As more and more ski brands break into the backcountry ski genre, a local Utah company is doing things a bit differently. DPS, headquartered in Salt Lake City, has been producing carbon and carbon-hybrid skis for years. With the backcountry market in mind, their designers went all in when designing a quality ski worthy of the Wasatch Range.
So allow me to introduce the DPS Wailer 112 RP2 featuring Tour1 Construction. That’s a bit of a mouthful, so I’ll break it down for you. The Wailer 112 is, you guessed it, 112 millimeters underfoot. DPS categorizes this ski as an all-mountain or mixed snow touring ski. On the Park City side of the Wasatch Range, 112 mm underfoot may be all you need while still offering ample float in deeper snow. At the top is a massive 141 mm-wide shovel, while the rear is supported by a 128 mm tail. And an 18 meter radius at the 184 centimeter length keeps the Wailer 112 nice and snappy for varied terrain. In comparison to the older Wailer 112 RP, the RP2 features lower tip and tail rocker. DPS claims this revised shape provides stability and increases power—all good things.
The Wailer 112 RP2 comes in three different construction forms: the Pure3, the Tour1, and the Foundation. For our purposes I will be discussing the characteristics of the Tour1 construction. For more information on the other constructions, visit the DPS website.
Tour 1 construction is meant to be lightweight. And I emphasize lightweight since the Wailer 112 RP2 comes in at a scant 1,550 grams! Other skis in the same genre can weigh hundreds of grams heavier. Obviously this low weight helps with the ‘tour’ side of ski touring. Fast ascents mean you can get in more laps, more turns, and more Instagram posts. On the inside is a low-density, lightweight Balsa wood core and an aerospace carbon laminate. DPS claims that this material combination not only keeps the weight low, but also creates a damp and torsionally stiff ski.
I’ve been skiing my entire life, but I am relatively new to this whole “escape the lift lines, pure snow, backcountry” experience. One thing that I learned pretty quickly is that a tour-specific ski really does make all the difference. A lightweight touring ski will ultimately descend differently than your alpine setup but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Often an adjustment to your skiing style is all you need to make the most of a lightweight touring ski. The Wailers are meant to be treated aggressively as well. They have been designed with durable materials and construction techniques, so don’t shy away from skiing them hard. Even a heavy and aggressive skier won’t be able to break these well-made skis.
Let’s start with the up. The Wailers excel on climbs. I tested them on a very cold, crisp day with falling snow so I wanted to get to the top of the skin track quickly. There wasn’t a single moment when I didn’t appreciate the Wailers’ feather-light weight. The only downside, and I’m being picky, is that a wider ski results in a little more skin drag. My normal touring setup comes in at a healthy 97 mm underfoot. The 112 mm underfoot Wailer should technically create more friction. Again, I’m being nit picky, and this was really a non-issue. For those of you out there looking for maximum efficiency, you may lean toward the Wailer 99’s, which include all the same attributes as the 112, but are even lighter and may not have as much float underfoot in deep snow.
Ok, so now the part we all really care about. The Wailers were very lively and fun to ski. They jumped well and let me move from turn to turn with ease. I had some trouble pushing through dense or crusty snow on lower-angle aspects where it was hard to hold my momentum.
To be honest, the days I was out on the Wailers were not exactly blower pow conditions. But my time did allow me to test on varied snow conditions.
In the resort on the way back out, the 18 meter radius on the 184 cm Wailer was a lot of fun. And while these aren’t carving skis, they reacted quickly and held a turn phenomenally well. I’m sure the place where the Wailers excel is in deep snow. But even in the 4-6 inches I was skiing, I wasn’t disappointed. The very pronounced rocker profile kept the tip on top of the snow while the stiff tail provided lots of power and control when I was transitioning between turns.
Overall the Wailer 112 RP2 Tour1 is on my shortlist for my favorite touring skis. The lighter weight is great for skinning and keeps the ski lively and fun on the slopes. If you’re looking for something a bit heavier that can punch through dense or crusty snow a bit easier, look to the Pure3 construction.
By: Paul Boyle, Marketing Associate
*Post updated on 2/11/20