2016-2017 DPS Wailer 105

Wind Crust / Breakable Crust / Variable

At the end of our second day, I bootpacked up one of the very enticing steep, tight, couloirs on the Remarkables Wall that I’d been staring at from the Broken River Lodge since our arrival. (I’d been told that the conditions were currently too thin to make this a great idea, but you should see this Wall.)

Booting up, I encountered firm windboard, breakable windcrust, and a few small sections of hot pow, but the upper section was predominantly 10-15cm’s of baseless facets on top of a rocky scree slope. While there were a few turns where a fatter ski might have felt less grabby, and a few sections of jump turns where a lighter ski might have been easier to hop around on, the 105 was a pretty ideal tool for a fun and challenging run down this cool piece of terrain.

I especially appreciated the balanced feel of the ski when pivoting on the shovels in tight spaces, and when moving unexpectedly from soft snow to crust to breakable. While I love the dampness and power of the Hybrid T2 105, this run made me think that this is a great ski shape for an all-around backcountry ski. I would speculate that the Pure 3 version, which is roughly 500g lighter per ski, could be a fun choice for those touring in places where there won’t always be powder, or those who prefer a light, stiff ski vs a damper, heavier one.

Refrozen, Firm Snow

We experienced some warm temperatures during our time at Broken River, but winds and aspect kept most of the slopes cold and firm. A few sections of the lift-served area did experience some warming and then afternoon refreezing. Unfortunately, I managed to commit myself to a few of these sections while carrying quite a bit of speed on the Wailer 105. It’s a testament to the ski that I stayed on my feet and was able to smash and bounce through most of it with some semblance of control before shutting them down in smoother sections. I had a similar experience with the Cochise, and would not say that one ski was clearly superior in dealing with this kind of stuff.

A Comment on Length

While I usually ride longer skis in this class, I rarely found myself missing the extra length while riding the 105 (or the 185cm Cochise) at Broken River. This might change when I get home to Alaska, and I’d love to get back on the 105s this winter at Alyeska, where I quite enjoy my longer Cochise and Devastator.

Bottom Line (For Now)

The Wailer 105 Hybrid T2 represents a huge departure from DPS’ offerings to date, and the fact that we are comparing it favorably to the Blizzard Cochise, one of our all-around favorite skis in this class, is saying something. The Wailer 105 Hybrid T2 is stable, predictable, damp, and about as fun as anything I’ve tried in these types of conditions.

I spend most of my season in Alaska, and most of my lift-served skiing at Alyeska Resort, which often has heavy, manky conditions when it hasn’t snowed in a few days. These are the conditions where I love the Cochise and the 4FRNT Devastator, and in which I’m excited to see how the new Wailer 105 fares. It’s possible that the overall stiffer feel, and in particular, the stiffer shovels might allow the 105 to knife through and crush heavy chop and crud even better than my Cochise or Devastator. We’ll see.

But what is certain already is that the Wailer 105 Hybrid T2 represents an impressive departure from DPS’s previous offerings for those who prefer the feel of substantial and damp skis to light and reactive ones—especially as conditions firm up.




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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