The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment on the planet.

2017-2018 DPS Wailer A 112

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the 2017-2018 DPS Wailer A 112 for Blister Gear Review

DPS Wailer A 112

Ski: 2017-2018 DPS Wailer A 112, 189 cm

Available Lengths: 168, 178, 184, 189 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 188.3 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2045 & 2071 grams

Stated Dimensions: 141-112-128 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 141-112-127.5 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 15-18 meters @ 184 cm

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 77 mm / 39 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~2 mm

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -14.0 cm from center; 80.15 cm from tail

Intro

Fun fact: the first ski review I ever wrote was of the very first iteration of the DPS Wailer 112. That was back before Blister even existed, and putting some thoughts down about this new, bright-yellow “water ski” (as lots of people in the lift lines back then called it) proved to be a rather life-altering activity for me. And seven years later, here we are.

The carbon-constructed Wailer 112 has come a long way, too, and this latest iteration — featuring DPS’s “Alchemist” construction — is quite a bit different from its predecessors.

But what hasn’t changed is that the Wailer Alchemist 112 is still intended to be an excellent, versatile, easy-to-ski powder ski.

What is perhaps a bit new is that DPS is talking up the new Wailer A 112’s “ease of use in varying conditions,” and it seems like they aren’t without reasons for doing so.

Weight

Not that we pay any attention to weight around here (cough) but the first generation “PURE” carbon construction Wailer 112 that I reviewed came in at 1840 grams per ski in the 190 cm length.

This new 189 cm Wailer “A” 112 comes in at 2045 & 2071 grams per ski.

These days, everyone seems to be trying to shave off as much weight as possible, not making their stuff heavier. So it’s a bit ironic that one of the original “light is right” ski manufacturers is now moving in the opposite direction of industry trends.

Of course, if you have two skis with an extremely similar shape but one of those skis weighs 200 grams more than the other, I will bet the proverbial farm that the heavier ski will perform better in variable conditions. (And by the way, ~2050 grams is still not at all heavy for a 112mm-wide, 189 cm long ski.)

Point is, it feels like a very safe prediction to state that the new Wailer 112’s performance in mixed conditions is going to be better. It’s really now just a question of, How much?

Construction

Furthermore, DPS believes that their new Alchemist construction hasn’t merely made their skis a bit heavier than their previous carbon skis, they believe that the new construction is much more effective at damping their skis.

Our reviewer Paul Forward sung the praises of the Alchemist version of the DPS Lotus 124, and DPS founder, Stephan Drake, and I talked about the new construction on this episode of the Blister Podcast.

Flex Pattern

Beyond the weight gain and construction updates, the single most surprising aspect of the new Wailer 112 is its flex pattern. Hand flexing the ski, I would sum up that new flex pattern like this:

Tips: 6
Shovels: 6-10 (there’s a smooth progression from the tips to the “10” in front of the toe pieces)
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel piece: 10-9
Tails: 8-9

While I haven’t yet been able to A/B this new ski against an older version of the Wailer 112, I’m pretty confident in saying that the tips of the new and older skis feel pretty similar.

But the surprising part is just how much the new Wailer 112 stiffens up from there — and stays stiff.

Again, the Wailer 112 has always been — and still is — positioned as an easy-to-ski pow ski. But “easy” skis pretty much never have flex patterns that are this strong. To be clear, I’m by no means against this, it just makes me very interested to see how the new 112’s combination of weight, construction, shape, and flex pattern all add up on snow. Because while this is still a “dead-easy” shape with a soft, forgiving tip, the back half of this ski (and really, the back 3/4s of this ski) are stout.

One question we’ll try to get the answer to is whether shorter lengths of the 112 also have a similar flex pattern, or whether the 189 model (the longest length of the Wailer 112) was beefed up.

Shape

Obviously, this ski has a lot of tip and tail taper. And while DPS says that the shape of the Wailer 112 has remained the same, I have to admit that I don’t remember early versions of the Wailer 112 having this much tail taper. Regardless, this new ski has substantial tail taper, so nobody should have any problem with the tails getting hung up or stuck in grabby snow.

And given the substantial tail taper, I’m happy to see that the Wailer 112 has a pretty subtle tail rocker profile. We’ve said it before, but in general, the more you taper a tail, the more sense we think it makes to chill out on the amount of tail splay. DPS did.

Mount Point

While the Wailer 112 has always had a traditional mount point, it’s worth noting that despite the updates in construction, DPS has maintained a very traditional mount point of 14 cm behind center. So while this is a very easy-to-turn shape and we have little doubt that this ski will feel quick in tight spots, DPS isn’t catering here to the jib crowd. Instead, they’re making dead sure that you aren’t going to be struggling to keep your tips up in deep snow.

Comparisons

I’m going to keep this brief because I still need to pack and do two million things before leaving for Bend at 4 am, but here are a few skis to think about in relation to the Wailer 112:

17/18 Rossignol Super 7 HD

We’ll be saying more about this ski, soon, and we’ll be A/B-ing it and the Wailer 112 in Mount Bachelor. But these two skis have a very similar shape and a very similar weight, but very different mount points and flex patterns. Really looking forward to this on-snow comparison.

17/18 HEAD Kore 117 and Kore 105

We’re really just putting a placeholder here. Before I flexed the Wailer 112, I never would have thought of the Kore 105 (which is actually 107mm-wide in the 189 cm length) or the Kore 117 as a Wailer 112 comparison. But check out the flex pattern profiles of the two Kore skis, then compare them to the flex profile of the Wailer 112. And the Wailer 112 weighs a lot more. Anyway, I’m now rather curious.

17/18 Atomic Backland 109

While the Backland 109 has the more forward mount, I’m curious to see (1) whether it’s obvious that the Wailer 112 is the much better option for directional skiers (it already feels obvious that the Backland 109 is the much better option for anyone looking to spin), and (2) to compare the variable-conditions performance of the Backland 109 and the Wailer 112.

Bottom Line: We Gotta Go.

It’s time to pack. But more soon from Mt Bachelor on the new Wailer A 112.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

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