2018-2019 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106

Paul Forward reviews the DPS Alchemist Wailer 106 for Blister
DPS Alchemist Wailer 106

Ski: 2018-2019 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm

Available Lengths: 168, 178, 185, 189 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 190.0 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 2005 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1923 & 1956 grams

Stated Dimensions: 137-106-125 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 142.2-106.5-128.7 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 18 meters

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 56 mm / 27 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~2 mm

Core: Aspen + Prepreg Carbon Fiber Laminate

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.4 cm from center; 84.6 cm from tail

Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: -10.4 cm from center

Boots / Bindings: Lange RX 130 / Tyrolia AAAttack2 13

Test Location: Aleyeska, AK

Days Skied: 25

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 17/18 Alchemist Wailer 106, which was not changed for 18/19, apart from graphics.]


We’ve now tested DPS’s new “Alchemist” construction on both the Alchemist Wailer 112 and Alchemist Lotus 124, and have found it to be a nice improvement over previous carbon constructions from DPS.

So what about the new Alchemist Wailer 106? Here’s what DPS has to say about it (and they have quite a bit to say about it):

“The Wailer A106 shape represents an enormous sweet spot in any skier’s quiver, and the Alchemist layup makes it that much stronger in the mixed conditions it’s designed to thrive in. It is light and ready to tour, yet also begs to be driven hard daily at the resort, or under the ropes. Reach for it regularly when conditions are decent and experience the new Chassis approach to sidecut and flex profile design. It is a ski that bends around your boot, begging you to modulate the radii of your arcs, as you carve or slarve through a diverse range of snow and terrain.”

This description is worth examining line by line, so let’s do that:

The Wailer A106 shape represents an enormous sweet spot in any skier’s quiver, and the Alchemist layup makes it that much stronger in the mixed conditions it’s designed to thrive in.

Ok, so this version is supposed to fare better in variable conditions than previous “Pure” carbon Wailers, and it’s not supposed to simply fare better, it’s “designed to thrive in” them. That’s a pretty big claim, given this next statement:

It is light and ready to tour…

This is most definitely true; our pair is coming in well below 2000 g per ski, and that’s in a 189 cm length. That’s light, especially for a ski that allegedly…

begs to be driven hard daily at the resort, or under the ropes.

So again, the Alchemist Wailer 106 is explicitly supposed to function as (a) a daily driver, (b) a one-ski-quiver, and (c) a “50/50” ski for use inbounds and out. But there is a qualification here…

Reach for it regularly when conditions are decent…

A daily driver / one-ski-quiver / 50-50 ski for “decent” conditions. I.e., don’t expect miracles out of this light ski when the conditions are more sh*t f@^- than decent. That’s totally fair and reasonable, and it’s nice to see that qualifier included. Use this ski in really good conditions, or soft(er) variable conditions.

But we’re now going to have to look at this next part pretty closely:

…experience the new Chassis approach to sidecut and flex profile design. It is a ski that bends around your boot, begging you to modulate the radii of your arcs, as you carve or slarve through a diverse range of snow and terrain.

Flex Pattern / “Bends Around Your Boot”

It is going to be very interesting to see if we actually notice this ski “bending around our boots” any more than other skis or ‘begging us to modulate the radii of our arcs’ more than other skis, because the fact is, the flex pattern of the 189 Alchemist Wailer 106 is quite stiff, especially through the back half of the ski, and we’d normally expect a softer flex pattern from a ski that is said to be designed to bend around your boot.

Hand flexing the skis, we’d break it down like this:

Tips: 7-7.5
Shovels: 7.5-8
In front of Heel Piece: 9-10
Underfoot: 10
Behind Heel Piece: 9
Tails: 9-9.5

As a few points of reference, this flex pattern is comparable to that of the (much heavier) 185 cm Blizzard Cochise, but the Wailer A106 is actually a bit stiffer through the tail.

And remember how we’ve been talking about the very “game on” Faction Dictator 3.0? Well the tails of the Wailer A106 are virtually indistinguishable from Dictator 3.0, and if anything the Wailer 106 is slightly stiffer at the very end of the tail.

All of this might sound really strange to some of you, but it’s true — the back half of this ski is straight up burly. And we said the same thing about the back half of the 189 cm DPS Alchemist Wailer 112, a ski that is often thought of as some sort of pow noodle. But it’s simply not true, so it might be time to refresh your impressions of some of these skis.

Note / Caveat re: Flex Pattern

Being so surprised at how stiff the 189 cm Alchemist Wailer 106 and 189 cm Wailer 112 flex, we specifically asked DPS if they stiffen up their skis in their longer lengths, and the answer seems to be, Yes. Here is what they said:

“”Each length of our skis, regardless of model, are designed specifically for that length. Our engineers realize that flex and shape need to be addressed individually so that each ski performs its best.”

Point is, we don’t think it’s safe to generalize here about the stiffness of these skis in their shorter lengths. But we also haven’t had a chance to flex these skis in their shorter lengths, either. But the long lengths of these skis are stiff.

Of course, a stiff flex is by no means a bad thing, and we’ll see how well the flex pattern and the weight and the shape of the Wailer A106 works together.

More on Weight / Some Comparisons

For your consideration, here are a few skis that we think belong in the conversation with the Alchemist Wailer 106, given their weight and / or flex pattern and / or intended purpose as a 50-50 / one-ski quiver type of ski.

DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm

  • 1923 & 1956 g

Faction Dictator 3.0, 186 cm

  • 2022 & 20147 g

Black Diamond Boundary Pro 107, 184 cm

  • 2026 & 2056 g

16/17 Rossignol Soul 7, 188 cm

  • 2042 & 2069 g

Salomon QST 106, 188 cm

  • 1957 & 1958 g

Head Kore 105, 189 cm

  • (the caveat here is that HEAD has increased the weight of the Kore 105 to around ~2035 g per ski)

Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm

  • 1848 & 1903 g

Atomic Backland FR 109, 189 cm

  • 1970 & 1979 g

DPS Phantom

Another very notable thing about our test pair of the Wailer A106 is that these skis have had DPS Phantom Base Glide applied to them. This will be our first time testing Phantom (though we will be getting on quite a few more skis and applying Phantom to them this season), so in addition to the performance of the Wailer A106, we’ll start presenting our on-snow experiences with Phantom, too.

Bottom Line (For Now)

It’s going to be very interesting to see just how well the Alchemist Wailer 106 works across all of these different applications (touring, inbounds, 50/50), and across a whole slew of conditions.

Stay tuned, and let us know what questions you might like to see us address in our full review.

NEXT: The Full Review

12 comments on “2018-2019 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106”

  1. I’d like to see a match up between the Alchemist and Foundation versions of the Wailer 106. Blister did a January 2016 review for a pre-production F106 in the 185cm length, so probably not the best for comparison purposes. With the Alchemist construction being more damp (and a little heavier?) than Pure3 the performance differences compared to Foundation has lessened, making the purchase decision more difficult for all DPS models.

  2. Any idea when you’ll actually have on snow time with Phantom? Was looking to hear from anyone(not just DPS) with quality feedback. Thx

    • I just posted a quick review of my experience with Phantom this weekend on my youtube channel (burrows10011). Search for phantom review and it should pop up.

  3. I have 1/2 day on them (185)at Targhee in Dec. They were stable and easy going with good dampening on the crustiest slopes I could find there and the groomed. Reminded me of the line supernatural. Definitely felt the stiffness in bumps but should be OK if you have a game plan. I was really loving the stocki stormrider 105’s I demo’d but bought these at my shops recommendation. Pretty sure they will excel in powder and wind buff. If they are work in thicker crud they will be a great ski.

  4. I just applied Phantom to my slalom race skis and skied them yesterday. It felt just like a fresh wax job. It was very hard snow, so maybe not the best test conditions , but so far so good.

  5. I have had a pair of DPS Wailer 106 Alchemists for just over 12 months. In that time I have skied in the Aosta valley in Italy, Zermatt, Australia and Val d’isere. I have skied everything from fast groomers to a wide range of off piste conditions. I have been on icy slopes, beautiful crisp groomers, deep powder and slush. The skis are extremely versatile and have handled everything well. Easier to ski than my old Salomon Q labs without giving much away in high speed stability. They are also better in the powder than the Q labs which had tips that tended to dive in anything more than knee deep powder. As an all round ski capable of doing almost anything the Wailers are pretty hard to beat.

  6. I demo’d 17 skis during the 2017/2018 season looking for a mid fat ski. I found Blister’s reviews spot on to my own experiences for the ski reviews we had in common. I agree they favor traditional skiers who like to carve turns and the other comments made match my own. I live in central Idaho and frequent Tarqhee, Jackson, Alta, Snowbird, and the backcountry. DPS are are maybe overpriced given all the good skis on the market but I found myself repeatedly returning to demo them and finally bought the Wailer 106 Alchemist 188cm in February 2018. I’ve got about 100 tele days on them mounted with 22 Design Axls and Scarpa T1. I’m 6’3”, 220 lbs and have been skiing for 47 years on both fixed heels and tele but have been tele only for the last 20 years. When people ask why i ski the Wailer 106 Alchemist, I say, “there are a lot of good skis on the market and no one ski does everything, but these are good all around and FUN”.

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