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2013 DPS Wailer 99 (not a full review!)

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

This is a quick report on a demo of DPS Wailer 99 in 184 length.  I must preface that the conditions were all manmade groomed snow on one run at early season conditions at Squaw, so this is in no way a comprehensive evaluation of the ski capabilities.  Nevertheless, DOS positions this ski as an all-mountain one ski quiver weapon, so putting it on an icy scratchy slope was fair game.  I hope to get another chance to put it through more varied terrain later in the season.

 

This is unmistakably a Wailer, despite claims from Phil and Msolson that this is a different ski, it looks almost like a virtual clone of their big brother the 112.  See the pictures at the end of this post for a comparison.  It is not necessarily a bad thing, as the 112 is a great soft snow ski.  In hand flexing I noticed a pretty stiff midsection up to the rocker, followed by a softer (and quite rockered) tip and less rockered tail.  The construction and finish is typical DPS: quality vertical sidewall with not a lot of flair or flourish.  My ski had "test" engraved on it, so I am sure it was a prerelease unit. 

 

Skiing impressions:  At least to my early season legs the 99 skied like a rather short ski.  They initiated very quickly and pulled you into a turn with no effort, but once in the turn the short edge proved to be a big disadvantage.  That ski does not have this locked on edge feel as a good carver or a good all-mountain ski would.  Again DPS knows how to make a damp ski,  so I did not notice much tip flapping.  What surprised me the most was a pretty anemic feel of the tail of the ski, there was not much energy there.   The good part was in some sort of the bumps that developed on the left side of the slope, the tall tip is a huge help there, you just can never stuff that into a bump, and the rockered tails release beautifully.  This is something that I loved in the 112 and 99 has the same character.

 

So why was this ski a disappointment on the hardback- the answer is simple, the early taper rockered tip and tail do not give that ski enough edge to be a good carver, and with no metal the stiffness and dampness is not on a slalom racing ski level.  Take a look at how much of the ski forebody is off the snow in this turn.  

 

Wailer99_1.jpg

Just for comparison, here is a shot of the Bonafide (in much better conditions last year), notice that the ski edge is engaged tip-to-tail, despite it also being a rockered design.  

Bonafide_1.tiff

 

 As a counterpoint, the Dynastar 105 shares a similar early rise/early taper design to some extent and that ski was a great carver, and also in 184 length =.  But the 105 is a beefier ski with quite a bit of metal, so maybe this is the key to hard snow carving.  

 

Some additional pictures to give you a better idea of the ski shape.  I put it next to my brand new 112RP:

Overall shape:

PC040701.jpg

 

Tip rocker profiles:

PC040703.jpg

 

Tail rocker:

PC040704.jpg

 

 

 

Now the obligatory BeyondAct disclosure: I am NOT an employee of either DPS or StartHaus.  I own a brand new pair of DPS 112, so presumably I have an invested interest in promoting the DPS brand to prop up the market value of my recent purchase.  I also own a pair of Bonafides, so presumably I have and invested interest to not make the 99 the next best thing and not to prop up the DPS to protect the market value of the aforementioned Bonafide skis.  On the other hand, as a presumed viral marketer I have an interest in creating the next best thing, being it DPS or Blizzard or another brand.  On yet another point, my wife has an invested interest for not creating any kind of the next best thing to protect our family budget next year, and I have to respect her wishes.   I will let you all figure it out. (hint: Sarcasm). 


Edited by alexzn - 12/10/11 at 12:42am
post #2 of 41

Thanks for the first look.

 

I am curious about the feel of the ski. You said it is damp and then in the next paragraph that it is not damp... Can you make any clarification on that point?

 

Do you have any direct comparison with the 105 or the Bone or the 112?

post #3 of 41
Thread Starter 

Sorry for not being more precise- I meant that the ski is damp enough that the rocker does not feel like it is flapping at speed  (if it is flapping, it is not transmitted to the skier).  It is not as damp as a full wood-metal construction would feel.  

 

No direct comparison with Bone of 105, I skied those two in very different conditions, and, again, it is very rare for us to ski man-made groomers here.  With a bit of luck I may be able to tak out my Bone tomorrow, then I will be able to tell you something. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

Thanks for the first look.

 

I am curious about the feel of the ski. You said it is damp and then in the next paragraph that it is not damp... Can you make any clarification on that point?

 

Do you have any direct comparison with the 105 or the Bone or the 112?



 

post #4 of 41

Thanks for the mini first report.  Hopefully you can give em another rip in better conditions.   Pray for snow and when you get some send some of that precip south please.

post #5 of 41

I got to ski the 176cm Hybrid yesterday....

 

I felt that is was actually a really good carver and had amazing composer  while getting though the 1000s of people skiing yesterday. It did feel short though in choppy snowmaking but in alot of way it made hardpack skiing feel like powder while still having enough edge on ice when you actually wanted it. Want to try the 184cm once we get more snow around

 

I do have to say though I stay a ton more countered while I am skiing and that is going to affect how I feel ski carves. When I got enough room to let these things run I could have put my hip on the ground. I felt no limit to their high edge angle hard snow and ice grip.

post #6 of 41

 

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. 

 

Product:

Length Tested: 184cm

Dimensions/Turn Radius: 125/99/111

Camber: , Early Rise, Tip & Tail w/camber

Binding: Demo

Mount point: Suggested (at -0-)

 

Environment & Conditions:

Location of Test: Northstar

Number of Runs: 3

Snow Conditions: Packed Powder/Manmade

Demo or Own: Demo

 

Tester Info:

Username: Philpug

Age: 48

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

 

 

post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

 

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. 

 

Product:

Length Tested: 184cm

Dimensions/Turn Radius: 125/99/111

Camber: , Early Rise, Tip & Tail w/camber

Binding: Demo

Mount point: Suggested (at -0-)

 

Environment & Conditions:

Location of Test: Northstar

Number of Runs: 3

Snow Conditions: Packed Powder/Manmade

Demo or Own: Demo

 

Tester Info:

Username: Philpug

Age: 48

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

 

 



Bang!

post #8 of 41

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

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.


Any chance you could expand on that a little?  I'm not sure I know what warmth means in this context.

post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

Any chance you could expand on that a little?  I'm not sure I know what warmth means in this context.


Rounded, not tinny or overly treble-y.

post #10 of 41

Phil hybrid or carbon?

 

 

 

post #11 of 41
Thread Starter 
Hybrid.
post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 


Any chance you could expand on that a little?  I'm not sure I know what warmth means in this context.



Warmth in the sense of a piano vs. a synthesizer for music.

post #13 of 41

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

Warmth in the sense of a piano vs. a synthesizer for music.


So, I still don't have any idea what that means in terms of a ski.  What does warmth feel like?  Or, if it's easier, what does a lack of warmth feel like?  Or, even just give me some other skis that you consider to have warmth as well as some that don't?

post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 


So, I still don't have any idea what that means in terms of a ski.  What does warmth feel like?  Or, if it's easier, what does a lack of warmth feel like?  Or, even just give me some other skis that you consider to have warmth as well as some that don't?



Warmth is like analog vs. digital. In a ski, a Kastle MX series has a warm feel and smoothness. A Goode with a tremendous amount of carbon fiber is not warm. A home can be warm a museum usually is not. Not that any of this is right or wrong, it is just preference in what you look for in a product (or even an environment). Does that help? I is very much a tangible feeling. 

post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

Warmth is like analog vs. digital. In a ski, a Kastle MX series has a warm feel and smoothness. A Goode with a tremendous amount of carbon fiber is not warm. A home can be warm a museum usually is not. Not that any of this is right or wrong, it is just preference in what you look for in a product (or even an environment). Does that help? I is very much a tangible feeling. 


Yeah, I think I know what you're going for, I'm just not sure whether or not I've experienced it (or paid attention to it, maybe).  Thanks though.  It's something to keep in mind next time I demo.

post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post


Yeah, I think I know what you're going for, I'm just not sure whether or not I've experienced it (or paid attention to it, maybe).  Thanks though.  It's something to keep in mind next time I demo.



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post



Warmth is like analog vs. digital. In a ski, a Kastle MX series has a warm feel and smoothness. A Goode with a tremendous amount of carbon fiber is not warm. A home can be warm a museum usually is not. Not that any of this is right or wrong, it is just preference in what you look for in a product (or even an environment). Does that help? I is very much a tangible feeling. 


Next time someone looks at me over the top of his bifocals as I struggle to describe why I like a particular wine, this thread will come to mind, I'm sure. Kudos to you, Phil, for acknowledging implicitly that there are things we can't quantify which nonetheless are real and matter. Even when it comes to skis.

post #17 of 41

Without getting into the skis, gotta say that Phil's "warmth" idea is one of the few original approaches to feel that I've come across in the past few years. Could be analyzed as how the various frequency vibrations are distributed, just like you can do a spectroscopic analysis of wine if you want, but this is a great shorthand. Next up: Terrior.

post #18 of 41

hey alex and phil, thanks for the reviews.  most appreciated.

 

to answer a couple things in alex's review, the wailer 99 follows the same concepts in shaping as the wailer 112, but due to its different application and intended use, the flex pattern, taper angles, radius etc.  are all different than the w112.  so yes, the general idea is the same, but the wailer 99 is not just a scaled smaller ski with a little less rocker.  it has the same design concepts applied to an different package.  hopefully that makes more sense?

 

i look forward to your reviews once the ski is tested in natural snow. for me, the ski really came to life in natural snow, since you can more fully access all of the effective edge, even in scraped off courderouy.  of course, testing the ski in every condition, including man-made, is fair game and appreciated, especially since the ski is marketed as a quiver-of-one / daily-driver type ski. 

 

in other news, i will send a pair of Pure wailer 99's to start haus as well (though not likely for a couple of weeks yet), as i am interested to hear the subjective "ride feeling" feedback from you guys.

 

 

post #19 of 41

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 

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.

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 Any chance you could expand on that a little?  I'm not sure I know what warmth means in this context.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheDad View Post

Rounded, not tinny or overly treble-y.

 

I managed one demo run (just one) on the dps 99 pure a couple of weeks ago, and I've been struggling to properly describe the feeling of the skis to my skiing friends ever since.  The above does it better than anything I've yet come up with.  The skis were planted, felt shorter than their 184cm, felt very light on my feet, initiated very easily in all conditions and held a carve with plenty (lots) of grip, but there was a feeling through the ski that's unlike anything else I've ever been on.  This is the first carbon ski I've tried, of course, so 'different' was absolutely what I expected.  I just couldn't describe it properly. I had settled on this - they had a "zingy" feel (and sound) without a great deal of feel for the snow.  Having said that, I was looking for a light weight, do-anything ski to throw in the bag for overseas trips (those airline weight restrictions are a killer) and I'd love to give the 99 another look.

 

I guess my short summary is this - the carbon layup gives it a unique feel; try it, you might like it.  If not, try the hybrid layup.

 

 

 

post #20 of 41

I got the chance to ride both the hybrid and pure versions of freshly-tuned pairs of the Wailer 99 here in Vermont in a combination of iced-up, rutted death concrete in the morning, some shin-deep powder sections, hardpack groomers, soft groomers, spring cut-up crud and mush.  This is not a full review, but hopefully some useful observations from my rides.

 

1000

 



The best thing is to describe my day as it progressed.

Being spring, I wanted to find the firm surfaces quickly before things softened up...so I headed to the  shady mountain side trails (Magic Mountain, VT).

First thing in the morning, it was rock-hard, refrozen surfaces on these narrow side trails. The problem was they had not been groomed since the previous day's tracks were set by dozens of skiers in late afternoon springtime mush, so it was deadly, iced-up criss-cross tracks in every direction, hard as concrete, uneven, pitted, pockmarked, unpredictablly multidirectional surface texture and bulletproof.  I picked the pure carbon version of the Wailer 99s for these first hardpack runs.  The pair I demoed had been delivered fresh off the grinder in pristine shape.  First turns echoed what many people have mentioned in other forums since the 99 was released: if the 99s are not detuned just right...they will be hornery and difficult, resisting directional changes and resisting turn completion or "rounding off" the turns.  I struggled like a racer trying to survive a slalom course with railed race stock skis.  After getting down the mountain in survival mode, I had Mike Cannon from DPS give the 99s a little detune rubdown after describing the symptoms I experienced.  Bingo.  The first turn with the tips and tails slightly detuned were instantly awesome and sports-car like....completely different ski.  This is not to say the 99s are testy or difficult, it merely shows their geometry is sensitive to edge tune on hard surfaces when they come fresh off the grinder, and anyone who owns a pair will tell you the detune is the regular ritual after freshening the bases with a nice grind.al

First off, the Wailer 99 is nothing like the Wailer 112.  Completely different feel and personality in my book.  The 99 is more closely aligned in feel to the Wailer 105 than the 112, but yet completely different in how it behaves and responds to input.  As with all DPS skis I have tried, the "Pure" and "Hybrid" versions have the same difference in how they feel in the two constructions.  The Pure is a high-tension, high-horsepower feedback-loop tool capable of very high power levels and responsiveness, with an accordingly high degree of feedback to the pilot.  The Pures beg for high pressure situations and athletic commands, and respond accordingly.  If you are not on top of your game, you can be in for an abrupt lesson in how much more performance there is to be found in a ski these days.  A DPS ski in Pure construction layup can surprise a lesser skier with its immediate response and feedback, and could tire an intermediate skier who will try to fight it instead of embrace its high-tension personality.  At no point are the Pures nervous or ill behaved.  They are the Formula 1 construction versus the club-racer construction.   High-end feel for high-end skiers. The "Hybrid" constructions have a more dampened, quieter, more relaxed and less demanding feel underfoot.  No less capable, just less intense. The feedback underfoot is still excellent, but not as instantaneous and direct as the Pure construction skis.  I would put an intermediate or expert on the Hybrids, but hesitate to put an intermediate on the Pures until they demonstrate some skill to manage riding such a ski.  I like the hybrids for general, all--purpose usage and as a demo-ski in our collection since everyone will enjoy a Hybrid DPS, while a Pure DPS is really for athletic skiers ready for a rip-roaring time.  DPS really has their two constructions dialed-in for the same molds to produce two very different experiences from the same geometry.  Both models have a remarkably light feel since they are, indeed, very lightweight.  The light feel reveals itself more and more as your day goes on skiing the Wailer 99.

The Wailer 99 could indeed be a one-ski quiver since it really can rail the groomers with impressive G-force across the fall line, demonstrating a tenacious grip and acceleration out of a loaded turn, generating lots of grins and smiles along the way.  It is controlled and damp, while being very lively and snappy without a trace of heaviness.  While the 99's hardpack grip is only slightly less intense than a dedicated, frontside carving ski, it delivers excellent carving security and power.  Like any high-performance sports car, the Wailer 99 has a unique personality and feel, and the carving feel is not like a "traditional" carving or race ski due to its innovative shape.  You need to have a discussion with the ski as you learn its likes and dislikes, learning how it wants to be skied to keep it in its sweet spot.  Once you learn how it likes to be skied, it delivers beaucoup performance on hard surfaces, perhaps the best in the 100mm-waisted class.  The Pure construction craves direct, dedicated and deliberate commands, and the pilot needs to be ready for instantaneous response and feedback, which it delivers on-demand.  This can be an addiction to many skiers, and if you like that kind of interplay with your ski, the 99 Pure might be just the ticket you're looking for.  The Hybrid construction delivers the same relative experience, but requires fewer calories-per-turn, delivering a slightly less intense response and feedback to the pilot, resulting in a more subdued interaction between the skier and the snow surface and terrain.  If you are in good physical condition, the Pure will feed your addiction.  If you ski for recreation more than exercise, the Hybrid construction would probably be your model choice.

 

While the hardpack grip and performance is superb for a 100mm-waisted ski (they ski like a MUCH thinner ski than the dimensions would indicate), you need to learn a slightly different pattern of weight placement, pressure and transition timing through your turns on the hardest surfaces than you would with the "traditional" carving ski....which is fine, because you are riding a 100mm ski underfoot with a paddle-like geometry, not a traditional hourglass-shaped carver.  Some people get on the 99 and immediately dislike it because it does not have the "traditional carver feel", and they dismiss the ski's design.  If you adapt your commands to suit the geometry of the ski, and don't expect the ski to adapt to your traditional style on hardpack, you get a very, very impressive hardsnow experience that can put other skis this size to shame.  You can generate some excellent hip-dragging turns on groomers with the Wailer 99 geometry.

 

In variable surface conditions, the 99 can cut a stable line through manky, cut up crud, adapting to hard, soft and medium density snow without a hint of deflection or wobble.  Put the pedal-to-the-metal, and the 99 is a serious cutting device, not a surfy flop-noodle by any means.  Think "surgical" rather than "surfy".  When riding the Hybrid through variable snow conditions, the ski is quiet, compliant and totally friendly, with a surprising agility and ability to change direction instantly with very little input.  Get lazy, and the Hybrid 99's rabbit-like reflexes can put you in the back seat since it will take your input and immediately transfer it to the ski as a command, not a suggestion, so you need to pay attention.  Riding the Pure 99 in the same conditions results in the same instant-response scenario, just faster, stronger, quicker and more immediate.  The Wailer 99 can indeed handle the cut up, mid-day snow surface with commanding authority and capability.  These skis are not designed for lazy skiers, but sporty, athletic riders.

 

In soft or deeper snow, the geometry of the Wailer 99 shows its Wailer 112 heritage more than hardpack or cruddy conditions.  The forebody responds in a compliant, easy-direction changing manner, while I got the distinct impression the Wailer 99 maintains a slightly "tail sinker" personality in the deeper snow (similar to a pintail design).  I found the 99 surfed up in the soft snow, sank its tail a bit and let you wag your way through the trees and obstacles really nicely with remarkable agility.  While the Wailer 112 maintains a more continuous surfy feel in soft snow through its entire length, the Wailer 99 floats up front and does its pintail-sink routine, so you get a much different feeling ski.  You can ski the Wailer 99 in soft snow with great agility and ease, with a distinctly more directional feel than its Wailer 112 brethren which displays a more surfy, slarvy feel.  The Pure 99 has a more immediate and pronounced directional change, both vertically and horizontally, in deeper snow conditions than the Hybrid 99, so you get to pick your personality depending on your preference, which is fun.

 

In short, the Wailer 99 geometry is indeed a serious contender for the "one-ski-quiver" category, since it really has no weak spots in its performance envelope. It's not the most intense carving ski ever made, or the most nirvana-like powder surfer, but it has a seriously high level of performance in a wider range of snow conditions than nearly any ski I can think of.  If the Wailer had a bias, I would describe it as "East Coast" or "tight terrain" all-around ski, rather than a Western-biased ski due to its carving prowess and directional nature.  The feel and personality of this innovative design is indeed different than pretty much any other ski I can think of in this class, and it may feel somewhat foreign to some skiers for their first few runs until they figure out how the Wailer 99 likes to be skied.  The Wailer 99 in Pure carbon construction is one of the more intense skis out there with these dimensions and can make any expert want to spend more time in the gym to match the performance available in this ski.  The Hybrid is the crowd-pleaser model which might be an ideal patroller ski in resorts with variable surfaces day to day.  Once you get it dialed-in, the Wailer 99 is indeed a sports car ski with a much narrower feel and more racy nature than any ski with similar dimensions.  DPS has delivered a remarkable ski with a huge performance envelope, and you need to demo the ski in properly tuned condition for a day in different conditions to see if you like the way its envelope tastes.

post #21 of 41

ExoticSkis, great review.  What length were you on?  I spent a day on Wailer 99 Hybrid's in Squaw last season (184cm length), but I was concerned that 184cm would be too long for tight eastern trees / bumps.

post #22 of 41

Could someone explain to me why this particular ski appears to demand detuning? I don't mean that some who like to skid and smear more want less grab, I mean that virtually every single review talks about how the ski is pretty unpleasant until its grip is neutered. From an outsider's perspective, it sounds as if the basic design is flawed, and the buyer has to reduce the grip to correct for it, at the cost of other parameters. But I'm sure that's too cynical. So what's the deal? Is it too stiff laterally for its longitudinal axis? Is it the five point design in a narrower ski? Is the contact point off relative to the shape? Is the design just fine, but too close to a FIS spec GS for all but elite skiers? Other? The 112RP doesn't suffer from this, so I wonder if paradoxically it's more about the tail than the front.


Edited by beyond - 8/6/12 at 11:46pm
post #23 of 41

beyond- just a few comments:

 

1. i personally detune my wailer 112's 6" tip and tail from the widest point back.  i personally do not detune my wailer 99's at all.  

2. the wailer 99 is a very engaged and powerful ski when full sharp.  some want this, some don't.  it really depends on how you want it to ski.  

3. if you want the ski a little looser, the w99 responds VERY well to detuning tip and tail, in the same way that the wailer 112 responds very well to detuning.

4. why would you NOT want a ski that is both very engaged and powerful but loose as well, and easily customizable between the two, when 30 seconds of modest edge preparation is all that is needed to tune the ride to preference?

5. basically all skis benefit from edge preparation when mounted.  as a tech, i would always inquire about the skiers needs and specifically prep the edge to their needs... on all skis (gotama, bibby, s7, what-have-you).  if your tech isn't doing this, they are IMO not giving you a great mount.  

6. DPS tunes skis according to each magazine's tester pool, but the traditional alpine magazines get no detune at all on the edge on any model of DPS they test, where the freestyle and backcountry magazines get a larger detune. based on the wailer 99's results in these test this coming fall, i can only say that detuning is not mandatory for all users, but is beneficial to some... just like every ski.

 

hopefully that helps.  cheers.

post #24 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post

ExoticSkis, great review.  What length were you on?  I spent a day on Wailer 99 Hybrid's in Squaw last season (184cm length), but I was concerned that 184cm would be too long for tight eastern trees / bumps.

 

176cm.  While the W99s feel narrower than their width specs, they feel approximately like their length.  I would be hard pressed to choose between 176 and 184 lengths for Ice Coast usage...

post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by msolson View Post

beyond- just a few comments:

 

1. i personally detune my wailer 112's 6" tip and tail from the widest point back.  i personally do not detune my wailer 99's at all.  

2. the wailer 99 is a very engaged and powerful ski when full sharp.  some want this, some don't.  it really depends on how you want it to ski.  

3. if you want the ski a little looser, the w99 responds VERY well to detuning tip and tail, in the same way that the wailer 112 responds very well to detuning.

4. why would you NOT want a ski that is both very engaged and powerful but loose as well, and easily customizable between the two, when 30 seconds of modest edge preparation is all that is needed to tune the ride to preference?

5. basically all skis benefit from edge preparation when mounted.  as a tech, i would always inquire about the skiers needs and specifically prep the edge to their needs... on all skis (gotama, bibby, s7, what-have-you).  if your tech isn't doing this, they are IMO not giving you a great mount.  

6. DPS tunes skis according to each magazine's tester pool, but the traditional alpine magazines get no detune at all on the edge on any model of DPS they test, where the freestyle and backcountry magazines get a larger detune. based on the wailer 99's results in these test this coming fall, i can only say that detuning is not mandatory for all users, but is beneficial to some... just like every ski.

 

hopefully that helps.  cheers.

 

I agree with Marshal on this...and it depends on the conditions.  The harder the surface, the more pronounced the edge tune feedback you get.  My own opinion is the W99 is shaped to be very responsive, and the engagement of the sidecut, camber and weight distribution factors along its length as you ski it on hard surfaces are very responsive, with slight tuning differences resulting in significant changes in behavior. Race skis show this type of behavior, with subtle differences in tuning resulting in vastly different handling since the chassis is designed for quick response and sensitivity of edging.  The W99 detune I spoke of during my time out was very minimal, and quite normal after a significant grind.  I think nearly any ski benefits from hand-tool edge prep after a trip through the grinder, even with the amazing finishes available from the automated machines these days.  To be honest, the death-trap surfaces I found my first runs out that day gave everyone trouble, no matter what ski they were on. In my opinion, the W99 does not need "detuning" as much as "fine-tuning" like a musical instrument or race car toe-in/camber..etc. to get it to sing just the way you want it to...some people like a degree of understeer, others like oversteer...each to a different degree, and the W99 can allow you to get just what you want in either direction.  For me, I typically like frontside skis to be nearly flat with maybe 0.5 degree base bevel, and sharp tip-to-tail so there is always excellent instant, locked-in grip available with no unwanted sliding.  Other folks hate that over-sharp feeling front-to-rear and want a looser-handling ride. I think the sensitivity people feel to the state of tune on the W99 is due to its smaller surface area than the W112, and the more surfy front and rear of the W112's rocker design.  The W99 feels like it lays down more edge in the turns than its W112 sibling, so I think people get more feedback from it, and they might expect a feeling like the W112, which they don't get since the skis are distinctly different.  My guess is most reviewers have skied the W112 first....then later on got on the W99, expecting a similar ride, but found a different feel.  In either case, both the W112 and W99 respond great to detailed tuning, and that's fun.

post #26 of 41

Hmm. OK, first in reply to MO #4: As I follow this, doesn't it violate physics to have a ski that's both engaged and loose by design? If by engaged you mean, wanting to keep the edges in a particular arc set by the skier, and if by loose you mean, wanting to break free of the arc to skid or smear. I can make my S7's or 112RP's carve on accepting hardpack. That doesn't make them engaged skis by design, it makes them fun shapes by design with center sections that can be enticed to carve. I suppose a WC racer can make his GS skis smear, but that doesn't make them loose. But perhaps this is semantics. I agree that 5 point designs can be fairly versatile for all mountain duties, but then so can a traditional shape. 

 

To #5: Not sure "edge prep" = detuning. Agree, all skis benefit from making sure the angles are constant (if you want that) and there are no burrs etc. But detuning, IMHO, is different. It's dialing back selectively on grip to correct some other innate tendency of the design. If a car gets twitchy at the apex, yep you can slap on different tires. But it's the suspension geometry that's the issue. The tires are a bandaid. Which can work just fine, but they're still bandaids.

 

So if DPS skis respond really well to detuning (and I've seen a number of threads about other models, same strategy), I'm strange enough not to see that as a positive; I assume that a well-designed ski should not need much if any detuning. And of course soft snow has nothing much to do with edges anyway, as Ingrid Backstrom famously noted last year, so there's no reason to detune powder skis. Or to sharpen them. Rather, all that detuning makes me wonder about the balance of longitudinal vs. lateral stiffness, or the damping qualities of the carbon, or whatever else may impact edge grip on firmer surfaces. Which is what I asked in the earlier post. Maybe the W99 may be getting more attention because it's the model that's likely to see more firm snow and ice. Or because the flatter tail makes its front rocker work differently than the 112? 

 

To Exotic Skis: IMO you do a U-turn. This is what you said at first: "if the 99s are not detuned just right...they will be hornery and difficult, resisting directional changes and resisting turn completion or "rounding off" the turns.  I struggled like a racer trying to survive a slalom course with railed race stock skis." 

 

Then you went to have their grip dialed back, and magic! All good. But then you went on to say: "If you are not on top of your game, you can be in for an abrupt lesson in how much more performance there is to be found in a ski these days.  A DPS ski in Pure construction layup can surprise a lesser skier with its immediate response and feedback, and could tire an intermediate skier who will try to fight it instead of embrace its high-tension personality.  At no point are the Pures nervous or ill behaved.  They are the Formula 1 construction versus the club-racer construction.   High-end feel for high-end skiers."

 

Now that comes across to me as a leap of logic. First, much of what you are describing is less how much more performance there is to be found, than a basic attribute of carbon. The reactivity to firm snow surface irregularities, the springy quality that can be wonderful in the trees but a handful in breaking crust or variable density (this was mentioned in a strong review by a pro over at TGR), the low inertia from the low mass. Second, these qualities are nothing like racing skis (which surely qualify as high end skis for high end skiers). Racing skis are damp, fairly heavy, planted, very direct and no-nonsense in their responses. Get it wrong, or get tired, and you're on your butt. But not because of the ski's sensitivity to the surface, because of its sensitivity to your mechanics. I'ver seen good junior racers just cut across a firm mogul field on their GS's like it wasn't there, leaving v-shaped gouges. Not something that would work on a carbon ski. And I haven't seen a lot of 5-point designs in racing skis, either. I suspect that the basic shape is not conducive to predictable, progressive edge engagement at speed. 

 

To belabor the car analogy, I've never driven a F1, but last week I was fortunate enough to take out a Porsche Turbo. It's not the first time I've driven it, but I was struck all over again by its linear, predictable, weirdly planted quality as whatever speed, whatever surface, whether accelerating hard or braking hard. It constantly was asking me, "Is that all you got?" I'd guess F1's are that but even more so. I know for a fact that they cannot be super sensitive to every perturbation, because at speeds above 150 mph, humans cannot react quickly enough anyway. Biophysics is a bitch.

 

I also don't get the analogy with edge angle preferences (or toe-in/toe-out) since detuning doesn't change the edge angles. It just rounds them. So the edges will still respond like a 1/2 or whatever you prefer, but they'll slip easier. Apples and oranges. 

 

Look, I really like my 112's, and I'm prepared to like the W99's. But I get bemused when the superlatives start to fly and the quirks get buried in semantics. All skis have something they suck at. Regardless of who's skiing them. Remember that metal ribs were added to the Pure construction a couple of years ago, largely because of issues with the excessive reactivity. Which were never directly acknowledged, just improved upon. So the metal dampened things a bit. (Owned a 120 Pure before the metal, my Pure 112's since. There is a difference in the feel.) Wouldn't be surprised if this is an evolution, and more damping is in the wings. Or some change next year in the 99's shape. So putting all your rhetorical eggs in the high-strung/F1 basket may be dicey. Why not: "Not a great ski for rough or hard surfaces because of all that carbon, but rocks in most other conditions?" Or: "The 5-point design, when applied to a ski meant to be skied all over the mountain, can require some tradeoffs between grip and handling. Most will not mind that tradeoff." th_dunno-1[1].gif


Edited by beyond - 8/9/12 at 3:23am
post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

I'ver seen good junior racers just cut across a firm mogul field on their GS's like it wasn't there, leaving v-shaped gouges. Not something that would work on a carbon ski.

 

beyond, hopefully you are of the same mind in this discussion, that its all in good fun, an honest discussion, and not an "argument".  certainly not trying to get in a sparring match, i just want to try and answer your questions.

 

specifically on the above quoted statement, we have not skied together, but... well... sounds like we ought to go skiing!  it certainly is possible , and how i tend to ski (though i do have a high-ish level race background).  anyhow, i just wanted to point out that your statement, as you say, "consists of a leap of faith", unless you have seen very good junior racers skiing the same pitch on DPS skis ;)

 

anyways, back on topic - when i say "detune" i am not talking about sawing on the edge with a bastard file.  i am talking a few passes with a gummy stone, or at worst a diamond stone.  This is synonymous with edge preparation in my mind. 

 

world cup skis see a TON of edge preparation to dial in what, exactly, the turn the skier wants, and it varies dramatically from skier to skier.   all sorts of experimenting with the bevel angles in general, different bevels thru the length of the ski, a couple passes with a gummy stone here or there... its not like these folks just run the skis straight off ceramic disc with a 2/1 bevel.  DPS skis are straight off the ceramic disc.  

 

Peter and Stephan both very specifically want absolutely no detune on any of their DPS skis, ever.  Both the wailer 112 and wailer 99 have won magazine tests with no detune.  its not like they are un-skiable out of the package, only that they may not perfectly match a particular skiing style initially.  The point is to offer a ski that a skier can alter how the ski feels thru edge preparation, and therefore offer a high performance ride for as many ski styles as possible. 

 

If you run a DPS ski with no detune at all, it becomes more locked into its natural rounded radius, as it more completely engages the tip and tail all the way up and off the snow and into the rocker profile.  This means you need to round and finish the turn all the way across the fall line.  as you prepare the tip and tail away from full sharp in the rockered section of effective edge, the ski is a little looser and less completely locked into its roundness.  This means the rider can feather the ski out of the turn down the fall line, opposed to feeling locked across it - opening the radius of the turn at 3/4 phase.  To a skier that is used to feathering the edge and opening the radius, a full sharp ski feels "hooky".  to a skier that prefers to fully round, a ski that is "featherable" feels under engaged and lacking power across the fall-line.  The ability to tune very effectively to personal preference between these differing rides is by design and intentionally done in the shaping of the rocker and effective edge (and referred to in marketing speak as the "paddle" or "paddle tech").  This shaping allows for a ski that can easily match a lot of different turn styles. We see this as a strength, opposed to a weakness.  

 

i prepare my w112's ALOT MORE than i prepare my w99's mainly because I ski them differently and in different conditions.  DPS skis are not unique here.  I prepared every ski i have personally owned for the last 15-20 years with a similar eye.  the difference, in my mind, is that DPS skis are much more powerful, and engage more completely into the snow than the other skis i have been on in the past.  Because of this, edge preparation becomes more apparent than a traditional free ride construction ski.  

 

My personal tune on wailer 112's is 3-4 passes on the tip and tail between the contact point and the end of the effective edge.  I did not detune my wailer 99 at all.  To be totally honest, I think that the wailer 99 is the best ski that DPS has ever made, and have shared that sentiment in person with several folks that have posted in this thread.  I have refrained from posting it publicly until ample folks were able to give the ski a fair test and report their findings.  

 

The SS metal ribs were added to offer a smoother, quieter overall ride.  This is explicit in the marketing around the construction, and as you note, tangible in the skiers feet.  I am not sure what additional acknowledgement you were after?  The pre-SS skis were great.  The new ones ski better.  I can promise you that there will continue to be improvements in the future, however I can also promise you that DPS will only offer improvements that are in-fact tangible to the skier.  To be fair, DPS has only released 2 new models, with a total of 2 graphical styles in the last 7 years... its not like we are a marketing juggernaut with superfluous*new* offerings every single year.  

 

Anyhow, I am trying to not reply to comments directed at ExoticSkis, so I think I have touched on everything.  As always, love the feedback and conversation.  

 

Cheers!

post #28 of 41

MO, suspect similar mind, and yep, what else to do in August if you can't go below the equator. Letsee: Didn't think you meant a bastard file. Didn't have enough money to pay for getting someone else to tune my skis for a long time. But I'll hold to my point that the kind of detuning people are talking about with the W99, here and at TGR, does not read as just touching a gummy here and there to finish up things, remove the odd burr, so the edge is uniform. It's what Exotic first said, to reduce grip in a systematic way, over quite a percentage of the edge, so the ski is more tractable. Maybe you're right, and most folks who purchase the W99 just want to smear and feather a ski that has unusual grip out of the box, cannot say.

 

Don't want this to become a deal about DPS, whom I respect greatly. I think instead it's about paddles. Agree they can be seen as a strength, lot of versatility. But the question I raised about 8,000 words ago is still hanging there: Is paddle tech somehow more sensitive to state of tune? And if so, why in the W99 do the majority of users seem to want to detune? Or to get away from DPS, I wonder if the comparatively lukewarm reception to the new Dynastar Cham 87 reflects an intrinsic tension between a paddle design and hard snow handling? If you think on the physics, the front of the ski, and maybe the back depending, is trying to go a different direction from the middle. In a situation where you're encountering a bit of rubble and crud, along with smoother hardpack - which will give most skis headaches - maybe the push/pull is especially problematic. I've noticed this a bit on my 112's, and a lot on my S7's. On the latter, if you want to carve, you better know exactly where the shape changes, and stay in the middle, traditional sidecut. The 112's are less quirky for sure, but not immune. 

 

And need to get the racing thing straight: I'm ranked 3,678,927,502 in the world. The middle aged guy just a tick slower than that big dude in the moose suit with the six pack attached to his helmet, right behind the antlers. Have not seen any J's on DPS skis. (Are you guys pondering a move into racing? biggrin.gif ) But think I'm missing something about being "locked into" a natural radius across the fall line depending on tune. Agree totally about how habits like feathering will influence how you react to edge hold. And obviously, some skis are happier than than others about letting go of the sidecut radius, regardless of tune, on packed snow. I'd also guess that most modern rocker designs have traded a softer flex pattern that encourages bending to turn for a stiffer flex pattern that encourages lateral displacement: slarving and smearing. Only why are you more or less locked into any one radius whether you're doing big wide back and forth's across the fall line versus just making slight S's down it? Isn't this about when you choose to finish your turn and get into a new one? 

 

Not picking on the Pure upgrades at all, don't need any more acknowledgement. I think the metal helped some. Just saying that I'm constantly bemused by how a product is wonderful until it gets replaced by an even more wonderful version, or otherwise how would Blizzard ever sell next year's Bonafide? Or Apple next year's iPhone 6? You have to understand that I see ALL late capitalism, from cars to skis to computers to peaches as being driven by the creation of need, not by true tech advancement. Not denying tech advancement occurs. Just that it's the primary determinant of changes in the product. Otherwise 20 years ago we'd have had cars getting 50 mpg without government intervention or rising gas prices, we'd have a Windows version that actually works without two years of patches, and we'd have peaches that don't taste like sweet styrofoam. Speaking of which, they'll keep selling us $200 ski helmets with exactly the same 1960 technology as a $20 kid's bike helmet until enough consumers decide their brains are worth more. But that's another thread...biggrin.gif

 

Good discussion, yeah. I want August to end...

post #29 of 41
Quote:

Originally Posted by beyond View Post

 I think instead it's about paddles. Agree they can be seen as a strength, lot of versatility. But the question I raised about 8,000 words ago is still hanging there: Is paddle tech somehow more sensitive to state of tune?

 

 

I wrote in my review of the Praxis Powders 4 years ago how sensitive to tune fun shape skis are, I think this has to do with less running length and less effective edge. The edge and base that you do have touching the snow better be in good shape and consistent, . Never skied the W99, but in the 112rp, the need to keep things clean and straight and smooth is definitely still there. 

post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Don't want this to become a deal about DPS, whom I respect greatly. I think instead it's about paddles. Agree they can be seen as a strength, lot of versatility. But the question I raised about 8,000 words ago is still hanging there: Is paddle tech somehow more sensitive to state of tune? And if so, why in the W99 do the majority of users seem to want to detune? Or to get away from DPS, I wonder if the comparatively lukewarm reception to the new Dynastar Cham 87 reflects an intrinsic tension between a paddle design and hard snow handling? If you think on the physics, the front of the ski, and maybe the back depending, is trying to go a different direction from the middle. In a situation where you're encountering a bit of rubble and crud, along with smoother hardpack - which will give most skis headaches - maybe the push/pull is especially problematic. I've noticed this a bit on my 112's, and a lot on my S7's. On the latter, if you want to carve, you better know exactly where the shape changes, and stay in the middle, traditional sidecut. The 112's are less quirky for sure, but not immune. 

 

Good discussion, yeah. I want August to end...

>>>>

on the paddle side of it:

 

okays, first off, i have not skied, nor seen much feedback on the Cham 87, so i cannot really comment there. The 97 and 107 seemed to receive semi-warm, but not overwhelming feedback. my personal assessment is that has more to do with very high camber than anything else, but I would leave it to others to go into detail beyond that.  

 

i would hesitate to call the dynastar skis "paddled", and certainly not a rossi s7.  praxis protests/wootests are paddled, as an example.

 

the paddle is designed to allow a skier to intuitively change turn shape based on the edge angle and amount of pressure put into the ski.  

 

this is accomplished by the edge being basically straight (rather than curved, but with mild slope) from the rocker line forward to the widest point of the shovel, and back to the tail.  the radius in this section is defined by the shape of the rocker profile, rather than the radius of the edge.  this allows the turn-shape to GROW as the ski is put on edge and flexed deeper into the sidecut, opposed to CLOSE which is what happens on a traditional radius ski.  

 

DPS refers to this as a progressive radius.  for the wailer 112, the radius equates to 15m when the bases are flat, and skied on firm snow (think firmer bumps, tighter trees, etc).  this radius is defined by the edge's shape from the rocker-line in the shovel to the mount point and back to the rocker line in the tail.  on a wailer 112, when a skier bends into the ski fully at higher edge angle, the effective radius grows to 18m and the radius is defined from the wide-point of the shovel thru the midsole and back to the wide point of the tail.  to compare that to a Rossi S7, which has edge radius all the way thru the tip and tail, the radius CLOSES to something more like 13m when you are up on edge and bent deeply into the sidecut (from wide-point to wide-point).  

 

going onwards from the design, as a skier reduces edge angle in the belly of the turn, the ski starts drifting down the fall line, and shedding a little speed due to drag against the snow.  the difference here is that with a conventional radius ski, as you de-pressure and de-angle the edge, the running length grows, which increases the drag means you shed more speed, but since there the turning radius also is growing, you cannot stay in or re-engage a carve smoothly.  with a paddled ski, as you de-pressure the edge, the running length and radius both shrinks, which allows the skier to keep the carve and maintain more speed.  this is what we mean by intuitively varying turn shape, etc.  

 

>>>>

related to paddles, but specifically on the tuning side of it:

 

most skiers do not ski totally round and on edge all the way thru the turn, preferring to slide into a turn and slide out of it, which means they are typically not fully bending and loading the ski.  i do not buy the argument that short running length equals "less edge grip".  the 184 wailer 99 has comparable effective edge length to most carving skis.  

 

i do not mean to pick on alex's pictures in the OP and i totally realize that it is a single picture that may not be totally representative of his skiing style, but they present a great photographic explanation of fore-aft weighting and how that effects "edge grip". alex, i intend this critique to be seen as constructive, opposed to insulting, so... sorry!  don't take it wrong man! 

 

in picture #1, you can see a dropped inside hand and shoulder; rotating the upper torso rotated across the fall line; upright body; neutral/heel weighting; and a straightening down-hill leg.  

 

this means that he has broken at the waist, initiated a tail slide thru weighting, and is unloading the shovel.  this weight-shift has initiated a tail-slide across and down the fall line. 

 

by un-weighting the shovel, and over-loading the tail he is getting out of the natural turn shape of the ski, and the ski, without detuning, is trying to run out from under him slightly.  To tune to his style, I would detune the tail from the rocker line all the way thru the paddle and past the widest point of the ski, and detune the tip from 2" inside the rocker line towards midsole, past the paddle and thru the widest point of the ski.  This will prevent the shovel from climbing out from under him and slide in parallel with the tail.  

 

 

>>>>

back to paddles, ski shape, and the shorter vs. longer running length argument.  

 

a shorter running length ski is always going to be more sensitive to fore-aft weighting and driving.  if a skier naturally has lots of fore-aft weight shift, then a wailer 105, or bonefide, or whatever is going to be a better fit to that style on firmer snow... unless the skier wishes to dedicate themselves to quieting their upper body and increasing the efficiency of motion down the fall line.  

 

If the skier has a quiet upper body, and keeps it facing down the fall line, and drives the ski cleanly on edge, with consistent ball of foot weighting, then the shorter effective edge ski will not be an issue, and the obvious versatility boost off from firm snow in the design will be a massive upside compared to the more traditional GS wailer 105/bonefide/etc.

 

>>>>

back to skier style, and how it relates to reviews and "The Beyond Act":   (<- winky)

 

It is my personal opinion that every skier (at least anyone that fancies themselves an "expert") should strive to be capable of making any turn shape, in any condition, at any speed... with any style: forward powerful GS style; nimble, snappy slalom turns;  fall-line-destroying SGS/DH turns; as well as upright neutral (i.e. bumper style), and passive (slide/slarve) turns. then use this bag-of-tricks to preserve efficiency from top to bottom of the run, as defined by the terrain of the mountain.  

 

with this mind-set, one can then determine with what style and weighting a ski most happily responds to, and then determine if that ski is a good match for how the skier prefers to ski, the terrain in which they ski, as well as discuss these characteristics under different styles completely in review format with the reader, and illuminate on exactly where and/or when a ski may not respond or perform adequately.  

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