Pros: Light and nimble
Cons: Feedback was too digital for my taste
The new DPS Wailer 99 is the replacement for the Wailer 95 (hence the orange) with a smidge in the Wailer 105 thrown in. Since I only had a chance to test the 99 in what is to be considered some of the terrain it will encounter, man-made packed pow groomers, this will be a first part of a (at least) two part review.
First of all, the Wailer 99 is visually different than most skis in this class, I would say it looked like the love child of the Bonafide and a Rossi S3 in shape, cambered underfoot with significant early rise (ala a Wailer 112/S7/S3) and a shorter rise in the tail than either the Bonafide or either of the Rossi's. As far as color..they are orange...very very orange, one of the best oranges ever put to a ski. BTW, I am partial to orange.
OK...on snow. I started off with my benchmark in the 98mm category, the Bonafide which handled as expected. Once I got my feet dialed in, I switched to the Wailer 99. Even though the Wailer 99 I tested was a 184cm in length, it skis much shorter in feel than the 180 Bonafide. The feel was not nervous or unstable shorter but it was more nimble compared to the Bonafide. On the packed yet edgible snow the Wailer cranked out very smooth precise turns but...(there is always a "but") the turns were without feeling or warmth. There is something about a wood/metal construction ski that adds a bit of warmth to a ski. While the Wailer 99 is designed and marketed more as an off piste ski, anything in this size range is now expected to be able to perform on the conditions I skied today andwhile the Wailer did performed up to the task it didn't have the feel I look for in a ski. That part again is purely subjective.
Conclusion: I will hold my final verdict until I can take out the 99 in softer/deeper mixed conditions, where I do think the Wailer will perform as expected, and knowing the 112RP, better than most in this class. As far as hard snow, the Wailer 99 performs almost as well as the outgoing Wailer 95 (too hard snow biased for a 95 mm ski) but but being more playful. I do feel the off piste feel will overcome the (very) subjective and in reality minor shortcomings on the frontside. If your intent is to have a 99 waisted ski that is off piste oriented, the 99 should be on your list to demo.
Length Tested: 184cm
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 125/99/111
Camber: , Early Rise, Tip & Tail w/camber
Mount point: Suggested (at -0-)
Environment & Conditions:
Location of Test: Northstar
Number of Runs: 3
Snow Conditions: Packed Powder/Manmade
Demo or Own: Demo
Height/Weight: 5'10" 185lb
Ski Days/Season: 40-60
Years Skiing: 35
Aggressiveness: Moderate (Finesse)
Current Quiver: 12 Rossignol Experience 88, 12 Blizzard Bonafide, 12 DPS 112RP Pure
Home Area: Squaw & Northstar
Preferred Terrain: bumps, off-piste, trees