DPS Alchemist Lotus 124 Review
Cons: Expensive, less exciting on piste
Manufacturer: DPS Skis
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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