DPS Wailer 105 vs. 14/15 Blizzard Cochise, 185cm
Speaking of firm, frozen, nasty off-piste conditions (think spring skiing early in the morning or late afternoon, before or after conditions have softened up), the Cochise has felt more forgiving and less harsh than the Wailer 105. But as conditions begin to soften up at all, that harshness diminishes and the ride quality of the Cochise and the Wailer 105 feel more similar.
Having said that, the Cochise is a bit less work than the Wailer 105s in virtually all conditions. But we still need to get the new Cochise on groomers to see how the two skis compare.
So, Who’s It For?
For those looking for an all-mountain ski that can be pushed very hard in firm conditions, I would be most inclined to recommend the Wailer 105 for bigger skiers or physically strong lighter skiers.
I.e., for a 165 lbs. skier (we’ll call “165 lbs.” the lighter side of the spectrum), I’d likely recommend the Cochise or the Belafonte over the Wailer 105. They both feel a bit easier to ski, but they can both still be pushed hard.
If you’re around 185 lbs., then I think it’s difficult to clearly recommend one over the other. As noted, the Cochise feels a bit less harsh in very firm, frozen, pretty nasty off-piste conditions. But as conditions soften up a bit, the stiff shovels of the Wailer 105 feel less harsh and simply stable.
And for those over 185 lbs—and certainly for those closer to 200, 220, 240 etc.—Paul and I would both be increasingly inclined to recommend the Wailer 105.
In other words, if you’re a bigger skier who doesn’t necessarily want to bump up to a longer-length ski, the Wailer 105 is one of the most solid 185cm-long skis currently available. Heavy skiers will still feel very well supported on this ski, and won’t have to go long in order to get that stability.
A Few Thoughts on Mount Location
If you will most likely be breaking out the Wailer 105 in firm conditions, Paul and I have both liked the skis mounted 82.0cms from the tail.
If you care more about optimizing for soft / deep conditions, then you might want to go back 1cm to 81.0. There were times at Alta this past season where in thick, deep, spring slush, I felt a bit far forward on the skis.
For me personally, given that I would use this ski primarily when conditions were slightly soft but without fresh snow, I would mount at 82.0cms from the tail. And especially given that the final production model is said to have slightly less tip splay than the pair we’ve been testing, I’m less worried about feeling like I have too little ski out in front of me.
As some ski companies seem to be struggling to get clear on what sort of skis they really want to build, DPS now stands out as offering three clear and coherent product lines. This is a really good development, and a really good thing for all types of skiers.
The new Wailer 105 Hybrid T2 is a very good all-mountain ski that will be most appreciated by physically strong skiers who like to ski hard and fast (rather than light and fluid) in variable conditions.
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