1549 South 1100 East
Salt Lake City, Utah
Lying face up in the deep Argentine powder of Las Leñas, Stephan Drake thought there has got to be a better way to ski. Disappointed in the commercially available snow skis, this epiphanic moment began a sixteen year journey of creativity and experimentation which resulted in an entirely new material and design for skis.
Today, Drake is the Founder and President of DPS Skis. This Utah Company is the only manufacturer of pure carbon fiber skis in the world. The company’s innovation and dedication to skiing has resulted in market success and double digit growth. Drake employs ten people in the Wasatch Valley with plans to increase that to 14 next years. The company manufactures its signature premium skis in Ogden with plans to open a new facility in Downtown Salt Lake City. “We want our Salt Lake facility to be a part of the DPS brand,” says Drake. “We envision a place where people can come and see their skis being made. People coming to Park City could tour the facility, buy a pair, and head for the mountains. That is what it is all about.”
DPS ships skis to half a dozen countries worldwide. Growing the company from scratch has not been easy. “Our journey is marked by a sense of perseverance. It is a rocky road, and we really bootstrapped it.” Drake contributes his early success to youthful naivety and the timely arrival of debt finance. Drake’s export expansion was funded by an SBA guaranteed Export Express loan from Zions Bank. “Finance has always been one of the biggest challenges,” says Drake who thinks he probably could not have gotten the loan without the SBA guarantee.
As a 6-year old, David Utrilla had no idea his early entrepreneurial career as a street vendor would eventually take him half-a-world away from his native Peru to America. Yet, 18 years later in 1994, David realized that unless he escaped the political turmoil and terrorism in Peru, his future would be very limited.