2022 DPS Pagoda 100 RP Ski Review: Lead Image

Ski Reviews

2022 DPS Pagoda 100 RP Ski Review

The engineers over at DPS must be really busy. It feels like every season they have a new way of building skis. For 2022, it’s all about expanding the Pagoda line that was first announced for the 2020/21 season. Alchemist construction is gone from the lineup, and 3 out of their 4 construction methods all now fall under the Pagoda title. For 2021, we had Pagoda Piste and Pagoda Tour. Not we have an additional construction that directly replaces Alchemist, and that’s just called Pagoda.

Enter the Pagoda 100 RP. This ski is a direct replacement for the Alchemist Wailer 100 RP and when we say direct, we really mean direct. In fact, it shares the same exact dimensions as the ski it replaces. If you’re familiar with DPS, you’re probably familiar with their two main shaping concepts, C2 and RP. All RP skis feature about 45% rocker, with more in the tip than the tail, fairly abrupt early taper, and they all have a 15 m turn radius. Objectively, that’s a lot of rocker, a lot of taper, and a pretty darn short turn radius, especially considering the widths of some of the RP skis.

AT A GLANCE


2022 DPS Pagoda 100 RP Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

153, 163, 171, 179, 184, 189 cm

15 m at All Lengths

132 / 100 / 117 mm @ 179 cm

Ash, Paulownia, Aspen, Carbon Fiber

Quickness, Versatility, Maneuverability


The difference is, then, entirely in the construction. Alchemist construction used an aspen wood core that was sandwiched between two sheets of aerospace grade carbon fiber. Pagoda construction follows a similar trend as Pagoda Piste and Pagoda Tour by using multiple different types of wood in the core, and the way they do it is really cool. In the middle of the ski there is a sheet of ash wood stacked on top of a sheet of paulownia wood. They’re not exactly the same width, but they’re close. The ash wood is just a little bit wider, so sticks out over the paulownia as you reach the edges of the ski. Then, along the edges of the ski, there’s aspen wood. What’s particularly interesting about this is DPS has listed the same weight for the Alchemist Wailer 100 and Pagoda 100. This intrigued me, so I did some research. Those 3 different types of wood have 3 different densities. Ash is about 40 pounds per cubic feet, aspen about 26, and paulownia about 19. By adding the layer of ash, DPS is giving the ski a little more oomph and vibration damping, which we also saw in the Pagoda Piste construction, which used a similar sheet of ash, but no paulownia. Adding in the paulownia offsets the denser ash wood, which allows DPS to keep the weight down. The 179 cm length is listed as 1805 g for both skis, which is nice and light for a versatile all-mountain ski like this.

So, what does all that mean for performance? Well, in a lot of ways, the performance is very similar to the ski it’s replacing, which isn’t surprising. Both use carbon, both have the same shape, and they weigh the same. The difference is felt mostly when linking turns on groomers. The Alchemist construction was impressive for how well it provided necessary vibration damping, but Pagoda takes it to another level. As DPS states, “this vibrant construction performance extremely well in both resort and backcountry settings. Its unique horizontally layered core quiets unpleasant inconsistencies felt in less-than-perfect snow, while allowing the electricity of carbon to elevate the senses during the precious moments of soft-snow euphoria.” Quite a description, but it’s entirely accurate. The ski does an excellent job of absorbing variations in the snow surface, rather than reacting and bucking the skier.

2022 DPS Pagoda 100 RP Ski Review: Camber Profile Image

The 15 m turn radius definitely comes in to play on groomers. It makes some very responsive, tight turns when you want it to. Edge grip is impressive, even more impressive when you remember the effective edge is about 55% of the ski’s length on firm snow. We give a ton of credit to the quality of carbon fiber that DPS uses. They’ve talked about it at length in the past, but for whatever reason, this carbon feels smoother, damper, and stronger than most carbon skis we’ve tested. It’s similar to the feat of engineering from Elan in the Ripstick Black Edition skis, but the application of carbon is different. So, relatively quick, round carves are a ton of fun on the Pagoda 100 RP. You can get it to open up into bigger turns, but it doesn’t love super-fast, giant turns. There are much better skis for those who want to make big Super-G turns, but that’s not a focus of the Pagoda 100 RP at all.

Realistically, even groomers in general isn’t the main focus of this ski. Its shape and overall performance really shines when you take it off trail. The quickness provided by the lightweight feel, responsiveness of carbon, and the abundant rocker and early taper is incredibly useful in our tight Vermont terrain. These skis make the most challenging line on the mountain feel that much easier because of how quickly you can get it to come around. Something that we’ve been discussing internally is DPS’ use of the word “surfy” in describing the Pagoda 100 RP. We can understand why they’ve used that term, but I also think it’s fair to say there are far surfier skis out there. Skis with big fat tips and tails and massive turn radii feel surfier, at least to me. You can release the tail edge super easily on this ski, but it’s reactive and energetic and always feels ready to make the next turn. A really surfy ski needs more skier input to want to snap back into the next turn. Both can be fun, but I do think most skiers will prefer and benefit more from the quicker, more responsive feel of these skis as opposed to a super-surfy ski.

2022 DPS Pagoda 100 RP Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 1 2022 DPS Pagoda 100 RP Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 2

Then there’s the soft snow performance of these skis. With the wide tip shape and lots of rocker, they have more float than most skis in the 100 mm width range. Even when you start to sink a little, that tip rocker helps bring you back to the surface and the kicked up tail doesn’t fight that. It won’t just plane out over everything at slow speeds, rather feels like it kind of bobs up and down in powder, but I like that a lot. Bobbing up and down means you’re getting more face shots, and also means it’s easier to control speed, which once again comes in handy in technical Vermont terrain.

We also think it’s important to bring up the application for alpine touring. Even though DPS has a specific line of Pagoda Tour skis, these are still exceptionally well versed for touring, especially for someone who wants something that can cross over between the resort and the backcountry. 1800 grams is certainly light enough to justify using a hybrid alpine touring binding like the Shift or Duke PT, and we expect some skiers will go even lighter to a full-on pin setup. Light enough for the ascent and super versatile for whatever conditions you encounter on the way back down. Also, generally, when skiers are touring, they’re not speed demons on the way back down due to fatigue and the idea that you don’t want to waste all the effort you put in. Skiing at moderate speeds, the Pagoda 100 RP is very happy, where some other skis don’t feel like they come alive until you start to charge.

As always, we’re pretty darn impressed with what DPS has come up with. Sure, it’s similar to the ski it’s replacing, but we loved that ski too, and this one is just that much better.

2022 DPS Pagoda 100 RP Ski Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Jeff Neagle on 05/13/21

18 thoughts on “2022 DPS Pagoda 100 RP Ski Review

  1. Hey Guys!

    Another great review...I’ve been waiting for this one! I ski the pagoda piste 100 in a 179cm and have the wailer 112 in 184 with a +1 mount. Also ski the 2020 Elan black 106 in 181cm for my touring days.

    I love my skis but I must have all the skis and want a more playful 100mm in the quiver.

    I’m 5’10 175lbs and aggressive. Any reason not to go for the 184cm in the pagoda 100rp? I ski Jay and like a ski my height/just above but didn’t know if the 184 would be too much for me...also should I just mount at recommended or follow the 112rp and go +1...to be more on top of the ski for the tight bits I like to get into!?

    Thanks again and as always...keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks Adam!
      We had a blast on this ski for sure. I'm 6/2 220 and I did not find the 184 to be short. The sizing is strange on these skis, as they have to really change the shape and profile to adhere to that 15-meter turn radius. I think the longer lengths help more in the soft snow versus hard, as I skied both 179 and 184, and didn't feel that much different on-piste. Based solely on your stats, I'd recommend the 179, but if you want a bit more ski under you, I can't think of a good reason to not go longer. I thought the mount point was right on with the 100--I wouldn't go forward of it. Have fun!
      SE

    1. Hi DB!
      High hopes! We'd get them for you if we could, but my feeling is that they've sold through. Good luck!
      SE

  2. Hiya, in the video you guys mentioned that you would be putting up a link to wood density? I don't see it here. Have I missed it? Thanks!

  3. I have a pair of DPS RP112 hybrid bamboo & carbon skis that are by far the best skis I have ever been on- they just do it all, total smashers!! I also ski on Brahmas which I only used a hand full this year because the Wailers do it all!!! How ever they chip chip chip- I have an old pair of Solomon scramblers with 500 days on them that look way Better than the Wailers!!!!! Did DPS fix the scratch chip issue this year??? (My blizzards chip too!!! ). What’s up with the Mickey Mouse top sheet ?

    1. Hi Pete!
      They call their topsheet a "polyamide" layer, whatever that may be. We do use DPS in our demo fleet, and we have not seen particularly more damage to the topsheets on these skis versus others. I think companies are always looking for something that's somewhat structural, but also durable and light, and I think that's a tough combination. Have fun!
      SE

  4. Nice work! Would you say there is much difference at all from the Wailer? Can you actually tell they were stiffer/damper with the pagoda core?

    Also, how long do you think these skis ski? Like if you were on the 179, did it feel like a 175 because of aggressive rocker?

    Thanks!

    1. HI Sampson!
      I can tell that they are a bit stiffer, and I felt it mostly in the tail. Perhaps a bit damper, but nothing crazy. Sizing is weird, because of the dramatic taper and rocker to adhere to the 15 meter radius. I normally ski a high-180's length, but I would be just as comfortable on the 184. The extra length, I'd think, would be useful in fresh snow, but it doesn't make a huge difference on-piste. I thought the 184 skied pretty true to size, actually, just takes a minute to get the feel of the profile and shape. Have fun!
      SE

  5. How does this compare to the Pagoda 90 RP? Are they similar skis? Which would you recommend for east coast skier looking to get into trees...Does the 90 ski significantly better on groomers compared to the 100?

    1. Hi Jerry!
      My take is that the RP shaping and the Pagoda build works better in the wider skis with more material. I found the 90 to be agile and turny, but almost to a fault for me at 6'2 and 220 pounds. I think for the lighter build, heavier skiers like myself tend to gravitate to the 100, simply because you can create higher edge angles with the added width. The 90 is significantly quicker from edge to edge, but I wouldn't say it's less of an on-piste carver than the 100 by as much of a margin. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thank you Bob. Do you mean to say that the 90 is more (not less) of an on-piste carver? I'm 5 8, 155pounds, and very rarely find myself in powder so wondering if the 90 would be more appropriate...

        1. Jerry,
          For you, I would say yes. My main impression was that I was too big for the 90 in any conditions/terrain while the 100 had more material to hold me up. I do not think you'll have the same issue on the 90 as I. Rarely in powder, and at 155, I'd go 90. Have fun!
          SE/Bob

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