Expert Review: DPS Foundation Koala 103 Skis · 2023Published on 12/28/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I tested for 25 days in November of 2022.
Koala's in AK - resort riding at Alyeska. All photos courtesy of Hayden Wright
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I tested for 25 days in November of 2022.
The DPS Foundation Koala 103 Skis are some playful jammers that can handle on-trail skiing, off-trail skiing, and being upside down. They are a great ski for a freeride rider looking for one ski that can get the job done.
About the skis I tested
- Model: 2023 DPS Koala 103
- Size: 184cm
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 179lbs
- Experience: 29 years of skiing
- When I tested these: November 2022
- Days tested: 25
- Mount position: In between freeride and recommended
- Boots: 2022 Dalbello IlMoro
- Boot Size: 27.5
- Bindings: Look Pivot 18s with cast system
- Where I’ve used it: Copper, A Basin, Winter Park, Jones Pass, Alyeska, Turnagain Pass
- Terrain: Resort groomers, moguls, trees, park, backcountry.
How they perform
What I was looking for
I blew out my K2 Reckoner 102s and needed a new daily jammer. I wanted something I could cruise the resorts in the park, trees, and ripping up the groomers with my rad wife. I also wanted something between 100–105mm underfoot that I could use for low-tide touring as well.
Why I chose to test this gear
I got to ride and review these in the spring of 2022 for Curated (peep the vid). Prior to these, I have never ridden a DPS ski. I really enjoyed these as they held a really good edge on the hardpack. They were just the right amount of stiffness but still felt poppy and playful. I looked at some 2023 K2 Reckoner 102s, but was on those for the last four seasons. I was ready to try something different, and the Koalas were it.
What I love about them
- Speed: Recently, I was able to ride my home mountain and it was empty. I was able to let these Koalas rip and I did not experience much chatter at all. It was also a tracked-powder softer day.
- Edge hold: These have my favorite rocker-camber-rocker shape. So these hold an edge great. And with an 18m turn radius, they like to party.
- Turns: I don’t have a problem skiing these in tight trees or moguls. Being a 103mm ski at the waist, they get edge to edge fast.
- Groomers: They’re super fun on groomers. I wouldn’t go much wider than 103mm for skiing groomers. These have tons of camber and are a blast on the groomers.
- Powder: Being that they’re only 103mm at the waist, they do have a limit for pow depth. If it’s light snow, they can handle more. If it’s heavy, wet snow, the 103mm waist will struggle. The 40% rocker helps these Koala 103 stay on top of the pow. Though when touring in Alaska, I found some wind-loaded stashes. These are only 103mm wide, so it is normal they’ll have a pow limit. One can go to the 118mm Koalas for better pow performance.
- Trees: I find them easy-turning and nimble for tree skiing.
- Moguls: The lightweight construction keeps these agile and I ski moguls better with these than other skis with a waist over 100mm.
- Backcountry: These can be a great touring ski. I feel that being 103mm wide, it's a great balance between pow performance and weight.
- Durability: I have noticed some marks from the skis smashing together, but this is normal and they’re holding up great.
- Weight: They’re not the lightest ski, but with no metal, these bad boys are still lighter than other 103mm skis out there. I had no beef with the weight while touring.
- Stability: Damp skis that are torsionally rigid yet playful. These felt great the few times I have been able to really open them up at higher speeds.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Park: These aren’t my favorite park skis, but they are twin tips and can be skied switch with ease.
- Switch riding: These are a twin-tip ski with tip and tail rocker. I can ski switch on groomers and landings of park jumps. Though I wouldn’t land switch on a backcountry jump into powder. That’s what the 118 Koala’s are for, instead.
Favorite moment with this gear
I recently got to go home and visit my family in Alaska. I planned on touring my favorite backyard zone with some homies. With some rare Alaska coldsmoke blower, a storm had left us with 30+ inches of snow. We skinned up to the top, then boot packed to the summit. These were so fun skiing down and it was so good we went back up for a bonus lap. These were the perfect skis for that day. Light enough to not tire me out on the hike up and a very playful yet stable ski for the descent.
Value for the money vs. other options
These aren’t the most budget-friendly skis, but compared to other DPS skis, these actually are a sweet deal. DPS skis are made in the U.S., and they don’t skimp on quality. They also have carbon fiber in them. This adds to the price, but so far I’m sold that they’re worth their weight in gold. One could look at some other options in the 100–104mm category, but these are a great balance between performance and price in my opinion. Previously, I was on the K2 reckoner 102. These are a more versatile option than the DPS Foundation Koalas.
For those looking for a freeride resort/backcountry set up, hit the brakes and check these bad boys out. If one wants a daily jammer for skiing in bounds and plans on skiing all over the resorts—inside and outside of the parks—these are a great option. They are forgiving but not full noodles. These skis rail turns for being 103mm, and have just enough rocker in the tip and tail to party in the pow. Regardless if one’s looking for a strictly resort set up or possibly a hybrid one, consider the DPS Foundation Koalas 103.