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  1. #1
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    Review: 2014/2015 DPS Wailer 105 185cm

    Another review here:
    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/s...Wailer-105-Ski

    *Location of review: Arapahoe Basin and Breckenridge
    *Runs Taken: Steep off-piste, 35-45 degrees
    *Snow Conditions: Chalky firm snow, deep powder, deep crud, shallow crud, moguls

    Me: 5'10, 175lbs, 31 yrs/old, 40-60 days per 29 seasons, expert skier with an athletic, dynamic, powerful style. Parents were both pro bump skiers. Prefer damp, charging skis with good high-speed stability.

    Quiver:
    186 ON3P Billygoats (2009/2010)
    183 Head Monster m103s
    183 Head Monster 82s
    180 Blizzard Bushwackers

    2014/2015 DPS Wailer 105 185cm
    136-105-119
    24-28m Radius
    2200 grams per ski?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This ski is completely overhauled for next year. It has a new hybrid construction, new camber/rocker profile and new sidecut. I'll defer to 'marshalolson' to detail the differences in the hybrid construction. This is a stiff ski. It flexes very close to my Head m103s, but is much lighter. The Wailer is a little stiffer in the tip, and a little softer in the tail. The production tip rocker is going to be a bit less than in the photo, so expect longer effective edge and possibly a tad bit less pow performance. Apparently a larger radius 191 version is in the works.

    Marshal contacted me back in September and asked if he could send these out to me sometime this season. He knows I love the Head m103 and damp skis, and I assume that it's reputation that makes it a good comparison for the target market of the new Wailer 105, though it's designed to be quite a bit more versatile (and it is!).

    FIRM SNOW/ALPINE CHALK

    I skied these for a couple days at A-Basin after a 1-2 week stretch of relatively dry weather with TONS of wind. A-Basin has lots of above treeline terrain and this kind of weather pattern creates chalky firm snow and keeps it from being bumped up too heavily. These conditions are perfect for skiing aggressively and going retardedly fast. After taking a few runs on my Head m103 to calibrate, I hopped on the Wailer. On the ride up the lift, it made a clinking resonant sound that reminiscent of the Volkl Explosiv. I don't particularly like this sort of feedback when skiing, and even though the Volkl Explosiv was a stable ski, I never liked it because of this. However, the Wailer actually quiets down once you start skiing it. I've never experienced this before. Usually if it has that sort of resonance, you often notice it when you ski, also. Odd.

    The first couple runs, I noticed right away that I was skiing right on top of the sidecut, and it was exhibiting some hookiness. I moved the bindings back 1.5cm (BSL 300, boot-center 80.5 from the tail). This got rid of the hookiness and I immediately felt more at-home on the ski. I drive skis quite a bit, tend to prefer traditional mounts, and just got off my Head m103s, so take that into consideration, but I think more aggressive skiers would prefer a further-back mount point. I would even be tempted to try -2cm. Very different personalities between on-the-line and -1.5cm.

    Impressions:
    1) Damp, but not quite the silky dampness of the Head - you get a little more feedback out of the tip and tail of the ski
    2) Despite the rocker, it doesn't quite release as well as the Head m103. When thrown sideways, the tip and tail of the sidecut like to catch a bit. This could be the tune, but I keep my skis pretty sharp, so I'm guessing it's more likely the sidecut: 28m vs 37m.
    3) Felt comfortable when airing through mogul fields, but a little unforgiving in more difficult mogul fields, like most stiff skis are.
    4) However, I could straightline out a chute, launch off a mogul, stay forward, comfortably land at full speed, and transition to quick zipperline turns as the moguls tightened up.
    5) The rocker cuts down on the running length. You could feel that the effective edge was shorter when placed on edge at stupid fast speeds. There is no 'magic' engagement of the rocker portions when on edge in firm snow, even when skiing fast and bending the ski.
    6) Edgehold was solid on the few icy patches I encountered and was of no concern.

    Honestly, I'd still keep my Head m103s in these conditions. However, I think the larger radius 191 version would probably meet my needs. It would have the larger radius to release smoother, and it would have a longer effective edge that I felt was missing (especially since production will have less tip rocker). I don't think the dampness impacted how confident I felt when going fast - it was merely different and less damp than my Head m103s. Overall, I didn't notice myself going that much slower. There were just random occasions here and there where I didn't feel quite as comfortable due to the effective edge and release characteristics.

    POWDER/CHOP/CRUD

    My next time out on these skis were for a couple days during a HUGE storm cycle. Breckenridge received almost 2 feet of snow overnight, and more the next day. While most here would feel undergunned on a 105mm ski, I figured, 'why not?'. Breckenridge has a good mix of steep tree'd terrain off the E-Chair, as well as wide-open alpine terrain off the T-Bar, Imperial and the new Peak 6 lift. In the steep tree'd terrain, it was deep blower powder. In the alpine terrain, it was also quite light snow, with very little wind affect (unusual for Breck). On a few of the steeper pitches, most of the new snow had been sluffed off by patrol work, leaving a firm surface with a few inches of fresh snow on top.

    Impressions:
    1) In untracked snow, it resists diving and floats well, but you will ride a little deeper than other more powder-specific skis. More faceshots, but a bit slower. You don't have to pump your legs, old school style (like I did with my Gotamas on deeper days).
    2) It maneuvers and slarves well in steep tight tree runs. I had no problem opening it up and being able to throw in a quick slarve when necessary.
    3) The stiffness allows it to resist bending into a smaller radii. Awesome. I can't stand when a ski folds up while maching through open untracked snow (feels like the ski throws you across the fall line).
    4) It was confident when transitioning from soft snow into the sluffed off sections, and felt pretty composed when re-entering the really deep sluff at the bottom. No over-the-bars. Did this a few times and the results were consistent.
    5) It machs through chop. I spent quite a few laps, later in the day, making about 3 turns down Horseshoe at ridiculous speeds through chop. Really good ski for this kind of thing. It stayed well composed, didn't get hung up in clumps of snow, and you could just drive right through anything. Airs well off piles. For a ski this burly, I really like the lighter weight of it here.
    6) Visibility was very bad on Imperial, but it felt comfortable enough for me to open up the throttle and 'ski-by-brail'. Hoots from the chairlift were common when doing this test, as I was skiing a lot faster than anyone else.
    7) Sent it off a cornice a few times, and the landing platform felt fine from about 10-15' into deeper snow.
    8) As I started making bigger turns down a chute, I didn't see a 5-6' avalanche crown and was in the air before I knew it. I slammed down onto the firm crust and was able to cut my speed in time before I hit the debris pile. I couldn't really tell how fast I was going, due to visibility and ended up going through the debris pile faster than what I had wanted, but I was able to keep loose and trust the ski to get me through it.

    I can't speak to how it'd work for someone who isn't as aggressive of a skier, so I'll let others do that. But overall, I think this ski is a real winner for someone that aggressively skis a lot of resort snow. I'd pick this ski most resort powder days, if your resort gets tracked quickly and you prefer rallying through chop and crud, like I do (as opposed to putzing around all over the place trying to find a stash or two). I'd prefer this ski for sure, up to around 18" in these cases. Otherwise, if you tend to ski a lot of untracked, I think it's the right ski up to around 12". It's nice to be able to go back to a skinnier ski again. You can go a bit faster in chop/crud.

    As far as durability, I don't think the base material is as tough as the Durasurf 4001 that is used by Praxis, Moment, PM Gear, and ON3P. The base material is also quite a bit thinner than what I'm used to, but is probably on par with the industry standard 1.2mm. However, it may also have been ground a fair amount due to other testers? I do very much appreciate Marshal taking care of that part for me, after I was done with them. Left a couple core shots and scrapes in them after finding a scree field. The topsheets seem to be a different/new material, and does an awesome job resisting chipping and scratching - best I've ever seen, I think. Edges came REAL sharp. Love it.
    Last edited by Lindahl; 09-01-2014 at 06:25 AM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the review. It'll be a tough desicion between this and the carbon.

  3. #3
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    Good review and cool to compare it to the 103. I think those that want a XXL/103 type ski with a modern upgrade will like this ski
    If ski companies didn't make new skis every year I wouldn't have to get new skis every year.

    www.levelninesports.com
    http://skiingyeti.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
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    Marshal went out of town for SIA and left his pair with me to ski while he was gone. I took them out to Snowbird this past sunday, there was a mix of untracked patches, cut up pow and icy groomers. I like and ski fairly stiff skis (in my garage currently are garbones, wrenegades, cochise, renegades) but hand flexing the tails on these had me a little concerned that I may struggle with them in the untracked areas, these have a very stout flex to them. That wasn't the case at all. They floated well for a narrower (and shorter than I would normally be on) ski and they were actually really easy to throw around. They shined in cut up snow, it's hard to beat skis with metal in them for that and these were nice and damp.

    My only complaint would be that a couple of times when letting them ride flat on groomers at speed they felt a little hooky. It sounds like the turn radius may be increasing slightly in the production model so that should help with that.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfinn View Post
    Marshal went out of town for SIA and left his pair with me to ski while he was gone. I took them out to Snowbird this past sunday, there was a mix of untracked patches, cut up pow and icy groomers. I like and ski fairly stiff skis (in my garage currently are garbones, wrenegades, cochise, renegades) but hand flexing the tails on these had me a little concerned that I may struggle with them in the untracked areas, these have a very stout flex to them. That wasn't the case at all. They floated well for a narrower (and shorter than I would normally be on) ski and they were actually really easy to throw around. They shined in cut up snow, it's hard to beat skis with metal in them for that and these were nice and damp.

    My only complaint would be that a couple of times when letting them ride flat on groomers at speed they felt a little hooky. It sounds like the turn radius may be increasing slightly in the production model so that should help with that.
    If you can, try moving the mount point back about 1.5-2cm. That solved the problem for me. Note that this is behind the furthest back line.

    What'd you think of it compared to the Wrenegade and Cochise? (which year Wrenegade?)

  6. #6
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    The cochise is probably my all time favorite ski. I think the full but mellow reverse camber is pretty much perfect, at least for me. I thought that these DPS probably handled the chop a little better than the cochise but for all around my vote would be cochise.

    I think my wren's are '12. I don't love them but I don't hate them, I've been skiing them a good bit lately because they are my most beat up skis in the quiver right now and things are pretty boney still. The wrens are a little more playful and felt a little less "dead" feeling. Not saying that's good or bad really. It's probably the difference in metal vs wood.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fat yeti View Post
    Good review and cool to compare it to the 103. I think those that want a XXL/103 type ski with a modern upgrade will like this ski
    OMG. This could be the ski for me.....!!

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the reviews. On the hookiness, do DPS publish the base bevel angles anywhere? I took a pair of old W105s to get serviced by a guy I trust who reckoned the bevel was only 0.5 degrees, which may explain why they feel a little touchy when you first use them
    fur bearing, drunk, prancing eurosnob

  9. #9
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    I just mounted up a pair of W105 T2s on the line with Salomon STH12s

    I took a few runs at tiehack yesterday... 4" reported, but we had megawinds. So nice chop, a little wind buff and some hard snow mixed in for good measure.

    Initial impression:
    quick turner. I can see the hook comments, but once I realized what the radius on these were it was a non-issue. I think either the moving a mount back a little (I'm thinking more of the -1cm range to the line) or a little detune on the tips would make the difference most are looking for. I found the edges to be sharp all the way around the ski out of the box.. 2 minutes with a file can make a good ski great.. and a great ski like woh if you know how to tune a little bit.
    Float was nice for a 105 under foot ski. Forgot how versatile this size of ski is.
    More of the ski is engaged than my old cochise.. which I like. A lot.
    Didn't find the top end yet... but only got into the mid to high 40mph range.. but to be fair that was in chopped up snow... wind was blowing up hill too.
    This ski likes to do mach loony, but opposed to some of the skis it's compared against it has a more aggressive sidecut. This will reward the more aggressive skier that like to get edge angle and load a ski. They'll throw some people off that are not used to a ski this stiff with a shorter turn radius. It reminds me of a GS ski from early 2000s but with way more width.

    So many times ski companies made their charger skis with larger radius because people like making lazy super G type turns.. and don't really know how to bend a ski. I'm anxious to get this ski up to Ajax and ski some fall line bumps on this stiff a ski and compare it to the cochise I used to ski. I think I'm going to be happy... but I bet it takes me a run to figure out how to use that radius for me, and not fight it...

    I think the long range prognosis of this ski is I'm going to be recommending it to a lot of friends as an every day in bounds driver.

  10. #10
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    Another idea just emailed to me was to bevel the bases in tip and tail as opposed to just detuning. 10 degrees on the base is the idea... creating a mini spoon.

  11. #11
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    I definitely think you should try it 1cm back, rather than messing with the tune, but I like my skis pretty sharp. I might be wrong, but it seemed pretty obvious that I was too far over the sidecut. Felt like I was in front of where they wanted to turn from. I like to be a little behind, so I can really lay into them when necessary.
    Last edited by Lindahl; 02-21-2014 at 02:40 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindahl View Post
    I definitely think you should try it 1cm back, rather than messing with the tune, but I like my skis pretty sharp. I might be wrong, but it seemed pretty obvious that I was too far over the sidecut. Felt like I was in front of where they wanted to turn from. I like to be a little behind, so I can really lay into them when necessary.
    I had no issue laying them over mounted on the line... there are slight differences with what you had as to where the rocker starts I think.. not 100% sure. I'll ask Marsha.

    I'm going to play with these for a week or so before I go messing with anything.. I really liked the way they ski. People just need to be aware that when you lay a ski over with sidecut... it turns

  13. #13
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    In my dialect, lay into them = forward pressure, not lateral. I like being able to lay into a ski without the mechanics of how it hooks up changing drastically on me. Allows me to better power through inconsistencies in the snow without being unpredictable at higher speeds.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindahl View Post
    In my dialect, lay into them = forward pressure, not lateral. I like being able to lay into a ski without the mechanics of how it hooks up changing drastically on me. Allows me to better power through inconsistencies in the snow without being unpredictable at higher speeds.
    the stiffness of the ski takes care of this when laid over... that and torsional stiffness...

    I think we actually have slightly different ski styles.

  15. #15
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    I got out again for some lunch laps yesterday... I'll be able to take these through the normal paces on a trip down to CB this weekend.

    I got up to 53 on the warm up run, 58 the next run, and 62 on the third... Ski handled beautifully.. was on the run they have the town downhill on. Last run I was playing a little Joey Slalom or I may have hit 65 or so. Point being I was trying to find out how the ski chatters and what type of feedback to expect. I was pleasantly surprised out how well these handled speed. I don't think there is a significant difference between these and my old cochise via feedback through my feet. Watching the tips a little and they vibrate less than the cochise as they have less rocker up front. I was also seeing if I was going to "fold" up the front of the ski at speed when I laid them over and they are stiff enough to handle 180 lb person getting plenty of edge angle. There are some skis out there that are popular and when people initiate a turn too hard the shovel will fold up a little and buck the skier over the bars... even trying to do this I couldn't get that type of feedback from the ski.

  16. #16
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    Got some laps on the new Wailer 105 Hybrid T2....my comments:

    2014-2015 DPS Wailer 105
    (T2 Construction)
    136-105-119 178cm, 185cm
    Pure3=$1299, T2=$949 usd



    The Wailer 105 T2 is a heavy-metal freight train compared to most models in the DPS lineup. Just picking up a pair of these skis tells you they are heavier, damper and stronger than other skis DPS produces with similar dimensions.

    The reborn DPS Wailer 105 in Hybrid T2 construction is nothing like the previous models retired a few seasons ago so the folks at DPS could concentrate on the new new Wailer, Spoon and spoon-infused Lotus models. This ski is strong, stiff-feeling, powerful and intended for technical experts or heavier, stronger skiers. It likes to be driven forward aggressively.

    We only managed to get a single day on the new Wailer 105, but we had a great mix of cold, hard snow and fresh powder to play in for a quick impression. The hand flex is stout and strong and you get the immediate impression they want speed and athletic input to show off their best traits. The sidecut geometry is subtle and early rise tip minimal, with a bit of camber underfoot and a flat tail. The first couple turns confirmed what the hand inspection indicated: power these skis and pay attention to where you are pointing them. I got runs in about 10 inches of fresh snow, where they actually floated on top very nicely and produced a nearly-surfy, but never "eager" feel once you got them up to planing speed. Below planing speed, they felt true-to-length and somewhat planky, then came alive above certain speeds (depending on the surface conditions) and rose up to the top surface layers. The faster you go, the more lively and responsive they get. When the fresh snow had gotten cut up, skied out and varied, the Wailer 105 showed it is a crud-cutting tool for charging-type skiers who want a damp, strong ski to hold a specified line throughout an arc at speed.

    Edge power was 100% reliable and strong as you wanted, with no real breaking point. Pressure and hold it....making as intense a turn as you want..it sets into the surface and stays put. The more you do this, the faster you want to go until you realize you are moving faster than you expect and feel completely secure underfoot. No deflection. No wobble, No deviations....just holding the line. If you load up the Wailer 105 (this can take some effort unless you use momentum and centrifugal force to generate the pressure you want...use your weight and movement...not muscle power) and release it, you get a very powerful, direct and impressive acceleration into your next turn. Just make sure you don't get in the back seat, and definitely pay attention to your ski placement for the next turn, because you can get this ski to project you across the terrain with plenty of force. It can feel a bit stiff and rough at times in chop and bumps, but that's the tradeoff for its crud-cutting prowess.

    Hardpack hold was superb, with very strong torsional integrity under pressure. It prefers a more GS-like line hold on hardpack, rather than a more turny radius behavior like the Cassiar 95. You can essentially ignore changes in surface conditions along your trajectory with the Wailer 105 Hybrid T2. Point it and go. As long as you have the piloting skills and physical conditioning to hold it into its sweet spot (slightly flexed and under power), you will feel a thoroughbred underfoot. Faster is better. The more athletic the pilot, the more performance you get out of this new Wailer 105. While the Wailer 99 or 112 can be found to be surfy, fun, spunky and lively with great edging ability when engaged, the Wailer 105 is the serious, businesslike, more directional, charging-type of ski you might want in a freeride competition, depending on the terrain.

    No real surfy, slashy behavior is found in the Wailer 105 Hybrid T2. It almost feels like a traditional, old-school straight ski with more exotic power on tap and an unwaivering edge hold...perhaps exactly what big-line, hard-charging skiers might want. The last thing you want on big lines at high speed is a twitchy, over-eager ski underfoot. The Wailer 105 is rock-solid, true-to-line reliable locomotive under power, and very addicting if you like that kind of ride. "Confidence-inspiring" is an understatement, as long as you are confident with high-speed, high-power situations and have the chops to keep this hot rod in its preferred performance zone.

    Definitely get a demo ride on a pair to find out if the Wailer 105 has the personality you are looking for. It is a welcome addition to the DPS line for people who want a powerful, damp feel in a more directional ski with all the traditional response and high performance DPS is known for. Skiers who thought the traditional DPS "feel" was too light, loose or active for their taste should get a ride on the new Wailer 105 in T2 construction. It will change their minds about how a DPS can feel underfoot...just like the Wailer 112 RPC did. Some might find it stiff-feeling or unfriendly unless they keep the power on it. You definitely won't fold the Wailer 105 up in crud, no matter how hard you ski it.

    Conclusion:

    The Wailer 105 is the metal-flavored freight train holding the widest waist in the T2 lineup for next year, and gives strong, directional-oriented skiers a solid platform to pound through nearly any condition with unwaivering integrity and power. A 105mm rail, not a surfboard.

    Pros:

    Superbly solid, reliable, damp and powerful. Surface conditions don't matter. Loves speed. This ski will be a drug for speed addicts.

    Cons:

    Pricey. Don't look for a surfy-slashy ride here. A bit stiff feeling and harsh if you don't keep the power on. Eat your Wheaties.
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  17. #17
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    I'm looking at matching a pair of these with some kingpins for the NZ club fields - any thoughts?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tupp- View Post
    I'm looking at matching a pair of these with some kingpins for the NZ club fields - any thoughts?
    Depends on how hard you want to ski. The skis sound great, but I'm not sure about Kingpins. You do a lot of ridge hiking and booting, and the snow can be anything from awful to silky. I think Cast might be the best solution for the clubbies.

    Btw, are the DPSs well built, as in reasonably thick bases? There can be lots of sharks, so you don't want flimsy edges and bases.

  19. #19
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    The Alchemist version comes out next fall if you're looking to save some weight and spend more money, but IMO the Foundation construction is more bang for the $$$.

  20. #20
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    I was concerned about the kingpins as well, but this will most likely be the setup I bring for a few hut trips so I would keep the kingpins over the 105's

    Current 2 boot quiver are vulcans and lange freetours, I currently ski the 186 renegade in whistler most days for reference.

  21. #21
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    I don't own a pair but didn't have a problem skiing the resort on them. Im 6', 185#'s 26.5MP Scarpa Freedom, aggressive but smooth skier after a 6+years on TLT's. Not much of a hucker and I don't hammer my edges unless I have to.

  22. #22
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    ok - thinking I might just go for it. Thanks for the info!

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