You just can´t utter words like freeride, deep powder snow, or powder alert without thinking about these three letters: DPS!
Founded in 2005 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the company´s name is an acronym for Drake PowderworkS. DPS was founded by Stephan Drake and the product developer Peter Turner. The vision of Drake and Turner was to develop skis for the future and critically review old thought patterns of the sport in order to modernize skiing. The brand´s innovative power led to DPS being the first manufacturer to mass-produce carbon skis and to introduce the first rocker ski with a sidecut. The mixture of high-end carbon technologies, creativity, perfect shape, and pioneering spirit has been exciting DPS customers for many years, so, DPS cannot only look at a loyal fan base, stretching over all five continents, but they also expand it by continuously introducing new innovations and powder rockets.
From South America to Made in America
DPS´s founding was based upon Drake´s frustration that he just wasn´t able to find the perfect deep powder ski. After experiencing several disappointments, he travelled to South America with his buddies in the early 2000s. On this trip, his problem became ever more apparent: Drake´s buddies had much more fun in the powder because their snowboards didn´t even closely cause as many problems as did Drake´s classic camber ski in the deep powder. The reason for that was quite simple: back in those days, snowboards already had a rocker shape. While skis with a rocker shape, nowadays, are rather the rule than the exception, Drake decided to take deep-powder-ski-matters into his own hands after this trip. And, lo and behold, Drake immediately accomplished what a multitude of manufacturers had failed at previously, by crafting a deep powder ski with just the right shape and carbon as a central construction component.
©Stefan Drake (Skier), Oskar Enander (Photographer)
In the early years, the company produced its commodities in Shanghai, China. Since January 2013, DPS headquarters are located in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. There, DPS owns and operates an ultra-modern ski factory. This move has already brought along many advantages. DPS always expands and innovates, like in 2012, when they set new standards with the Spoon ski and Spoon technology, or by introducing the new carbon construction, dubbed Alchemist, a completely overhauled design of the much acclaimed pure-construction. And where can you wholeheartedly try all of these innovations? Yeah, you got it! In the nearby ski resorts and the adjacent backcountry. Furthermore, delivery and communication have both been significantly simplified and DPS is thus able to enjoy a smooth and quick implementation of their countless innovative ideas.
Unique materials for second-to-none performance
Nowadays, DPS has a rather diverse portfolio: from the flagship deep powder freeride ski, the Wailer, all the way to uphill performance focused models like the Cassiar. Even on-piste, you are well equipped with such models like the Wailer112. But, what exactly made DPS expand its portfolio? DPS has many loyal customers worldwide and they also wanted touring skis and on-piste skis of their favorite brand with all the advantages of the typical DPS performance. Now, how exactly does this renowned performance come into existence?
©Stephan Drake (Skier), Oskar Enander (Photographer)
Clearly, if you are looking for great quality, you better prepare to spend some money. Leaving out the less expensive Foundation line, many DPS skis are around the 1.000 € price range – with some even above that level. These high prices are based on the rather high production costs. For example, the carbon laminate is actually a space research material, DPS skis have to stay in the molding press twice as long as other skis, and the skis feature high-end World Cup base from Austria. Certainly, all of this makes sure that you get your money´s worth: the flex has the same feeling to it on day 300 as on day one.
The decisive DPS component is probably carbon, which is used instead of fiberglass. That way, the weight per ski is reduced by approximately 20 percent, which is a decisive edge with the wider freeride skis. Furthermore, carbon skis are significantly lighter, less stiff, and easier to handle. But it doesn´t stop there! DPS sets the standards even here with Pre-preg carbon, co-developed by and exclusively crafted for DPS: a high quality, pre-impregnated kind of carbon. DPS claims to be the only manufacturer worldwide to use this material. And who knows what will be next on the innovative DPS schedule?