Utah DPS Ski Factory Tour

Jim Kenney

Travel Correspondent
Team Gathermeister
Last week I was able to take a 90 minute tour of the DPS ski factory in Salt Lake City, UT. Our tour guide was Nick Pascoe, DPS Product Manager. It was the first time I’d been to a serious ski production facility and it was interesting and fun. I don’t own any DPS skis. They are available nationwide, but are better known in the Rockies. To give you a sense of their place in the market, their best selling ski is 112mm wide underfoot.

Touring the DPS factory, photo by Jim Kenney
dps factory tour.jpg

DPS has been around for about 13-14 years and they employ approximately 50 people during peak production periods. I’m not sure if you’d categorize them as a high-end boutique ski, but they have a strong reputation in Utah for a top quality product. They moved two months ago to a larger production site here in Salt Lake City and have the goal of bringing all manufacturing processes in-house by 2020. All DPS skis have a wood core (Aspen or Balsa) with carbon laminate construction and epoxy layers.

DPS carbon laminate construction, photo by DPS
dps laminate.jpg

We were able to observe a stockpile of wood core material, and a huge rack of metal ski molds for a wide variety of models the company has built over the years. We saw a busy team of employees assembling base layers with edges and epoxying appropriate laminates to create a ski.

Ski molds, photo by DPS
dps ski molds.jpg

Making a ski is a very labor intensive and hands-on process for sure! DPS has six functional ski presses and many press boxes for each type of ski shape/model they build. After assembly, the skis go into the press for about an hour where the lamination process is bonded and ski attributes such as rocker or camber are reinforced. Afterwards the skis receive additional treatment on finished surfaces and edges to create the final product.

Ski press, photo by DPS
dps ski press.jpg

The DPS ski product line is organized by width and turning radius. The primary men’s DPS product line consists of two powder skis that are 124mm and 119mm underfoot (Lotus and Koala models), both have a 23m turning radius. In the all-mountain category (Wailer models), they make 15m turning radius skis in 112mm and 100mm widths underfoot and longer turning radius skis (19-22m) in 110mm and 106mm underfoot. They have four “carving” skis (Cassiar models) ranging in widths between 79mm and 94mm underfoot. The turning radius of these skis is between 13.5 and 20m depending on width and length. Overall, men’s skis range in length from 160cm to 191cm

The women’s product line includes a similar width/radius breakdown, starting in the all-mountain category with skis ranging from 112mm to 99mm underfoot with turning radius of 19 to 13.5m (Yvette, Zelda, and Nina models). The women’s carving skis (Uschi models) range in widths between 82mm and 94mm underfoot. The turning radius of these skis is between 13.5 and 19m depending on width and length. Women’s skis range in length from 146cm to 178cm.

DPS characterizes their ski construction as Alchemist carbon fiber laminate with Aspen wood cores. They also have an additional construction category called Foundation, which produces a damper, smoother, more forgiving version of many of the aforementioned models and they make touring versions of several models with lighter weight balsa wood cores. Rounding out the line, they make junior skis (Grom models) in 99mm and 87mm widths.

DPS edge work, photo by DPS
dps edge work.jpg

We also received a tutorial on Phantom, a proprietary waxless polymer treatment offered by DPS that is applied once to a ski and permanently alters the chemistry of the base to make it harder and faster. This product has application with almost all skis from any manufacturer. It can be self-applied at home or professionally applied at select DPS dealers. I'm told it can be a very useful product for recreational skiers and snowboarders who aren't up to the task of frequently waxing their skis. Further, Phantom is compatible with more conscientious ski maintenance, will withstand base grinds, and even improve the glide of frequently tuned and conventionally waxed skis.

I have a daughter who last year acquired a previously owned pair of DPS skis. I’m going to share this report with her. And I am now officially jealous of her ski quiver :)



At the base lodge
This past December while skiing in Utah we called the factory inquiring about a tour and was told they are not set up for tours. So probably difficult unless unless connections to the industry.


Notorious P.U.G.
Pugski Ski Tester
Reno, eNVy
We stopped by the new facilities last month on our way through, there was still much to be done. We have been through the old place numerous times and saw quite a frw things that we were not able to discuss at the time. We are hoping on of our next times though we will get to spend more time there.