In chopped-up crud toward the end of a powder day, I was able to plow through the the mank with ease. In deeper crud, the Lotus 120 was great and made skiing the chop a lot of fun. That being said, I definitely had to be on the lookout for the more powdery pockets where it was still enjoyable to throw in quick pivots and slashes. This ski prefers to be floating, and in shallower crud it did not feel good when the Lotus 120 hit bottom. The stiffness and rigidity in the tail was very noticeable and unforgiving.
Again, this ski is made to ski powder, and should not be skied when there isn’t any. The carbon fiber and bamboo core is great for its stiffness and weight, but when the snow hardens, the rigidity of the carbon is immediately noticeable. On the days when I was skiing hardpack through the resort to get to some powdery sidecountry, the Lotus 120 showed no mercy getting down Rendezvous Bowl. Survival skiing hardly begins to describe the painful, awkward chattering over the refrozen mank on the way to the lower Rock Springs sidecountry gate a few days after a March storm.
The flex profile of the Lotus 120 has been refined over several generations of the ski, and while the current flex is somewhat soft in the rockered tip, it’s not a noodle. As you move down from the tip to those wide contact points, the ski becomes noticeably stiffer, then continues to stiffen from the contact points through the tail.
Growing up racing, I learned to use the full length of a ski and often rely on a stiff tail for both stability and recovery, as well as to push down on in powder to slash and scrub speed. The tail of the Lotus 120 allowed me to maintain control at high speeds without washing out. When compared to any ski with more rocker in the tail (e.g., the the BD Amperage, or the Atomic Bent Chetler), the Lotus 120 has more of a backbone to rely on when sudden speed dumps were required. When I got in the backseat in powder I was able to comfortably recenter my weight on the Lotus instead of wheelie-ing as I would on skis with more tail rocker.
Another thing I noticed with the Lotus 120 is that at very high speeds, the sweet spot seems to be closer to boot center than the ball of the foot. I find this interesting because DPS advertises that this is a ski driven by the ball of the foot. I certainly agree with that statement for anything but wide open, full-speed shredding (like what can be found on the first few runs off the Tram on a deep day or in some of the runs off Cody Peak and in Granite Canyon). I felt slightly more comfortable going all out on The Atomic Automatic as well as the BD Megawatt, and this may be due to the rearward balance adjustment at top speed.
My time on these and other big pow sticks make me wonder if the pintail of the Lotus slightly decreased the stability at high speeds. I am curious if this may also be attributable to the short running length of the Lotus 120 (149cm as reported by DPS). With such a drastic difference in the amount of rocker in the tip over the tail, it could be the reason that the weight distribution moves back at high speeds. I would be interested to compare the 190 against the 200 Lotus 120 to see how much the increased running length would bump up the stability in open terrain.
Final S7 comparison notes:
The S7 caters more to beginner and intermediate powder skiers. The shorter sidecut radius and softer flex are more forgiving. For skiers who prefer to make short-radius turns exclusively, the S7 is a better choice. For advanced skiers, the stiffer, bigger turning radius of the Lotus 120 makes it perform better at high speeds while the large tip rocker keeps it maneuverable, requiring only slightly more effort at slower speeds than the S7.
The DPS Lotus 120 is a fun, fat, rockered, pintailed powder board that absolutely slays it in fresh snow. It excels at slashing, pivoting, and more surfy maneuvers, while also being able to open it up on bigger terrain. This unique combination of playfulness and chargeability is hard to find. If you are looking to add a versatile pow surfer that transcends categories, this might be your holy grail; if, however, you are more apt to spin off a pillow, or prefer exclusively to put elevens down big faces at mach speed, there are other other skis that might suit your style better.
At the end of the day, the Lotus 120 is still a category definer, an excellent quiver ski for when the bottom is nowhere in sight.
We've already spilled quite a bit of ink on the DPS Wailer 99. But how well does it do telemark? Robin Abeles weighs in on the Wailer 99, in both its PURE and HYBRID constructions.
NTN: the New Telemark Norm. Time for all the freeheelers to geek out, argue, fight, hug, celebrate, etc., etc.