Ski: 2017-2018 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
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:
In front of Heel Piece: 9-10
Behind Heel Piece: 9
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
- 2022 & 20147 g
Black Diamond Boundary Pro 107, 184 cm
- 2026 & 2056 g
- 2042 & 2069 g
- 1957 & 1958 g
- (the caveat here is that HEAD has increased the weight of the Kore 105 to around ~2035 g per ski)
- 1848 & 1903 g
- 1970 & 1979 g
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: Rocker Profile Pictures