This article was published in the Silicon Slopes Magazine, Summer 2022
by Nick Pascoe, Product Manager, DPS Skis

In 2014, the hero essay for the DPS catalog delved into the concepts of overconsumption, planned obsolescence, and durability, while at the same time recognizing that to be a viable company we need to continually sell skis year over year.

In 2017, Auden Schendler was handed the pedestal of our catalog’s opening pages. He wrote about the identity crisis that is buying new skis to chase the apex powder moment, while simultaneously dwelling in climate change induced anxiety about the decline of our winters. Auden was speaking to individuals, but he just as well could have been speaking to us as a company, because for the past ten years we’ve been struggling to work out how we approach the issue of climate change and how it affects our winters and our business.

For ethical reasons we felt we needed to do our part to act against climate change. We saw that with increasing consumer preference for sustainably manufactured products, there were also commercial reasons for action. Greenwashing wasn’t the answer though, so we needed to plan and act before we could begin telling stories.

We’re now proud to say that we’ve acted, but have far more to come. We’re working at an industry level with Snowsports Industries America as pact signatories and advisors to their ClimateUnited pledge. We’ve measured the carbon footprint across our entire supply chain from raw materials to end of life, and are actively using this information to make design and material sourcing decisions to incrementally lower the footprint of our products. Our packaging has changed drastically, now using a 43% bio-based industrially compostable shrinkwrap material, and we’re in the process of eliminating the foam that stops skis rubbing together and getting damaged during shipping.

One of the most in depth actions we’ve taken has been shifting our production to use Checkerspot Algal Wall which is a 63% bio-based sidewall. This is exciting not simply because we’re buying a material with less dependence on fossil fuels, but because we’re collaborating with a company whose lab and factory is a block down the street from ours and doing our part to scale up the commercial viability of the algal technology. It’s the best outcome for us, Checkerspot, the local Salt Lake community, and the snow we all like to ski.

As we finalize our Sustainability Action Plan, collaboration for climate action is something we’re writing into it with a hope to see more. With a thriving technology sector, manufacturing, outdoor industry, and the spectacular Wasatch Mountains, we’re uniquely positioned to lead together as a community.


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