2021-2022 DPS Foundation Koala 103

Ski: 2021-2022 DPS Foundation Koala 103, 184 cm

Available Lengths: 168, 176, 184, 189 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 182.4 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2022 & 2046 grams

Stated Dimensions: 129-103-119 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 132.6-103.2-121.2 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (184 cm): 18 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 65 mm / 47 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4 mm

Core: Poplar + Carbon Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate

Base: sintered “World Cup Race Base”

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -6.1 cm from center; 85.1 cm from tail

Luke Koppa & Dylan Wood review the DPS Foundation Koala 103 for Blister
DPS Foundation Koala 103 — 21/22 Top Sheet
Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

Last season DPS unveiled a ski that looked — and was — very different from what they’d been making. The Foundation Koala 119 was pretty hefty, it had a progressive mount point, and it was designed with freestyle skiing in mind.

Turns out, it was a really fun ski for the right skiers. You can read our review of it here, or listen to reviewer Paul Forward discuss his experience on it during this GEAR:30 episode.

For 21/22, DPS is adding a brand-new ski under the Koala name, the Koala 103, which is designed to bring the playful-but-stable ride of the bigger Koala to a more versatile, all-mountain package.

We recently started spending time on the Koala 103 and Blister Members can check out our Flash Review for Dylan Wood and my thoughts on it. While we put more time skiing it, here we’ll go into the design of the new ski, which will be available for sale during the summer of 2021 during DPS’s “Dreamtime” event.

What DPS says about the Foundation Koala 103

“Poppy on the lip, stable on the landings, and comfortable on the rails, focus on making the entire mountain your personal park with the Koala 103. With its completely fresh shape and flex pattern, it’s made to spin, butter, ollie, and transform the side hits into your new best friends. Yet it retains DPS’ emphasis on the art of the turn, ensuring enjoyment between freestyle hits.”

This is pretty standard stuff for an all-mountain freestyle ski. The Koala 103 is supposed to be playful and versatile, but still carve well. A lot of brands make similar claims about their skis in this class, so what sets the Koala 103 apart from the others?

Construction

The Koala skis use DPS’s “Foundation” construction, which is their less-expensive, more downhill-oriented construction (relative to their others like Pagoda Piste, Pagoda Tour, and Alchemist).

In the 21/22 Koala 103, that Foundation construction consists of a full poplar wood core, carbon stringers, a fiberglass laminate, and DPS’s “world cup race base.”

Shape / Rocker Profile

The Koala 103 looks very much like a narrower Koala 119. Its tips are fairly (but not extremely) tapered, looking pretty similar to skis like the Volkl Revolt 104, Whitedot Altum 104, Sego Big Horn 106, and Moment Wildcat 108. The tails of the Koala 103 are slightly less tapered, but the overall shape is more symmetrical than some of DPS’s other shapes like the Wailer 106 C2 and Wailer 100 RP.

Predictably, the Koala 103’s rocker profile looks like very similar to the 119’s, but the Koala 103 has slightly shallower rocker lines and a bit less tip and tail splay. Overall, the Koala 103’s rocker profile looks pretty similar to the Line Sir Francis Bacon, Dynastar M-Free 108, and Whitedot Altum 104. It’s not a totally symmetrical rocker profile, but I’d call the Koala 103’s tail a nearly true twin, and it still has a significant amount of camber around the middle of the ski. (FWIW, DPS says that around 40% of the ski is rockered, while the other ~60% is cambered.)

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the DPS Foundation Koala 103:

Tips: 7
Shovels: 7.5-8.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-10
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-8.5
Tails: 8.5

The 189 cm Koala 119 we tested was really, really stiff. The new 184 cm Koala 103 is still a strong ski overall — particularly compared to most other freestyle-oriented skis — but it’s not as stout as the Koala 119 we had.

The cambered portion of the Koala 103 is quite strong. But the rockered portions are not unbendable, making the Koala 103’s flex pattern stand out from most of the recent DPS skis we’ve tested, which have had flex patterns that were quite stiff from tip to tail.

The Koala 103’s flex pattern is pretty similar to the Dynastar M-Free 108 and Whitedot Altum 104. The Koala 103 is significantly stiffer overall compared to the Line Sir Francis Bacon and K2 Reckoner 102, and it also feels stiffer around the bindings compared to the Volkl Revolt 104.

Mount Point

As is common in this class of freestyle-oriented, but still directional skis, the Koala 103 has a recommended mount point of about -6 cm from true center. With the Koala 119 and most other skis with similar mount points, we find that a mount point around -6 cm tends to create a ski that lets you drive it through the shovels, while still being able to ski it fairly centered and have a balanced feel in the air.

Weight

Here’s one area where the Koala 103 differs from the old Koala 119. The Koala 103 is not a very heavy ski.

I wouldn’t say the Koala 103 is particularly light — a lot of skis in this class come in at similar or lighter weights. But unlike the Koala 119, the Koala 103 is not a particularly heavy ski.

For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.

1787 & 1793 Fauna Pioneer, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1800 & 1824 Luke Koppa’s ROMP 100, 183 cm
1806 & 1862 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (19/20–20/21)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1814 & 1845 Elan Ripstick 106, 181 cm (17/18–19/20)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–20/21)
1875 & 1881 Line Sir Francis Bacon, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1883 & 1898 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender, 178 cm (20/21)
1883 & 1906 Season Aero, 180 cm (20/21)
1896 & 1942 K2 Reckoner 102, 184 cm (20/21)
1947 & 2011 4FRNT Devastator, 186 cm (20/21)
1973 & 1997 Volkl Revolt 104, 188 cm (20/21)
1976 & 2028 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm (19/20–20/21)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–20/21)
1999 & 2020 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 180 cm (20/21)
2005 & 2035 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
2006 & 2065 Head Kore 105, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2011 & 2028 Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20)
2022 & 2046 DPS Foundation Koala 103, 184 cm (21/22)
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2046 & 2120 Black Crows Corvus, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
2049 & 2053 Whitedot Altum 104, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
2073 & 2074 Season Nexus, 183 cm (20/21)
2080 & 2089 Sego Big Horn 106, 187 cm (17/18–19/20)
2079 & 2105 Kastle FX106 HP, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2097 & 2113 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106 C2, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
2110 & 2119 Moment Wildcat 108, 190 cm (19/20)
2113 & 2121 Moment Meridian, 187 cm (16/17–20/21)
2111 & 2125 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19–20/21)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
2113 & 2140 Armada ARV 106, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2120 & 2134 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (19/20–20/21)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2133 & 2134 Faction Prodigy 3.0, 183 cm (18/19–19/20)
2143 & 2194 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2145 & 2167 Sego Big Horn 106, 187 cm (20/21)
2153 & 2184 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 187 cm (20/21)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
2170 & 2180 Dynastar M-Free 108, 182 cm (20/21)
2190 & 2268 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2202 & 2209 Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105, 186 cm (19/20)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2232 & 2242 Blizzard Cochise 106, 185 cm (20/21)
2232 & 2244 ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm (19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2241 & 2295 4FRNT Devastator, 184 cm (14/15–18/19)
2283 & 2290 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm (18/19–19/20)
2295 & 2344 J Skis Hotshot, 183 cm (20/21)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18–20/21)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17–19/20)
2321 & 2335 Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2325 & 2352 Folsom Blister Pro 104, 186 cm (19/20)
2326 & 2336 Nordica Enforcer 100, 186 cm (20/21)
2353 & 2360 Volkl Katana 108, 184 cm (20/21)
2449 & 2493 J Skis Hotshot, 189 cm (20/21)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) With the Koala 119, we had directional skiers and very playful ones who really liked it. So will that hold true with the Koala 103?

(2) On that note, should you only be checking out the Koala 103 if you throw tricks and ski switch? Or will directional skiers who prioritize maneuverability and a more balanced feel also get along well with this ski?

(3) Given its moderately low weight, how damp and stable will the Koala 103 feel when compared to other skis in its class?

(4) With its strong flex pattern and middle-of-the-road rocker profile, how surfy, lively, and generally playful will the Koala 103 feel compared to other freestyle-oriented skis?

(5) At 103 mm underfoot, the Koala 103 seems like it could make for a good 1-ski quiver for areas that rarely see icy conditions. So how versatile will it feel, particularly when it comes to really firm or fairly deep / soft conditions?

Bottom Line (For Now)

The DPS Foundation Koala 103 looks like it has a lot of the ingredients that typically combine to make a versatile and playful all-mountain ski. It’s got the fairly deep rocker lines, twinned tail, and progressive mount point that make us think it should feel maneuverable and balanced, but then its strong flex pattern and moderate weight make us curious about how it will handle more aggressive skiing and higher speeds.

Flash Review

Blister Members can read our Flash Review of the Koala 103 for our initial on-snow impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.

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Rocker Pics:

Full Profile
Tip Profile
Tail Profile
21/22 Top Sheet
Base
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4 comments on “2021-2022 DPS Foundation Koala 103”

    • We’re planning on posting the full review in a few months, but it’ll be published before the skis are available for sale.

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