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2016-2017 DPS Spoon

review of the DPS Spoon, Blister Gear Review

DPS Spoon

Ski: 2016-2017 DPS Spoon, 190cm

Available Lengths: 190 cm

Measured Length (straight tape pull): 189.0 cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 158-148-151

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 159-148-150

Stated Weight per Ski: 2250 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight: 2093 grams & 2115 grams

Sidecut radius: “unconventional”

Core Construction: Aspen + Prepreg Carbon Fiber laminate

Tip & Tail Splay: 96 / 40 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0 mm

Mount location: Recommended Line

Bindings: Dynafit Radical FT12

Boots: Dynafit Vulcan, 27.5 with Intuition Powerwrap plug and booster strap

Test locations: Turnagain Pass, Alaska; Hakuba area, Japan; Hokkaido backcountry near Sounkyo and Tokachidake, Japan

Days skied: 15

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 13/14 Spoon which was not changed for 14/15, 15/16, or 16/17, except for the graphics.]

Introduction

When I first heard about the Spoon and its various prototypes I was immediately intrigued.

DPS describes the Spoon as, “the most advanced deep powder ski on earth. Designed exclusively for the best heli/cat/backcountry days, the Spoon features a convex 3-D shovel combined with a single-radius underfoot rocker and radical edge bevel for the ultimate in powder surfing sensation. The Spoon draws upon years of experience gained from refining the Lotus 138 and Lotus 120. The Spoon is a ski that requires very little up-and-down movement in deep powder providing incredibly fast slarving and angulated skiing with powerful reeling vertical sprays.”

The idea of the Spoon was appealing to me because it is intended to be an uncompromised powder tool. Almost every other ski manufacturer (Praxis and GaryWayne being notable exceptions) claims that even their fattest powder skis still retain good groomer performance or hard snow performance. While this probably makes sense for a lot of skiers and ski companies, there are those of us out there who are looking for new sensations in deep snow skiing, versatility be damned.

Last season I reviewed the 12/13 DPS Lotus 138, and I have been using various versions of that ski for most of my skiing over the past three seasons. (Prior to that, I had spent extensive time on several different pairs of Praxis Powderboards.) This past fall, I finally got my hands (and Dynafits) on a pair of Spoons, and I just needed to find some untracked pow to see how they compared. A two week trip to Japan was a good start…

Flex Pattern

The first thing I noticed about the Spoon is that it has a softer flex than the DPS Lotus 138s and Lotus 120s I’ve skied in the past. I would describe the flex as relatively uniform from tip to tail, and slightly stiffer underfoot. My rough and subjective estimate is that it’s 10-15% softer than my 12/13 Lotus 138’s and about 25% softer than my 2009 White/Red pinstripe Flex 3 Lotus 138’s. For those less familiar with DPS skis, I’d say these are, overall, a moderately stiff ski to hand flex.

Tune / Maintenance

The skis are still relatively new, and haven’t needed much more than some wax so far. The convex base on the tip was relatively easy to wax, and I don’t foresee issues with the edges.

review of the DPS Spoon, Blister Gear Review

Convex Shovel of the DPS Spoon

I doubt I’ll ever really touch the edges on the convex portion with a file, but if I do, I would probably check in with DPS HQ to make sure I’m doing it correctly. It appears as if the edges are beveled to nicely match the convex portions of the base.

Powder Performance

I’ve spent time on more than a dozen fat, rockered, powder-specific skis in the past few years and the DPS Spoon is the most fun and capable powder ski I’ve ridden so far. Because of the specialized nature of the Spoon, I will describe some of its characteristics in powder individually.

• Flotation

I mentioned in my Lotus 138 review that, especially on lower-angle slopes, I had occurrences of pushing the tips into the snow resulting in the skis bogging down. Japan has a lot of lower angle (mid-30 degree) deep powder skiing and, with the 138’s or the Powderboards, this type of terrain favors a more neutral stance because of the ease with which the tips can be buried. Fast turns on the 12/13 138’s and the Powderboards are best accomplished by lateral weight shifts or quick pivots.

While this type of skiing is effective and fun on the Spoons as well, I could push much harder into the shovels, enabling earlier, more powerful turn initiation. This allowed me to flex the ski into the top of turn to facilitate the sensation of carving powder and zip across the fall line in highspeed arcs.

review of the DPS Spoon, Blister Gear Review

Paul Forward on the DPS Spoon, Hokkaido, Japan.

I’m not sure if the extra float in the shovel is due in part to the convex base, but it is a remarkable difference compared to the Lotus 138 and Praxis Powderboards.

Even compared to more pintail-style powder skis like the DPS Lotus 120, DPS Lotus 120 Spoon, Black Diamond Megawatt, or Moment ComiKaze, the Spoon has significantly better float in light, deep snow. This was most evident to me after a day of riding the 189cm Lotus 120 Spoon in Japan, then switching back to the Spoon the next day. Both skis were great, but I floated higher and skied faster on the Spoon, and could definitely drive the tips harder.

32 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    Squawbomber February 10, 2014 Reply

    Great review! What caught my eye were your comments on the Salomon Rocker 2 122. I haven’t tried anything more radical than that, but that ski blew my mind with its quickness and fun in soft snow. For the more “traditional” skis, would you say the R2 is one of the most pivoty and fun, like some of these more specialized skis? I also found I could rage through soft bumps and so forth on the R2. Sadly, my lifestyle right now won’t permit a “powder only” ski, but it’s great to know these are out there.

    • Author
      Paul Forward February 16, 2014 Reply

      Thanks for the kind words. The Rocker 2 122 is definitely a fun ski. I just spent the last week on a pair of the 192’s that I started using occasionally last year. First couple of days were at Jackson Hole skiing inbounds powdays and were relatively quick in the bumps and variable wind affected and warm snow some patches of nice powder. In those kinds of conditions the tips fold when pushed at speed which can be unsettling when skiing fast. Yesterday I had them on some chalky windblown snow at Alta and enjoyed them but could have gone for a stiffer ski there as well when I hit more tracked up areas. I flew home early this morning and spent the day in the Heli working for Chugach Powder Guides skiing low angle knee deep blower pow. In these conditions I would have rather had the Spoons or 138’s but the 122’s are definitely a very loose, pivoty ski and do better in this kind of stuff than any other more traditional shaped ski I’ve used. They definitely have their limitations in firmer snow. I hope that helps. Overall, a super fun ski.

  2. buenonda February 11, 2014 Reply

    very nice review, close to the french one I rode this fall.
    wonderfull in fresh pow, big reverse camber +spoon +width >> magic
    but in the alps sometimes pow is heavier and even if it’s perfect untracked the dps doesn’t shine there: lack of speed and stability, there a flatter camber works better.

    for me the best pow ski ever still the renegade

    • Author
      Paul Forward February 16, 2014 Reply

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Spoon. I haven’t skied them in a lot of heavier, untracked snow but thus far they’ve been great in anything smooth. I could see that if the snow is really firm such as heavily wind affected pow, that a stiffer, narrower, less rockered ski like the Renegade would be more fun in that kind of stuff.

  3. Jason February 13, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the thorough review. I am very interested in your thoughts on a comparo of the 138 Pure vs Spoon for AT pow setup. I ski the Vulcan on Squad 7’s as my daily driver but only have an 188cm Hi5 for touring. The zone I’m looking at is Rockies and occasional AK use.

  4. Jason February 13, 2014 Reply

    Just so you know where I started from on this AT powski question, I was thinking Hang5 or 191 V-Werks with Vipec’s. Having owned Prophet 130’s and even a pair of A-Lotta’s back in the day, I am concerned about 148mm underfoot in a tech binding. I tried my 196 Bodacious last year in Haines on a wind effected pow day with the Vulcans and found it too much for me and my 155lb, 5’10” frame.

    • Author
      Paul Forward February 17, 2014 Reply

      Hey Jason, Sorry it’s taken me a few days to get back to you. The Spoon vs the newer Spoon 138 as touring ski is a question I would love to be able to answer. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to try the new 138 sometime soon. I can tell you that since I’ve had the Spoons, I have been spending a lot less time on my old 138’s for touring. I just spent a few days in Teton Pass and got home to Alaska early today. This morning when I was loading up the car to go skiing the only touring skis I tossed in the rocket box were the Spoons. They are just so fun in soft snow I can’t resist taking them out very chance I get. A week ago I did take the 138’s and went right back to the Spoons the next day. I reserve the right to revise my opinion when I get on the new 138’s…

      Regarding tech bindings on super fat skis: I’m also a little nervous about it and have kicked out of my 138’s, Spoons, and Powderboards with tech bindings when hitting firmer snow with the toes unlocked. As a result I do ski them locked most of the time and have to accept the potential safety issues that entails. In soft snow it hasn’t been an issue but edging them hard in firmer stuff has caused a few releases for me. Overall I’m still very pleased with the combination and, until I get to try some of the newer tech binding iterations, I’ll continue to ski with this setup for any non-mechanized skiing.

      I haven’t used the Volkl or La Sportiva skis you mention. I suspect that they will be very different than the spoon in the ways I described in my review comparing other more traditional skis. For me, it’s worth sacrificing versatility for supreme pow performance. I was skiing knee deep low density snow all day today from the helicopter on my Rocker 2 122’s and really wished I had a pair of spoons with alpine bindings on them to use instead.

      Enjoy!

  5. Gross February 16, 2014 Reply

    Very good review. I own a Spoon and i found exactly the same feeling when riding the Spoon during a week in January at Mustang Powder cat ski and a week before at Whitefish Montana… It was a fantastic feeling versus my Rossignol squad 7.
    I cannot wait to use it in Alaska at PNH very soon. Just hope that it will handle well the variable snow that we find normally there as you wrote. But it is by far the fastest powder ski that i have ever ride.. Even in some heavy snow, it is easy to turn ..Incredible feeling of comfort and fun..Laurent

    • Author
      Paul Forward February 17, 2014 Reply

      Right on Gross. Thanks for your comments and glad you’re loving your skis and finding some good snow. Let us know how you like the Spoons during your trip to Cordova. I’m hoping to get a lot more big Alaska ski days on mine over the next few months.

  6. Jason February 16, 2014 Reply

    K just finished Day 1 on the Spoon, skiing it in the deep powder conditions it was designed for. I had skied Pontoons, Hellbents, A-lotta’s and used to own Prophet 130’s a long time ago, but still had some reservations about the Spoon. For most skiing I will probably always prefer skis with some camber since they track harder. But unlike the Hellbents which I really thought we’re only good for wiggling down pillow lines, the Spoons can actually be skied hard. They aren’t going to give the relaxed feels like its on rails, track mode of a more conventional ski like an Atlas or Bodacious, but the compensation is they are SO much more flickable in tighter lines. Even compared to my Squad 7’s which I’ll still resort to when float isn’t the key thing I’m looking for, the Spoon lets you turn everywhere and at even lower speed.

    • Author
      Paul Forward February 17, 2014 Reply

      Hi Jason, Glad to hear you’ve been having a blast on your Spoons. Your experience with them is very similar to mine. Thanks for the comments.

  7. Jason February 17, 2014 Reply

    I forgot to say after my one day on the ski that your review seems spot on. For the past 4-5 years the RC112 was my go to ski for soft and the Atlas and Bodacious for deep. Thanks to Blister I now ski Squad 7’s for soft and from now on Spoons for deep. If it wasn’t for your reviews I wouldn’t have made the switch as fast, maybe not at all. I still ski the RC’s on occasion and the 196 Bodacious is fun too for a certain kind of skiing but the Atlas’s are DONE. For a fat AT I would definitely lean to the 138 at this point. And for AK I’m probably sticking with the Squad7 due to its versatility.

  8. Jason February 19, 2014 Reply

    DPS seems to have something only surfboards have had until now. Universally surfers and shapers focus on the rails of a board, soft and rolled in the nose, harder and chined or edged in the tail. It’s what let’s a board be loose in chop or foam and not catch the nose, what skiers called hookiness. I’m sure the DPS people use the same terms or at least concepts when they talk about “spoon”. It was actually the influential surfer/designer/photog George Greenough who invented the spoon, he even called it that.

  9. Jason February 25, 2014 Reply

    Paul what about mounting point? I am planning on putting a tech binding on my pair but was thinking 1.75mm forward. The skis don’t bog and the recommended line is pretty far back when you look at the overall ski surface area distribution.

  10. Jason March 22, 2014 Reply

    Want to repeat my question about mounting. I still have a demo binding on mine so I can play with the mount. I have been happy enough at 1 cm forward of center but still getting a bit of wheelie on landings. I am planning on going to 2 cm + but may not get to ski the Spoon again this season.

  11. Jeremy May 28, 2014 Reply

    I debated about getting the Spoons for the 13/14 season (I’m not getting any younger), and in the end I landed a pair in the limited edition Blue/White finish. I centre mounted them with Marker SP Lords, so that I could use one pair of boots with tech soles for these and my DPS Wailer RP112’s with Dynafit Radicals.

    I will freely admit that I am not a great skier, but the Spoon’s gave me by a long way the best powder skiing experience I have ever had (Heli skiing in Canada, and general off piste in Switzerland). The DPS website states these are deep powder only skis (where they of course excel), but I found they can be used anywhere with fresh snow. The superb float means that a simple knee flex can lift you out of the snow.

    The only issues I had, which were also highlighted in the review, were with bumpy hard pack where they tend to have a mind of their own, and turning through heavily tracked deep snow, where you have to aim of the remaining snow blocks.

    One strange effect only experienced when traversing of steep slopes, was one of the feeling that the tails of your skis were being grabbed. This was caused by the large tail rocker digging in and releasing from the snow pack. But I am sure this would occur with any ski with extreme tail rocker.

  12. Jason June 24, 2014 Reply

    Any further comment Paul on mounting point?

    • Author
      Paul Forward June 30, 2014 Reply

      Hi Jason, The folks at DPS suggested I mount boot center the recommended midsole mark on the ski. I mounted there and have been very happy with it. If I mounted up another pair I would not hesitate to do the same again. Enjoy the skis!

  13. Gary March 16, 2015 Reply

    Paul Forward,
    You’ve got some great comments on the spoon. I’m close to hitting the “buy” button on a pair of Lotus 138 Pure 3 spoons ( grape color). I was wondering if you had a chance to test this 14/15 model? For reference I have over 200 days on two megawatts, and initially looked into the lotus 120, but I want a full rocketed ski and the Spoon and new 138 seem to be the only models from DPS. i would be interested in knowing if the flex is still stiffer than the Spoon also. Any comments would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Gary

    • Author
      Paul Forward March 19, 2015 Reply

      Hi Gary, I have skied extensively on the 14/15 138 Spoon and use it almost every day skiing while heli guiding in Alaska. The flex is definitely stiffer on my Purple 138 spoons than on my Grey Spoons. My Spoons are from the first production year though, and I’m not sure if the flex has changed since then. Regardless of that, the 138 Spoon is the best all around Spatula-type ski I have used. There are definitely days where I grab a pair of more traditional shaped powder skis but, overall, the 138 is my favorite pow ski for most Alaska conditions and is almost as good as the Spoon in super deep, Japan style powder. The 120 Spoon, which I’ve also skied a lot, is a good ski, but isn’t even close as a pow surfer compared to the 138 or Spoon in my opinion. If you like this style of ski, I think you will be very pleased with the big purple 138 Spoons.

  14. Gary March 27, 2015 Reply

    I’ve got a few days of skiing under my belt with the Lotus 138 Pure 3 Spoon, 182 length. OMG!!! This ski is by far the most fun I’ve had on skis- ever!! I can’t believe how smooth they are and how easy it is to worm your way through crud- the powder experience not withstanding. Best ski I’ve ever been on!!

    • Blister Member
      Michael April 14, 2015 Reply

      Gary, what’s your height/weight? I’m considering some 182 lotus 138s

      • Gary April 15, 2015 Reply

        Michael, I’m 6′ 2″& 190lbs. For open terrain I could’ve gone with the longer ski, but I ski a lot of tight glades in the east, so opted for the 182s. On spring corn I’ve been skiing on black diamond carbon megawatts. They’re lighter for boot packing and skinning, but when the skis sink into snow the Lotus is my go to ski! Hope this helps.
        Gary

        • Blister Member
          Michael April 15, 2015 Reply

          Thanks. Very helpful. I’m 5’10” 180 leaning towards a 182 lotus 138 for a unique pow touring ski

  15. Blister Member
    Raphael May 18, 2016 Reply

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for this excellent review, have you had the chance to review the Lotus 138 Spoon ? i’m hesitating between the Lotus 138 Spoon and the Spoon.
    I’m planning on skiing exclusively in the Backcountry with tech bindings via Skins mostly. So untracked powder snow will be the main target for this ski.

    Any recommendation ? What do you think ?

    Thanks in advance,

    Cheers.

    • Author
      Paul Forward May 18, 2016 Reply

      Hi Raphael,
      I have skied the 138 Spoon a bunch. For deep powder and big storm systems the Spoon is a great choice but for all around backcountry skiing you’ll find the 138 more versatile. Hitting hard snow of any kind on the spoons can be disconcerting at best. Unless you have another powder ski for touring when you might hit firm snow and are planning only ski deep, smooth pow, I’d lean toward the 138. Best of luck and let us know how it goes for you. Best, Paul

      • Blister Member
        Raphael May 18, 2016 Reply

        Thank you Paul for this quick reply. Thanks for your insight, sounds like the Lotus 138 is the way to go. I do have another pair of ski. I’m really planning on using this ski when it’s dumping ! Also any recommendation on the Mount Location ? (on the 182cm version)

        Raphael.

        PS : Sorry for my poor English.

  16. Davyn February 15, 2017 Reply

    Hi Paul,

    Hi thanks for the review and apologies in advance if this is a dumb question. The date on the review says Feb 10, 2014 but it looks like you’re reviewing the latest version on the ski (16/17) – is that correct? Also I’m having trouble finding comparative info on the latest spoon vs the latest 138 a is one called DPS 138 Spoon and the other just DPS 138. I’m looking for a powder ski more suited to AK’s variable conditions than Japan’s stability so it seems like the regular 138 is best suited however I’ve also heard the latest Spoon is more able to handle tracked, windblown etc conditions…

    Thanks very much for your help!

    • Author
      Paul Forward February 15, 2017 Reply

      Hi Davyn,

      I wrote this review in 2014 and then got another pair of them last year and everything I said in 2014 still holds true about this ski. For pow touring and Japan type skiing, the Spoon is ridiculously fun. In Alaska, where I live year round and heli guide full time, I rarely take the Spoons out but spend a ton of time on the 138 Spoon (the purple ones). The 138 Spoon also isn’t the most versatile ski but it handles everything pretty well and is a pretty remarkable heli ski for much of the season. For April, especially later in the month, when the runouts can be a little rough at times and we’re skiing big steep runs all the time, I usually go with a more traditional shaped ski. Stay tuned for our upcoming flash review of the Lotus 124 Spoon in the new Alchemist construction. So far, they seem to be a fun and versatile pow ski.

      • Blister Member
        Bredey May 4, 2017 Reply

        I own the 15/16 Spoons (newer version) and they weigh around 2300 g per ski, so about 200 g heavier than the older Spoons. I’ve held the older Spoons in my hand in a shop and flexed them. As far as I can remember, the rocker of the older version seemed more dramatic and they flexed a bit softer. The flex of the newer model seems more comparable to the Lotus 138 Spoon, which I also have.

        @Paul: I know you said that everything you wrote about the Spoon initially, still holds true. But is there any difference between the older and newer version? I would have guessed that the newer Spoon, with its heavier weight and less dramatic rocker, skis a bit better in variable / tracked conditions (but still doesn’t ski great obviously). Also, is the newer Spoon as loose / drifty as the older one?

  17. Davyn February 17, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for the response Paul – it sounds like the 138 Spoon is more what I’m after. I’ve only recently come across DPS skis and am now really considering getting a pair based on the reviews I’m seeing. Just to give you an idea of what I’m looking for – because I instructed in Colorado for a few years I always skied on traditional frontside all mountain skis and just took them into backcountry and powder (ie used them as a one-ski quiver) on days off. I had my first trip to AK last year (Alyeska followed by Points North) and figured I needed something wider and ended up going with the Blizzard Gunsmokes (with pivot 19’s which I now think was a mistake). I found these fine at Alyeska in the variable conditions there but when I was out in the heli areas at points north I found them two narrow and to be honest not as light and responsive as I hoped. I also probably needed something more directional now that I’m 38 and not 28 anymore!

    I’ve been looking around online (living in Australia doesn’t really enable me to try in advance) for a while for my next AK trip and had a shortlist of the Black Crows Nocta, Rossignol Super 7 HD and maybe even the Line Pescado but now the DPS Lotus 138 Spoon has moved to the top of the list. Ultimately I’d love something that’s great for Alaska Heli but can also translate to resort skiing when there’s been a good dump – do you think I should also look at the new Alchemist 124 Spoon you mentioned or the 124 Spoon Pure3 (2017) or even the Powderworks Lotus 124 (2016)?

    Sorry, I know this is a really long post and maybe not easy to answer so really appreciate your help!

    Davyn

  18. Blister Member
    Bredey May 4, 2017 Reply

    I own the 15/16 Spoons (newer version) and they weigh around 2300 g per ski, so about 200 g heavier than the older Spoons. I’ve held the older Spoons in my hand in a shop and flexed them. As far as I can remember, the rocker of the older version seemed more dramatic and they flexed a bit softer. The flex of the newer model seems more comparable to the Lotus 138 Spoon, which I also have.

    @Paul: I know you said that everything you wrote about the Spoon initially, still holds true. But is there any difference between the older and newer version? I would have guessed that the newer Spoon, with its heavier weight and less dramatic rocker, skis a bit better in variable / tracked conditions (but still doesn’t ski great obviously). Also, is the newer Spoon as loose / drifty as the older one?

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