2016-2017 DPS Wailer 105

Paul Forward reviews the DPS Wailer 105, Blister Gear Review
DPS Wailer 105

Ski: 2016-2017 DPS Wailer 105 Hybrid T2, 185cm

Available Lengths: 178, 185 cm

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 183.6cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 2,340 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2,297 & 2,267 grams

Stated Dimensions (mm): 136-105-119

Sidecut Radius: 26-29 meters

Core Construction: Poplar + Titanal (2-Layer) + Fiberglass Laminate

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 63 / 16 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~2 mm

Boots / Bindings (DIN setting): Tecnica Cochise Pro 130 / Marker Jester (DIN at 11)

Mount Location: Factory Recommended

Test Location: Broken River Ski Area

Days Skied: 4

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Wailer, which was not changed for 15/16 or 16/17, except for the graphics.]


Since 2009, I have spent the majority of my days skiing on DPS skis.

I’ve written about my experience with the DPS Lotus 138 (variations of which I’ve spent hundreds of days on in the past few years, most recently having spent a good part of my heli season on the 138 Spoon), and I had some of the best pow turns of my life on the DPS Spoon last season.

I have also owned four different versions of the DPS Lotus 120 and now have quite a few days on the newer Lotus 120 Spoon. In my opinion, the DPS Lotus and Spoon series have been a step ahead of the rest of the ski industry for powder-skiing shapes.

Despite my admiration for DPS powder shapes, however, I haven’t felt compelled to reach for DPS skis for lift-served skiing. I haven’t skied any of the DPS shapes that are narrower than the Lotus 120, but based on my extensive experience with the DPS construction and the input from fellow reviewers, I have not felt like they would be a good fit for me.

I love the lightweight construction of DPS Pure skis in powder—the skis are powerful in transition and stable at speed in soft snow, and have a super low swingweight.

Light and stiff skis, however, often lack dampness, and tend to deflect in firm snow and bumped-up terrain.

Having said that, there are certainly some great skiers who love light, stiff skis in firm conditions. But I have always preferred a damp ski (usually with a long sidecut radius) while skiing crud and hard, inbounds snow.  I love being able to knife through and crush snow that otherwise would produce a bumpy ride.

Hence, my favorite inbounds skis over recent years have been the Line Mothership 195cm, Blizzard Cochise 193cm, and 4Frnt Devastator 194cm.

Similarly, I am much more likely to grab a ski like the Kingswood SMB than my Lotus 120 Spoons for an inbounds pow day. I love the feeling of a ski that smoothes out the ride, and DPS hasn’t offered something with that kind of ride—until now—in the new Wailer 105 with T2 construction.

Paul Forward reviews the DPS Wailer 105, Blister Gear Review
Paul Forward on the DPS Wailer 105, Broken River Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand.

In short, DPS is now building a heavier ski with titanal, glass, and carbon.

Here in Canterbury, New Zealand, I’ve been skiing the new 185cm Wailer 105 back to back against the new 2014/2015 Blizzard Cochise 185cm, and will make comparisons where pertinent. And Jonathan Ellsworth will be following up in the next few days with his own review of the Wailer 105.

[Editor’s Note: The Wailer 105s we have here in NZ are not a final production pair. We have been told by DPS that the one difference between the pair we’re reviewing and the final model is that the production ski will have a slightly reduced amount of tip splay. The tip rocker line will remain the same, but the amount of splay will be reduced a touch.]

Hard, Chalky, Bumpy Snow

For months, I have been looking forward to getting back to Canterbury’s club fields, and my first look at Broken River Ski Area had me excited to get on snow ASAP. After a quick refresher on Canterbury rope tows and nutcracker use, I found myself standing atop a relatively steep, bumpy chute with chalky, firm snow.

From the first turn, the Wailer 105s felt intuitive and powerful, which was a bit of relief, since I hadn’t skied since June. Almost everything with a southern or western aspect (I always have to remind myself that in the southern hemisphere, aspects are essentially reversed) was firm enough that even a heavy skier on stiff skis would leave little more than edge marks and a fair amount of small moguls in the more skied up areas.

I skied the face by hopping bumps then brushing speed where I could, with tighter, quick turns in the lower sections of the field where the moguls had more shape and depth. The 105s handled this well.

While the overall stiffness of the ski (and shovels) were still not enough to crush through the bumps, I experienced much less feedback than I would have on a DPS Pure3 ski, and the Hybrid T2 105 was much more in tune with my experience in the past with metal-laminate skis.

It’s worth noting that the Cochise and Wailer 105 were both excellent in these conditions, but I felt like the Cochise was a little easier to shut down and brush speed than the 105, and therefore was a little more confidence inspiring when riding fast. Again, both skis were damp and smooth, but on the 105 I did feel a little more feedback from bumps on really hard snow than the Cochise. The difference was subtle, and I noticed it most when switching directly from one ski to the other on back to back runs. I’m inclined to attribute the difference largely to the 105’s stiffer shovels.

As I gained more confidence in my legs and in the Wailer 105s, I started taking air and pushing the ski into longer, more angulated turns. I found the stiffer tails to be a little tougher to ollie than softer skis (including the 14/15 Cochise), but the 105s felt supportive and damp when letting them run.

In the hardest of snow, high-speed edge hold was a little less than the Cochise, but this was likely related to the tune and edge condition of the 105s—they have quite a few days on them, while the Cochise was fresh out of the plastic.

Recycled Powder

We did a bit of hiking around Broken River, and were able to find several really nice sections of recycled powder (i.e., highly faceted snow where facets had eroded down wind and sun crusts).

Paul Forward reviews the DPS Wailer 105, Blister Gear Review
Paul Forward on the DPS Wailer 105, Broken River Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand.

In these conditions I was actually quite impressed with the Wailer 105, especially given it’s relatively short length compared to skis I’m usually on. In my limited time so far in untracked, soft snow, I felt like the 105s planed up a little easier than the 185 Cochise, but the Cochise was a little easier to break the tails free for short drifts/skids.

Wet, Heavy, Grabby Snow

I had a limited opportunity to ski some wet, rewarmed breakable crust snow with upside down structure. In these challenging conditions, the 105 was as good as anything I’ve used. A fatter ski might have stayed on top of that stuff a little better, but I appreciated the 105’s relatively long turn radius to keep the ski from hooking and grabbing, and its damp, heavy construction to smooth out firmer patches of snow, as well as the feedback from the tussocks underlying thinner sections of snowpack.

8 comments on “2016-2017 DPS Wailer 105”

  1. Did you guys get to play with mount points at all? I got to ski these over a few days last season and found the ski pretty hooky on the line with my smaller 300 BSL. Moving them back 1.5cm made a pretty big difference and made me feel more centered over the sidecut, rather than out in front of it. I ended up at 80.5 from the tail, I believe. Makes me wonder if the mount point was chosen by someone with a substantially larger BSL? (I prefer ball of foot on center of sidecut, or sometimes a bit back).

    Since you guys weren’t able to get them out in resort powder conditions, I’ll leave a link to my review:

    • Interesting, Brian – Paul and I have both been playing with the mount point. I’m currently squeezing into 295 BSL boots, and I’ve personally pretty much settled on 82.0 cms from the tail. I’ll let Paul speak for himself, but he’s running a bigger boot, and I think he’s also been liking 82.0cms from the tail, though in pow, he could see backing up 1 cm.

      My suspicion is that in 6″ of fresh or less, I’d feel comfortable staying at 82.0. And if it was a day with more than 6″, I’d likely be on a ~115mm+ ski.

  2. Anyone on the Pures yet?

    Thinking about a 178 Wailer 105 Pure as a good all-around touring ski with a hard snow bias. Mainly for steep couloirs and variable alpine snow. 5’10” 175. 185 seems too long given the intended purpose. They seem like they’d have enough running length and good edge hold for steeps, low swing weight and large sidecut for jump turns, but some tip/tail rocker for float in soft snow/mush and maneuverability. Thoughts?

    • Hey, Brendan – what’s the biggest question mark for you? If we’re talking 185 cm Wailer 105 vs. 186 Belafonte … the Wailer 105 is definitely “more” ski; both have good top ends, but the Wailer 105’s is bigger. I’d say that the Belafonte is also the easier & more forgiving ski – the Wailer 105 wants speed and requires more input than the Belafonte. The Belafonte is a bit quicker / more nimble. Other than that, I think the respective reviews we’ve done on each ski tease out the other differences pretty well, so let me know if you have any more specific questions. Hope that helps.

      • Hot damn, thanks for the quick reply!

        I’m trying to build out my quiver. I currently ski a 186 RMU Apostle as a daily driver and just scooped a 178 Armada Edollo for a park ski after reading your reviews. I feel like I’m constantly hitting the speed limit of my RMU Apostle and am looking for something with no speed limit that I’ll bust out when I feel like flying (which very well may become my daily driver because that is a common occurrence.)

        Sounds like if it’s possible the ski may become my daily driver, go Moment Belafonte but if it’s a designated charger, go DPS? Is that about right? Also, when you say the Wailer wants speed, are we talking 50-60+ before it really performs? Would the Belafonte be more like 40-60+ before it really performs?

        You guys are like my ski bible, so thanks again for the quick response and cutting through the bullshit within in the ski industry. :)

        • Thanks, Brendan!

          and I think both skis could be designated as “directional chargers,” but the Belafonte is simply easier to work around and maneuver at lower speeds than the Wailer 105 is. But if your primary focus is simply top-end stability, then the Wailer 105 probably wins. But honestly, I think the biggest factor here is that the skis really don’t feel the same on snow, and we’ve done our best to try to articulate those on-snow differences. Personally – and to be clear, we are in very subjective territory here – I felt like the Wailer 105 was a bit too much work for the amount of stability I got in return. I.e., the 14/15 (non-carbon-tipped) Blizzard Cochise is an easier-going, more forgiving ski than the Wailer 105, but I felt like I could push the Cochise just as hard in variable conditions, while having an easier time on the Cochise in really tight terrain.

          In that sense, I’d say that the Belafonte is a bit more similar to the Cochise in terms of input required vs. top-end stability. So that’s only to say that the Wailer 105 will be best suited to those who are ready and willing to provide a lot of input. Strong skiers — and especially strong skiers who tend to always stay in the fall line or are usually skiing in more open spaces — may well prefer the Wailer 105.

          Last thing — the Belafonte is going to feel *a bit* more like a beefed-up version of your Apostle. The Wailer 105 is going to feel nothing like your Apostle, and it’s pretty much the exact opposite of a ski like the Edollo. For those reasons, I guess I wonder a bit whether you’re sure you really want / need as much ski as the Wailer 105 is? Answer: maybe. But man, it is a big, directional departure from the Edollo & Apostle, so just want to make sure you’re clear about that.

          • Thanks Jonathan, much appreciated. I got up to Mammoth this past weekend and hopped on Supernatural 108s and loved them. I think I am more in Belafonte/SN108 territory than DPS territory (as I really thought about what you said when I was super gassed and still able to slow down on the SN108s and have some fun with less input.)

            With that being said, I’m now between SN108s and Belafontes. I read all of your comparisons and just to confirm, they are equally “playful” (for chargers) and ski similarly with the SN108 getting the nod for deep conditions and Belafontes getting the nod for firmer conditions?

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