Ski: 2017-2018 DPS Wailer 106 Foundation, 185 cm
Available Lengths (cm): 168, 178, 185, 191
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): ~183.5 cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 142-106-125
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 141-106-127
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1978 & 2015 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius (185 cm): 18 meters (tri-radius: 19 underfoot, 17 tip and tail)
Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): ~55 mm / ~26 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: 1-2 mm
Core Construction: Bamboo & Poplar + Fiberglass & Carbon
Factory Recommended Line: ~8.65 cm behind center; ~83.1 cm from tail
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Boots / Bindings: Fischer RC4 130 / Salomon Warden 13
Days Tested: 6
Test Location: Taos, NM
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 16/17 Wailer Foundation 106, which was not changed for 17/18, except for the graphics.]
DPS has just released a new addition to their Wailer family: The Wailer 106.
The Wailer 106 will be available in DPS’s “Pure3” construction, and it is also available in DPS’s new “Foundation” construction.
The Foundation construction is a reworked version of DPS’s “Hybrid” construction. I won’t go too deep into the construction right now, but suffice it to say that we’re looking at similar materials laid out a bit differently: bamboo and poplar + fiberglass and carbon.
DPS is positioning the Wailer 106 as a ‘do anything’ ski, a one-ski quiver. Width wise, the Wailer 16 falls right between the DPS Wailer 99 and the Wailer 112RP, and those two skis will provide some useful reference points.
One more thing: DPS is positioning this ski as best suited for Intermediate-to-advanced skiers, and I think that’s right. But hopefully my comments throughout this review will flesh out what that means, and I’ll say more about this in particular in my “Who’s It For?” section.
There’s quite a discrepancy between the tips and the tails of the Wailer 106 in the “Foundation” construction (will refer to this ski going forward as the Wailer “F” 106). The tails are on the stiffer side, call them a 7 out of 10. The shovels, however, are quite soft—call them a 4, and maybe even a 3 out of 10.
Take the Wailer F 106’s dimensions, flex pattern, and sidecut radius, and you know what you end up with? A 106mm-wide ski that carves the @!%# out of groomers. I really can’t overstate this: on decent, fairly smooth groomers, this ski feels as good carving turns as some of the sub-90mm-wide skis we’ve reviewed.
Of course, the more roughed-up or icy the groomer gets, the less the width, flex pattern, and relatively short effective edge of the Wailer F 106 will be advantageous. So no, this isn’t going to replace your dedicated hard-snow skinny carver.
The Wailer F 106 wants to be on edge, all of the time. It skis short, so you can make quick, snappy turns on the ski, but it’s also comfortable running out medium-sized turns, too.
And if those groomers are a bit soft and in really good shape, I found that I could drive some pretty massive, stupid-fast turns. The Wailer F 106 definitely does have a speed limit (unlike the Wailer 105 Hybrid T2), but it is a high speed limit, and aside from the Wailer 105 Hybrid T2 battleship, this Foundation 106 has felt better and more damp to me than any DPS ski I’ve been on.
So if high-speed GS turns (50+ mph) are your top priority, I don’t think this is your ski. But if you have strong technique and a willingness / ability to work a ski, I think you’ll have a very, very good time on groomers on the Wailer F 106. On piste is where the ski got the biggest “WOW” out of me.
The Wailer F 106 isn’t a zipper line machine; the ski has too much sidecut for that. The more you detune the tails, however, the more easily you will be able to slide / smear the tails through bumps rather than carve (and finish) your turns through moguls.
But if you are willing to let the ski do the work (rather than bash your way through bumps with a lot of speed), and you carve around moguls at more moderate speeds then I’d say that the Wailer 106 is pretty compliant. Work with the ski, don’t force it to try to power through terrain.
All-in-all, if you are looking for a ski to make bumps as easy as possible, I think there are easier options. But if you already feel fairly comfortable in bumps and you take a more measured approach to them, I think you’ll get along fine with this ski.
The Wailer F 106 feels quite at home in shallow chop and crud, as well as smooth conditions—whether smooth windscour or smooth, consistent pow. The Foundation construction feels much less reactive than DPS’s “Pure3” construction (their very lightweight construction that very much prefers smooth, consistent conditions.
By comparison, the Foundation construction is much more comfortable in everyday, resort conditions—it’s really not even close—and in the relatively steep trees of Taos’ Pollux, the Wailer 106 easily handled banging out turns at speed through the trees.
NEXT: Pow, Punchy Snow, Etc.