to spend some time on groomers, but also to evaluate some of our narrower skis in deeper, all-mountain conditions.

The Cassiar 85 is DPS’s frontside carver, and is offered in both a Hybrid T2 and a pure3 carbon construction.

Compared to many other fairly traditional carving skis with flat, substantial tails, minimal rocker, and plenty of camber, the Cassiar 85 doesn’t have a totally classic carving shape. The ski has a wider shovel with a bit of tip and tail rocker, which I hoped would make for a fun ski to carve while also providing a little more versatility.

Soft, Buttery Groomers

Right before I arrived at Taos, a two-day storm dropped 18” on the mountain, softening things up quite a bit, to say the least.

While I couldn’t have been happier to have some fresh snow, most of the groomers stayed very soft over the next couple of days, producing that buttery quality where your skis really sink into through the turn.

Early in the morning while the groomers were still mostly smooth, I tried to bring the Cassiar 85 up to speed and lay into some deeper carves. The softer snow made it slightly more difficult to achieve those really high edge angles, but the Cassiar 85 was happy to start carving and could dynamically move from edge to edge once I got a little bit of speed.

Julia Van Raalte reviews the DPS Cassiar 85, Blister Gear Review

Julia Van Raalte on the DPS Cassiar 85, Totemoff, Taos Ski Valley.

Almost immediately, I really liked the way the Cassiar 85 felt, and I would describe the ski as having a really nice balance of nimbleness and stability. Even though the ski has some metal and isn’t super light (2030 & 2038 grams per ski), it does not have a heavy, metal feel, and is actually pretty light, snappy, and quick underfoot.

At 178cm, the Cassiar 85 is closer in length to my GS skis, although the rocker in the tip and tail does decrease its effective edge a bit. Still, with a little speed, it wasn’t difficult to make shorter radius turns. The Cassiar 85 did prefer larger, sweeping, GS-like turns, and I had a lot of fun bringing the ski up to high speeds.

I also spent some time on other frontside carvers like the SkiLogik Front Burner and the Fischer Progressor 900 (reviews coming soon), which have flat, substantial tails and no rocker. Both of these skis feel like they are meant to carve—and only carve—and the tails absolutely lock you in through a turn. These two skis (the Progressor 900 especially) reminded me more of the powerful carving I could make on my slalom skis, whereas carving on the Cassiar 85 felt slightly less precise, but also slightly easier. This didn’t surprise me much given the ski’s tip and subtle tail rocker.

Versatility

But, given that I’m not training gates anymore, I really appreciated both the ease with which I could still make powerful, high angle turns on the Cassiar 85, as well as the variety of turns I could make.

Julia Van Raalte reviews the DPS Cassiar 85, Blister Gear Review

Julia Van Raalte on the DPS Cassiar 85, Totemoff, Taos Ski Valley.

The flat tails on the Front Burner and the Progressor 900 made it more challenging to experiment with slashy or slarvy turns, while the Cassiar 85 felt a lot more easy to play around with.

And while I absolutely love making fast slalom or GS turns on a ski like the Front Burner or the Progress 900, it’s also really tiring. The Cassiar 85 allowed me to carve when I wanted to, but also dial it back and ski with less energy if I needed to.

Moguls

I didn’t spend a ton of time skiing the Cassiar 85 in moguls, but I thought it handled them well. While the ski’s tails feel a bit looser than other carving skis I’ve been on, they’re still flatter than skis with more tail rocker (Blizzard Sheeva or Rossignol Savory 7), making the ski slightly more difficult to wiggle through bumps. The narrower width definitely contributed to the ski’s maneuverability, but I felt the tails held me back just a bit from making easier turns through bumped up runs. However, since I value the Cassiar 85’s carving ability a lot more, this is a little tradeoff that I will happily live with.

Firm Groomers

After a few dry, cool nights, several of Taos’ groomers finally firmed up. Bringing the Cassiar 85 up to speed, I really felt like I could push the ski quite hard and fast on the firm snow. Here, I was even more impressed by how stable the Cassiar 85 felt despite its light, and at times, playful feel.

Where I’d had trouble finding those high angle carves on soft groomers, the Cassiar 85 had no issues really digging in and getting up on edge once the snow was firmer.

On steeper, really firm slopes (though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it ice), I had a little less confidence trusting my edges at high speeds and angles, and occasionally lost my outside ski on slippery patches.

While I think this may be partly because of the Cassiar 85’s looser tail (the Progressor 900 and its flat tail didn’t have the same issue here), I also think a good tune and sharper edges would have helped. I am quite confident that with sharper edges, the Cassiar 85 would have been fine on some true, East Coast ice.

NEXT: Off-Piste Performance

9 Comments

  1. Wayan February 4, 2015 Reply

    Hi Julia, thanks for the review!
    I’m looking for a Ski to improve my carving skills that’s still fun all around the mountain. The Cassiar looks pretty much like the one for me. I’m just a bit afraid of the weight of the T2 version as I tried the Dynastar Powertrack 89 and they were a bit too heavy (and/or stiff) for my taste, felt a bit “clumsy”. As it is almost impossible to demo any DPS Ski here in Europe, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how heavy the Cassiar actually feel. Bests from Germany and keep up the great work!

    • Julia February 9, 2015 Reply

      Hi Wayan,

      Thanks for reading! I haven’t skied the Powertrack 89 yet, but felt that the Cassiar was pretty light. It looks like they have a pretty similar weight, but the Cassiar felt quick and playful to me. Occasionally, they were a bit slower in tighter moguls, but overall they seemed light, despite their 178cm length – which is on the longer side for me. I think the Cassiar 85 is a fun and responsive carver, that does well all around the mountain, so seems really good for what you’re looking for. I never had the feeling that it was heavy or cumbersome. If you’re really concerned, I think it would be great to see if you can demo them, if possible. That place in Val D’Isere sounds promising! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Julia

      • Wayan February 9, 2015 Reply

        Hi Julia, thanks for your reply!

        After spending almost two weeks testing skis in Summit County in January, I do know exactly what I’m looking for: Skiing without testing.

        So thanks again for your efforts doing this great site. It helped me a lot to pigeonhole different skies and determine what I like or dislike about them. Couldn’t find any Cassiar for testing but tried the X-Drive 8.8 (i.e. too stiff for me), the Mantra, Supernatural 92 (kinda liked those), K2 AMP Rictor 90, Powertrack 89 just to name a few. Even tested some in different length, all 170-179cm. At some point, I had to make notes not to get lost. Testing was quite fun but I’m really, really looking forward to spend my next visit just skiing. And I can’t wait to retire my almost 10 years old Nordica “Speedmachine” and ride the Cassiar I just ordered.

        Keep up the great work! All the best from rainy Hamburg, Germany,
        Wayan

  2. James February 8, 2015 Reply

    Hi wayan, the powder works in val d’isere has various types of dps skis in for hire/buy. A days hire was €30.

    Not sure what models they had though. Theres also a place in chamonix that does try before you buy as well

    • Wayan February 9, 2015 Reply

      Hi James, unfortunately the French alps are not exactly my house route. But thanks a lot anyway!

      • James February 10, 2015 Reply

        No probs, what Cassiars did you order? Ive got the 95’s.

  3. James February 10, 2015 Reply

    Julia – did you find the tails occasionally one tucking itself under the other one?

    • Julia February 13, 2015 Reply

      Hi James,

      I never did experience that, but that doesn’t sound good! Could it be your tune? What sort of conditions was that happening in?

      • james February 16, 2015 Reply

        HI Julia

        Could be my technique (dodgy right knee) as it tended to be the right one tucking under the left, but would happen on groomed runs. I couldn’t feel it until the turn.

        The tune was both factory and ‘own’ sharpening (to factory settings).

        Ill probably put a review up on epic ski of how I found them (somebody else has also reviewed them), as well as sending it to DPS as I offered to give feedback and they said yes (feel like a pro now lol). Will link it up on here either case.

        May try and get another week on them this season and see.

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