Gear Review: DPS Wailer 106 (Alchemist vs. Tour1 Construction)
Whether you go Alchemist or Tour1, you can't go wrong. DPS nailed the shape of the Wailer 106
DPS skis have traditionally been known for their advanced engineering, attention to quality, and innovative powder shapes. Based out of Salt Lake City, it makes sense that they would design skis to float effortlessly through all of that bottomless Utah powder. However, when the snow isn’t as deep or soft, many have found the traditional tip rocker, like that found in their award winning Wailer 112, to feel a bit excessive on resort hard pack. I am pleased to say that DPS has expanded their quiver in recent years to feature a number of ski shapes that have proven to be incredibly versatile, and the Wailer 106 is one of my favorites. Now you can get ‘the world’s most advanced ski’, in a shape that you can enjoy every day of the season- no matter the overnight snowfall.
Living in Colorado, i’ve found that skis in the 95mm-105mm underfoot range are a great option for those looking for one ski to do it all. While this ski does come in a bit fatter at 106mm at the waist, I have absolutely fallen in love with the shapes versatility. The surface area and modest tip rocker allow the ski to float well on the deepest of days. Moderate camber, a long effective edge, and the hardest edges in the ski industry, keep this ski glued to the hardpack when ripping carves. And finally, its 18m turn radius (178 Tour1, 185 Alchemist), gives the ski the nimbleness to navigate tight trees or couloirs with ease. Whether it’s the deepest snow of the season, or a groomer day at your local resort, this shape excels.
Light enough to tour, but right at home on refrozen or chopped up snow, I have been thoroughly impressed with the weight to power ratio in DPS’s ‘premier’ construction. Featuring a carbon fiber wrapped Aspen core and a full sidewall, this construction delivers confidence inspiring performance across a wide spectrum of conditions. Upgraded from their Pure 3 line, the flex pattern is more consistent and designed to flex around your boot. The bottom line is that at 6’ 5” and 205 lbs, I have tried and failed to max out this ski. The more you push, the more power the Alchemist delivers.
Aspen wood core, carbon fiber 'sandwich', full sidewall
As evidenced by its name, the Tour1 series is DPS’s lightweight construction designed for the skin track. The balsa wood core, and removal of the sidewall keeps this ski light (1440g, 178cm), while a carbon ‘cab’ gives this ski an incredible amount of torsional rigidity and power for the down. While this ski is incredibly powerful, we’ve found that without a full sidewall to dampen vibration, it can leave a bit to be desired on hard snow. However, as long as the snow isn’t completely crap, you will fall in love with the ease in which this ski handles. Lightweight and strong, the Tour1 is a no brainer for those looking for a lightweight, fun, and powerful touring layup.
Lightweight Balsa core, carbon 'cap'
The Bottom Line…
The Wailer 106 goes against the traditional notion that DPS only makes skis for the Utah climate. I have fallen in love with this shape time after time when I strap these bad boys to my feet, first with the Alchemist and then again in the Tour 1 construction. If you’re looking for a one ski quiver, go ahead and throw a beefy tech binding on Wailer 106 and rip resort to your heart’s content while still having a moderately light touring ski. If you have the cash and are looking for a touring specific setup, you will fall in love with the lightweight, yet powerful Tour1 layup. Bottom line is you are going to love the shape and quality construction of the Wailer 106- the only question is which construction?
- Tags: Gear Reviews
- Thomas Bull