DPS Wailer 106 Tour1 — True Lightweight Powder Hounds

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | May 6, 2016      

The days after these blue pups showed up on my porch, I threw them on the skin track, my backpack, and on some good mid-winter San Juan powder. Later I tossed them on a plane headed for Rossland, British Columbia for NW powder cat skiing. I was lucky enough to have plenty of snow types and situations for testing the DPS Wailer 106 Tour1s.

The DPS Wailer 106 Tour1 traveling light with me to a summit near Telluride, Colorado. From 13,442 feet at the top all the way down to 8,750 feet in Telluride, I was able to ski everything from untouched powder to tracked sun-baked crust.

The DPS Wailer 106 Tour1 traveling light with me to a summit near Telluride, Colorado. From 13,442 feet at the top all the way down to 8,750 feet in Telluride, I skied everything from untouched powder to tracked sun-baked crust.

Wailer 106 Tour1s are light and nimble on the uphill. Because they’re not super wide, they edge well and don’t create as much friction as really wide powder skis do on the skin track. I didn’t have to work hard to make them perform during kick turns or while traversing on icier snow/rock. Their lightweight structure allows them to carry pleasantly strapped to a pack while boot packing.

I found that the Wailer 106 Tour1s are a buttery and moderately playful ski on powder. In both Colorado powder and Northwest style heavier powder, they made for a smooth and floaty ride. Making medium to large radius turns was easy and fun. For being only 106 across the waist, they feel wider when it comes down to how they float. The rocker/camber combo paired with partial twin tips makes these skis a pleasure to ski on dreamy deep days.

Playful skiing in the Kootenays with Big Red Cats, Patagonia, and Recco. Photo credit Kieren Gaul from Big Red Cats.

Playful skiing in the Kootenays with Big Red Cats, Patagonia, and Recco. Photo credit Kieren Gaul from Big Red Cats.

Unfortunately not all descents can be 100% lovely powder even though that’s what we’d all prefer. On the Wailer 106 Tour1s I skied sun crust, tracked out chunder, mank, and groomers on my way home from luscious powder turns. I personally don’t think that they handle these types of snow particularly well. Initiating turns and tree skiing became quite a bit of work in these types of conditions. In other words, they don’t quite cut through the crud. I believe this to be due to their lightweight balsa and carbon core and partly because I’m fairly lightweight as well.

Just for kicks, on groomers, I was able to lay them over and get a pretty decent carve out of them but it did take quite a bit more work than on an alpine ski.

Top and side profile of the Wailer 106 with Tour1 technology and a full cap polymide top sheet.

Top and side profile of the Wailer 106 with Tour1 technology and a full cap polymide top sheet.

I won’t call the Wailer 106 Tour1 an all-in-one ski by any means, but I will call them a fantastic touring ski for fresh snow oriented objectives. Even if you have to deal with a little mank on the way out, these skis are well worth having on the uphill and in powder if it is that kind of day.

You know a fine pair of skis when it doubles as a good backrest! Reclining after skiing the Birthday Chutes near Telluride.

You know a fine pair of skis when they double as a good backrest! Reclining after skiing the Birthday Chutes near Telluride.

THE SKI: DPS Wailer 106 Tour1
Length – 168cm (also comes in 178 and 185)
Tip 130, waist 106, tail 120
Weight per ski -1351 grams
Balsa core with carbon/glass laminate

Height – 5’7
Weight – 125
Boot – Scarpa Maestrale

For more feedback, check out Bob Perlmutter’s review of the DPS Wailer 106 and Zelda.


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13 Responses to “DPS Wailer 106 Tour1 — True Lightweight Powder Hounds”

  1. Rod May 6th, 2016 10:15 am

    Yeah, for another 350 grams, the volkl katana does powder, ice, crud, wind affected snow add groomers.

    Never understood why dps is so popular.

  2. Jah May 6th, 2016 11:06 pm

    Haven’t skied the 106s but agree with Rod. I have never really loved a DPS ski but the hype is huge. Maybe the quality has improved, but 3 to 4 years ago, I say more delams and warranties with DPS than any other ski.

  3. Marco May 7th, 2016 6:20 am

    Hyped? Yes
    Popular? Don’t think so.

    Don’t know how it is in NA and Canada, but you barely see them here in switzerland. There are actually even only two shops that sell them in here.
    But you read a lot of them in the Internet 😉

  4. Lou Dawson 2 May 7th, 2016 9:47 am

    Marco, there is a certain style of skiing that the DPS offerings are perfect for. It usually involves copious amounts of untracked powder. The DPS website makes it pretty clear with their videos and such. We’ve found that if we’re touring that kind of snow, the moderately wide DPS skis are fantastic, and they really help in soft manky conditions as well, such as snow that’s been rained on or is just, well, deep and manky (grin). On the other hand, for most of the European Alps touring I’ve done I like a narrower ski that’s a bit more traditional, that’ll work for powder but also get me down 4,000 vertical feet of rain ice without terror. We tend to find the European made skis are more suitable along those lines. Probably because the developers use the skis for exactly that kind of stuff, while skis developed in Utah generally are not tested on 4,000 vertical feet of rain ice.

    Also, much of what is seen around the world is based on local traditions, as well as nationalistic preferences. For example, we see more G3 skis being used in Canada, and lots of Voile skis in the Utah Wasatch.

    So, I guess my point is, don’t sniff at the buzz around DPS as they’re pretty cool skis, but I do agree they’re not for everywhere for everybody.


  5. Thom Mackris May 7th, 2016 8:58 pm

    Excellent point Lou, and an obvious reason for recognizing and embracing regional design preferences.

    I’m about to receive delivery of a pair of (new to me) older Down Countdown 102’s (http://www.downskis.com/), and my reasoning for this selection was that it has a Swiss design sensibility.

    I was looking for a ski that doesn’t ignore the harder snow side of the spectrum.


  6. trollanski May 8th, 2016 8:08 am

    Further thoughts on the DPS. While I too am Volkl-centric, the DPS offerings have multiplied, and now offer a nice variety of widths, materials, weights, and even flatter tail profiles. The Wailer 105 Pure comes to mind. Certainly ‘buzz-worthy.’ Having said that, those Katanas…!

  7. Rick May 8th, 2016 9:59 am

    “Having said that, those Katanas…!”

    ‘zactly !

  8. Rod May 9th, 2016 10:53 am

    Yeah, those katanas are now my go everywhere bc skis. Obviously soft snow, but also firm couloirs.

  9. oh, me May 9th, 2016 1:41 pm

    If there aren’t many shops in euroland selling DPS, it only stands to reason that you wouldn’t see too many around.
    I’ve never skied their offerings ‘cuz they are rather pricey. Lots of other lightish options out there these days for less cash.
    I live in southcentral alaska and DPS is extremely popular among the touring crowd here; even with our preponderance of heavy pow, windboard and firm spring snow.
    Shop rat at AMH in anchorage last fall told me they sell DPS by the oodles.

  10. Lou Dawson 2 May 9th, 2016 2:08 pm

    Alaskans need skis that do a variety of tasks, not necessarily involving snow, as Alaskans are a resourceful bunch. I won’t mention any specifics. I’ll leave that up to the Alaskans. (grin). Lou

  11. Dave May 11th, 2016 2:28 pm

    So, I’m curious about the Tour1s, and I hefted a pair of the 112s outfitted with the Dynafit Superlites and immediately swore I needed to own that very setup. They were feather light, while fat enough to enjoy the goods you always hope to find, and their owner was giving them hell inbounds at Vail to see what hard-pack limits the setup might have. He declared none, and I was giddy with the idea of such a light and versatile rig. The 106s seem to be even more my size, as I like that general waist, but I wonder how you would compare the two Tour1 offerings.



  12. Lou Dawson 2 May 11th, 2016 3:11 pm

    David, pretty hard to compare two different width skis in any meaningful way, except to say, go with whatever width range your are familiar with and has suited you in the past. Lou

  13. Dave May 11th, 2016 3:38 pm

    Thanks Lou,

    BTW, socialized your Trooper Traverse route my backcountry mates — we’ve done Sylvan to Aspen (and then to CB once), and think Leadville -> Aspen is our next challenge.

    Hope you’re well and enjoying the season


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