DPS Wailer 112RP Long-term Report

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 10, 2015      
My Wailers have followed me on an enormous number of ski trips. This fall I took them down to South America. Between bushwhacking, ornery taxi drivers, thin snow cover, and a road trip down the Ruta 40, they saw some abuse and kept on truckin.

My Wailers have followed me on an enormous number of ski trips. This fall I took them down to South America. Between bushwhacking, ornery taxi drivers, thin snow cover, and a road trip down the Ruta 40, they saw some abuse and kept on truckin. The Wailers making a skin track below Fitz Roy, in southern Argentina. Click images to enlarge.

It’s often hard to find gear reviews where people have put a substantial amount of use on their gear before writing about it. However, long-term durability and quality is arguably one of the more important factors to look at when choosing some new gear. “Just pulled the jacket out of the mail and it looks great! Five stars!” doesn’t help much (and yes, we’ve been guilty of that).

It’s no secret that we like DPS skis here (along with the many among the powder-seeking masses). People often tell me they want a pair, but aren’t sure if they are worth the extra cash. Around $1300 dollars for a pair of skis is significant, especially if you’re a penny-pinching ski bum. However, if you’re buying a set to use for a few years, it might be worth it to pony up for membership in the Drake Powder Church. If that’s the plan, they need to hold up to years of hard use. Can they?

Unfortunately, light backcountry skis have traditionally been lacking when it comes to longevity and resisting wear and tear. Most of the techniques used by manufacturers to up the durability of their sticks involve thickening various parts, such as bases, edges, top-sheets, and sidewalls. Also, skis with lots of metal in their construction are known to be durable and have consistent flex over time. All of these methods add significant weight to a ski, and are often the first features to go when a company makes a lightweight backcountry ski.

DPS skis are known for their quality and light weight. I’ve had a pair of Wailer 112RPs since early last winter, and have been using them hard ever since. When I got them they were not new. They were a set of DPS demo sticks, and had made the rounds of various WildSnow testers before being screwed to my Dynafits. Since then, they’ve become my daily driver, following me on ski trips around the Cascades as well as around the world to Canada, South America, and Japan. It is safe to say they’ve had well over 200 days of skiing, along with lots of travel and bushwhacking (things not easy on skis). They are definitely showing their age, but have held up quite well.

The sidewalls and edges of the top-sheet are vulnerable places on a pair of skis. I’d say the Wailers are moderately durable in this regard. They have a hard top-sheet (especially compared to some skis, like K2s. A hard top-sheet has pros and cons. It’s resistant to scratching, but also a bit more brittle than other materials, and prone to cracking. I’ve got a few dings in my top-sheets, and there are a few small spots where some has broken off, exposing the next layer down. The sidewalls of the skis are about average durability, with a few dings and dents from various falls and rocks. However, one area that the DPS skis really stand out on is in the tip and tail. In later models (after 2013?) DPS added a chunk of thick aluminum to the tip and tail of their skis. This was done to make the tip and tail heavier in order to make them be more damp and ski better. It’s the opposite approach that many skis use, which is often to carve material out of the tip and tail to save weight. I’ve found the added weight makes them a bit more damp. The aluminum also makes the tip and tail mega-burly; I’ve abused them, hitting rocks, tree stumps, and truck beds. They’ve proven to be exponentially more durable than a traditional tip.

The unique metal construction of the Wailer's tip. You can see it has had some abuse, but hasn't seen any significant chipping or delamination.

The unique metal construction of the Wailer’s tip. You can see it has had some abuse, but hasn’t seen any significant chipping or delamination.

Similar construction on the tail, with similar durability.

Similar construction on the tail, with similar durability.

This ding is the only major damage the skis have sustained. It happened during a high-stakes summersault through some Chilean underbrush. Although it's a deep ding, it didn't make it through the sidewall.

This ding is the only major damage the skis have sustained. It happened during a high-stakes somersault through Chilean underbrush. Although it’s a deep ding, it didn’t make it through the sidewall.

Many of my skis lose their flex after moderate use, especially the lightweight ones. Through my completely unscientific hand-flexing, the Wailers feel like they have a similar flex to when I first got them: moderately stiff.

I’m always skeptical of lightweight ski durability and longevity, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how the DPS ski has held up. It seems like a portion of the price tag goes into build quality and attention to detail.

Are you paying for more than just that sweet, sweet logo? I'd say yes.

Are you paying for more than just that sweet, sweet logo? I’d say yes.


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40 Responses to “DPS Wailer 112RP Long-term Report”

  1. Joe John June 10th, 2015 11:05 am

    “High-stakes summersault through some Chilian underbrush”… Good you held up through that too.

  2. sean June 10th, 2015 1:35 pm

    $2.83 per gram.

  3. DEL COOK June 10th, 2015 5:43 pm

    Loved the detailed review and could almost feel your experience through the visual stories your skis are telling! You mentioned Japan and I was wondering if you were skiing off-piste in Nagano (Hakuba) or up north in Niseko Hokkaido?


  4. Karl June 10th, 2015 8:31 pm

    Impressive. With 112mm underfoot and 184cm length, curious to know your height and weight and also how these are for you in tight maneuvering trees & chutes.

  5. Dan Nelson June 11th, 2015 8:04 am

    Have a year older model than yours; look almost identical after 100+ days of use. Took a massive core shot on a shark fin that took a couple base repairs to get right, but they ski the same as when I bought them (effortless), top sheet is bomber as are edges. Will be replacing them with the 112RPC eventually, which should solve my only complaint of excessive rocker which detracts from touring ability in slick conditions.

  6. XXX_er June 11th, 2015 8:47 am

    I ran the shinny topped 112’s for a season, a big snow year so I never hit anything, the edges gave me a lot of very expensive slivers, nice ski but I’m more in love with the lotus 120

  7. Wes Morrison June 11th, 2015 9:53 am

    A year ago at the Mammoth trade fair our shop crew spent a few hours sampling a bunch of DPS. With the exception of one tester on one ski, our team (and friends from other shops) hated every DPS ski we tried. We made jokes about what DPS stood for (Don’t Purchase Ski being the winner). Conditions were probably less than ideal with mostly firm snow, but DPS really stood out as being the worst skis in the show. Obviously there was something going on; and certainly the tunes were a big factor. Too bad, as we were really hoping for something special.

  8. Tay June 11th, 2015 10:02 am

    Hi Louie,
    having a pair of ‘pure 3’ 99’s DPS should include a pair of tweezers with their skis as chipped areas on the top sheet give nasty carbon fibre splinters.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 June 11th, 2015 10:06 am

    Wes, that’s the problem with trade fair ski tests that last a few hours. They’re usually pretty much meaningless, especially considering snow conditions and ski tunes. Good you pointed that out. Thanks, Lou

  10. Shawn June 11th, 2015 1:23 pm

    Karl…I’m 5’8″ and about 170…also skiing the 112 pure (not pure3) in a 184 and they are great. Turn on a dime. I find them very durable after 50ish days. Top sheet showing little wear. Edges are as well. Base was very good until my final turn of 14/15 hitting a snow shark (spiraling my fibula and tearing my ankle ligaments). Wasn’t too worried about it at the time but later figured my skis were destroyed from such a harsh hit. Surprising only one core shot and some other minor damage. In the past I’ve hit rocks and expected major edge/base damage and just had surface scratches. Am wondering in hindsight whether I would have destroyed my ankle if I was on a binding with toe release (mechanism of injury was inversion).

  11. VT skier June 11th, 2015 7:16 pm

    I bought a pair of 184 112RP Pure 3 this winter, for a “possible” trip to Japan and Fernie.
    Mounted up tele, with Freedoms at +1. Wow, what a dreamy ski on softer snow. Like instant thought control for arcing, smeary turns. Easy to change the radius mid turn. Get them out on hardpack , say at a resort and they wander and drift a bit with the rocker. Hard to hold a precise line, but that’s not what they are made for..But a few parallel turns help on harder snow..
    A friend tried my skis out, one day, and the next day he bought a pair too, in a 178 length. He is crazy about this ski, for softer snow, took his to Japan, and rides them on all our backcountry trips here in VT. Also set up tele, same +1 mount.

  12. Jim June 12th, 2015 11:57 am

    I bought a pair of 184 DPS 112RP demos last winter after skiing on 188 S7s for six years. I was immediately struck by their predictability, liveliness and large sweet spot in anything but super hardpack. They are real hero skis in powder and chopped, and very easy on aging knees.

  13. Shawn June 15th, 2015 11:36 am

    I have skied them both center mounted and +1 and would definitely recommend +1. Have heard of others going even further forward but have no experience. Mounted AT.

  14. Daniel June 17th, 2015 2:41 am

    I like the 112s much better midsole than +1 !!! very significant difference for me. Zzero4 Carbon Green Machine Boots (the actual carbon cuff late model)/Marker Tour.

  15. Jim July 1st, 2015 11:08 am

    Not only are the DPS 112RP great in pow, but also in difficult wind affected surfaces and variable crust. I was cruising in variable at good speed without the hooking and grabbing everyone else was experiencing. They’re very forgiving. They turn on a dime in pow, but also carve, though the radius is short for the ski. If I could kick turn them I’d use 184, but use the 176 so I can kick turn.

    Definitely if mount +2 or +1 if you have short feet and ski racer square. For me, at
    0 the ski did not work at all and I nearly sold them. The Revelstoke boys told me mount forward and it made a world of difference.

    I use Cho Oyus for spring tho.

  16. CSG July 12th, 2015 2:40 pm

    DPS Pure 99’s here. 2 seasons, maybe ten days or so… The small number of days is because the top sheet started peeling and cracking from the tails on day 1 (mellow powder resort day, no crashes, nothing more abusive than a ski box)… DPS folks quite unhelpful about it all. So much hassle, I got it epoxied down by one of our great local shops (rather than having to ship across the border at my expense to have the same thing done by DPS staff who wouldn’t commit to not charging me, saying they would ‘evaluate them’).

    Next year, the other ski started going. Maybe it’s a flukey bad pair…

    It’s not that I’m particularly abusive — I have three pairs of Voile skis, all of them lighter construction than the DPS’s, one of them for going on seven years now, all of which are still fine (minus regular base repairs because I ski in the Canadian Rockies, so…).

    As far as skiing goes, they’re quite fun to ski on but I don’t find them revolutionary nor are they the skis I grab by default. I don’t get the hype, and I definitely can’t see the value proposition in these. Basically, I’m going to sell these in the Fall at a huge loss.

  17. justin July 19th, 2015 7:15 am

    Hey Louie, have you gotten a chance to get on the Tour1 version of this ski? Wondering how you would compare them..

  18. Lou Dawson 2 July 19th, 2015 8:15 am

    Hi Justin, Lou2 here, I’ve skied both the 99 and the Tour 1 99, both are in our weight chart, they are entirely different skis, don’t get fooled by the brand being the same the the name being similar, it’s apples to oranges. Frankly, the Tour 1 99 is a good lightweight touring ski but doesn’t have that DPS “feel” that my regular 99 Pures had.

    Perl reviewed the 112 here. He does compare, but basically says it’s apples to oranges.



  19. justin July 21st, 2015 6:26 pm

    so does that mean you would generally prefer the Pures to the Tour1, despite the significant weight difference? Perl seems to have eventually become pretty pysched with the Tour1 on everything but hardpack (which that ski is clearly not designed for)

  20. Lou Dawson 2 July 21st, 2015 9:54 pm

    Hi Justin, if I had both skis at hand, I’d use the Tour1 for longer tours where weight was more an issue, and I’d use the Pures where I had more emphasis on the down. Again, these are two different skis… each one is not both… clear?

  21. Andre October 12th, 2015 11:27 pm

    Hi Lou.
    Not sure whether you tune your edges; however I do for when hard pack and ice needs to be negtiated. Might you know the recommended tuning angels, base and side for my DPS 112RP2’s (2014-15)? Much abliged mate! Andre

  22. Lou Dawson 2 October 13th, 2015 8:29 am

    The human googler strikes: http://www.dpsskis.com/company/faqs/tuning-mounting/

    When I do a re-tune I file all my rockered skis to either 1×1 or 1side x base2 When we test we use the factory angles, and usually do a little more de-tuning at tip and tail. Most of the winter I don’t do much edge work as we mostly ski natural snow, though when in Europe I usually sharpen up whatever skis I happen to be using, in case I end up on some ice… Lou

  23. John Baldwin November 23rd, 2015 2:56 pm

    Great durability here! I’ve been using some pure 3 wailer 99s and have about 300 days on them. They are still going strong. Flex is still snappy and hasn’t gone spongy like some skis can.

  24. Gareth Cryer December 21st, 2015 2:07 pm

    I have a pair of Hybrid Wailer 112 in the 2013/14 model and although I absolutely love the ski I feel compelled to make a comment about the durability of the ski and the DPS customer service department. The top sheet on my skis delaminated extensively and it also had some pretty major dings that seemed to appear a little too easily. Anyways, the delamination seemed to b a manufacturing issue – especially as the later model had a significantly burlier top sheet and so I thought I would get some assistance from the warranty department, but unfortunately, I found them less than helpful. The best they were willing to offer was a discount off a new pair of skis. So just a warning; if you’re expecting premium customer service after spending that extra dosh then be prepared to be disappointed. That being said the skis rock!

  25. Christian March 11th, 2016 11:49 am

    Bought a pair last week and I have used them in many conditions (powder, trees, moguls, groomers, on piste,….), except on very hard snow but, after all, i did not buy them for hard snow since i have a dedicated pair for that.

    I found them really playful and capable to make you smile in mostly all conditions.

    I bought last year a pair of Blizzard Bonafide (usually top rated), but i found them too much GS style and stiffy. Maybe the Bonafides are perfect for going fast in big slopes, but the 112’s are easier to ski and they turn just thinking of it.

    I really love them.

  26. Lou Dawson 2 March 11th, 2016 11:59 am

    They are one of the all-time great skis of our age. Seriously. WildSnow can quote me on that. Lou

  27. Bruno Schull March 16th, 2016 12:52 am

    I have a Wailer question. Anybody care to comment on the overall differences in ride between the Pure 3 build (sexy carbon) and the Hybrid build (normal build)? I’m looking at the Wailer 99 but I guess it applies to the 112 also. I know the Hybrid builds will obviously be heavier, but this will be for a lift-served ski for 80 % off piste and 10 % on piste. I’m asking because I like the feel of smooth, soft, forgiving, less stiff skis, more beginner skis, and I’m wondering if the Hybrid build might be better suited for me. Thanks.

  28. Bob Perlmutter March 16th, 2016 11:54 pm

    Hi Bruno, the short answer is go with the Hybrid. The Wailer 99 Hybrid is one of my all time favorite go any where, do any thing skis, including skiing in 12″ of powder today in Highlands Bowl. It is smoother, more damp and more forgiving than the Pure3. The Pure3 is more precise, stiffer and also provides a lot more feedback which requires a lot more attention while skiing.

  29. Bruno Schull March 17th, 2016 2:28 am

    Hi Bob–Thanks for your answer. I really appreciate your advice. That’s what I generally understood by “reading between the lines” of numerous reviews, and by trying some different skis, but I wanted to be sure. Also, I began to doubt my understanding when I wrote to DPS and asked them the same question. I’m not in the habit of “outing” or complaining about companies, especially companies I admire, like DPS, but, I have to say, their answer to my question about the different builds was pure marketing BS…so removed from what I actually asked, and the information I provided. I’m considering posting my question and their completely stock reply, but I don’t know if I should. In any case, that’s another question. Now I know what I need to know about the Hybrid and Pure 3 build. Thanks again.

  30. Lou Dawson 2 March 17th, 2016 6:41 am

    Bruno, it sounds like you got a good sense of how those skis work. Sorry to hear the DPS help wasn’t up to par, but probably best to leave off the detailed customer service critique, just mentioning you were dissatisfied is enough and I’m sure they’ll take notice. Lou

  31. Christian March 17th, 2016 7:05 am

    I fully agree with Bob. I also received a standard answer from DPS recommending the Pure 3, but after testing the 99 Pure3, the 112 RPC and the 112 Hybrid, i definitely felt in love with the cheaper one :). It is not about money, but the way the ski reacts off piste, very funny and easy to turn, and surprisingly effective when carving fast on piste. And compare to its “brother”, the Rossignol Soul 7 (another great ski), the Dps hybrid is lighter.

  32. Bruno Schull March 17th, 2016 8:40 am

    Fully agree Lou. That was my feeling too. On a positive note, I found the mounting and tuning information on the DPS website really good. I think the Wailer 99 Hybrid is the ski for me. As Christian says, it’s not about the money, it’s how they slide and glide and turn.

  33. See March 17th, 2016 8:53 am

    In theory, perhaps it is possible to make a great skiing ski that is also super light. In practice…

  34. Lou Dawson 2 March 17th, 2016 5:52 pm

    I was back on the Sportiva Svelte today, it’s still the best I’ve found in weight close to a kilo for a ski with <> 96 mm waist — but it doesn’t ski as well as some of the heavier planks I’ve been on lately. And the Volkl VTA88 is pretty amazing in a narrower width. Also, the Movement offerings are a contender. Interesting times. Lou

  35. Lou Dawson 2 March 19th, 2016 4:06 pm

    Thanks Bob, appreciate the expertise. Everyone always values your comments!

  36. Bob Perlmutter March 19th, 2016 11:04 pm

    Hi Bruno, please note that my response to your question about the Wailer 99 Pure vs. Hybrid was specific to that model and your description of what you are looking for in a ski. It was not intended to be a general comment about Pure vs. Hybrid across the board for the entire DPS catalog. I ride Pure, Tour and Hybrid from DPS depending on the model and intended application. I also favor different mounting points depending on the model and construction. That said, I stick with my recommendation of the Wailer 99 Hybrid for you and hope you have as much fun on yours as i have on mine.

  37. Bruno Schull March 20th, 2016 7:42 am

    Bob–understood. Your commentary refers to the Wailer 99, and is not intended as general advice for the whole line. That makes sense. I bought a pair of the 99 hybrids. I intend to have fun 🙂

  38. John Wyszkowski January 4th, 2017 12:18 pm

    On my 4th year with Wailer 112s. I’m certainly no hero skier, but I get out year after year here in Kodiak, with occasional trips to Alyeska and Whistler. My last tour in the military saw me on BD Havocs and BD Drifts as a Cold Weather Operations instructor. I can’t give an objective appraisal of the Havocs as they were much too short for me. The Drifts were substantially better and I covered some miles on those while also using them as my resort skis whenever I could get the family to Anchorage. During those trips I’d usually stop in at Powder Hounds and spend a couple of days on Demo offerings from various ski makers. Before retiring, on a whim, I treated myself to a pair of Wailers in the 112 Pure guise (192 length) and feel that I’ve found my skiing soul mate. They do everything I need, even if they weren’t specifically designed for it. Cat ski in BC, wet powder in Alaska, ice in Kodiak, groomers at resorts. They’re always fun, responsive, and low maintenance (it’s too easy, so I won’t make the obvious comparison!). Ok, they’re a little long for bumps and trees, but they’ll do it. I’ve taken them faster than I’m usually comfortable going, with no wobble or loss of composure (unlike me). Sure, there’s probably better all around skis out there, I just haven’t skied them. There are certainly skis that will do specific things better than these, but I’m not a specialist. I just want skis that will skin a trail, climb up to some skiable lines, and show me a good time on the downhill whether I’m coming off a cat in Whistler, cruising the groomers in Breck, bombing down fresh powder at the top of chair 6, or picking my way down the sketchy windblown ice crust mank after climbing up my local hill. The Wailers do it with aplomb.

  39. Silver surfer February 11th, 2017 5:52 am

    Do you guys have any recommendation between the DPS wailer 112 RPC (grey ski w yellow markings) vs. the DPS wailer 112 pure 3 ? I’m trying to decide which pair to buy. Last year I rented the 112 hybrid and liked it a lot but it’s $70 day to rent so thinking of buying. Im an intermediate level mostly blues and single black diamonds. The pure 3s I’m looking at are 178 cm and come w Salomon z12 bindings while the RPC come w dynafit radical in 186cm ski. I’m 6’2 220 lbs and ski a Rossingol 176cm experience 83 back East. This is for a trip to Utah -powder mountain. Thanks !!

  40. Lou Dawson 2 February 11th, 2017 6:48 am

    Seriously, I think either ski would work just fine. If you’re not touring on them I’d strongly suggest going with alpine bindings, it can be a bit tedious using a tech binding as an alpine binding, and unless used properly you can experience things like accidental release. Lou

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