Expert Review: DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP Dreamtime Skis · 2021
This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in November 2021.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in November 2021.
The DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP Dreamtime Ski is an excellent choice for backcountry skiers looking for a blend of lightweight construction and downhill performance. They float better than a lot of 100mm skis while maintaining a quick and playful character that will convince skiers to take another lap.
About the gear
- Model: 2021 DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP - Dreamtime Edition
- Size: 184cm
- Height: 6’ (183cm)
- Weight: 200lbs
- Experience: 14 Years of skiing
- When I bought these: November 2021
- Days tested: 20 days
- Mount position: Recommended Line
- Boots: 2019 Scarpa Maestrale RS
- Boot Size: 28.0
- Bindings: 2022 Marker Alpinist 10
- Where I’ve used it: Mt. Rainier National Park WA, Chinook Pass WA, Crystal Mountain WA, Mt. Hood OR, Alta-Snowbird UT
- Terrain: In the backcountry and in the resort, on hard pack/ice, powder, and variable conditions
How they perform
What I was looking for
I was looking to fill the “volcano ski” slot in my quiver with something that is both lightweight and strong enough to handle long days in all sorts of different conditions, like on a volcano in the PNW. I also knew I needed skis that could float well, but I didn’t want to give up edge hold in more technical situations.
Why I chose this gear
I landed on this particular model of ski, the DPS Pagoda Tour 100, due to its construction, shape, and weight. They’ve got a unique construction that relies heavily on carbon which makes them feel powerful while keeping the weight down. They’ve also got a really playful shape with regard to both sidecut and tip rocker, so they are at home floating in powder and making turns in the trees.
I considered a couple other skis, namely the Völkl Blaze 94 and the Blizzard Zero G 95, before choosing the Pagoda Tour. I actually bought the Blaze 94 first but it ended up lacking in both edge hold and soft-snow performance. As for the Zero G, they are very powerful and handle
What I love about them
- Edge hold: Considering how light and playful these skis are, their edge hold is pretty darn solid. With the more flat tail design, I really feel that I can depend on them when things get steep and technical.
- Turns: The 100 RP shape was made for turning. The tight 15-meter radius is just begging to rip small to medium-sized turns—and they really excel when making precise turns in steep terrain.
- Powder: I’ve been very impressed with the powder prowess of the Pagoda Tour 100 RP. Due to the long, wide shovel and ample tip rocker, I’ve found that I can drive the shovels without really experiencing any tip dive. Now if things get really deep, I would reach for something bigger like the 112 RP, but for most days these are the skis I turn to.
- Trees: For the same reasons mentioned in the “Turns” section above, I’ve really enjoyed these in the trees. I’ve noticed that they handle low speed turns with ease and flicking them around in tight spaces is always a good time. I’m not necessarily one to enjoy the narrow tree trails on the way down from a backcountry trip, but I’d consider the Pagoda Tour 100 RP to be above average with regard to edge release and pivoting. This gives me confidence in tree runs and tight trails heading back to the car.
- Backcountry: Backcountry use is where these skis really shine. They strike a great balance between weight and performance, as they are light enough to spend time on my backpack, and certainly light enough when skinning uphill. On that same note, the rocker/camber/rocker profile is great for the skin track, offering plenty of traction when things get a little icy.
- Durability: I’ve had great luck so far with durability. I’ve skied these for about 20 days so far. Use has ranged from days in the lift line to rough ski mountaineering days (including a harrowing fall over a rock outcropping with them strapped to my back), and they are holding up great. There is very little damage to speak of except for a few topsheet scratches which is mostly due to hitting them against rocks and limbs when boot-packing. The edges and bases seem super burly and I really haven’t had to tune them too much.
- Weight: I would argue that ~1500g at 184cm is right on the money for a dedicated backcountry ski.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Speed: I would say these skis are best suited to controlled turns of the small to medium variety. For skiers looking for a hard-charging fall-line ski, there are better options.
- Park: I’ve taken these on a lap through the park at Timberline, and though they have plenty of pop, I’m not sure their setback stance, flat tail, and lightweight construction are conducive to frequent park laps. To the skiers who want a touring ski for the park, I’d suggest looking elsewhere.
- Switch riding: As with the “Park” comment above, these are hardly a twin design and skiing switch would prove annoying at best.
- Stability: I wouldn’t say that these aren’t stable, but I do want to set expectations for what a fairly light ski will feel like on snow. Skiers won’t get a steamroller experience, however these skis do cut through variable snow better than a lot of other 1500g skis. For instance, I’ve never had trouble with them on a variable backcountry day, but inbounds through late-day chunder can be a little uncomfortable.
Favorite moment with this gear
So far my favorite moment with this setup has been an August hunt for snow on the north side of Mt Rainier. We started out on a four-mile approach with skis and boots on our back, and made our way to the Flett Glacier. When we finally arrived at the edge of the snow we threw on our skins and climbed the last couple thousand vertical feet on skis. On the way down we were treated to just over 2000 feet of descent on perfect summer corn—how about that for Turns All Year!
Value for the money vs. other options
This is where things get tough. Dollar for dollar, there are other options out there that will provide excellent performance at a more value-based price point, like the Atomic Backland 100 or the Blizzard Zero G line. However, I’ve yet to ski anything that feels like the DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP. There’s something hard to quantify about how they feel on snow.
Perhaps it’s their construction, shape, or weight (probably all three), but combining a super tight radius, a heavily tapered shovel and tail, and tons of tip rocker all in a 1500g package makes these skis unlike anything else I’ve skied before.
I was looking for a ski that wouldn’t be too noticeable on the climb, would hold up to any abuse on the descent, and would prove fun in most conditions. I think the DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP is one of the best tools to fit that description, budget notwithstanding.