COMPARISONS (as a Telemark Ski): DPS Wailer 112 RP / DPS Wailer 99
In his review of the DPS Wailer 99, Jonathan gave a great overview of the basic differences between the Wailer 112 RP and the Wailer 99. To sum up, the 99 has a longer effective edge and a flatter tail than the 112 RP, while employing a narrower design of the 112. For telemark skiing, this makes a huge difference.
Generally, my ideal tele ski has a flat tail and is fatter underfoot. The main issues I had with the 112s, then, were the rockered tails and shorter effective edge, which required a much more centered stance, especially on the steeps. With the addition of more tail support, however, the 99 allowed for a more aggressive and stable turn, a more relaxed and open stance, and more options on how much knee to drop. Combined with the longer effective edge, this meant the 99 allowed for both an upright stance and a more traditional lower knee stance while ripping groomers and hardpack. The 112 RP, meanwhile, demanded a tighter, more-upright stance while skiing on edge, and when I opened up the stance too much while carving on hardpack, groomers, and steeps, the tails would wash out.
While both Jonathan and Jason claimed that the 99 needed to be driven in the front seat and that the tails would let you know when your weight was too far back, the extra tail on the 99 allowed for the front/downhill foot of the tele turn to be truly engaged in carving. To some skiers, this might look like being in the back seat, but it’s closer to an actual alpine racing turn when executed properly.
Like Jason, the 99 felt so light to me that I was concerned that the ski would not be stable at high speeds or have enough width underfoot to provide support in pow. But those concerns were easily put to rest when I spent an entire morning in April floating through 8-16 inches of fluff on Supreme’s Piney Glade, Hammer Head, Sidewinder, and Supreme Challenge, and not once did I feel as though there wasn’t enough ski underfoot. (Again, the flat tail seemed to make all the difference on a ski with less width underfoot.) The 99 definitely floats; the tips never dove, and the face shots were plenty. The 112 RP is more fun in pow than the 99, but the 99 held its own remarkably well in this type of snow.
DPS also employed their 3-D PaddleTech Geometry™ (DPS’s original blend of rocker and variable sidecut) with the 99, the same concept used for developing the fun-shaped 112 RP. This translates to an all-condition/all-mountain experience on tele’s that is unmatched in my experience on any other brand of ski. Of everything I’ve skied so far, DPS leads the pack on the enjoyability scale for both floating in six inches or more of pow and carving icy hard pack on the same ski.
Again, the feather-like weight of the ski itself does not hinder the stability at high speeds. In fact, it’s a rather amazing sensation to be carving Super GS turns on hard, icy snow with practically no weight underfoot. It is almost like riding a road bike down a winding mountain road: a sensation of complete edge control and stability with the absence of the weight of the technology. The 99, obviously, also transfers from edge to edge faster than the RP 112 because of the narrower profile.
In short, the DPS Wailer 99 is a great ski for a one-ski quiver if you are rarely skiing more than 6-12″ inches of fresh pow and if you are often in variable snow or on tons of hardpack. As a telemark ski, the dimensions of the 99 are very friendly to traditional riders and those who shy away from fatter skis.
And though I haven’t yet skinned with the 99s, they are stable enough and light enough that I have no doubts they would be an amazing backcountry ski.
If you are used to a fatter ski underfoot, or are considering the 112 RP vs. the 99, I’d still go for the 112 RP. But if you are looking for a ski to add to your quiver for days when you want less under you, the 99 is a great option for teleskiing. Quite honestly, to me, the ideal tele experience lies somewhere between these two skis: it would be fatter underfoot than the 99, with a flatter tail than the 112 RP. If DPS made that ski, I’d buy it in a second.