Expert Review: 2023 DPS Pagoda 100 RP Skis
Ski Experts Rob G. and Thomas Harari tested the 2023 DPS Pagoda 100 RP skis on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Ski Experts Rob G. and Thomas Harari tested the 2023 DPS Pagoda 100 skis this spring at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how they performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but consider the fact that each and every skier is different. If you have any questions about the Pagoda 100 or need recommendations on which ski would be best for you, reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated.
One final point before we dive in: It's worth noting that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands. All of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does DPS claim about this ski? [Rob] DPS calls the Pagoda RP 100, the “Resort Powder Ski”. It's a mid-fat, all-mountain ski with a 100 millimeter waist, and it's suitable for a wide variety of conditions.
What is your overall impression of this ski? [Rob] I was amazed at how easy turning the Pagoda RP 100 was for a 100 millimeter-waisted ski. It was very easy to put on edge, and it carved a very nice short-to-medium turn.
[Thomas] My overall impression is this is a good daily driver for the West. You can ski powder on this ski. You can ski slush on this ski. You can ski groomers on the ski. It's not going to be the best ski for just anything, but it is going to do a lot of stuff well.
It's super intuitive to ski. This is a ski that anyone that's intermediate or even looking for their first all-mountain ski is going to be able to get on with no problem. It's light. It's quick to pivot. It's easy to turn. It is going to kind of have a max speed on it. People looking to really rail those groomers on these skis are going to struggle a little bit. But personally, I thought it was fun. I would ski these all day. And I would also add that for people who really like the Rossignol Soul 7 that DPS doesn't make anymore, this is a little bit narrower but kind of a similar feel. It’s easy to ski, easy to turn, and can ski all sorts of conditions pretty well.
What is the shape and profile of the ski? [Rob] So this ski, the DPS Pagoda RP 100 has a really pretty pronounced rocker profile in the tip and in the tail, which means that it's very maneuverable and easy turning.
How is the stiffness? [Rob] This ski has a fair amount of stiffness underfoot, but it's fairly soft in the tips and the shovels. It’s probably not the best ski for a super hard-charger, but it’s a great ski for someone skiing with a centered stance over a wide variety of terrain.
What were the conditions today and how did the ski do on them? [Thomas] It was super warm yesterday. Things are all refrozen. It's kind of windy now. Snow is very subpar, at least for now. This is not an optimal ski for bulletproof solid ice. It's pretty light. It's going to get a little bit rattled on that firm snow. You could also go narrower if you're trying to ski snow like that. So this is not an East Coast ski. This is a great ski actually for here at Powder Mountain, just not this morning in these last few hours that I've been skiing it.
How does it turn? Edge hold? Stability? [Rob] I felt really good making short-to-medium turns on groomed terrain. The turn initiation was really easy. It doesn't have a ton of energy out of the turn, but it was easy to tip the ski on the other edge to get into the next turn. I don't know that I'd want to make super big radius turns on this at high speeds. But for cruising down steeper terrain, it was really fun.
I was skiing in sort of medium-soft snow, and I was pleasantly surprised by the edge hold when it was firmer. And it holds really nice on softer terrain.
Also on edge, the ski is pretty stable, but it has a fairly short turn radius. So if you're trying to make really huge turns, I would be a little concerned about the stability of the ski. It's also really stable on manky snow (sticky, heavier snow typically found in the spring -- often after warmer temperatures and solar radiation have started to melt recent snowfall). I find where other skis were sinking in, this ski, the rocker held me up and allowed me to ski in terrain that other stiffer, firmer skis would've been much harder to ski in.
[Thomas] So this is not a great carving ski. It will carve a groomer, but that’s not really what it's made for. On the firmest, iciest days, it's really not very fun. It's going to get kind of rattled. It's too light of a ski at 100 millimeters underfoot. It's also really too wide for someone looking to carve the groomers.
This ski has a pretty short turning radius. A lot of the time when you're skiing off-piste or moguls or anything, the turning radius is not going to matter a ton. You're going to be kind of sliding those turns. But it does make nice, tighter carves on a groomer.
How is the dampness? Any chatter? [Rob] For a playful, soft ski, I felt the ski was really damp. I think over chundery terrain, the soft tips would be negatively affected, but I really enjoyed it. I think it'd be great in a variety of conditions.
How is it at high speed? [Rob] I would say anything up to 30 miles to 40 miles an hour, you're good to go on this ski. I'm not sure I'd want to go much faster than that. I say that because it likes to make shorter turns, but it did have a fair amount in it for making high speed carved turns. It did great.
How is its energy of acceleration? [Rob] I didn't feel a ton of energy coming out of the turn on the ski. That might have been due to the softer conditions that we were skiing in. But even if it doesn't have a ton of energy coming into the skis, you really have to turn it into the next turn. It's fairly easy to get it on an opposing edge, get them into that next turn.
How is this ski for freestyle? [Thomas] So this is not a park ski in any capacity. This is not a freestyle ski. With DPS, people joke that it stands for ‘dad powder ski.’ I would say it's way better than that, but that is a pretty good explanation of what it is. You can kind of pop on it. You could jump off of stuff on these. If you want to jump off some cliffs, rocks, rollers on the groomers, it's going to be fun.
How's the pop? [Rob] It’s not the most poppy ski I've ever skied. But it definitely has more pop than skis that have a ton of metal in them.
Is this ski good for skiing switch? [Rob] This ski is not good for skiing switch. It's got a bit of an upturned tail. Occasionally skiing switch would be fine if you're spending 50% of your time skiing backwards. But for switch, I’d go for a true twin tip.
[Thomas] It doesn't have a whole lot of tail and it's not meant to go backwards, but if you want to ski backwards on the groomer, it'll do just fine.
How is the ski on jumps and what is the stability like on landings? [Rob] I took a couple of small jumps on these skis. I feel like the stability went pretty good. I'm not sure I'd want to huck an 80 foot cliff with these though.
How would the ski perform in powder? [Rob] I think the ski would handle great in powder, even though it's only got a 100 millimeter width underfoot. It's got a whole lot of tip and tail rocker. And as I was skiing on some really manky snow, I felt my foot drop in, but the tips and tails stayed up. That tells me that in softer, dryer, lighter snow, it's going to be really fun making surfing turns. Let me repeat that sentence. All this rocker in the tip and in the tail is going to keep you afloat in softer snow and make for a really fun day on an East Coast powder day or anything up to a foot out west.
[Thomas] So we haven't had a chance to ski any powder on it this morning. I have a pretty good sense that it would be a really fun powder ski. It's not as wide as some powder skis, but for a daily driver for the West Coast that is 100 underfoot, it's going to float really well. This ski has pretty significant tip rocker. There is not as much in the tail, but this is what's going to keep you floating on any of those soft days.
How is it in the trees? Is it maneuverable? [Thomas] It's going to ski trees really well, and it's going to be really nimble. You're going to make good turns.
How is it on uneven terrain? [Rob] I don't think I would choose this ski if I had to ski a lot of chundery, icy, uneven terrain. It's not quite as damp as some other skis, but if I had to ski that terrain in this ski, I'd feel comfortable going through it.
[Thomas] This is a pretty light ski. It's supposed to be lively, and it's not something that's supposed to just bust through crud or ice. So generally, with a light ski–this is not all-inclusive–but most light skis are not going to totally crush it when it is in rock solid variable conditions, such as ice or chunder. So it's not going to just crunch through an icy groomer. A ski with metal in it, a ski that's a little heavier is going to power through that better. This is just not that ski.
What terrain does it perform well on and what terrain does it not perform well on? [Rob] This is not a great ski for grinding rails and it's not a great ski for bashing gates. Other than that, I'd ski this ski just about anywhere. It’s fun in the bumps, fun in the trees, and fun on the groomers. It's super surfy and it carves a very nice turn in medium hard-to-soft snow.
What skiing style is this ski ideal for? [Thomas] So this ski is not meant for someone looking to 100% crush every turn, crush the bump, and crush the straight-line. This ski is much more happy making nice maneuvers through bumps or bouncing around in the powder. It's not built to just straight line stuff. It's a great all-mountain ski, but if you want to ski all-mountain and you're more of a finesse skier than a brute strength skier, this is going to do great. If you're looking to just straight-line moguls or just totally carve groomers, you're not going to be as confident going faster.
What location would you pack these skis for? [Rob] I'd want to ski this in any place that gets regular snow. I think this ski would be great in four inches to a foot of fresh snow. I think this ski would be great on groomed trails that get a fair amount of manmade snow.
[Thomas] So this is an everyday, all-mountain ski. It’s primarily for the West. This is going to be really good if you have one ski for anywhere in the West. You're going to be able to ski powder on this, and you're going to be able to ski firm snow and ice. This will be a good one ski quiver for someone looking to ski anywhere in the West. These are pretty light. They're also pretty directional. There's a lot more rocker in the tip than there is in the tail. And they're super easy to turn.
Where would you not want to ski this? [Rob] I don't think I'd want to ski this in areas that consistently have rock hard, hardpacked snow. For that, I'd want something a little bit narrower and a little bit stiffer.
Who would you recommend this ski to? [Rob] I think these skis are great for anyone from intermediate-to-strong advanced skier. I don't think they respond great to a really aggressive racing ski technique. But for a more centered stance or someone that skis a little bit less aggressively, they'll be a fantastic ski. And they're going to open up terrain that might previously have seemed inaccessible to you. These turn incredibly easily and are really stable for how playful and maneuverable they are. They might lack the top end dampness and stiffness that someone who's a super hard charger would want.
[Thomas] So for anyone skiing the West, looking for something for every day, or looking for something that is in-between their carving ski and their powder ski, this is a great middle ground. It's not great for any sort of ice, so anywhere where there's a lot of serious freeze-thaw cycles, this is not going to be as good.
This is going to do really good on dry snow. But this is very much for someone who wants to ski the entire mountain, wants to be able to make quick turns in the trees and the bumps, and wants to ski some powder. Someone who's going to make a finesse skier versus a hardcharger would be the right fit. This is going to be really easy to ski. I would also say that this is going to be a very intuitive ski for someone who’s athletic or wants to ski the whole mountain. It would also be for someone just getting their first all-mountain ski. They're going to be able to crush it on this ski right out of the gate very quickly.
What advice would you give a beginner interested in this ski? [Thomas] If you're a beginner and you're coming right from rentals to this, you need to be someone who's looking to ski the entire mountain. You need to feel very, very confident on your rentals.
This is going to be totally doable for the type of beginner who is really figuring out their rentals. They will have a good sense of how they're skiing. They’ll feel confident on the mountain. They'll have skied off the groomers a little bit. This is going to be an easy ski for you to pick up if you fall into any of those above buckets. That being said, if you are 100% set on the groomers and you are not planning to leave the groomers, this is not going to be a great ski for you.
Skis work differently for different types of people. If you want help finding the best skis for your needs, reach out to Rob, Thomas, or any other Ski Expert here on Curated. They’ll help you find the right skis for you.