Salt Lake City-based ski manufacturer collaborates with Mark Grotjahn, to create a SKI-BASED Art
Located in Salt Lake City with the Wasatch Mountains right in their backyard, DPS skis is no stranger to big mountain skiing. Consequently, this popular ski brand is always pushing boundaries to keep itself at the forefront of ski technology. Whether it is fusing space-age carbon technology with groundbreaking shapes or their PHANTOM one-time application base coating DPS offers serious skiers some of the most advanced products worldwide.
In the art world, Mark Grotjahn has a similar reputation for pushing the limits of what art can truly be. Known for his abstract and bold geometric paintings, this University of Colorado, Boulder grad’s work has been featured in museums around the world.
Now DPS skis and Mark Grotjahn, two respective trailblazers in their own fields, have joined forces to launch their exclusive DPS 50 Kitchens #15 Skis collaboration.
Pushing the Boundaries of Skiing and Art
The limited-edition 50 Kitchens #15 Skis pushes the boundaries of skiing and art. Made using the Kaizen construction, the latest DPS ski design evolution, they have a 15m turn radius and 112mm width at the waist and DPS’s signature Phantom wax on the bottom. What separates these skis from the others in the DPS collection is the top sheet. Based on drawing #15 from Grotjahn’s 50 Kitchens Collection it offers a unique abstract look to a ski company known for their monochromatic top sheets.
“Mark is super down to earth and this project was a true collaboration where everyone worked together, asked questions, and listened to each other’s ideas. In the end, we are all super happy with the final product,” says Dan Pizza, creative director at DPS Skis.
This collaboration worked well on a couple of levels. One, the aforementioned creativity of both brands just made sense. The other is because Mark Grotjahn himself is no stranger to skiing, particularly in the backcountry which ultimately brought the two sides together.
Backcountry Skiing Opens the Door to a Collab
Grotjahn was first introduced to backcountry skiing in Colorado’s Elk Mountains when he bought his first backcountry ski set-up and he attended a level-one avalanche course. After the course, Grotjahn wanted to take his new skills to practice and hired the head guide and owner of Aspen Expeditions, Amos Whiting. They spent the next two years exploring the backcountry when time would allow Grotjahn to sneak away.
“I like being immersed deep into nature where I feel small and like a little tourist, just a little guy on a big, big globe. Nature doesn’t care about me. Nature doesn’t not care about me. I just get to be a little visitor,” says Grotjahn on his passion for backcountry skiing.
When Grotjahn was ready to upgrade his backcountry set-up, he walked into Cripple Creek Backcountry in Aspen and was immediately drawn to a pair of yellow monochrome skis made by DPS. Grotjahn was curious about the brand and he soon reached out to DPS to learn more about team behind the monochrome design.
Sometimes when you know you know and just six short months after Grotjahn’s initial contact with DPS the collaboration was formed.
A Design That Looks Beautiful and Skis That Way Too
Grotjahn and DPS release the new 50 Kitchens #15 Skis to the ski and art world. Grotjahn selected a pencil design from the 50 Kitchens collection because he knew it would take to a ski beautifully. The 50 Kitchens collection consists of “Butterfly” compositions, a motif Grotjahn has been creating since the nineties.
“Mark’s work, specifically the 50 Kitchens Collection, was a natural fit for DPS. This project is radically different than anything we’ve done before, but at the same time, Mark’s use of color and the level of discipline that comes through in his work spoke to us as the perfect collaboration,” emphasizes Pizza.
The limited-run DPS 50 Kitchens #15 Skis are available at dpsskis.com and Cripple Creek Backcountry, in-store and online. However, this collaboration is more than just a pair of skis. It’s art and like most artistic masterpieces belongs in a gallery. Consequently, Grotjahn and DPS Skis celebrated the launch of 50 Kitchens #15 Skis at Aspen Art Museum in Aspen, CO late last week.
Whether you are looking at these skis in a gallery or down at them on snow, there is no doubt that this collaboration just works. The unique abstract art from Grotjahn adds a touch of depth to skis from a company known for their monochrome top sheets. Equal parts art and performance DPS 50 Kitchens #15 Skis are a collector’s item to be enjoyed on and off the mountain.
Rich Stoner is the founder of the après-ski lifestyle clothing and media brand, All About Après, and the co-host of the Beyond the Après podcast. No stranger to the ski and après-ski scene, Rich has been a long time contributor for many publications on topics like skiing, gear, beer and food. However, his passion is on the slopes and enjoying good times with good people. You can find him perfecting his craft carving turns and drinking beers in the Green Mountains of Vermont. @allaboutapres
*Lead Photo Credit: Grotjahn x DPS Skis