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DPS Cassiar 85 T2 & Cassiar 95 Pure 3 2014-2015

2014-2015
DPS Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2 178cm
122-85-109 r=15-18m @ 178cm
DPS Cassiar 95 Pure 3 Carbon 178cm

129-95-116 r=18m @ 178cm

Manufacturer Info:

DPS Skis
2640 West California Ave
Salt Lake City, UT 84104
Telephone: <+1.801.413.1737


Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):


$1299 usd - Cassiar 95 (Pure 3)
$949 usd - Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2

Usage Class:

Frontside / All-Mountain Carvers

Why The Dual-Test Report?:

The Cassiar 85 and 95 are similar enough and the difficulty choosing between them is serious enough to compare them side-by-side.  There are very different behaviors between them, while they also feel like they had the same parents...but were brought up differently....It might not make any sense right now, but read-on...that's the story we're sticking with.

Background:


Drake Powderworks (now referred to as simply “DPS” http://www.dpsskis.com) has been at the forefront of extreme powder ski designs and high-tech materials engineering since 2003 (when Stephan Drake and Cyrille Boinay founded Drake-Boinay Skis), then formally incorporated later in 2005 when Stephan Drake and engineer Peter Turner joined forces. Pricey, high-tech, and high performance are the hallmarks of these skis which enjoy a fever-riddled cult following. Recently, DPS has brought production of their Pure 3 carbon skis entirely into the new Utah production facility, while the hybrid skis are still produced by a high-tech OEM facility in China. DPS has regularly pioneered many shaping and materials advancements in thie industry, and continues to produce skis with a distinct and highly unique feel and personality many skiers find irresistibly addicting.

Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")

CASSIAR 85 HYBRID T2:
10 for packed powder groomers - Multi-radius turns
9 for variable snow conditions
8+ for boilerplate hardpack
7+ for bumps...larger variety

CASSIAR 95 PURE 3:
9+ for packed powder groomers - GS-flavored turns
9+ for variable snow conditions
8 for boilerplate hardpack
7 for bumps...larger variety

Manufacturer's Description:

CASSIAR 85:

"...Every skier’s quiver needs a dedicated frontside tool. Redesigned on a wider platform, the new Cassiar 85 builds on the award-winning Cassiar family legacy. Now mated with a Pure3 layup, the Cassiar 85 excels as a thoroughbred carbon all-mountain performer with more power and edge grip than significantly narrower and heavier conventionally made skis. The Cassiar 85’s 15m radius allows the skier to truly ride the sidecut for precise, powerful carves on-piste, while the newly shaped tip and tail rocker profiles facilitate easy turn entry and slip in crud, moguls, and trees. A women’s version is available in the Uschi 85."

CASSIAR 95:

"...The revived commitment to the Cassiar family continues withthe addition of another all-mountain waist width to the mix, the Cassiar 95. We have carried over some of the key traits of the Cassiar 85, tuning the 95 to lean moderately towards softer
snow. It’s all accomplished through a slightly higher tip profile, an altered flex profile, and of course, an extra centimeter of
width underfoot. The Cassiar 95 is the floatiest member of the Cassiar family and an amazing flat-tailed choice for everyday
frontside excellence (Pure3 and Hybrid T2) as well as springtime backcountry duty (Pure3 and Tour1). "


Summary:

Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2:

The Cassiar 85 Hybrid is a stunningly effective, game-changing frontside ski with a unique personality and impressively wide performance envelope unlike nearly anything else on the market.  It quickly became one of the skis we always put in the car, no matter what the conditions, unless it was a powder day and we had fatter skis to ride. We said the same thing about the earlier 2013-2014 Pure 3 production candidate version we tested (see EpicSki thread post).  Simply put, the Cassiar 85 can etch super-grippy trenches of various radii into packed surfaces with nearly zero effort due to an auto-engaging geometry and smooth-as-silk response curve with tremendous power handling ability, yet due to its nearly zero camber design, can pivot, smear and be thrown sideways to scrub speed on hardpack or dodge trees off-piste fearlessly, handling fresh snow eagerly and easily...only hampered by its 85mm waist size for floaty behavior. Crud cutting abilities are excellent with the T2 construction, being strong, damp and always delivering an "on-track-strong-and-silent-type" feel when on-edge, yet letting you run low edge angles to bang away at mixed surface types with a quieter, flatter ski when you want.  Very impressive.  It made us want to go faster everywhere.

Ex-racers loved this ski for its high-performance and ability to deliver high-G, high edge-angle, technical grip on groomers without any vibration, buzz or deviant behavior...with essentially zero effort.  Intermediates loved it because it took no effort to ski, never fought the pilot and never sent them into the backseat unexpectedly, nor darted in surprising directions if they made a mistake...yet allowed them to go faster with more security than most other skis.  The Cassiar 85 in its metal-infused T2 Hybrid construction reduces the super-responsive Pure3 behaviors which can require the pilot to maintain a higher level of vigilance, and produces a quieter, more "metal-like" ride many racers learn to love in a ski.  Others become addicted to the Pure 3 energy, response and zing....so DPS gives you your pick of flavors in this design.  Only the hardest of bulletproof boilerplate surfaces made us think of getting on a real race ski in place of the Cassiar 85. If we had to pick a favorite frontside carver ski this year, it would probably be the Cassiar 85.

Cassiar 95 Pure 3:

The wider, straighter Cassiar 95 with its single radius specification is not merely a fattened-up version of its 85mm waisted sibling.  its geometry and flex pattern are different to deliver a more off-piste-oriented ride with higher speed limits in more wide-open terrain behaviors.  The Cassiar 95 in its Pure 3 carbon layup is a super solid, smooth and powerful frontside tool with a spunky energy quality when loaded and released, yet cuts across the snow with a quiet, confident, professional composure rarely found in skis as nimble as it is.  The Pure 3 Cassiar 95 feels remarkably light weight underfoot, yet holds a high-pressure GS line with more quiet security and confidence than pretty much any frontside ski of similar dimensions, and with less effort from the pilot.  Crud cutting is ridiculously easy and deflections are essentially non-existent, and the powder surfing ability is impressive for such a carving tool once you get it up to moderate speeds.  The multi-radius turn ability of the smaller Cassiar 85 does not show up in the Cassiar 95, so it prefers to find its sweet-spot radius and stick to it, making mid-course radius changes less effortless than the 85.  This behavior makes the 95 better at higher speeds in more open terrain.  If the surfaces were somewhat 3-dimensional in the morning, and expected to get skied out into more typical frontside surface types by mid-day, we would grab the Cassiar 95 for an all-day excursion.  Silky smooth with great grip.

Technical Ski Data: (manufacturer's descriptions

Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2 Construction:
   
Sizes: 178cm
Dimensions: 122/85/109
Turning Radius: 15m
Weight: 2100 grams per ski
Tip Rocker Length: 245 mm
Tail Rocker Length: 140 mm
Running Length: 1400 mm

HYBRIDT2: DUAL TITANAL+TRIAXIAL FIBERGLASS LAMINATES

"Hybrid T2 mates DPS’ award-winning design and shaping with a newly engineered metal laminate construction giving core skiers a classic, but superior race room ride. In its inaugural year, Hybrid T2 debuts in the mixed snow/all-around category in the new Wailer 105 and the frontside/all-mountain Cassiar 85. Hybrid T2 construction skis will continue to expand into skis with waist widths that are 105mm and below, while composite laminate blends will remain for higher waist width shapes. Hybrid T2, like its DPS construction siblings, features the hardest and fastest carbon race bases available, and a new chamfered top-edge to reduce topsheet chipping."

    Chamfered top-edge textured polyamide top
    Wide profile Rockwell 48 edges
    ABS sidewall
    Titanal laminates
    Triaxal fiberglass laminates
    Poplar core
    Fastest and hardest World Cup race bases

Cassiar 95 Pure 3 Construction:


"Truly Unique, DPS Pure3 construction makes for the most advanced and highest performance skis on earth. Pure3: Carbon+Nano features exclusive aerospace carbon and nanotech technology, and the absolute finest accompanying materials. Revolutionary on both paper and on snow, the Pure3 construction showcases years of research and refinement in a ski that is 30 percent lighter than conventional constructions, while at the same time 30 percent torsionally stiffer, stronger, and more powerful."

    Carbon Binding Plates
    UHMW sidewalls
    Aspen Core
    Polyamide top
    Wide profile Rockwell 48 edges
    Austrian World Cup graphite race bases
    S.S. Technology
    Urethane dampening system


Bindings and Boots Used:

Marker Jester Demo Bindings
Tyrolia SP120 ABS Demo Bindings
Salomon S-Max 120 boots.


Pre-Skiing Impression:

Both skis are essentially flawless in construction and finish, with a unique chip-free, textured polyamid topsheet.  The Cassiar 85 T2 Hybrid is essentially flat, with nearly zero camber...an unusual trait for a frontside-oriented ski.  The Cassiar 95 Pure 3 has a bit more camber to it.  Both skis are not heavily rockered, instead showing a bit of early rise and longer-tapered forebody shaping rather than spoon-bill shovel geometry.  Both feel smooth and damp by hand-flex, and relatively lightweight.  Torsional strength is strong, but not stiff or rigid feeling.  They convey a sense of high quality without any radical design elements. "Sleeper" is a word that came to mind to describe their look after a few days on these skis.

Test Conditions:

Eastern corduroy, packed powder and hardpack groomers, boilerplate, ungroomed packed powder with small bumps, shin-deep to knee-deep powder conditions, both smooth and bumpy. Windpack, crust, chalky wind buff, fresh and old powder.. 

Hardpack and Boilerplate:

The Cassiar 85 loves to be rolled on edge and pressured evenly from tip to tail along hard surfaces, gripping with a quiet, controlled authority leaning more toward elegant, high-end, athletic confidence than high-octane, muscular race-ski feel underfoot.  The level of effort to get the 85 to engage is nearly zero, and has no trace of surprising, darty behavior.  Turn size can be adjusted easily along an arc and the Cassiar 85 is happiest doing turns somewhere between SL and GS styles...essentially suited for all-mountain, frontside rides in many kinds of terrain.  A true SL or GS race ski has a bit more grip on the hardest, bulletproof boilerplate, but the Cassiar 85 quickly lets you forget about that extra 10-15% grip of a race ski on the blue-ice sections since it carves right across those surfaces just fine, only giving-way if you get lazy with your edge angle or weighting.  Edge-to-edge speed was very quick and effortless. Only  a hint of wander was found if you rode the ski absolutely flat on hardest surfaces. We had best results running the Cassiar 85 with 0.5 degree base bevel and 2 degree side bevel, sharp tip-to-tail.  Some people thought this was a little too grippy or gave too much of a "railed" or "over sensitive" feeling, while most loved the instant lock-in.  Edges stayed sharp for several days of boilerplate use without any serious degradation...which is impressive.  Vibration control was superb in the Hybrid T2 metal construction.  No buzz, no frequency-induced instability, no pinging feeling underfoot...just smooth, damp, metal-infused security and quiet feedback.  Ex racers loved this construction.  If you force the Cassiar 85 into an abnormally tight radius on hardpack, it responds smoothly, only showing a bit of protesting chatter if you miss your angle and pressure combination in the tight radius situation.  Overall, the Cassiar 85 links smooth, auto-engaging, linked carving turns on hardpack like a race carver, but with less effort.  If you like skis like the Elan Amphibio XTi 88 or Blizzard Brahma, the Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2 should be on your demo list.

The Cassiar 95 in Pure 3 construction is different than its 85mm sibling on hardpack.  The 95 has a smaller range of turn radii it loves, yet has the same auto-engaging geometry as the 85 that makes the ski pull itself into the turn when tipped up on edge and pressured.  The Cassiar 95 essentially loves GS-like turns in open terrain, yet is remarkably agile at getting edge-to-edge quicker than most skis in this category.  Edge grip on hardpack is superb in moderate to large-radius turns, and if you get the ski to flex into tighter radius turns than its design specs on hard surfaces, it grips quickly and smoothly, urging the pilot to open up the radius and let the ski run, but never really protests or fights the skier.  The Pure 3 construction is full of energy and response, but never shows the pingy carbon ski behaviors some people remember from the early days of high performance skis made from high percentages of carbon fiber.  The Cassiar 95 is similar in performance to the new 2015 Stockli Stormrider 95 (an exceptional high-speed trench digger with a super-high speed limit and crud-cutting ability), but less demanding and more versatile since the Cassiar can be drifted at-will mid-trajectory without forcing the pilot to raise their alert level up a notch.  The Cassiar 95 on hardpack feels like a western daily driver ski with a genetic bias toward race carving rather than surfy drifting behaviors.  The ride feels like a highly refined Euro touring sports car...smooth, strong, confidence-inspring and addicting.

Mixed Conditions:

The Cassiar 85 is different from many frontside skis often based on race-ski shaping and camber profiles in that it has a relatively long, drawn-out nose leading to the waist instead of the wider shovel quickly tapering to a narrow forebody, then to the waist.  It's tail is similarly shaped, opting to use a longer, tapered shape rather than a bulgy or squared-off tail section often seen in jackrabbit-quick racecarvers or race skis.  These tapered forebody and tail sections, along with a moderate early-rise tip, let the Cassiar 85 cut through variable surfaces with zero deflection or abrupt behaviors.  The 85 stays on the track you select through crud, crust or odd consistency materials, only changing direction when you ask for it, yet gives an eager, energetic feel underfoot with superb feedback and zero harshness.  The 85 is super nimble with a great lightweight feel, yet never feels insubstantial...always giving you the impression there is a strong, high-performance ski under you at all times.  Most people found they immediately upped-their speeds and confidence through mixed surface terrain after feeling what the Cassiar 85 can do with more power, more pressure and faster movements.  More often than not, the Cassiar 85 felt like a better, faster, easier all-terrain ski than many 90-98m width skis in the same situations. Fun stuff.

The Cassiar 95 in its Pure 3 construction delivered a similar sensation in mixed surfaces, with what felt like a deliberate desire to be in more open, faster terrain with GS-like turns being the preferred mode.  The 95 felt like a magnetic tracking device through the crud, windpack or crunchy materials, preferring to be powered at moderate to high speeds for maximum response and rewarding behaviors.  The Cassiar 95 is remarkably nimble in variable surface types, and shows the same no-deflection behavior and a much higher speed limit than the 85.  The 95 feels a bit more directional and less pivoty than the 85, which is great for the more open terrain and higher speeds it likes.  The Pure 3 construction for this geometry is perfect since it delivers a damp, responsive feel, with tons of power in reserve if you load the ski and release it, all in a lightweight-feeling chassis.  The extra surface area of the Cassiar 95 is definitely a nice feature when the snow is over boot-top depth since you can get the float needed to get the entire ski to surf either underneath or on-top of the snow as needed, while the 85mm version will stay more submerged.  It's a tough call to pick which ski to ride in mixed conditions...but most people liked the 95 when there was 3-D snow to play with unless they were heading into tighter, slower woodsy terrain or pure hardpack carving in traffic.

Bumps:

The Cassiar 85 in its T2 Hybrid construction is smooth and pretty darn elegant to ride in the bumps, even though it is infused with Titanal metal.  It's rounded tail never hangs up in the tighter bumps, and there is plenty of pop and power to get up and over bumps on-demand.  The construction can deliver a little resistance in the forebody if you get the ski bent past a certain degree up front when impacting a bump, and deliver some protest to the pilot, but nothing uncomfortable.  The flat-camber design makes pivoting changes in the bumps pretty effortless, and the quick edge-to-edge behavior adds up to a fun ride in the bumps if you don't stuff the metal-ladened body into the faces too vigorously.

The Cassiar 95 in Pure 3 layup through the bumps initially feels like it's a bit too damp and GS-like until you get your speed up and get the ski to flex into its carbon-enabled energy storage mode, then it comes alive and lets you truck through the bumps with authority and energetic performance.  When we talk about "bumps" for the Cassiar 95, we mean rolling, larger-sized obstacles instead of the choppy, square-edged bumps created by the hyper-wiggly bump addicts in the freestyle section of the mountain.  The Cassiar 95 eats through bumpy terrain in wide-open spaces with excellent power and precision and a remarkably calm composure (some might find it too subdued in the bumps). Take it into the tighter, tree-infested bump runs and it will be a little balky at directional changes, yet keep a spunky, powerful feel when the chassis is loaded, unloaded and allowed to flex and respond. The 95 is not a bump ski, but handes frontside and all-terrain bumps with authority if you have the energy to drive it like it wants to be driven.

Powder:.

The Cassiar 85 has a less directional feel in powder snow than most people expect, showing a super-friendly, nearly surfy feel with its 85mm width.  It's definitely not a "floater" compared to powder skis, but when you compare the Cassiar 85 to other frontside 85mm-class skis in powder, the 85 shows a fun factor in powder way above what you expect, considering its trench-digging prowess on the groomers.  The nearly-zero camber and longish, tapered forebody creates a ski with a smooth powder behavior, never "sinky" or "sunken".  While the Cassiar 85 really prefers groomed surfaces and some mixed surfaces over real powder conditions, it can suit a "powder in the morning, cut up snow midday-to-afternoon" scenario nicely if you don't need or have a powder-biased ski available.  Some Eastern patroller types thought the 85 would be a good ski for them since they could ski it bell-to-bell in pretty much anything Mother Nature could throw at them and never have a complaint or feel hampered by their skis.  They liked the easy-stivot feel when stopping frequently to set up ropes, poles, signs, fences and other goodies during the workday, yet let them rip through any snow conditions with little effort, making the Cassiar 85 a good choice for someone on snow all day.  Powder snow performance for the 85 is significantly above average for a frontside carver of its dimensions, which is impressive.

The Cassiar 95 has a completely different personality in powder conditions than its 85mm sibling,  feeling more completely at home and showing an athletic, if directional powder behavior with minimal user input.  The 95 still retains it's frontside-bias in deeper snow, trading off a pure surfing feel for a more trajectory-oriented line cutting behavior, which is great when the speeds pick up and there are some unexpected chop or inconsistent snow density conditions under the surface.  We found the Cassiar 95 shines in powdery conditions when there is a layer of older, windpacked or denser set of layers under some fresh fluff.  The 95 holds the selected line, cutting through the odd materials without a hitch, yet yielding a long-rise forebody floatation feel so you don't feel like you're riding a GS ski through three-dimensional snow.  You get the 95 to smear its chassis in deeper snow with a deliberate movement, rather than a lazy release-drift since it has a bit of camber to it and a carving-biased geometry, but it has a smooth-as-silk response to its base angle being feathered across the snow, which is addicting once you find how it likes to be handled in soft materials.  The Cassiar 95 handles powder snow in an impressive manner compared to simlarly-sized carvers since it has a wide range of excellent behaviors outside the realm of edgeholding...making it pretty darn versatile.  Some testers found the 95 to be a little too directional in powder compared to some more heavily rockered designs, but when they got into the skied-out powder surfaces in the afteroon, they loved the way it held a line effortlessly at speed through the chop with authority.

Analogies: ("This ski is like...")

Cassiar 85 = A modded Audi S4 with adjustable suspension modes and fresh, sticky tires.

Cassiar 95 = An Audi S6 with club-racing suspension and a chip upgrade.

Things I Would Change About This Ski:
 
Cassiar 85 T2: Nothing

Cassiar 95 Pure 3: Maybe a little more snappy response in the tail and a slightly less camber...more like the 85's flat camber for more pivoty feel.

Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":

Cassiar 85: Probably one of the best all-mountain frontside-biased skis has tested since it has a huge range of class-leading high-performance behaviors with a lightweight, solidly silky feel.

Cassiar 95: A super-solid 95mm-waisted frontside-biased all-terrain ski with a super silky, authoritative feel across any surface types with an abundance of athletic power on-tap in a lightweight chassis.

Advice To People Considering These Skis:

If you are considering the Cassiar 85, be sure you don't need a wider waist for your softer snow conditions where a floatier feel might be better than its hardpack-hungy design.

If you are considering the Cassiar 95, be aware it is not a surfy rockered midsize all-terrain ski, but a carving-oriented frontside ski with directional soft-snow personality.

Pics:
(click images for larger versions)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cassiar 95 Pure 3 Tip (top)
Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2 Tip (bottom)

Cassiar 95 Pure 3 Tail (top)
Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2 Tail (bottom)

Cassiar 85 Hybrid T2 camber profile

Cassiar 95 Pure 3 camber profile

Cassiar 85 (left) & Cassiar 95 (right) tips

Cassiar 85 (left) Cassiar 95 (right) tails

Cassiar 95 tip detail

 

 

 

 

By: e.edelstein  Posted: Friday, June 5, 2015 10:00:37 AM

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