2012-2013 DPS Wailer 112RPC

Variable / Crud

I traversed along Ballroom and dropped in to one of the gullies in the Baldy Shoulder area. Conditions consisted of 2–3-day-old tracked powder that had rotted and dried out a bit (so I wasn’t actually sinking all that much in the snow), but there weren’t any real bumps or troughs to dictate my route.

As I took some fairly aggressive lines directly down the fall line, I was glad to have the RPC’s lighter swing weight and sidecut available to me. I was able to pivot and swing the girth of the skis in back and forth to control my speed, kicking out the tails easily when I wanted. In the shallower runout of the Shoulder, things were a little more bumped up, but I decided to maintain my speed and cut hard turns across and through the variable snow.

Will Brown, DPS Wailer 112 RPC, Blister Gear Review
Will Brown on the DPS Wailer 112RPC, Alta Ski Area.

In these fairly firm, demanding, variable conditions, the RPC felt more like a true directional, tapered powder ski than it had on smooth groomers. In other words, it now felt a little out of its element.

When dealing with inconsistent edge contact in the semi-soft conditions, if I wasn’t expecting it—and if I wasn’t in a strong, stable, position—one of the ski’s shovels was likely to catch and get kicked uphill. And if I got thrown into the backseat at all, this felt more dramatic, and the RPC’s stiff tail did very little to counteract any pulling or hooking from the shovel.

Interestingly, in these conditions, under moderate speeds, the RP’s flex felt noticeably more forgiving. I didn’t feel like I was able to carry more speed on the RP, but I wasn’t liable to be punished as much for a weak or sloppy move.

However, if I was able to see and anticipate weird, tricky undulations in the snow that I was about to skid over/through, I could easily adjust my stance and/or unweight the skis in order to avoid any catching/instability from the ski. While the RPC remained very maneuverable, it really felt like my legs were tasked with shock absorption and dampening through these hard-edged, skidded turns (the RPC’s rigidity and light feel wasn’t helping me in that respect). Not surprisingly, the softer the snow and chop, the less of a bother this becomes on the RPC.

RPC vs. Moment Governor

The 186cm Moment Governor, which I skied back-to-back with the RPC in these conditions, has a comparable turn radius and camber profile, but the Governor is heavier and actually has a softer flex to it.

The Governor did better at busting through the funky snow, providing a more predictable feel that let me carry more speed more confidently than the RPC. If I wasn’t ready to compensate for some bump or ridge, but still plowed into it, the ski helped to bust through and absorb it (rather than kicking me off balance).

After making several runs of these aggressive, medium-sized turns on the RPC, I decided to see how the skis felt running faster down the fall line, thinking that less lateral moves and less edge pressure would alleviate the rigid, harsh feel in the variable conditions.

Abandoning those harder-edged turns and letting the skis run more or less bases flat through the runout of the Baldy Area, the RPCs did much better and felt more similar to the Governor (though the latter still has a heavier, slightly more stable feel when straightlining).

Now, obviously the Governor isn’t at all the same ski as the RPC on harpdack and groomers. There, where the RPC feels powerful and precise, the Governor feels much more sluggish and “freight train” like, so you’d have to decide what performance balance you’re looking for: the hardpack precision of the RPC that will force you in variable snow to stay light on our feet and ready to make a quick move; or settle for the heavier, slower feel of the Governor on groomers, and gain some easy stability and speed in crud.

Wailer RPC vs. Wailer 112RP

The splay in the RPC’s tip rocker is less dramatic than the 112RP, so the RPC’s shovels didn’t exhibit nearly as much chattering as the RP’s when moving down the fall line in this same variable snow.

The RPC is definitely a more stable ski than the 112RP at speed, but the RP is more forgiving and feels damper at slower speeds—again, especially when you’re dealing with lots of varying edge contact.

This also means that the RP is a far more manageable ski in moguls. Really, unless you’re skiing very spacious bumps (with the kind of space in which a 192cm ski could swing around easily), I don’t think you’ll want to be exploring any on the RPC. The lower splay in the shovel makes the ski feel very long through any ordinary, narrower trough. No matter how light and maneuverable the RPC is, when you don’t have sufficient room to move the material length of the ski around, it becomes a hassle. Plus, if you do get caught in a tight trough, the RPC’s stiff tails won’t give much at all.

Bottom Line (for now)

The DPS Wailer 112RPC is an impressive, specific ski. It’s remarkably responsive and precise on groomers and any conditions where (a) the snow surface is relatively smooth and consistent or (b) when conditions are not consistent, you’re able to react and work the ski on the snow in order to smooth out the ride.

The RPC rewards deliberate, aggressive skiing with immediate precision and feedback, but, as a trade off, isn’t going to help correct clumsy moves or crush crud and variable snow—you’ll be the one absorbing and taking the hits, not the ski.

While I consider myself a strong skier, I’m not the heaviest 6’2” dude out there. If you’re bigger than me, and have put some time on the RPC in variable conditions, let us know how your experience with its dampening qualities compares.

Jonathan Ellsworth has also been getting time on the RPC, and he’ll post his thoughts in a bit.



6 comments on “2012-2013 DPS Wailer 112RPC”

  1. Great work Will and team. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this update, as I love my 112RP Pures, but find that they “melt” a bit on me at higher speeds (too soft in the forebody) and aren’t damp enough for the kinds of set-up crud common to PNW resorts. It’s a dream machine for touring and most resort powder days, but for everything else, the Katana gets the call. I had hoped that the RPC could be something between the two: much more conducive to inbounds charging than the 112, while dropping a decent amount of weight from the Katana. Sounds like we’re not quite there.

    Here’s the question: is it your opinion that no amount of technology will overcome the lack of dampness that comes when a ski is as light as an RPC? Even the third SS strip doesn’t appear to have solved the dampness issue. This question rekindled in my head when whispers of a new Pure formulation came out of OR. A heavier, but damper pure would be right up my alley assuming the shape works. I know there’s the hybrid route and the every ski is a compromise to one degree or another, but I doubt I’m alone in thinking “if only my Pures were 25% damper, they’d be perfect,” even if that came at the expense of 25% more weight. After all, DPS employees themselves have been fond of saying that the low weight of the Pures is simply a happy byproduct of using the best-skiing materials, as opposed to a means to an end. If so, a heavier, damper version of the construction for an inbounds ski seems appropriate if feasible from a market perspective. I’ll probably always tour on the pure flavor we have now, but for lifts….

  2. Hey Andy, funny you ask. I was just chatting with Jonathan at sia, yesterday about the new pure3.

    It has an entirely new laminate, and rides differently. Jonathan will be posting a direct pure2 vs pure3 review on the rpc in the coming several weeks.

    I will refrain from posting my opinion, as I am the sales manager of Dps after all.

    • Hi Chicken,

      The Bibby doesn’t have the tenacious edge hold of the RPC, and feels a little heavier moving from edge to edge (for its width, though, you can rail the Bibby pretty well on some semi-soft groomers). It also requires a bit more of a centered stance than the RPC, which you can really lean on in a race-style carve. I haven’t skied the 191 BillyGoat for a while now, and I do know ON3P is changing that ski significantly for next season. But, the 11/12 version that I skied a while back didn’t seem to have the edge hold of the RPC, and felt more sluggish across the board (really, given the light weight of the RPC, pretty much anything in the same 115mm class will). However, the Billy Goat does MUCH better charging through chop/crud as a result. Unfortunately I haven’t skied the Concept. Hope this helps you – let me know if there are some other specifics you’re wondering about.


  3. Here is my take in the 112RP and the 112RPC. First DPS and frankly Blister didn’t do the RPC any favors by using the 112RP connection ( which you both keep doing) or testing a untuned ski (knowingly or not) and writing a review on it. Your review kept me off the RPC for most of the season. So much for trusting any review and I should know better! I still don’t agree with the majority of what you have said here about the RPC. A few knowlegable guys have started calling the RPC a *115 Lotus* which is likely a better comparison and name for the ski IMO. My take is the 112RP is a ‘beginners’ ski. The ski for the guy who never learned to ski powder on a traditional pair of sticks. The RPC is for a strong, mature skier who does know the value of a tortionally stiff ski. The RPC is simply the most versital LWT big mtn ski I have ridden. It is that good imo.

    Easy to take swings at what I think is a bad review. Harder to write a good review and test so much gear. That I appreciate as well as Blister’s efforst and contribution to the copmmunity. You guys don’t miss much. But on the RPC I think you missed a lot. I just wish I hadn’t waited so long to get on the RPC :- )

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