When I think about backcountry skiing in the Wasatch mountains outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, three things usually come to mind. First, there's the great and plentiful snow. Second, there are steep skin tracks. And finally, there are the crowds.
I bring this all up because DPS, the Utah-based ski company, just released a new line of touring-specific skis (three different skis in total) called the Tour1, and I couldn't help but notice that they seem to be designed to specifically address these well-known characteristics of their hometown’s backcountry range.
For example, at just 1425 grams per ski for the 184cm Wailer 112RP2 Tour1 (15-18 meter turning radius), 1410 grams per ski for the 184cm Wailer 99 Tour1 (16-19 meter turning radius), and 1375 grams per ski for the 178cm Cassiar 95 Tour1 (21 meter turning radius), all models in the line are feathery light and a breeze to haul up the kind of tracks that those of us in the rest of the country might balk at. Last week, I chased Erme Catino, the company's PR manager, up Grizzly Gulch and into Silver Fork and never once had a complaint about feeling weighed down.
The weight also helps with speed, which can be useful when parking lots in the Wasatch sometimes fill up before sunrise and you suddenly find yourself in a race to beat a bunch of other people trying to chase pow before work. When I was out on the skis we moved at a steady clip for several hours and by the end I felt like I could have easily climbed a couple more lines.
The weight savings is due in large part to things like a prepreg carbon laminate and balsa core. Borrowing technology and construction techniques from their Pure3 line—which is also known for its weight savings—DPS made the Tour1 series for those people who exclusively want to ski them in the backcountry and like to get after it multiple days a week.
But here's the most important part: Even though the skis feel they might float into the sky if they got caught up in a strong gust of wind, they still rip on the down. They float like other DPS skis when it's fresh, but thanks to a ton of torsional stiffness and overall strength (that's why the carbon is important), the skis also hold an edge on crust and punch through ripped up crud.
On my tour with Erme we ran into all kinds of snow—a few remaining stashes, some crusty sun-baked nastiness, even a little hardpack—and the skis never blinked.
As a nice add-on, the Tour1 skis were just announced but they're already available for sale. Instead of having to wait a full season, like we normally do after a ski gets unveiled, you can throw down some cash at the DPS website and make a pair yours before the season is over.
Visit DPSSkis.com for more information about their Tour1 line of skis.