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DPS Wailer 99 PURE and HYBRID

DPS Wailer 99, Blister Gear ReviewSki: DPS Wailer 99, Pure and Hybrid, 184cm and 176cm

Dimensions (mm): 122-99-111

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 184cm and 176cm

Running Length / Effective Edge: 149cm

Turn Radius: Progressive 18-22m

Weight Per Ski: 1,705 g / 3.7 lbs. (Pure 184); 1,800 grams / 3.9 lbs. (Hybrid 176)

Boots / Bindings: Scarpa T-Race, TwentyTwo Designs Hammerhead (3rd pin inside, 4th pin outside)

Test Location: Alta Ski Area

Days Skied: 6

On any given day on the Collins Lift at Alta Ski Area while sporting my DPS Wailer 112 RPs, I can expect a conversation. Comments and questions from other skiers range from, “Do you like those?” to “Wow, I’ve heard great things,” to “That is my dream ski!”

My first review for BLISTER, back in spring of 2011, was a look at the DPS Wailer 112 RP with the Rottefella NTN binding. I was the only one riding this ski consistently at Alta that season, either alpine or telemark. In fact, the Wailer 112 RP was the first ski that BLISTER ever reviewed, when Jonathan took them to A-Basin in late spring 2010. Since then, we’ve seen the 112 RP become a staple at Alta and the Wasatch in general. Everyone from the lifties to the weekend warriors seemed to be pulling out the 112 RP in all kinds of snow conditions and binding configurations.

With lower-than-average snowfall this year in the Wastach, however, the 112RP’s little brother, the Wailer 99, made a strong entrance onto a mountain that normally boasts 12–24-inch powder days. Jason Hutchins gave us a look at the DPS Wailer 99 in the early season of 2011. His comments on the light swing weight in the air and insane carving control seemed to describe a DPS ski that was built for the rest of the world, where visits to the white room aren’t as frequent as they are at Alta.

Fast forward to late spring 2012, when I was finally able to test the Wailer 99 (which DPS is calling their “Daily Driver, Redefined”) myself. On hardpack similar to early season conditions in the Wasatch, I put in three days on the Wailer 99 Hybrid 176cm and three days on the 99 Pure 184cm, both mounted with a pair of TwentyTwo Designs Hammerheads.

For a guy my height and weight (5’5″, 135 lbs.), the comparison was simple. The Hybrid at 176cm felt stable, but short. I felt as though I might go over the handle bars when carving at high speeds on groomers. I didn’t feel like I had enough ski in front of me, and the tips felt a little squirrely. Yet the 176cm Hybrid felt stable in chop and pow, mostly because there was resistance against the tips (variable snow, pow, etc…).

With the Pure 184cm, the main description that came to mind was intuitive. I wasn’t pre-thinking my transitions, but rather letting go and just skiing. There was enough length to set my mind at ease, and I never felt like I was unsupported. Carving large GS turns on the Pure was extremely fun, and they performed equally well in the chop and pow. (I wish I could have ridden a 184cm Hybrid rather than the 176cm Hybrid to make a direct, apples-to-apples comparison of the Pure and Hybrid, because the 184cm definitely felt like the right length for me.)

That being said, I can state that the main difference I encountered between the Hybrid and the Pure was the weight. The construction of the Hybrid is a mixture of carbon fiber, bamboo core, and fiberglass, while the Pure version of the ski is pure prepreg carbon laminates and nanotech resins with a poplar core. The 176cm Hybrid is a nearly 100 grams heavier than the 184cm Pure, yet I did notice the weight difference while skiing. Even though the Pure I rode was six centimeters longer, it still felt much lighter and more supportive. I felt that at high speed the lighter Pure was even more responsive and supportive and always held an edge. This may well be due to the longer effective edge length, but I found the 184 Pure to outperform the 176 Hybrid in every way.

Even when skiing switch (unlike Jason, I found the 99s to do surprisingly well for a relatively narrow and pretty directional ski), the Pure’s quicker response and transitions made the experience feel remarkably comfortable.

In the air, both skis performed beautifully—easily spinable, and I never felt unsupported on a landing—yet I preferred the 184cm Pure’s longer tail and stiffer core for popping off the snow. The Pure, with its longer length, also felt as if it was helping me around through my 3s even though the 99 Pures have less swing weight than your average ski. I tend to rely on the momentum of a ski’s swing weight to complete the rotation of a spin, so throwing spins on the 99 Pures was closer to throwing spins on a trampoline: I felt only the weight of my own body.

3 Comments

  1. Chris December 22, 2012 Reply

    Firstly, thanks to everyone for putting up amazingly detailed reviews – I’ve honestly spent the better part of the last two days reading and re-reading a lot of the material here. I’m relatively new to the online ski community so I don’t really have a basis for comparison, but for the time being at least these are some of the best reviews around.

    I’m looking for some skis!

    I’ve skied the last 22 years, 11 of which were racing, 8 of which were coaching and the last 3 have seen fewer and fewer days on snow (single-digits last year I’m afraid, chalk it up to disinterest, lack of time, etc., etc.). I’m looking for get back into it and seeing as I’ve done some snowshoeing into backcountry already and lamented the fact I didn’t have skis with me this is the route I’ve chosen: maybe half my time I’ll be skiing on-piste, other other half being split between ‘resort backcountry’ and genuine backcountry. That said, I live in Vancouver so a lot of my time will be spent at local mountains, the rest being split up between trips to Whistler, Baker, Mt. Washington and BC’s interior – a wide variety of snow conditions, everything from the damp local stuff to the fluffy fluffy elsewhere, corduroy, cookies, untracked powder (one hopes), you name it.

    As an indicator of my style of skiing, I’ve still got my GS skis – growing up out East my first love was a searing run on bulletproof hardpack. I still like that feeling so I’ve been drawn to skis like the above (the Wailer 99), the 112, in some ways to the Katana, the Belafonte gets high praise here as well. I’m looking for the veritable one-ski quiver – something that’s fast, stable and will draw mean lines on hardpack but also won’t be totally lost on the days I’d like to wander off into the wilderness and I’m not sure if that means something with a waist in the 95-100 range or whether something closer to 110 is more appropriate. Understanding that shooting for a single pair of skis involves some compromise, things I’m willing to sacrifice would probably be mobility (I’m not particularly one for moguls, really tight trees or couloirs but I can manage) and while I hope to do some touring, I’m willing to sacrifice in the weight department (I’m still quite fit, I’ve heard ‘resistance training’ thrown around a bit). Also would want to sacrifice weight if it meant loosing feel (particularly in the bindings).

    I’m leaning toward some Marker F12s for bindings – I’ve still got my existing boots (Lange plugs, replacing these will come later) and I believe these strike the appropriate balance between downhill performance and the ability to tour. Still looking for an appropriate ski though and any input in this regard would be most helpful – leaning toward the Wailer 99 or 112 but can’t even decide there. Thanks bunches!

  2. Ben February 22, 2014 Reply

    Love the reviews! How does this ski compare to the Cham 97?

  3. James August 25, 2014 Reply

    When can we get a more up to date review of the DPS line-up or is it currently being processed/released in time with the 14/15 season?

    Thanks

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