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DPS Alchemist Lotus 124 Review

Unapologetic powder-hungry big mountain tool that provides enough flotation to satisfy US Coast Guard expectations.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $1,299 List | $1,039.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Exceptional float, shmeary turn shapes, bomber construction
Cons:  Expensive, less exciting on piste
Manufacturer:   DPS Skis
By Rob Woodworth ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 12, 2019
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 7
  • Float - 25% 10
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 8
  • Playfulness - 20% 8
  • Crud - 20% 7
  • Carving - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 5% 6

Our Verdict

Much in line with the big-mountain canon DPS is so familiar with, the Lotus Alchemist 124 is an unforgiving charger that is most comfortable in the steep and deep. This model has received several facelifts since it was unveiled, most recently including a few tweaks to the flex profile and subtle rocker refinements that provide effortless float with uncompromised turn entry. At first glance, this ski is big, bossy, and stiff where it counts. But after clicking into the Lotus and cranking out a few tight-radius turns, you'll quickly realize that it is a much more dynamic ski than it's profile leads you to believe. Calling Salt Lake City home, DPS has become a household name for powder skiers far and wide. Known originally for their tight-knit circle of pro-athletes, designers, reps, and photographers, the brand quickly became a mainstay in the eyes of purists and dirtbags alike. The Alchemist is a credit to the brand and the winner of our Editor's Choice Award.


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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award   
Price $1,039.96 at Backcountry
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$629.86 at Amazon$749 List$800 ListCheck Price at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Exceptional float, shmeary turn shapes, bomber constructionPowerful, damp, ready to get rowdyBurly, fast, versatileIntuitive turn entry, good float, poppy rocker profileStable, damp, solid edge
Cons Expensive, less exciting on pisteHeavy, less maneuverable at low speedsGrabby, backseat floaterLess stable, not enough dampness for some runoutsHeavy, less nimble
Bottom Line Unapologetic powder-hungry big mountain tool that provides enough flotation to satisfy US Coast Guard expectations.A strong powder ski that is capable of powering through any conditions.Big-mountain stability and freeride floatation; a solid choice for stunting big lines in deep snow.The Pinnacle 118 balances float and stability and is a solid choice if you're only expecting to encounter soft snow.Ruthless big-mountain ripper that destroys chop as well as it floats.
Rating Categories DPS Alchemist Lotus 124 Nordica Enforcer Pro Moment Wildcat K2 Pinnacle 118 Volkl Confession
Float (25%)
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Stability At Speed (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Playfulness (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
6
Crud (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
Carving (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
Versatility (5%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
Specs DPS Alchemist... Nordica Enforcer Pro Moment Wildcat K2 Pinnacle 118 Volkl Confession
Waist Width (mm) 124 115 116 118 117
Rocker Tip and tail rocker Tip and tail rocker Mustache rocker Powder Rocker with High Rise Tip and tail rocker
Available Lengths (cm) 180, 185, 191 191 174, 184, 190 177, 184, 191 179, 186, 193
Shape 151-124-133 mm 143-115-132 mm 141-116-131 mm 145-118-135 mm 144-117-133 mm
Radius (m) 23 m 21.5 m 25 m 23 m 21.2 m
Weight Per Pair 9.3 lbs 10.3 lbs 9.45 lbs 10.2 lbs 9.92 lbs
Core Material Aspen Poplar, beech, balsa Wood (aspen, pine) Fir, aspen Wood, titanal bands (torsional multilayer)
Tested length (cm) 191 191 184 191 179

Our Analysis and Test Results

We tested the DPS Lotus Alchemist 124 in the 191cm length. This is the fattest option in the DPS lineage, and also has one of the largest surface areas of all the skis in this review.

Performance Comparison


The Lotus Alchemist is most at-home in soft  deep snow. Unlike a traditionally cambered ski  the Lotus becomes snappier and more intuitive in soft snow  enabling you to pull off fun maneuvers.
The Lotus Alchemist is most at-home in soft, deep snow. Unlike a traditionally cambered ski, the Lotus becomes snappier and more intuitive in soft snow, enabling you to pull off fun maneuvers.

Float


Sporting a 124mm waist and hailing from a deep snow heritage, it's quite obvious that the Lotus is a whole-hearted powder ski. But fat skis don't automatically qualify as floaters. (In fact, the ability to sink and then re-plane a powder ski is quite useful when skiing technical terrain.) When skiing the Lotus 124, we experienced reliable and balanced floatation in a variety of snow types.


You could say that the Lotus and the Line Pescado offered similar amounts of float. Both skis keep you from sinking to the bottom layer (unless you're lucky enough to be skiing dreamy, ultra-light-particle snow). But what makes the Lotus stand out is its ability to remain intuitive and responsive in super deep snow. Even at high speeds, you can roll, pivot, slide, and then re-engage the Lotus without losing your tempo. This is the mark of a truly great powder ski — floatation that doesn't compromise control.

Even though you'd think a huge ski like the Alchemist 124 would feel boaty at high speeds  we found that it remained intuitive while charging down the fall line.
Even though you'd think a huge ski like the Alchemist 124 would feel boaty at high speeds, we found that it remained intuitive while charging down the fall line.

Stability at Speed


In the 120+ neighborhood of skis, you wouldn't expect to find very impressive firm-snow performance. Wider skis don't always lend themselves to high-speed carves or slaying corduroy because it is often quite a feat to roll them over from edge-to-edge. However, we were thoroughly impressed by the Lotus and its ability to initiate hip-dragging turns with ease. Much of the early-season snowpack (read: farmed, re-frozen, and fast) we encountered was still fun to ski on the Lotus.


The semi-cap construction and stiff but progressive flex pattern enable you to rail this ski much like you would an all-mountain ski. Despite having one of the widest waists in the lineup, the Lotus 124 can manage high-speed runouts while maintaining a smooth and predictable track through variable surfaces. Thanks to a wood-hybrid core, it remains stable and comfortably damp even when you manage to bomb off the groomer lane and into the chunderdome. Try as we might, we can't seem to shake this ski from its truly fat foundation.

Not able to qualify as a true twin-tip  the Lotus Alchemist is still a very fun and agile ski that allows for generous amounts of off-piste debauchery.
Not able to qualify as a true twin-tip, the Lotus Alchemist is still a very fun and agile ski that allows for generous amounts of off-piste debauchery.

Playfulness


The Lotus isn't a ski made for stunting. It's directional and likes to go fast.


However, it is a total riot to ski in almost every type of soft snow. Because you can so easily engage and release the Lotus from its edge, we find it super fun for slarving, drifting, and washing out the end of turns. You know, like when you're trying to get that cover-worthy shot of you totally destroying a pillowy spine in the backcountry.

The progressive flex pattern on the Lotus Alchemist is workable in a variety of conditions. Though  particularly heavy or iced-out chop had a tendency to boss them around a bit.
The progressive flex pattern on the Lotus Alchemist is workable in a variety of conditions. Though, particularly heavy or iced-out chop had a tendency to boss them around a bit.

Crud


DPS has standout ultralight options for the gram-counting weight-weenies from the alpine touring crowd. In contrast, the Alchemist's construction is unforgiving, strong, and burly. A fair amount of the snow we encountered while testing the Lotus came in the form of recycled (faceted) powder and skied-out freshies with high moisture content. Whether managing breakable crust or chunked-out death cookies, the Lotus inspires confidence to power through less-than-stellar surfaces.


Managing crud isn't just about power, either. The Lotus has a relatively quick swing weight, which allows you to bounce and rebound out of technical pockets. It's also quite stiff in the tail. This is super helpful for making recovery moves in critical terrain. Because (let's admit it) even if you're all that and a bag of chips, you'll inevitably get bucked into the backseat if you're having any fun at all.

Known widely for their powder performance  DPS isn't the brand that comes to mind for carving. However  we were pleasantly surprised by the Lotus' ability to bring turns around on the groomers.
Known widely for their powder performance, DPS isn't the brand that comes to mind for carving. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the Lotus' ability to bring turns around on the groomers.

Carving


The soul of this ski very much resides in the powder category. The shape, sidecut, and rocker profile all lend themselves to unwavering soft snow performance. That said, we think it still has some notable strengths in its ability to initiate a variety of turn shapes.

With a longer-than-average turn radius, the Lotus doesn't exactly dart across the fall-line in huge lateral moves. But it does have strong edge hold thanks to a notable sidewall and moderate amount of traditional camber underfoot. Still, it rolls off edge quite easily and allows for effortless and highly responsive 'slarve' style turns. Being able to release the edge and control a power slide is a huge help when you're navigating steep and highly technical terrain. In this regard, the Lotus is perhaps one of the most intuitive skis in the review


Versatility


Based on appearance alone, you might expect the Alchemist Lotus 24 to be partial to deep, soft snow. Our testing proved that it is fully capable of holding its own all over the mountain. Pretty much the only conditions the Lotus didn't perform well in was early morning iced-over groomers. (Why are you skiing there on a powder day?) Having alluded to taking inspiration from the Wailer shape, DPS clearly designed the Lotus with a background in all-mountain utility.

Best Application


Even though it remains trustworthy in a wide variety of conditions, we still believe that this ski belongs in soft, deep snow. If you don't yet have a dedicated powder ski setup, but also don't want to narrow your scope of skiable terrain, the Lotus is a tremendous option for rounding out your quiver. It won't disappoint on days when the mountain lies about last night's snow totals.

We wouldn't recommend it as a do-it-all ski  but the Lotus Alchemist is definitely a top-performing deep snow powder ski.
We wouldn't recommend it as a do-it-all ski, but the Lotus Alchemist is definitely a top-performing deep snow powder ski.

Value


At $1,299 a pair, the Alchemist Lotus 124 is far from a bargain. However, that price tag is indicative of the high-quality construction and detailed design that has garnered a cult following in the DPS camp. In this case, we feel that the sticker shock is well worth the performance and longevity of this ski. Plus, it comes with the steadfast warranty and OG status offered by DPS.

Conclusion


We held this ski to very high (perhaps unfairly high) standards, simply because of all the hype surrounding DPS and their coveted status among skiers who know their stuff. To be frank, we knew we liked them before even getting them on snow, and thoroughly searched for a reason to denounce the bandwagon effect. Alas, our exhaustive testing only corroborated that the Lotus is an all-around solid ski, though it undoubtedly feels more at home in the deep stuff.

Other Versions


We reviewed the Alchemist Lotus 124 in the 191cm length. There are also 185cm and 180cm lengths, at varying radii. This shape is also made in different constructions, including the Tour1 and Foundation, which are lighter but also less damp.


Rob Woodworth