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.
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