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.
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.
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.
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).
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.