Ski innovators access the Checkerspot WING™ Platform to design algae-based sidewall materials for large scale manufacturing
The engineers at Salt Lake City-based DPS Skis have taken a leap forward on low impact, high performance products with the development and commercialization of renewably derived, algae-based sidewalls into all DPS Skis beginning in 2022. The collaboration between one of the largest U.S. ski manufacturers and materials innovation company Checkerspot, Inc. has produced a material and a fabrication technique that increases ski performance and decreases petroleum reliance while supporting the local Wasatch business ecosystem.
“Working with our partners at Checkerspot, DPS has accessed the WING™ Platform to codevelop sidewalls around DPS’s specified performance demands. This has allowed us to produce more sustainable products and improve the award-winning performance of our Pagoda Tour and Pagoda skis. This project is bigger than DPS, however. We hope this work can inspire and instruct other manufacturers, even beyond the outdoor industry, in what’s possible when it comes to reducing carbon footprint with the mass commercialization of bio-based components,” says Thomas Laakso, vice president of product and operations at DPS.
The WING™ Platform capabilities allowed for both companies to rapidly iterate on the formulation designed for DPS’ performance specifications, which optimizes damping, impact resistance, and hardness. Over the course of a year, the Checkerspot and DPS product teams trialed multiple formulations in the Checkerspot Design Lab, the DPS R&D Lab, and on-snow in the Wasatch Mountains and New Zealand. The result is an algae oil-derived sidewall with 62% bio content per ASTM D6866 and exceptional bonding characteristics, resulting in a stronger ski that is more resistant to delamination than a petroleum based ABS sidewall.
“The team at Checkerspot has driven real materials innovation in its Algal Wall product. The DPS team worked with them to refine new fabrication techniques and employ new processes for mixing and storage to enable a tenfold increase in production volume,” says Laakso.
Checkerspot’s WING™ Platform combines biotechnology, materials science, advanced fabrication techniques, and consumer engagement to develop application-specific materials, designed specifically around the performance demands of the end user. The WING™ Platform empowers product designers to innovate with more purpose-built materials.
“It takes a community to enact systemic change,” says Scott Franklin, chief scientific officer at Checkerspot. “Working with DPS’s design aspirations was an incredible opportunity for Checkerspot’s Design Lab team to further push Algal Wall technology, optimizing it for DPS’s unique process conditions and performance properties. We feel both honored and excited to open our doors up to an industry leader like DPS and further our mission of positive change across the outdoor industry and beyond. This community is growing rapidly.”
The new bio-based sidewall is currently available in all DPS skis manufactured in Salt Lake City, including the Pagoda Tour, a lightweight touring ski that provides the perfect balance of uphill and downhill performance. Along with the new algae-based sidewalls, the Pagoda Tour blends a proprietary carbon laminate with ash and paulownia woods and a purpose-built aerospace-grade foam. This distinct combination produces the perfect balance of power, energy, and dampness.
For more information on the collaboration with Checkerspot and products from DPS Skis, please contact PR Account Manager Maria Brickman at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on select retail partners, please visit: www.dpsskis.com/dealer-locator.
About DPS Skis: Located at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah, DPS designs the world’s most advanced ski products by fusing space-age carbon technology with groundbreaking shapes. DPS is responsible for the world’s first and only pure pre-impregnated carbon fiber sandwich ski, the first 120mm-waisted powder pintail, the first rockered ski with sidecut, and PHANTOM, a paradigm-shifting permanent, one-time application base-coating that forever eliminates the need for waxing skis and snowboards. DPS products are sold on five continents and are the trusted brand of choice for serious skiers worldwide. www.dpsskis.com
About Checkerspot: Checkerspot designs performance materials at a molecular level. It does this by optimizing microbes to biomanufacture unique structural oils produced in nature, but not previously accessible at commercial scale. The company is currently commercializing three materials: a light-weight urethane-based composite and a cast urethane both commercialized initially through the brand WNDR® Alpine as Algal Core and Algal Wall, as well as algal oil formulated into MiDori® BioWick and sold in partnership with Beyond Surface Technologies to clothing brands worldwide. Checkerspot empowers product designers and innovators, including Beyond Surface Technologies, Gore and WNDR Alpine, with better materials to develop improved consumer and B2B applications for a post-petroleum future.