After lapping groomers from the Vulcano and Caris lifts off and on over our first three days, I’m not too surprised by what I’ve found. The RPC is a different animal than the 112RP on firm snow, though the two are definitely related.
Knowing I was on a 115mm underfoot, 192cm powder ski, the RPC’s turn radius seemed surprisingly short. Set the ski on edge, even at slow speeds, and the RPC will begin to enter a turn and pull across the hill pretty quickly, maintaining an even, dependable edge hold throughout.
Once I had initiated an edged turn on the RPC, there wasn’t much left to do but ride the ski through the apex. The RPC hand flexes and skis very stiff, especially underfoot and through the tail, so trying to crank it through a hard carve—even at speed—to produce some rebound and energy (which I have been able to do on the Wailer 112RP) proved pretty much impossible.
A heavier skier may be able to bend the ski more than I can, but it seems like the RPC’s edge hold might be overcome before it’s camber/flex submitted to any kind of bend in a carve on hardpack.
Having said that, the RPC is far from a boring plank that would rather go dead straight all the way back to the lift. Though its hardpack performance isn’t nearly as energetic as the 112RP’s, linking big, complete carves is definitely possible.
Once I had a good sense of how the RPC carved on firm, groomed snow, I tried to focus on how it handled smeared turns at slower speeds.
A particularly telling moment came while cruising along a small, extended ridge (probably no more than 8” high) that ran down the side of one of the steeper-pitched trails under the Vulcano lift. The little “mirco-spine” as we started to call it, was dusted in about an inch of light, windblown chalk, and was a blast to make extended, moderately fast turns along. This is when the RPC’s lightweight construction and forgiving, tapered “RP” shape became more apparent. Thanks in large part to DPS’ Pure: Carbon + Nano core, the ski’s overall weight is seriously light for a ski this big and has a considerable 17mm of taper from tip to tail.
Even in that little bit soft snow, the tail of the RPC felt ready to release, smear, and help point the shovels across the fall line. So far, impressions were good. No, the RPC doesn’t show great carving energy, snap, and quickness for its width (like the 112RP does), but DPS made clear that this was not a priority for the RPC, and the RPC is still surprisingly easy to ski on hardpack.
It was time to show the ski some soft conditions, and our first real chance came on Pala de Vulcano, a wide, mellow pitch with 2-3” of dense windblown snow atop some firmer crud.
The RPCs had no problems making shorter, deliberate turns though the funky snow (even though I was skimming over some firm chunks underneath every now and then), and some larger, faster turns toward the bottom of the pitch.
I did notice that the RPCs remained most predictable in these softer conditions when I skied in a fairly upright position, allowing the ski’s sidecut to help dictate the shape of each smeared turn.
If I assumed a more forward and aggressive stance, the fat, tapered shovels (now pressured more) were likely to hook up / catch abruptly as soon I ran through any unexpected crud or hit more dense, variable snow. In such instances, my immediate reaction was to try to be more assertive in directing the forebody of the ski, but this only served to further unweight the comparatively narrow tail, causing it to scrub out harder during the turn, while all the surface area in the rockered portion of the shovel kept grabbing at the snow.
While on Pala and in other undemanding terrain, this wasn’t as much of an issue, since a forward, aggressive stance wasn’t required. From fast, stable laps on groomers, to more playful skiing in the windbuff on the side of runs, to the easy 2-3” of mixed snow on Pala, the ski had done quite well.
But for the most part, I didn’t think I had really done any “charging.” The RPC had handled groomers, light chop, and wind-buffed crud well at considerable speeds, likely better than the original RP, but otherwise I hadn’t yet found a lot of other evidence of the “C” in RPC. So it was time to hit up more demanding terrain.