The 2019 DPS Zelda 106 Alchemist is an awesome example of a high-end freeride ski for ladies that also can be used for backcountry touring expeditions. It’s these types of skis that garner a lot of attention because a ski that can be used both on the resort and in the backcountry must have a lot going for it. Enter the Zelda 106—with its Alchemist construction, the skis maintain a beefy structure, but do not overload the user with multiple metal layering and other heavy materials. The knock on the other constructions at this width is that they do not offer the same amount of performance. Not so with the Zelda 106 Alchemist. Our testers enjoyed the solid and stable nature of the skis, and also complimented the skis on their liveliness and pop.
Caroline Kessler skied the 178 cm length Zelda 106 and thought it was a pretty good fit for what she wanted it to do. Her high mark for forgiveness shows that the ski flexed when she wanted it to. Nothing seemed to particularly stand out for Caroline, but she found it to be an “all around solid ski. Turns well whether it’s quicker slalom-like turns, or opening up and going faster.” She agrees with the previous assertion of the Zelda being used as a backcountry tool: “I would recommend the ski as a solid all-mountain ski or a touring ski.” It’s a good thing when a ski sits in the middle of a lot of different categories—that means it will make a lot of different skiers quite happy.
Kristi Brown tested the 168 and concurs with the notion that the Alchemist build pays off with the Zelda 106. “Nice to ski a DPS ski with more construction that gives stability and more progressive flex.” Her scores bordered on 4’s for pretty much every category that we scored, and as such, makes us think that the Zelda 106 is a pretty nice all-mountain ski.
Ariel Aidala had an interesting comparison. She skied the 168 cm version and likened it to the Volkl 100Eight. She found them to be “better than the 100Eight…much more playful, less planky, and not as damp.” Her score of 4 out of 5 for quickness and playfulness back up that assertion. She goes on to note that “these skis could still get on edge and cruise even in the sticky snow conditions.” It’s true that the conditions were sticky, and it was nice to get on a pair of skis that could handle that mank.
Also skiing the 168 cm length, Chloe Wexler found that they skied on the long side, but still gave high scores for stability and torsional stiffness. She didn’t find them as playful as the other testers, probably due to the length, but seemed to enjoy the fact that the skis were solid and could be pushed. She “skied a little of everything—in the bumps, the skis were a bit heavy, on the groomers at slow speed the ski needed a boost to initiate turns, but the faster you went the ski felt stable and fun.” That’s the kind of response we’d expect from a big, solid ski, and Chloe re-iterates that notion by stating that “overall the ski likes to make big turns at high speed.” Good thing, because so do we!
Susan Dorn skied the 168 and seemed to have a blast on it. “Nice!” she says, “Cuts through the crud like butter—like it [the crud] wasn’t even there.” She, too, noted that during turn initiation, the Zelda needed a little kick in the pants, but once it got going, it was unstoppable.
Overall, our testers found the Zelda 106 Alchemist to be a strong performer. What it seems to lack in the quickness and maneuverability department, it more than makes up for in stability and flotation. For skiers looking to hit some high speeds, and take the skis into the backcountry, the Zelda 106 sounds like a go-to stick.