Yes, the much anticipated, rumored and downright prayed upon new line of AT skis from DPS. Lou was supposed to be skiing these. Too bad Lou. While the cats away the mice will play. And play I have been starting with the 178cm Wailer 112RP2 Tour1. With Lou off in Europe I got my hands on the first pair hot off the presses. The line up consists of a Tour1 version of the Wailer 112, Wailer 99 and Cassiar 95. The profiles and dimensions are the same as their Pure3 cousins with available sizes as follows:
Wailer 112RP2 Tour1: 168, 178, 184cm
Wailer 99 Tour1: 168, 176, 184cm
Cassiar 95 Tour1: 168, 178cm
The fundamental difference lies in the construction resulting in a substantial weight savings and skiing characteristics geared towards an AT application. The estimated weights for the Tour1 skis are:
184cm Wailer 112RP2 Tour1 – 1500g per ski
184cm Wailer 99 Tour1 – 1410g per ski
178cm Cassiar 95 Tour1 – 1375g per ski
This represents a savings of 200-300g per ski over the already light weight Pure3 construction. As long as DPS keeps making their skis lighter I can avoid cardio training until at least my 60’s.
Construction of the Tour1 skis differs from the Pure3 in three significant ways. First is the change from a sidewall construction to a cap construction. Second is the choice of wood for the core going from aspen to balsa. Think Elmers glue and model airplanes from when you were a kid. Lastly is a proprietary new Tour1 specific aerospace carbon laminate. The resulting construction is intended to be torsionally softer and more forgiving than the very powerful Pure3 as well as less damp and with a lower top end speed to better mirror the performance of laterally softer AT boots. That said, this makes the 112Tour1 one of the lightest, widest skis on the market with DPS claiming greater torsional stiffness and power than other skis in it’s class. Their goal is fast ascents and performance descents.
Enough with the hype because ultimately the proof is in the skiing. I have spent the past three days on the 112Tour1. My first day was a family ski day playing Pied Piper to my 6-year-old as she chased me around the greens and blues of Buttermilk. The very first thing I noticed was the effortless turn initiation even at slow speeds seemingly due to a very low swing weight. The very low swing weight also made them feel shorter than the same sized Pure3 version. A variety of turn shapes was easily accomplished including shorter turns despite the wider waist. They especially excelled on tree trails.
Yesterday I began my day with a few laps on the groomers of Aspen Mt. The first sensation I got was one of floating on a cushion of air as well as that classic carbon construction pop and quick lateral projection as soon as I released the edges. They tracked well and were more damp than I expected for such a light ski. I noticed having to use a bit lower stance and increased angulation vs.the Pure3 to accomplish the needed tip pressure to get the ski to track and optimize stability. I then headed out behind the ski area to tour for whatever powder I could find after a meager 3″ snowfall the night before. That said, I can sniff out powder like a pig hunting for truffles.The 112Tour1 is certainly oriented more towards soft snow which is no surprise given it’s dimensions. Even in powder, the above comments about a lower stance and increased angulation to increase tip pressure and improve tracking held true. Also,the more consistent the snow, be it powder or corduroy, the better the 112Tour1 performed.
I spent today guiding snowcat skiing on the 112Tour1. Even though I brought my trusty 112Pure2 along, I left them racked for the day while I continued my fling with the Tour1. There was a sense of jealousy in the air.
There is no question that the Pure2 and Pure3 are more powerful, stable and damp, track better and have a higher top end speed limit than the Tour series. Thus more suited to the ski area, other mechanized skiing and stalking aggressive freeride lines. But if your cup of tea involves the solace of human powered ascent and the benefits of carbon construction performance on the descent then DPS has developed a worthy contender in it’s first foray into the AT ski market.
(Editor’s note: And about those DPS ski boots that rumors are floating around about? I guess mum is still the word. Should be interesting, are bindings next after that?)
Bob Perlmutter and his wife Sue live in Aspen where Bob manages Aspen Mountain Powder Tours, a snowcat skiing operation. Bob has sought adventure skiing over the past thirty years, in the nearby Elk Mountains as well as numerous locales around the world. Presently, he is reeling it in close to home to embark on his biggest adventure yet, fatherhood.