Hardpack / Groomers
What’s so great about the original 112RP’s design? Its capability on hardpack, among other things, so we’ll start there with the RPC’s carving feel.
I spent a couple of hours lapping the groomers under the Collins lift on the RPC. I didn’t need quite that long to get a feel for the ski on groomers, but at the time I didn’t really want to go anywhere else—the RPC’s carving performance, especially for a 115mm-underfoot pow ski, is absolutely on point.
Fast, high-angle carves are fair game on anything resembling ordinary groomer conditions. The ski is easy to roll on edge with a bit of speed, and the edge hold through each arc is very impressive. (I did experience some slippage on very hard bulletproof patches, but I think this would have been the case on many narrower skis, too.)
The RPC’s rather short 20-23m sidecut radius feels pretty tight (something like a GS ski) as it cuts across the slope. The ski hand flexes and skis very stiff, especially underfoot and through the tail, so it took some edge pressure and energy to feel like I was really bending the ski and loading up the camber underfoot. When I did, however, the ski pushed back hard with a snap from one carve to the next.
I’m not sure I knew what “torsionally rigid” really meant until laying down some blisteringly fast, high-energy carves out the bottom of Alta’s Collin’s face on the RPC. In this respect, DPS’s engineering and construction of the ski is seriously impressive.
DPS says that “the RPC gives up some of the 112 RP’s hard snow-carving performance” but I wouldn’t quite put it like that. I wouldn’t say that the 190cm 112RP’s hard snow carving performance is obviously better than the RPC’s, though it is less demanding. The 190cm 112RP Pure has a noticeably tighter turn radius and certainly requires less speed / energy to snap in and out of carved turns (due to its softer flex), but its edge hold is not markedly stronger than the RPC.
Just like DPS says, the RPC does have a shallower turn shape, but I never felt it offered a significantly less stable, less powerful, edged turn than the RP did at speed.
Having had fun scaring myself maching GS turns under Collins, I started to work the RPC into long and still very fast skidded turns. In a word, when it comes to performance on smooth hardpack and groomers—whether we’re talking railed turns, skidded fast turns, or short scrubbed ones—the RPC feels precise like no other 115mm-underfoot (or 110mm-underfoot) ski I’ve ever been on.
Collin’s Face was mostly scoured down to firm, smooth hardpack. Hauling down the center of the run, I was able to feather the tails out and cheat the skis’ shovels across the fall line exactly how I wanted them. The sidecut of the ski was noticeable there, as there was a bit of pull from the shovels, but I was easily able to dictate their angle relative to the fall line—smearing the shovels exactly when and where I wanted—using the ball of my foot.
Again, I think this is a testament to the ski’s engineering. The RPC is built with DPS’ Pure: Carbon + Nano core, so its overall weight is seriously light for a ski this big. It’s very torsionally rigid (as I’ve already mentioned), and it’s stiff through the tail. It felt pretty eerie to have a big, 192cm powder ski feel so light, intuitive, and stable while moving that fast on scoured hardpack.
Tighter, short-swing turns in about a half inch of loose snow dusted along the shoulder of groomed runs felt similarly precise. The skis again felt really light, surprisingly nimble, and intuitive for their size. Here, in just the slightest amount of soft, evenly spread snow, the RPC’s considerable 17mm of taper (from the widest point of the shovel to that of the tail) seemed to come into play. It was easier for me to smear out the RPC’s tails in shorter turns, but they never washed out on me abruptly.
When it comes to this sort of smooth hardpack and groomer performance, the RPC is easily one of the most impressive powder skis I know of. It’s light, yet its powerful and very precise feel makes me think the ski would crush 2-4” of windblown chalk, corn snow, and, obviously, any smooth, fresh untracked conditions.
I will say that in areas where I went sliding over firm crud and ridges of hard ice on the sides of runs, often the ski felt more rigid than it did damp. I felt hard knocks on the skis’ edges and underfoot fairly easily, like vibrations were being sent directly into my legs rather than absorbed by the flex of the ski (think about hitting some uneven pavement on a road bike versus a townie cruiser). Curious to see how this rigidity, which otherwise gives the RPC such a responsive feel, would translate to variable, more bumped/chopped conditions, I headed for the steeps skier’s left of Alta’s Ballroom.