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.
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.
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.)