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DPS Cassiar 85

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

DPS Cassiar 85


Product Info

  • Length Tested: 178 cm

  • Dimensions // Turn Radius: 122-85-109 //  r = 15m

  • Construction:  Pure 3 Carbon Nano

  • Camber:  Early Rise Tip, slight camber underfoot, subtle tail rocker

  • Binding:  Demo

  • Mount point: +1


Environment & Conditions:

  • Location of Test:  Brundage Mtn, McCall Idaho

  • Number of Runs:  4 full days

  • Snow Conditions:  Varied by day –

    • 1 day where snow varied greatly be elevation – 4” of soft, light snow available at high elevations, crusted snow at mid, and icy at the base

    • 1 day of bone jarring, frozen solid conditions everywhere

    • 1 day of fresh, light snow (4-8”)

    • 1 day of frozen, crusted snow in the AM, softening thru the day as sun warmed the mountain

  • Demo or Own:  Demo (but plan to own at some time now…)


Skier Info:

  • Skier:  Mark – age 50

  • Physical description:  6’ 2”, 250#, athletic and strong; former weightlifter

  • Ski Days/Season:  25-30

  • Experience level:  Level 7/8 skier – advanced and progressing.  10 years total experience (5 in the early mid-80s, and the last 5)

  • Aggressiveness:  Aggressive – rely more on muscle than technique

  • Current Quiver:  DPS Wailer 112RP (Hybrids) and Dynastar Mythic Riders

  • Preferred Terrain:   Powder, trees, and crud.  Enjoy cross-slope turns over fall-line



About 3 weeks ago, I began the search for a replacement for the bottom half (Dynastar Mythic Riders) of my 2-ski quiver and find something that offered a little more fun and better carving on the groomers and hard-pack.  I had just started putting together a list of skis I was interested in, when I was given the opportunity to ski a pre-production demo of DPS’ new Cassiar 85 in a 178 cm length.   (Planned for production this summer and shipping this fall, the pair I was offered is a late prototype and very close to the production specs.)  I took advantage of that offer, and in the last 2 weeks, put 4 full days on these skis (as well as a 5th day demoing 5 other pair of skis for comparison).  With very little info available on the Cassiar 85, I went into this pretty blind as to what to expect.  My review notes are below.





Visual impression upon receipt:  Beautiful skis -- nice fit and finish.  The top sheet has a textured matte finish that looks great and probably minimizes snow-stick.  This top sheet seems to hide/mask general wear and tear very well -- at first glance, I wondered if was given a new pair instead of a prototype that has a fair amount of laps on them.  It took a few seconds of looking at the top sheets to see that they actually had previous use.  Bases and edges look to be the same bulletproof materials and construction used on the Wailers.  (As prototype test demos, I'm guessing these have been put thru the paces and have some fairly intense skiing in their past, but it's not evident by appearance.) 


Physical impression upon receipt:  Very light and stiff.  Hand-flexing them side-by-side with my Mythic Riders and a friend’s Volkl Kendos, the Cassiars are significantly stiffer than the MRs longitudinally, a little stiffer than the Kendos longitudinally, and substantially more torsionally rigid than both.  The flex pattern of the Cassiar 85 appears to be more focused on the tip than either the MR or Kendo – ski flex on the Cassiar initiates at the tip’s contact point, and works its way progressively towards the waist as force increases, while the other two have a more uniform flex the entire length of the ski.  As seen in the pix, the Cassiar 85 has a fair amount of tip rocker for a front-side ski, some subtle rocker in the tail, and a few mm of camber underfoot – when combined with DPS’ unique shaping in the tip and tail, the effective edge length is fairly short.


On the snow – first impressions

During my first ½ day, 4 things stood out loud and clear that define my initial impressions of these skis on the snow:

  1. These have phenomenal edge hold.  A ball to carve with, these exceed everything I’ve ever been on in terms of edge hold and carving.  Multiple turn shapes, easy to control, and very precise.  Edge hold and turn shape respond to fore/aft weighting, subtle foot pressure, and edge angle extremely well.  A lot of tools in the kit to work with, and they are all EASY to work with. 
  2. These skis have great energy.  Noticeable pop coming out of the turns – these are a ton of fun.  The energy release seems very controlled (for lack of a better word) and is powerful and accelerating when wanted, mild-mannered when not.  Seems to gives back similar energy as I put into – aggressive or casual.   No hints of any unwanted/untimely response.   The manner in which this ski releases its stored energy is hard for me to accurately describe, but I really like it. 
  3. These things are stable, fast, and induce confidence at speed.  I’m not a high speed cruiser, but these are a ball to go fast on.  No chatter, no wander, great edge hold and control at any speed.  My comfort zone for speed took a big jump with these.
  4. Very short familiarization period for these in order to be comfortable on, and confident in them.  I suspect the edge hold and control the skier has with these contribute to that, because I went from “let’s figure out how these like to be skied” to “let’s look for some stuff and go have some fun”  faster than any other ski I’ve tried. 


On the snow – extended observations: 

At the end of 4 days, which pretty much covered the expanse of Idaho spring skiing conditions: 

  1. These things make groomers fun.  Any kinds of turns you want, any speed.  Aggressive or casual and lazy.  It all works, and it all works well.  I’ve never enjoyed groomers this much.  Found myself laughing mid-hill a couple different times.  No speed limit that I’m going to be able find on these things.   Where carving and edge-hold is concerned, to me, this ski epitomizes the difference between a “carver” and an “all mountain ski that carves well”.
  2. Edge hold on ice amazed me.  2nd day I skied these, the temps dropped to almost 0 the night before (and was preceded by a day of sunshine and highs in the mid 40’s) so the SW exposure of the mtn was icy and frozen rock hard.  Headed to that piece of the mountain first thing in the morning and found two steep fall lines, one boilerplate smooth, and one hard-frozen corduroy and played on those for a while.  Edge hold was impressive on both – found a sweet spot in forward weighting, foot pressure, and lean angle where I could do what I want when I want.  Could slip the edges when I wanted, re-gain the edges at will, adjust turn radius, etc….  Rock solid edge-hold under foot – the edges and torsional rigidity of these skis really stand out here.   
  3. If owned, these would be my skis of choice in the crud (any/all kinds of crud) compared to anything else I’ve owned or skied.  Expected the light weight to be a detriment to heavier/ inconsistent/crusted crud and that it might get bounced around a lot, but that wasn’t the case.  The inherent stiffness, tip shape, and controlled/damp characteristic of this ski makes it easy to drive thru the cut-up powder, heavy crud, and crusted crud with confidence, while the torsional rigidity, short turn radius, light weight, tail shape, and energy coming off turns made it easy to dance and maneuver through heavy crud, hard-frozen crud, etc, at will…  This ski gives me a choice in the crud that I’m not used to having – driver or dancer.  No unwanted grabbing of tips or tails, no unwanted deflections or direction changes.   I’d choose these over my Mythic riders for crud 10 out of 10 times.
  4. Tight quarter maneuverability with these in shallow snow or hard-pack is second to none.  Tails provide “snap” when you want, and are quiet when you want.  Light weight is clearly evident here, but so is the balance.  Weight distribution on these skis “feels” right -- swing is smooth, fast, and precise.   Tight turn capability, rock solid edges, and torsional rigidity make these a ball in skied out trees.
  5. Highest performance oriented ski I’ve ever been on, yet not demanding to ski at all.  The ski rewards and responds immediately to good technique and precise control, but doesn’t punish bad behavior on the skiers part.   The better the skier is, the more this ski will do.  No limitations that I’ve come across.  I’ve come to expect negative feedback to be instant, unforgiving, and usually painful when I get sloppy or lazy with my technique, and that’s not the case here.  Ended up in the back seat and off-balance a couple times in some hard-frozen crud (expecting to go from bad-to-worse) and these things were easy to recover.   The undemanding, forgiving nature of this ski opens up the applicable market. 



  1. A couple months ago, Dawg (as part of a ski review or some sideline conversation on another topic) said something to the effect that a lot of skiers are missing the boat, over-emphasizing wider skis for all conditions and end up essentially “enduring” hard-pack and icy days while marking time and waiting for the next fresh snow, when they could be having a ball with a good carving ski.  (My apologies to Dawg if I butchered that – tried to find the thread and couldn’t…)  I’m a believer now.  With the Cassiar 85’s however, DPS has blurred the line between “carver” and “all mountain”, building a narrow all mountain ski that offers no compromises when it comes to edge hold, carving, and race-like performance (or, if you’d rather, building a carver that should kick ass all over the front side of any mountain.)
  2. I would expect these skis to have a very broad target audience – they should appeal to experts or intermediates, and fall-line “chargers” or cross-slope “dancers” alike.  Between days 1 and 2 on the Cassiar 85’s, I took a day off from the DPS’ and demoed 5 other pair of skis (Bushwackers, Kendos, RTM-84s, Experience 88’s, and Bonafides) at the same mountain in the same conditions as the DPS the day before.  If I hadn’t already skied the Cassiars, I’d say that I could be happy with either the Kendo or RTM-84 occupying my lower quiver spot.  Having experienced the Cassiar however, I can no longer say that.  I ranked the Cassiar 85 higher in every condition when compared to the other five collectively.  These skis did everything well for me, and allowed me to have more fun all over the mountain.  (As a sanity check for myself since I wasn’t expecting to like the skis THIS MUCH, with the Cassiars sitting idle one day, I had a friend ski them for about 3 hrs.  At 20 yrs old, 5’9” and 160#, he’s the polar opposite of me – fluid, graceful, aggressive, and fast compared to my style which can be likened to that of a linebacker with bad knees.  He's owned and skied Kendos and Katanas as his quiver for the past 2 years, and when done with the Cassiars, was amazed.  His comment as he handed them back to me was "These may be the perfect skis...  These are the best things I've ever skied."  He then went on to rattle off his observations of the ski in different applications, and they very closely matched mine.)  These are very versatile skis, and perform at a very high level under a wide variety of conditions that most skis can’t touch.

  3. I think a 2-ski quiver consisting of the Cassiar 85’s and a ski like the Wailer 112’s, would leave most skiers well-equipped to handle everything but the deepest snow, offering a good deal of overlap in the 4-8” snow depth range where the skier has to make a judgment call as to which will be more fun.

post #2 of 3

Very interesting, especially the comments about performance on hard snow/ice.  How would you compare them to some of the premier frontside carvers in comparable widths, sucha s the Fire Arrow 84 EDT, MX 88/83, etc?  Especially interested dampness and chatter resistance.  Also, do they get pushed around in heavy chop/crud?  

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Can't compare the Cassiar 85 to the skis you mentioned, as I haven't skied them. The skis do have a more damp feel than I was expecting from that light of a ski (pleasant surprise in that respect). Only chatter I've noticed is a little when transitioning among snow types (loose snow vs hardpack vs ice vs frozen corduroy) and that chatter goes away immediately as I adjust foot pressure or edge angle to tailor my edge hold and carve to the different snow type. Regarding the crud, these things kicked ass for me. Because of how light they are, performance in the crud was the area I was wondering most about, and I think DPS nailed it. The tip rocker and shape, combined with how stiff and damp these skis are, made skiing every kind of crud I threw at them fun. No tip deflection, no edges grabbing, no hooking, and no getting tossed around, even when I got into the crusted chop that usually gives me fits. One of the things I really liked about these, was if I got into a shaded ravine or dense trees and the conditions went from "variable snow" that I like to drive thru, to "frozen hard surface" w/o warning, the "turn-on-a-dime" maneuverability, edge hold, and torsional stiffness come into play that allows me to dance my way out. This ski makes transition between the two skiing styles almost intuitive.

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