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DPS Demo Ski Reviews

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

 

  On 16 January, my 16-year old daughter and I got a chance to try a few different DPS skis at Alta. We each did 2 runs on each: the first run under the Collins chair and in the trees next to the lift on the upper half of the mountain (Fred’s Slot and Spring Valley), then cutting down and across Collins Face to Bear Paw (forgive with me as I don’t know the names of these runs and am looking them up on a trail map and quite possibly will get them wrong). For the second run we took Wildcat chair up, traversed through the gates, entered the second cut and worked our way down Wildcat Face [with the Lotus 120s I wussed out and took them down Johnson’s Warm-Up to Collins Face and into Bear Paw. The key thing to take away from the conditions this day was that it was raining and the snow was super wet; visibility was next to zero. The bumps were a mixture of soft snow on top of a hard base.

  I am 6’1”, 175 pounds. I used to say that I was a level 8 skier, but some days I think that I’m closer to level 3; however, this was one of my good days (except on the 120s). I ski 50+ days a season in Utah, mostly at Alta and sometimes at Solitude. Keep in mind that most of my skiing is done off-piste and I mostly view groomers as a way to get back to the lift. I am a regular recreational skier who learned to ski on cross country skis and in the backcountry, and I have been skiing for 30 years. My resort downhill skis are: Stöckli XLs, 184cm; Elan Apex, 177cm; Stöckli DP Pro, 193 cm; Liberty Hazmat, 181 cm, Elan 1010, 183 cm, Praxis Protest, 188 cm.

  My daughter is 5’7”, 145 pounds. She has been skiing for the past 8 years, 5 of those years as part of the Alta Youth Club (AYC). She is a solid level 7 skier and has skied all of Alta with the exception of Baldy Chutes and depending upon the conditions, I’ll probably let her ski them this year. She is also a basic telemark skier and has already skied 20+ days so far this year. Her downhill resort skis are: Dynastar Exclusive Legend, 158 cm, Volkl Kenja, 163 cm, Volkl Queen Ativa, 156 cm, Atomic Century, 166 cm.

 

  I demoed:

Wailer 112RP “Banana” ski, 190 cm

Lotus 120 hybrid, 190 cm

Wailer 95 hybrid, 185 cm

 

  My daughter demoed:

Wailer 105 hybrid, 178 cm

Wailer 95 women hybrid, 175 cm

 

  For our first run, my daughter skied the Wailer 105 hybrids in a 178 cm ski; she had recently demoed a pair of Surface skis in a 180 cm length, but 178 cm is still long for her. I skied the Wailer 112 RPs or as everyone seemed to call them, the Banana ski. First thing is my daughter loved the Wailer 105s. They had a strength and presence to them that let her cut through the crud and soft snow, held on hardpack, but were nimble enough so that she could take them through the trees and moguls. Unfortunately for me, she said that they were the ski that she wished her Volkl Kenjas were. This is the ski that she now “has to have.” I have to admit that I was impressed watching her ski them: a 16-year old girl skiing a men’s 178 cm ski off-piste down black diamond trails and driving them wherever she wanted. I only wish that I had gotten a chance to ski them, too.

  The Banana ski was a revelation. These skis are really good. They didn’t slide like I thought they would in the hard “icy” bumps and they turned wherever I wanted with little effort. The ski they reminded me the most of was my Praxis Protests, but at 112 mm underfoot, they turned much quicker (the Protests are 130 mm under foot). They are a more relaxing ski than my Elan 1010s and probably would be equally good in those conditions where I like my 1010s. This is a ski that would have really shined if there had been some powder. For all of that, I find my 1010s to be better suited to my style of skiing, and like that with my Elans, I can attack the hill much more than with the slarving style that the 112 RPs require even when there isn’t much soft snow—but that’s what’s amazing, you can even slarve a turn when the snow is hard without thinking that the ski will throw you.

  For our second run, I skied the Lotus 120s while my daughter skied the women’s Wailer 95s. After the 105s, the 95s were a bit of a letdown for her. A women’s ski, she felt that they weren’t as aggressive as the 105s, didn’t have the same edge hold and just weren’t as good a ski. That is, not that they aren’t a good ski, but were more of a regular ski while the 105s are something special; the 95s were more akin to her Volkl Kenjas.

  This was not the day for the Lotus 120s and the runs we skied were not where the 120s belong. While I was tempted to take them down Greeley Bowl, the lack of visibility meant that I really needed to keep them near trees so I could have some idea of where I was. These skis are a wider version of my DP Pros. This type of ski has its place, but one that is very limited.

  For our final run, I skied the men’s Wailer 95 (I really wanted to try the 105, but no luck) while my daughter skied the women’s Wailer 95 again. My sense of the 95s is that they are a good ski, but nothing special. They are a capable mid-fat ski that can go most everywhere. Mid-90 skis are very common; the Wailer 95s are just as good as the other mid-90s out there, but there’s nothing to make them stand out. They are definitely worth trying out.

  Overall, I was very impressed with DPS skis. The two skis to search out are the Wailer 112 RPs and the Wailer 105s. The Wailer 112 RP “Banana” skis have the potential to be a western daily driver while judging by my daughter’s take on the Wailer 105s, those skis are exceptional and have the potential to be the only ski you ever need—the perfect one ski to take on a vacation.

post #2 of 16

After seeing a bunch of DPS skis at Powder Mountain a couple of weeks I decided to check them out.  I picked up a pair of Icelantic Keepers this year and after skiing powder and crud for two days at Pow Mow I love them but their weight really took its toll on me.  The 112RP sounds like it might be a good option to try.  Now I just need to find a way to justify a $1200 ski to my wife.


Edited by cstreu1026 - 2/7/11 at 4:00pm
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

If you come up with a good idea post it here so the rest of us can try it as well smile.gif

post #4 of 16

Unless you're touring with them I really believe that the Hybrid construction is better for most inbounds skiers.  So you're not looking at $1200 for the 112RP - now it's down to $799.

 

When people say that these fun shape skis (like the 112RP) are a total game changer it's not an exaggeration.  I never want to ski anything else again on a powder day.

post #5 of 16

Now I really need to get back out to Utah now so I can demo them.

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
When people say that these fun shape skis (like the 112RP) are a total game changer it's not an exaggeration.  I never want to ski anything else again on a powder day.

 

Ehh, I wouldn't say that with such definitive. They have too much shape to really charge untracked snow - you can do it, but they need too much management for it to be as fun as it possibly could be. Give me a low sidecut stiff ski with tip rocker in those conditions and I'll have twice as much fun. Full throttle down upper Peak 7 and Horseshoe at Breck on Sunday, I had to fight the turnability that makes my Billy Goats so much fun in the trees. The experience left me wishing I had mounted up my El Dictators before that weekend. They'll be mounted up before the next storm, for sure. The denser the snow, the more I have to manage them. However, once it gets chopped up, I don't really notice it because the choppy snow makes it impossible for the sidecut to track - though the straighter/stiffer/damper ski would be more fun here, too. That said, I love love love the Billy Goats in the trees. Stone Creek Chutes at Beaver Creek was off the hook on Monday: aspens, pillows, and thigh-deep pow. There isn't anything I love more than being in that kind of terrain, after a large storm, with my BGs.

post #7 of 16

^^^^^^  You and I ski very differently.  I never straight line anything.  That's just a waste of good snow. wink.gif

 

BTW - I beg to differ on the characterization that these skis have lots of shape.  They don't.  What gives them the tighter turn radius is the shorter contact length combined with lots of rocker.  It's not deep sidecuts (aka "shape") that makes them turny.  I have had no trouble on my Wailer 112RPs "charging" cut-up and crud, BUT I'm never riding a flat ski either.  Different strokes for different folks...

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

^^^^^^  You and I ski very differently.  I never straight line anything.  That's just a waste of good snow. wink.gif

 

BTW - I beg to differ on the characterization that these skis have lots of shape.  They don't.  What gives them the tighter turn radius is the shorter contact length combined with lots of rocker.  It's not deep sidecuts (aka "shape") that makes them turny.  I have had no trouble on my Wailer 112RPs "charging" cut-up and crud, BUT I'm never riding a flat ski either.  Different strokes for different folks...

I'm with you.  My Icelantic Keepers have a tight turn radius and they are a blast in powder.
 

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

^^^^^^  You and I ski very differently.  I never straight line anything.  That's just a waste of good snow. wink.gif

 

BTW - I beg to differ on the characterization that these skis have lots of shape.  They don't.  What gives them the tighter turn radius is the shorter contact length combined with lots of rocker.  It's not deep sidecuts (aka "shape") that makes them turny.  I have had no trouble on my Wailer 112RPs "charging" cut-up and crud, BUT I'm never riding a flat ski either.  Different strokes for different folks...


Not straight lining, short-terminated long radius turns at high speed (ignore the girl in the video who keeps screaming, she was having a good day - probably one of the the best she's had on Peak 7.. hah):

 

 

The hookiness problem happens when initiating turns at high speeds - and it's not in cut-up and crud, the problem only seems to happen in ~untracked. The Billy Goats have no problem charging cut-up and crud either (though damp/stiff/longer skis are better at this), as you can see here, on the same run, just a few laps later:

 


Holding a less aggressive stance is how I've been able to manage it - stay more on top of the ski, rather than 'out in front' of it. The more aggressive stance you take, the quicker it'll hook up into the turn radius and throw you across the fall line. It's not really a fault, per-se, but more like a mismatch between the style of skiing and the design of the ski. Basically.. use the right tool for the day/style/terrain... which is why I have both the BGs and the El Dictators, despite them both being a heavily powder-oriented ski.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

Unless you're touring with them I really believe that the Hybrid construction is better for most inbounds skiers.  So you're not looking at $1200 for the 112RP - now it's down to $799.

 

 


Granted the weight of the two skis is different and significant for touring, DPS skis tend to ski quite differently in hybrid vs pure constructions.

I wouldn't say either is better for inbounds vs out, just whichever is best for what you are looking for.

post #11 of 16
Quote:

Originally Posted by RJP View Post

 

Granted the weight of the two skis is different and significant for touring, DPS skis tend to ski quite differently in hybrid vs pure constructions.

I wouldn't say either is better for inbounds vs out, just whichever is best for what you are looking for.

 

I say that (and it's repeated many times by others) because the Pure construction is nowhere near as damp (even with the new S.S. tech) as the Hybrid construction.  This comes into play much more when inbounds due to the more likely occurrence of skiing tracked out lines and harder snow conditions.  When you're touring you sure aren't searching for tracked out snow.  So the Pures are just fine when you get to pick a perfect line.  There has been much written about the "feel" of Pures on hard pack and crud and that's where the dampness of the Hybrid construction really shines.

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Lindahl View Post

Holding a less aggressive stance is how I've been able to manage it - stay more on top of the ski, rather than 'out in front' of it. The more aggressive stance you take, the quicker it'll hook up into the turn radius and throw you across the fall line.


This is valid for my S7's, another 5-point design. If you want to utilize the convex shape out at the ends and surf, you need to be more neutral. If you want to access the concave mid-ski (and carve/bank fast), more forward. Suspect any 5-point design is more sensitive to stance than traditional; the tradeoff for versatility. And your point about untracked vs tracked makes sense too, broken snow will catch/release too fast to pressure a real hook. 

 

OTOH, most of us, most of the time, are skiing broken snow or pow in the trees more than untracked bliss, which is why it's called the 112RP (Resort Powder). In perfect snowfields, we should all be on Praxis Powders...biggrin.gif

post #13 of 16

^^^^^^^^  Good points.  I agree completely.

post #14 of 16

Quote:

Originally Posted by beyond View Post

If you want to utilize the convex shape out at the ends and surf, you need to be more neutral.


I'm not really talking about surfing, here - I generally only surf in tight steeps and trees. I'm talking about long radius powder carving. When you get forward, it's really hard to maintain a long radius turn, compared to staying more neutral. Again, I must say that this trait may sound like a detriment, but it's a beautiful tool in tight areas: being able to rapidly change your turn shape by adjusting your stance. I'm wondering if it has more to do with the side affect of the pintail design - there's a lot more sidecut in the front of these skis than the rear. I suppose this would mean you'll track a longer turn radius when you engage more of the rear sidecut, and a tighter turn radius when you engage more of the front sidecut, which jives with our experiences.

 

I should also say that while this characteristic (tighter turns in an aggressive stance) is native to the design of any ski (even old straights), due to forward pressure and tip-weighting/bending, I find it to be MUCH more pronounced in skis like the S7 and Billy Goat.

post #15 of 16

Brian - sounds like you would benefit from a possible binding mount position adjustment.  Have you messed around with binding position as a variable and its effect on ski performance?

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

Brian - sounds like you would benefit from a possible binding mount position adjustment.  Have you messed around with binding position as a variable and its effect on ski performance?


Possibly. I'd rather not mess with mounting, though, since I love how they perform in tight places (what I bought them for). I definitely don't want to make any trade-offs in the wrong direction.

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