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DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP Review

Tuned, balanced backcountry skis that hit the sweet spot of all-around performance at a weight that won't overload most human-powered endeavors
DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $1,300 List | $1,299.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Balanced downhill performance, sweet spot weight
Cons:  Expensive, a little wobbly at speed
Manufacturer:   DPS
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 8, 2021
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 13
  • Weight - 25% 6
  • Firm Snow - 20% 8
  • Powder - 20% 7
  • Crud and Poor Snow - 20% 7
  • Stability at Speed - 15% 6

Our Verdict

In our opinion and experience, the DPS Pagoda Tour 100 finally fulfills the backcountry promise of the DPS vision. DPS has made sophisticated, innovative skis for some time now. Their skis, though, always suffered in some way when users tried to press them into all-around backcountry use. The Pagoda Tour 100 finally toes the line that connects balanced downhill performance and uphill weight efficiency. We like it. This is the first DPS ski we can recommend for "quiver of one" usage for typical, dedicated backcountry skiers.

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Pros Balanced downhill performance, sweet spot weightLight for the uphill, balanced downhill performance for all conditionsAll-around performance, damp, inexpensive, available, sweet spot weightStable, damp, predictableInexpensive, balanced downhill performance, average weight
Cons Expensive, a little wobbly at speedExpensive, generalized downhill performanceSoft and dampMid-weight, no real stand out performanceSki “short”, powder skiing stability suffers at super high speed
Bottom Line Tuned, balanced backcountry skis that hit the sweet spot of all-around performance at a weight that won't overload most human-powered endeavorsChoose this ski for all-year, all-purpose human-powered skiing in any region of the worldInexpensive, proven all-around performance that's suitable for a wide variety of backcountry skiers and ski conditionsGood skis for good skiers in all kinds of conditions; the definition of all around backcountry skisGreat, budget skis for backcountry skiers of all kinds; the all around, balanced performance appeals to a huge range of users
Rating Categories DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP Movement Alp Tracks... K2 Wayback 106 Black Crows Camox F... Salomon MTN Explore 95
Weight (25%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Firm Snow (20%)
8.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Powder (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Crud And Poor Snow (20%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Stability At Speed (15%)
6.0
5.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Specs DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP Movement Alp Tracks... K2 Wayback 106 Black Crows Camox F... Salomon MTN Explore 95
Weight Per Pair 6.9 lbs 5.6 lbs 6.9 lbs 6.7 lbs 6.8 lbs
Weight Per Ski 1592g, 1540g, average: 1566g 1270g, 1272g, average: 1271g 1518g, 1557g, average: 1537g 1510g, 1509g, average: 1510g 1547g, 1529g, average:1538g
Weight Per Pair 3132g 2542g 3075g 3024g 3076g
Weight Per Surface Area Ratio, g/cm^2 0.76 0.62 0.71 0.71 0.76
Measured Length 178cm 176cm 179cm 182cm 177cm
Manufacturer Length 179cm 177cm 179cm 183cm 177cm
Available Lengths 153, 163, 171, 179, 184cm 170, 177, 185cm 172, 179, 186cm 162, 172, 178, 183cm 169, 177, 184cm
Claimed Dimensions 132/100/117mm 132/100/120mm 135/106/124mm 130/97/115mm 130/95/116mm
Measured Dimensions 132/100/117mm 131/100/118mm 135/107/123mm 137/97/117mm 130/95/116mm
Construction Type Sandwich Cap Sandwich Cap Hybrid Semi-cap Half-cap
Core Material Paulownia, ash Karuba Paulownia Paulownia, poplar 3D Full Woodcore, C/FX reinforcement
Waist Width 100mm 100mm 107mm 97mm 95mm
Radius 15m 19m 22m 18m 18m
Rocker/Camber Tip and tail rocker, camber underfoot Tip rocker, camber underfoot Tip rocker, slight camber underfoot Tip rocker, camber underfoot Rocker, camber, rocker

Our Analysis and Test Results

The DPS Pagoda Tour 100 is this now-established ski specialist company's latest "all around, all-mountain" touring ski entry. We liked it as a "quiver of one", all-season stick for human-powered action of all types. Its downhill ski performance is balanced and adaptable to a range of ski styles, abilities, and conditions. The weight is competitive and represents a sort of "sweet spot" for human-powered access to all kinds of downhill skiing. This is a great ski model that competes with the best of the best in our test. It isn't quite as polished on the downhill as our top scorers in the weight class, and it isn't light enough to run with the uphill-oriented options.

Performance Comparison


DPS unique shape and geometry disguises a great, solid, predictable...
DPS unique shape and geometry disguises a great, solid, predictable all-around backcountry ski model in the Pagoda Tour 100.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Weight


We weighed each of our unmounted, fresh-out-of-the-plastic Pagoda Tour 100 skis on a calibrated, digital scale. We found them to weigh, respectively, 1589 and 1540 grams. That's an average of 1564g and a combined weight of 3129g. In imperial units, that converts to 6.9 pounds for the pair.

1500-1600 is a sweet spot of sorts for backcountry skis. We find the...
1500-1600 is a sweet spot of sorts for backcountry skis. We find the most options in this range and, as with the DPS Pagoda, you can purchase downhill performance that rivals the best of the best at any weight.
Photo: Jediah Porter

As compared to all the skis in our latest review roster, the Pagoda Tour 100 is just about average and middle of the pack. This is good. Around 1500-1600 grams is where we find the most popular, lasting, balanced ski options in recent years. At this weight point, you will find giant powder boards, skinny, stiff ski mountaineering specialists, and a whole host of all-around, all-season, all-skier touring skis. The Pagoda 100 is decidedly in this latter category.

Stability at Speed


We evaluate stability in speed and in steep terrain. Usually, there is a strong correlation between these two. Something stable at speed is also quite stable in steep terrain. And vice versa. Of course, there are subtle variations within our generalizations. This DPS downhill weakness is in stability at speed. Something about the construction (and, as we are inclined to do, we will refrain from trying to attribute specific downhill performance attributes to specific construction matters. Any attempt to do so is way more of a guess than other reviewers might like you to believe…) makes it wobbly and chattery, relative to its close competitors. It can still go fast, but it requires attention.

On the other hand, steep terrain stability is pretty confidence-inspiring. We liked these in truly steep terrain better than any other DPS skis we've used. These are great ski mountaineering skis for places where snowpack and institutional knowledge allow mid-winter steep skiing. We're looking at you, Tetons, Wasatch, and Chamonix…)

Firm Snow


The Pagoda Tour 100 can ski ice. We love it. Late winter of 2021 in our home testing range (Tetons) went "high and dry" for months. As a result, we skied firm snow more than we might otherwise expect. Our entire testing team regularly reached for the DPS Tour 100 for consequential, firm-snow tours. Again, as compared to other DPS skis we have tested over the years, the Pagoda Tour 100 is vastly superior. They seem to have cracked the code of hard-snow performance, and we like it. All-around performance has to include firm snow confidence. The Pagoda holds up.

Long, reverse-side cut ski tips of the all-around high function...
Long, reverse-side cut ski tips of the all-around high function Pagoda Tour 100.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Powder


You love powder skiing. We love powder skiing. The Pagoda 100 loves powder skiing. You will dig working with these on all but the deepest of days. Sure, 100 underfoot might sound small. And, yes, you can get skis that weigh the same or less with 2 centimeters more girth. If you have room in your life for dedicated, lightweight powder touring skis, get some. But, if you are more "normal" and want a simpler collection of skis, the Pagoda Tour 100 will keep up in everyone's favorite snow type. Geometry and flex characteristics combine to make them float when you need (except, as noted above, when it's nearly "too deep to ski") and navigate turns of various radii.

In deep powder snow, the Pagoda holds up better than its numbers...
In deep powder snow, the Pagoda holds up better than its numbers might suggest. 100mm has come to be seen as narrow, but it is kind of perfect in many ways.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Crud/Poor Snow


You don't seek out poor snow. Nor do we. None of us like it, but all of us have to endure it. Thankfully, the Pagoda Tour 100 does more than endure. These are among the most forgiving skis for the weight that we have used. The Pagoda Tour is forgiving and predictable, whether in breakable crust, refrozen chop, or bottomless wet slop. You will have to adapt your technique. Everyone on every ski has to adapt. But these skis will enable more energetic, smooth turns in tougher snow than the typical product in this weight class. Yes, we keep qualifying by weight. Especially as it pertains to tough snow performance, weight is a performance attribute. Heavier skis will drive through the funk better than light skis, all else equal. Heavier materials further exaggerate this. Making light skis go well in tough snow is a tall order. DPS and others are getting better and better every ski generation, but they cannot transcend physics. Weight matters.

Well into a Teton dry spell, the snow got tricky and firm. The...
Well into a Teton dry spell, the snow got tricky and firm. The Pagoda Tour 100 really came into its own in this situation.
Photo: Rosie De Lise

Value


You don't necessarily seek out the Pagoda Tour 100 for its value. DPS isn't known for making budget skis. The Pagoda line tops their scale in most ways. They are expensive at initial purchase. However, they are also quite versatile. Just five years ago, you would have had to own three pairs of skis to do what the Pagoda does on its own. In that way, you might justify the cost of the Pagoda. We've got one season on them with no durability concerns whatsoever. Past experience with the base material DPS uses suggests greater than average durability. The Pagoda core construction is new enough that we are reluctant to make a durability prediction. Instead, as we like to do, we will keep testing and report back after another season.

DPS has long championed simple graphics and unique, "modern" sidecut...
DPS has long championed simple graphics and unique, "modern" sidecut profiles. The Pagoda is nothing new, in this regard. Performance, though, is thankfully more well-rounded than other DPS skis we have tested.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Conclusion


The DPS Pagoda Tour 100 joins a small, high-quality set of all-around skis for human-powered all-season backcountry skiing. The business keeps moving forward, and the close competition of the DPS Pagoda further moves the needle. These are great all-around backcountry skis.

Jediah Porter