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The Gear Arms Race

An essay discussing the complexities of being an environmentally conscious company while simultaneously producing and selling skis.

Without waxing poetic, or tickling the superficially ephemeral, skiing is special because it's pure playtime in wild places. And it's in these wild places, from the Andes to the Chilkats that inspire all of us at DPS.

As craftsmen driven by a dream to build the perfect ski, we’re mired in a manufacturing conundrum, a Dr. Seussian middle world of building tools for people to dive into wilderness, while being mindful of our environmental impact.

The business of manufacturing is environmentally poor, whether organic kicks, electric cars, or skis; it’s resource intensive. Since 2005, the DPS mandate has been to design the world’s most advanced skis—bomber skis that core skiers will appreciate for their longevity. At times, that goal has been kinked and complicated by our simultaneous urge to introduce new paradigms in difficult-to-build ski technology. Specifically, the carbon fiber is a tricky material to employ in skis from a process standpoint. But when engineered right; it's so sweet. Carbon skis fit into that equation because of their practically infinite flex life, meaning your skis feel the same in season six as day one. Tools that perform optimally, like an old fly rod passed through generations, should be used and enjoyed.

Yet, there remains a dangerous problem: the desire to replace skis when the skis you have are still rad. Ski marketers love to persuade you that you risk not looking cool without new graphics, or alleged technological upgrades, even though the latest model may functionally be the same. And the worst part: skiers buy into this and can become fearful of being judged by others caught in this trap. It’s a plague, but also the foundation of planned obsolescence.

DPS’ ski art is intentionally simple to reflect the pure experience of powder skiing. We want you to love the tools you have. Don’t misunderstand us, we need your money, it’s how we are able to reinvest in new technologies and keep our dream alive. But adding new skis to your quiver should only be done when design evolution provides a tangible performance upgrade that will take your on-mountain experience to new levels. 

We pledge to do everything we can to help you down this path by only marketing design upgrades that will improve your skiing, with the ultimate goal of increasing your enjoyment of wild places. And just maybe, just maybe, this thinking can help the earth by quelling that seasonal consumer itch to replace what works. Well, that’s our dream at least.