DPS is a unique ski manufacturer in the sense that you can get a variety of their different ski designs with different construction techniques. The Cassiar 87 Foundation is a great example, sharing the same shape with the Alchemist-constructed skis, but in a more affordable, yet still advanced, construction. Foundation uses a bi-phase poplar and bamboo wood core that’s sandwiched between tri-axial fiberglass that’s supported by full length strips of uni-directional carbon fiber. DPS describes it as a wonderful blend of power and dampness that can be enjoyed by a wide range of skiers while being a little friendlier on the wallet. The Cassiar 87 uses an 87 mm waist width in a very versatile shape: rocker/camber/rocker with some subtle early taper in the tips and tails as well. It’s a shape borrowed from their wider, more freeride-oriented skis, and just smoothed out and made less pronounced to length the edge contact on firm snow.
Troy Dehm tested the 184 cm length in the Cassiar 87 Foundation. He thought that was a good length for his size, but he still described it as feeling “stiff” and that it “skied long.” The highest scores from Troy were for stability and torsional stiffness/edge grip, both earning 4 out of 5. “Good edge hold on groomers.” Troy thought it was “definitely meant for an advanced skier,” and we’d say that’s especially true if you’re also choosing the 184 cm length. A short length will be a lot more manageable for most skiers, and there are three options going all the way down to 165 cm. Troy found “the stiffness did provide a smooth turn, but not very playful.” The testers we had on the Alchemist version of the Cassiar 87 seemed to find more of a playful feel, which is coming from the differences in construction technique. Alchemist will feel a little lighter and more energetic, but this Foundation construction can still rip.
Mike Thomas also skied the 184 Cassiar 87 in the Foundation construction and admitted that “this ski grew on me after half a run.” We saw really consistent scores from Mike, with lots of 4s out of 5. Consistency in scores typically spells a versatile all-mountain ski with even performance characteristics. Mike thought it felt “planky at first,” but that it came alive and “I really started to have fun when I started making mid-radius fall line turns.” With the 18.5 m turn radius in the 184 cm length and its early tapered shape, we can imagine it making really round, fun turns down the fall line. It also allows for different turn styles ad the rocker and taper allow you to release the tail edge more easily than full camber skis with extended sidecut.
If the DPS design and specifically the Cassiar 87 shape speaks to you, but you either want to save some money or don’t necessarily love the sound of the Alchemist construction, this Foundation construction is slightly more traditional in its design and the resulting performance of the ski is smooth and versatile, but also pretty powerful too. Although it uses that rocker and early taper shape we talked about, based off the reactions from our testers, it’s not a ski you need to worry about sizing up on.