2016-2017 DPS Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2

Off-Piste Performance (Deep Pow and All Sorts of Chop)

Although the Cassiar 85 is designated as a frontside ski for carving, as I said above, I had the opportunity to ski it in some deep, fresh powder, and the subsequent soft chop. This is where the 85mm-underfoot “frontside” Cassiar really surprised and impressed me: it was actually pretty fun.

Since it’s still early, Taos Ski Patrol continued to open runs for the first time of the season, and the snow on these runs was deep (though also unconsolidated, making it possible to sink through to rocks and logs, so slower and more deliberate pow skiing was advisable).

We got to Lorelei soon after it was opened, and before I dropped in, I was wishing I had some wider skis. But as I started to pick my way through sections of untracked snow and some of the deeper tracked-out sections, I found that the Cassiar 85 was staying afloat a lot more than I had expected and was planing at or near the surface of the snow quite nicely.

Julia Van Raalte reviews the DPS Cassiar 85, Blister Gear Review
Julia Van Raalte on the DPS Cassiar 85, Porcupine, Taos Ski Valley.

I definitely noticed how much the ski’s tip and tail rocker and lighter feel helped me drive the ski from a fairly neutral stance, though I still needed to lean back a bit to prevent tip dive. Again, this is skiing at pretty slow speeds and in fairly untracked snow. While the Cassiar 85 didn’t make skiing powder a challenge or create too much additional effort for me, other, fatter skis would have made it a lot more fun. So, on deeper days I’d still definitely bring a wider pair skis that offered more float, but the Cassiar 85 wouldn’t prevent me from having a fun time, and could be skied fairly hard in deep, smoother powder.

I also got to take the Cassiar 85 down Reforma, a steep run with plenty of soft, deep chop. Unsurprisingly, the Cassiar 85 didn’t feel quite as stable or capable in these conditions as it did in fresh snow, and I needed to dial back my speed and turn size. But while I would still prefer a wider ski with a bit more float to charge through this sort of chop, working my way down Reforma at slower speeds wasn’t miserable or scary on the Cassiar 85.

And just to reiterate, DPS calls the Cassiar 85 a frontside tool, so they weren’t intending this ski for deep powder or deep chop. But it was surprising to me that I still had fun in these conditions. If you’re thinking about the Cassiar 85 as a one-ski quiver and want something more carving oriented that can still be taken out in new snow, I was quite impressed by the ski’s performance in powder and chop relative to how it skis on groomers, and compared to other dedicated frontside skis.

Shallower soft chop may be a more common occurrence, though, and over the next few days, Taos received 3-4” of new snow each night, which produced plenty of soft, shallow chop around the mountain. The Cassiar 85 was actually really fun here, and felt light and easy to work through and around the softer bumps at any speed. While I couldn’t charge top speed and blow up all the consolidated piles of snow, the ski was playful and could make quick, slarvey turns, while still feeling quite stable.

Mount Location

I will note, that, for the first few days, I skied the Cassiar 85 one centimeter in front of the Recommended Line. After moving back to the recommended line, I didn’t feel too much of a difference, but the ski felt just a bit more stable at high speeds down steeper pitches. Still, I’d personally probably opt for +1 (since at my size, +1 was still plenty stable and a little quicker than the recommended line), though I suspect that bigger skiers than me would feel happy on the line. (Will Brown will be weighing in on this, too.)

Bottom Line (For Now)

The DPS Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2 is a ski that has pleasantly surprised me all around the mountain.

Will Brown will be spending more time on the ski soon and will offer his thoughts, but so far, I’ve found it to be a versatile, frontside ski.

I actually think that it could be a good one-ski quiver if you like to carve and don’t care quite as much about soft-snow performance.

The Cassiar 85 is a fun, energetic carver that doesn’t take a whole lot of work. While it’s fairly light and playful for a carving ski, it is still stable at speed, and has been surprisingly capable in off-piste fresh snow and chop conditions, too.


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9 comments on “2016-2017 DPS Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2”

  1. Hi Julia, thanks for the review!
    I’m looking for a Ski to improve my carving skills that’s still fun all around the mountain. The Cassiar looks pretty much like the one for me. I’m just a bit afraid of the weight of the T2 version as I tried the Dynastar Powertrack 89 and they were a bit too heavy (and/or stiff) for my taste, felt a bit “clumsy”. As it is almost impossible to demo any DPS Ski here in Europe, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how heavy the Cassiar actually feel. Bests from Germany and keep up the great work!

    • Hi Wayan,

      Thanks for reading! I haven’t skied the Powertrack 89 yet, but felt that the Cassiar was pretty light. It looks like they have a pretty similar weight, but the Cassiar felt quick and playful to me. Occasionally, they were a bit slower in tighter moguls, but overall they seemed light, despite their 178cm length – which is on the longer side for me. I think the Cassiar 85 is a fun and responsive carver, that does well all around the mountain, so seems really good for what you’re looking for. I never had the feeling that it was heavy or cumbersome. If you’re really concerned, I think it would be great to see if you can demo them, if possible. That place in Val D’Isere sounds promising! Let me know if you have any other questions.


      • Hi Julia, thanks for your reply!

        After spending almost two weeks testing skis in Summit County in January, I do know exactly what I’m looking for: Skiing without testing.

        So thanks again for your efforts doing this great site. It helped me a lot to pigeonhole different skies and determine what I like or dislike about them. Couldn’t find any Cassiar for testing but tried the X-Drive 8.8 (i.e. too stiff for me), the Mantra, Supernatural 92 (kinda liked those), K2 AMP Rictor 90, Powertrack 89 just to name a few. Even tested some in different length, all 170-179cm. At some point, I had to make notes not to get lost. Testing was quite fun but I’m really, really looking forward to spend my next visit just skiing. And I can’t wait to retire my almost 10 years old Nordica “Speedmachine” and ride the Cassiar I just ordered.

        Keep up the great work! All the best from rainy Hamburg, Germany,

  2. Hi wayan, the powder works in val d’isere has various types of dps skis in for hire/buy. A days hire was €30.

    Not sure what models they had though. Theres also a place in chamonix that does try before you buy as well

    • Hi James,

      I never did experience that, but that doesn’t sound good! Could it be your tune? What sort of conditions was that happening in?

      • HI Julia

        Could be my technique (dodgy right knee) as it tended to be the right one tucking under the left, but would happen on groomed runs. I couldn’t feel it until the turn.

        The tune was both factory and ‘own’ sharpening (to factory settings).

        Ill probably put a review up on epic ski of how I found them (somebody else has also reviewed them), as well as sending it to DPS as I offered to give feedback and they said yes (feel like a pro now lol). Will link it up on here either case.

        May try and get another week on them this season and see.

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