Dimension (mm): 140-120-125
Sidecut Radius: 46m
Manufacturer’s Stated Weight Per Ski: 2,200 grams / 4.86 lbs.
BLISTER’s Measured Weight – one ski: 2,105 grams; other ski: 2,120 grams
Boots / Bindings: Lange RX 130 / Salomon S916 (DIN at 11)
Mount Location: Recommended line
Test Location: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Days Skied: 30
I might as well come out and say it: I had some of the best inbounds runs of this past season on the Lotus 120. I’m talking about the runs that still give me goosebumps and get me excited that opening day at Jackson is only about 130 days from now.
The Lotus 120 is a pintailed powder ski, defined by the tapered tail that gives the style its name. The general idea is that the lack of surface area in the rear will cause the tail to sink in deep snow, causing the tips to rise for easier steering and control in powder.
(Editor’s Note: Typically, a ski is regarded as “pintailed” if there is less than a 10 millimeter difference between its waist and tail. In the not too distant future, we’re going to be running a piece on pintail design, so, you’ll probably want to start gettin’ psyched for that now….)
When bombing the first few runs off Sublette after getting first tram during an early February storm at Jackson, I found the Lotus’ balance between aggressive turns up top and its ability to turn on a dime to navigate the choke in Alta 1. In the open upper section, where about twenty inches of snow had drifted in, I dove into the fresh pow and really pushed the ski without finding a speed limit.
With limited early season snowpack, some sharks lurked in the choke, and the Lotus handled this mandatory shut down incredibly well. One quick slash, and I had returned to a safer speed for navigating through the cheese grater.
Once through the middle section, I happily let it rip with Super G turns through Laramie Bowl. A few Alta 1 laps later, the Lotus 120 was equally at home wiggling through the sparse trees at the bottom to harvest the remaining untouched pow pockets.
On the Lotus 120, five inches of windblown cream felt more like ten as I slarved and smeared my way down Rendezvous Bowl. The huge tip rocker allowed the ski to plane early, which got me on top of the snow to surf and slash.
Many big skis, like the Head Boneshaker 125 or the Kastle 128, need to be at high speed to start planing and become responsive, but that is not true of the Lotus 120. While there are a lot of skis that shred big lines well, the Lotus 120 outshines many of these in its versatility as a capable, nimble pow slayer at lower speeds, too.
Though one thing that I did notice at low speed on low-angle sections was the obvious effect of the pintail. It was clear that the tails of the Lotus 120 were submerged in the powder on the approaches to some of the upper Granite Canyon chutes. The ski was still responsive and could easily farm low-angle turns, but it didn’t have the same floaty feeling as it did when going faster.
DPS puts the Lotus 120 in their Big Mountain category, and this is certainly where it belongs. At high speed, the Lotus 120 really outshines other pintailed skis, especially the Rossignol S7. The large sidecut radius (46 meters), dampened bamboo feel, and stiffer flex of the Lotus 120 allowed me to open it up on Pucker Face—with about seven inches of day-old pow, I made only six turns sandwiched around a high-speed air off the middle cliff band.
Where the Lotus is comfortable making but a few turns, the 188cm S7 wants to turn more—way more—given its 17.5-meter sidecut radius, and is not nearly as stable when pushing the speed limit. That being said, the Lotus is also capable of making short, playful wiggles at low speed and can turn on a dime at high speed.
One situation where I really appreciated the Lotus 120’s ability to make quick adjustments was in steep sections with mandatory airs of unknown height. Due to the drastic difference in snowpack at Jackson between this season and the 10/11 season, drops that were a mere five feet the previous year were often three or four times as big, necessitating careful approaches this season. A couple of times in Granite and Green River, I was cruising into these drops only to be very surprised at the height, but, again, one quick slash just above the takeoff, and I was at a more comfortable speed to take the airs.
Landing drops in powder on the Lotus was very easy, as one would expect from a ski with 600mm of rocker in the shovel. The significant tip rocker allowed me to ski out of a lot of airs where other less rockered skis would have had me headed over the handlebars.
In heavier powder, The Lotus 120’s tapered tip moved through the snow with less resistance and less hookiness than some skis I’ve been on with a wider tip, such as the ‘09 Black Diamond Megawatt. Deep, heavy snow can create resistance at the tip of the Megawatt, but this problem did not exist with the Lotus’ slightly narrower, tapered tip, where the widest point sits about 8 or 9 inches from the tip of the ski.
Another result I attribute to the tapered tip is that the sidecut of the Lotus 120 is significantly decreased, and on flat, groomed snow, the tip doesn’t engage when laying the ski over on edge. In my opinion, this makes some of the larger skis with a more traditional sidecut (such as the Atomic Automatic) a little more versatile on days when it is a tough call on whether to bring out the big guns. That’s OK, however, because the Lotus 120, is not made for flat, groomed, or hard snow—it is made to perform in powder.
But the Lotus 120 does have enough edge hold for billygoating sketchy hardpack entrances. I was relieved by the skis ability to bite into the chalk at the top of Corbet’s Couloir before making the jump into some creamy windblown goodness below. Once in the windloaded snow, it was a lot of fun to smear and slarve through the variable pow which the Lotus 120 handled quite well.