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
Turn Radius: 22 meters
Weight Per Ski: 1705 grams
Boots / Bindings: Lange RX 130s / Marker Griffon (DIN) 10
Mount Location: Factory Recommended (80cm from tail)
Test Location: Alta Ski Area
Days Skied: 5
Having performed an initial review of the DPS Wailer 99 Hybrid over a couple very early season days at the end of October in Summit County, Jason Hutchins and I had the chance to ski the Wailer 99 PUREs and the Blizzard Bonafides for 5 days at Alta, and we were able to get them both into a broad range of terrain and snow conditions.
(A quick note: this review isn’t going to go into detail about the difference in feel between the Hybrid and the Pure construction. While I can offer some (relatively unhelpful) generalizations about the difference, I don’t care to say too much with respect to the 99s, since we’d really need to ski the 99 Pure and Hybrid back to back over the same terrain and conditions to meaningfully compare and contrast. So this review will speak to the ride quality and characteristics of the PURE Wailer 99s.)
The first day on the 99s, it was just beginning to snow in the Wasatch, so things were quite thin, the groomers were sporting a decent amount of man-made snow and ice, and visibility was low.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have the awful and humiliating habit of hiding out in the backseat when skiing in low visibility. And I can tell you, this is not the way to ski the Wailer 99s. On groomers, you have the options of either skiing balanced or driving the shovels, but you don’t want to be chillin’ out back. If and when you unweight the incredibly light shovels and tips, the 99s will let you know that you are not skiing the way you ought.
When you do get centered or drive the tips, these skis are very impressive. Corkscrew was the groomer that we hit every lap as we made our way back to Collins. At the end of day three, it was pretty bumped up, and hitting it very fast often meant catching air off of bumps and turning in the air a bit. Hitting these bumps (at speed) in the backseat would get me in the air and out of control. Staying on the balls of my feet, however, made it a very fast, fun, high angulation ride, especially on our fifth day, when Corkscrew and Main Street had been groomed and there was less man made snow sitting on the surface. This is where it was fun and confidence inspiring to arc very high speed turns.
My sense of the 99s from the limited early season terrain in Summit County left me certain that the tails are stiffer than those of say, the Rossi S3, but I don’t think I had appreciated just how stiff they are. They aren’t MOMENT Garbones or anything, but they are not a super forgiving, fun-time noodle, either. After Summit County, I said that you can push the 99s; after Alta, I’d say that you most definitely can.
Dropping West Rustler into soft but thick chop, the weight – or weightlessness – of these skis becomes apparent. With some worry about what I was going to hit beneath the early season snow, I was initally skiing this line a bit backseat, unwilling to trust the shovels, not wanting to get slammed into something unseen. Again, wrong move. When you are on edge on the 99s in chop, unweighting those tips will either lock you into a turn or get the tips deflecting. Stay balanced or drive them, however, and they will fully cooperate.
Another thing: we didn’t detune the tips and tails over the first couple of days, and Jason and I would both highly recommend this. My first day skiing dense, fresh snow on West Rustler and Lone Pine, the tips were demonstrating some hooky behavior.
From the tip, we detuned the edges about one and a half inches down the ski, past the widest point of the shovel. From the tail, we detuned down to about an inch in front of the widest point of the tail. This noticeably improved groomer and chop performance.
On our second day out, nine inches of fresh snow had fallen, and Lone Pine and West Rustler were skiing incredibly well. I wasn’t getting bucked around, and there was no tip dive.
As I mentioned earlier, we were also skiing the Blizzard Bonafides, and Jason and I both felt that the 99s were very nearly as good on groomers, while being a more playful and more nimble around the mountain. In the fairly dense, fresh snow on West Rustler and Lone Pine, both Jason and I were getting bucked less on the Wailers, which we felt was due to the fact that, while the tips of the 99s and the Bonafides are both relatively soft, the 99s maintain their underfoot stiffness further up the shovel than the Bonafide, which stabilized the ride in boot deep, dense, fresh, maching big turns down West Rustler.