2nd Look: 2012-2013 DPS Wailer 99, PURE, 184cm

Ski: DPS Wailer 99, PURE, 184cm

Dimensions (mm): 122-99-111

Actual Tip to Tail length (straight tape pull): 184.0cm

Running Length / Effective Edge: 149cm

Weight Per Ski: 1705 grams

Boots / Bindings: Nordica Enforcer / Marker Griffon (Din 10)

Mount Locations: Factory Recommended, +1, +2

Test Location: Alta Ski Area

Days Skied: 6

If you are looking for a ski that is around 100 mm underfoot and can absolutely tear apart any section of any mountain, East Coast or West, you had better get used to the color orange. The DPS Wailer 99 may look like a Creamsicle, but it is one of the most fun skis I have ever strapped to my feet.

I need to preface this 2nd Look (see Jonathan’s first review of the 99s) with a little explanation of the wide range of conditions I subjected the Wailer 99s to over a relatively short period of time. I ski at the one and only Alta, home of the greatest snow on earth. A typical review from here would include numerous accounts and photos of overhead pow, pillowy soft, knee-deep crud, soft, launchable moguls, effortlessly carvable groomers, and everything else that goes along with receiving more than 500 inches of quality snow a year. But Mother Nature hasn’t dropped the snow bomb on Utah yet, and conditions are thin.

And yet, for Alta’s opening weekend, we received around 18 inches of new snow. This allowed the opening of pretty much everything accessible from the Tower 10 traverse, including the bottom half of West Rustler, most of Stone Crusher and Lone Pine, and some of High Rustler.

Midway through the week, another storm decided to split in two and circumnavigate the state, giving us a trace of snow and two days of 50-80 mph winds that raked the mountain clean, leaving some true, East-Coast-style firmness. All of this has been perfect for testing, giving me the chance to ski the 99s in pow, crud, soft and hard moguls and groomers, wind-affected snow, blowing snow, and, yes, even barely edgeable ice. (There may have been a few early season rocks and stumps mixed in there, too.) It has turned the past two weeks into a great time to review a ski like the Wailer 99.

Hard carving on the DPS Wailer 99, Alta Ski Area.
Hard carving on the DPS Wailer 99s.

The first thing you notice when picking up the PURE Wailer 99s is how incredibly light they are. My first thoughts were that these would be incredibly quick and effortless, and a ton of fun in the air. But then I also began to wonder (and worry) about the 99’s stability at speed, dampness in chop, edge hold on hardpack, and even the durability of such a light ski.

So far, I have found the 99 to deliver all of the quickness and ease of a super light ski, while still being stout enough to handle the demands of skiing any part of the mountain as fast and hard as you can.

This is not your typical noodly “fun” shaped ski. The Wailer 99 does require some attention because it does offer a fairly firm flex throughout most of the ski, except for the shovel, where the combined softer flex and tip rocker aid in the 99s powder performance.

The Wailer 99s are lightning quick from side to side, and jumping from one turn to the next in tight spots or in moguls is incredibly easy.

As Jonathan also mentioned in his review, the skis like to be ridden balanced or driven, and the firm tails of the 99 will let you know when you’re not in the ideal position for any sport: on your heals.

If you stay out of the backseat though, these skis will deliver any sort of turn you wish, at pretty much any rate of speed. In fact, the “any sort of turn” is what I believe makes the 99s so fun. Whether I was banging down through the moguls, trees, rocks, and stumps of Fred’s Trees while cranking quick slalom style turns; laying railroad tracks down West Rustler; or smearing GS turns down Lone Pine, the skis simply delivered. And this was true on fresh powder as well as later in the week when the mountain turned firm.

They are snappy and energetic in tight spots yet stable enough to let you push the speed limit on any run. But if you are in the backseat and going fast, that snap and energy means that the ski won’t be afraid to toss you around until you get back into the driver’s seat.

While a lot of people interested in the Wailer 99 probably won’t spend their day sessioning jump lines, if you are into that sort of thing, you are going to love the 99. Swing weight is basically nonexistent, and it actually takes a little getting used to that feeling in the air. But once you do, doors will be opened. I can’t wait to get the 99s upside down.

Jason Hutchins, mute 3, on the DPS Wailer 99s, Alta.
Jason, mute 3, Wailer 99s, Alta.

I do wish the ski had a slight bit more flair at the tail, but as long as you’re not bringing it in switch in pow, the tail should suffice. I would also recommend mounting at +1 or +2, but only if you’re looking to butter more than toast. (If you don’t know what I’m alluding to, don’t worry about it, just move on.)

36 comments on “2nd Look: 2012-2013 DPS Wailer 99, PURE, 184cm”

  1. one additional question: You mentioned that if you like to skid the turns, the tips may chatter.

    When I ski a steep, narrow couloir, I end up skidding the last part of the turn, going straight down a bit with the skis across the fall line. Can you do this with these skis?

    Thanks you.

  2. jason, thank you very much for your answers, one more question:

    my favorite skiing is backcountry steep couloirs. I am a little concerned about what you are saying about getting in the back seat.
    I went from Volkl explosivs to mantras to K2 hardsides. All these had still tails, but i felt that i coud handle them, and if I got in the back seat a little, it wasnt like with a slalom race ski, where they would shoot me in the air if I loaded the tails and not be ready. So is this comparable to the three skis I mentioned?

    thank you

    • Judging from what you have been on for skis you will be fine with the stiffness of the tails of the 99. They definitely are nowhere near slalom ski stiff.

  3. I have bought a pair and am about to mount them. I am used to a bit longer a ski than the 184cm I had to go with.

    Would mounting them back -1 make any difference in terms of making me feel like I had a longer ski?

    Thanks very much

    • You could definitely do that to make the tips feel a touch longer, just know that you’re also losing tail length and support. I would need to know your height, weight, where and what you typically ski to give my best recommendation. Honestly, I don’t think it is necessary to go any further back for the type of conditions this ski is intended for. I typically ski a longer ski as well, but for firm conditions up to a foot or so of snow the recommended line felt pretty perfect to me.

  4. I just rode a pair and was super stoked, charged through everything from chunder to firm bumps and steeps.. I did find they were hooking up a bit on firm Chalk.. Should the tip tail have a bit of a de-tune.

    • Yes, they definitely should. I didn’t write about it in my review but Jonathan stated in his that I de-tuned the tips and tails during our test. My general starting point for any ski with early taper is to de-tune about 1.5″-2″ down the ski past the widest point, both tip and tail.

    • De-tuning is simply dulling the edge slightly and is usually done with a “soft” ski tuning stone of some sort. Doing this to the tip usually makes the ski less apt to “catch” an edge, while dulling the tail slightly helps free up the tail to break into a skid easier.

      I would highly recommend having your ski shop, or someone you know and trust, show you how to do it.

  5. i demoed the 184 99 hybrid a week ago on firm man made snow. I was also trying the Blizzard Bonafide in 180, and also my k2 hardsides (181).

    I found two flaws with the 99s
    1. pretty straight tails (101 vs 99 waist), caused the skis to stop turning now when i had my weight back
    also, I lost the tail on a high speed raius turn (going pretty fast). The tail jsut lost edge and settled about a foot lower???

    2. even though the 99 has a lot of rocker, i was catching the tips when going to a slide (like ngoing straight into a hockey stop).

    why is this relevant? skiing steep couloirs, you end up completing the turns (completely), and sometimes this means slding downhill while you are absolutelyn sure of youir balance.

    the 99 has good edge hold, and otherwise skied well. The bonafide was flawless though, and it had better edge hold.

    I am leaning towards the bonafide as a backcountry ski. I ski pretty asteep lines, and I need to be totally confident on my skis as there is never any warmup, first turn is the hardest.

    • I just want to make a quick correction to your post, the tail width of the 99 is actually 111mm not 101mm.

      With a solid tune on the 99’s they are less prone to slip the tails.

  6. Jason –
    Wanted to solicit your opinion. I’m an east coast skier. Just picked up a pair of dedicated, zero rocker front side carvers for 90% of the days we get in Southern Vermont, and am looking to add a pair of ski’s for east powder days and west coast trips as an all-mountain ski. Someone suggested I check out DPS 112RP’s. The 99’s caught my eye as potentially a little bit more versatile. What would be your pick? Anything else I should be considering?

    • Mark,
      I think the 99 would do really well for what you are looking for. If you’re thinking wider would be better, and it might be depending on where you ski the most in the west, there are two skis that I highly recommend checking out and they are the Rossignol Sickle and the Nordica Patron. I haven’t been on the 112 so I can’t compare them to either of those skis, but if you are around my size/weight I can tell you the Sickle and Patron rip. The Sickle is still the best one-ski-quiver for the west I have ever skied, and it would make east coast pow days a blast whether 2″ fall, or 2′.

  7. Another ? about detuning. You say to detune 1-2″ past the widest point at the tip and the tail. Is the widest point the same as the contact point at the tip and the tail If not, should I detune past the contact point or the widest point? Thanks, Tony

    • Tony,
      On the 99, the contact point is actually closer to the middle of the ski than the widest point of the sidecut, so you won’t de-tune that far down the ski, at least initially. If you are new to this I would suggest bringing a stone with you when you ski. If the tips feel “hooky”, meaning they feel like they want to catch an edge, de-tune a little down the ski. Try them again and see if you need to de-tune more. The less you can de-tune obviously the better for edge hold. For the tail, again, start small and if they feel like the tails are too “stuck” for your liking, as in not being able to break into a skid/smear as easy as you would like, then break out the stone and de-tune a little further up the ski. Repeat as necessary.
      It’s mostly a matter of personal preference and what I’m saying here is basically the process I go through with every ski I ride.
      Hope this helps and enjoy your 99’s!

  8. For east coast trees and bumps would you mount at plus one or factory line? Would it make the ski quicker and keep u more balanced with the mount slightly forward. Would marker baron or tour bindings vchange the feel/ flex of the ski over say the griffon?

    • Skiall,
      I would go on the factory line, no question. These skis are lighting quick and the flex pattern feels more balanced at 0 than at +1. It’s weird but the skis feel softer overall at +1. I skied them for awhile at 1 and am now back at 0. I would only recommend going to +1 if jumping, buttering, general goofing off is all you do, for the most versatility stick with the factory recommended.

      • Sorry, forgot about the binding question… From my experience yes, a touring binding does have a bit of effect on the skis performance vs. a true dedicated alpine binding. There are a number of reasons why with weight, increased mounting length, and stack height being the main culprits. These skis are unbelievably light, and quick, so I’m sure they will still be incredibly fun with whichever binding you choose. The Tour’s have the least effect of all the Marker touring series that I have used, but I (and others) have unfortunately had issues with durability.

  9. “They’re also not cheap, and there are other skis out there that perform very well at nearly half the cost.” What are some of those “half price” skis you would recommend in this class?

    • Rossi Scimitar is a killer bang for your buck, there is the Rossi S3, and people seem to be loving the Blizzard Bonifide (which we are going to be doing more testing on soon). If you don’t mind a little more width, the Line Influence 105 is also a consideration. Yeah, they are not all HALF the price, but significantly cheaper.
      Also I feel like I need to reiterate a couple things. I absolutely loved the Wailer 99, it skis amazing, is super light, and is made from top notch components. It IS expensive, but you are not just throwing money away. If the price is the only thing holding you back they do offer the Hybrid version which drops the price to a more competitive level.

  10. Demoed a pair of Wailer 99s in 178 length at Alta. Great in powder. I found the tails blew out a bit on groomers. Would the 184 length be better without losing maneuverability in the trees?

    • Damian,
      Yes, the 184 would offer a bit more hold on groomers given their longer edge contact, but due to the shape the tails still have a tendency to break free first when pushing them hard on firm groomers. Due to their shape and extremely light weight, the 184 will still slither through the trees with incredible ease.

  11. Detuning is crucial on DPS skis (I have 112s, 99s and 105s) in my experience. That said, and this statement might not be true for Ice Coasters, don’t overthink detuning. Just buy a gummi stone and go at it. Start small, and then get more aggressive only if needed. Bring the stone w/you to the ski area and optimize. It’s not rocket science.

  12. hey I have been looking at these, and the wailer 105’s. I am looking for a versatile ski which I can do a bit of everything on and am not sure which to choose or if there’s a better option. Also about the pure and hybrid. I am 15 weigh 135ish and 5foot7. i am not sure which size would be best for myself. I like to ski trees, pow, and fast. Thanks a lot

  13. Hi,

    A question on length. I’m looking at the W99 Pure for a do-it-all touring ski. It would be mounted with tech binders and used 100% backcountry, primarily the Sierra Nevada. It would be skied in all conditions, but I’d probably take something fatter for really deep days. But I like the idea of a ski that skis all BC conditions well, from pow to corn to crusts to wet mank.

    I’m 5’10” 175-180 lbs, and a proficient skier. I tend to ski at moderate speeds in the BC. I will open it up in open terrain when the snow is consistent (good pow or corn). I enjoy steep chutes, but tend to ski pretty cautiously in steep/tight terrain. N

    I now ski 180 Voile Vectors for this spot in the quiver. Most of my BC rigs are in the 180 range. I’ve got some 181 Voile Chargers for BC pow (which I really like in pow) and some old 177 skinnier traditionally cambered skis for spring snow. I think 180ish would be ideal, but alas the 99 is only available in a 184 and 176. If this were a resort only ski it wouldn’t even be a question – 184. But weight considerations and tight terrain has me at least considering the 176.

    I’ve skied 176 Atomic Charters (100 underfoot) before and found to be on the short side, although not too bad, and these don’t have tail rocker. Given that the 99 has tail rocker and most wouldn’t classify it as a particularly demanding ski I’m leaning 184.



  14. Jason,

    You mention a number of skis with similar performance at nearly half the price. Could you drop some names? Judging by your review I feel we like to ski in a similar fashion and would love your opinion on some other favorites in this approx 99 underfoot range.


  15. Jason,
    Pulled the trigger on the 184 DPS 99 hybirds. The first couple of runs in not so great snow i thought I made a bad purchase. Then i went back and read the review again to get more tips. I was at +2. I moved the binding back to the line and detuned the tips and tails a little. Wow i couldnt believe the difference!! As fairly big guy and larger boot at 335. I guess I was way to far far forward on this ski to match the sidecut. They are so highly tuned and the shape very sensitive to ball of foot skiing. As on the DPS web site I found when i got my BOF over that 7 to 7.5 cm ahead of the zero line the better the skis skied as advertised. Now with the detune and 9 or 10 days in every condition imaginable i find they ski as good if not more versatile than the bones I demoed witch is saying tones how much I have grown to love these skis! i ski the Faction 3 zero on powder days usually. But oddly I have found that the Wailer99 actually floats me at 225lbs just as high in a foot of fresh. i wasnt expecting a 99 under foot ski to do this. i figured it was the shape of the tip {paddle Tech} that helps the ski ride me so high in the powder. I certainly never had skis this narrow do that before.

    So with there ability to ride high in the fresh and carve like a ski much narrower and turn on a dime when asked or rip down at speed I feel the bar is set high to find a ski that can do it all as these skis can. Very impressed with this ski. i feel any one who doesnt feel this way on the ski as I did not at first just needs to play with the mounting point and tune to find that balance to rip and grip. A skiers ski because you may need to fiddle to find that tune and spot. Were lots of folks wont bother and just right off the ski. its there loss i would have to say. I love mine as my go to ski. Even like to carve them more than my old Nordica helldivers and Jetfuels. I never thought i would ever say that!

    Thanks for all the great info as usual on the best review site available.

    Cheers, James

  16. Dumb question but what are your thoughts of remounting the bindings on the wailer 99 Hybirds? Bad idea or not a big deal for integrity of the ski? I mounted an integrated binding {railflex} and feel they are making the ski not flex as they should. i want to mount a pair of Markers on them instead but am worried I will wreck the performance of the ski? Have you ever found doing this makes the ski ski worse then if you just left them with the original mount?

    Regards, James

    • Hi, James – in general, re-drilling a ski (putting 2 sets of holes in it) isn’t a big deal, so long as you allow enough space between the holes. You definitely won’t wreck the ‘performance’ of the ski by mounting twice; the issue with mounting a ski more than 2 times is that you can compromise the integrity / durability of the ski.

      If you’re working with a shop you trust, there should be no issue. But the more nervous you are, contact DPS and just ask for any specific / unusual things you should know about. But that will mostly be to set your mind at ease, rather than something you really ought to do (especially on one of their Hybrid rather than Pure construction skis.)

  17. Thank you for the quick reply. The nice thing about having skied the season with the railflex ,thats adjustable ,was now knowing were I like the mounting point. Ill go talk to the dealer were I bought them and have a look at the different mounting patterns compared to the Jets and see what we can figure out. i have two of the three shops in town using your site now and they love the blister reviews. Ive been following you guys since you started this and all my 8 pairs are ones you’ve reviewed except my 3Zeros that i cant wait for your comments about :] i think your going to really really like them!! The trick to the 3.0 is you have to watch Candit ski them then just blast straight down the mountain like he does and trust the ski. haha works for me… :]

    Thanks again, James

  18. Hi,

    I was wondering if you might be able to update your list of more affordable alternatives to the wailer 99 for the 15-16 season. My priority is to spend as much time as possible in the trees, even in sketchy conditions, so I’m looking for something playful and fun. However east coast reality means that I can’t afford to have my skis be noodly and boring on groomers or I’ll go insane for the first half of season. Having the versatility for 1-2 trips out west (CO) each year is also important. Thanks for the help!

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