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.