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.]
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.