DPS Wailer F99 ReviewDecember 6, 2017
- Easy to initiate
- Nice float
- Better off-piste
- Prefers short to medium radius turns
- Not as good at higher speeds
- Hard to discover the preferred turn radius
- Would have preferred more power in the tail
DPS offers its Wailer 99 in a variety of options, including a tour category. The Wailer F99 (“F” stands for the brand’s “Foundation” construction) is designed as a more budget friendly ski with true All Mountain capability. That was exactly what half of our test team found them to be. The ski is incredibly easy to initiate, with one of the lightest weights in the All Mountain category, a mix of tip and tail rocker and camber underfoot, as well as what DPS terms “Paddle Tech” sidecut; which features a tapered, flatter sidecut section that blends with the contact points for smoother turning. It is predictable, maneuverable and at its best in softer, off-piste snow conditions. A mix of bamboo and poplar in the core, as well as Triaxial fiberglass and unidirectional carbon (hence the lighterweight), also result in an even shovel flex.
Testers who weren’t as enamored of the ski focused on the tail, with reports that the Wailer 99 was “hard to round out of turn,” “needed a beefier tail,” and “at the end of a turn was sloppy and loose.” Testers who enjoy taking each carve all the way through its tail trenching finish felt they had to work too hard to keep the tail engaged, and said the ski lacked the kind of energy and snap they found with a ski like Atomic Vantage 100 CTI, which produced round, perfect carves wherever we tested it. With such mixed emotions – from “great” to “meh” – the Wailer F99 feels like a niche All Mountain offering, with the result that some skiers will love it and use it all season, and others won’t.
The mixed reviews of the DPS Wailer F99 resulted in the ski’s Overall ratings coming in around the middle of the All Mountain Category. While some testers rated it as an 8 (out of 10), others rated it a 5 or 6. As noted in the Full Review, it really came down to whether each tester appreciated the lightweight ease of use and effortless initiation, or if they thought the ski was overpowered every time they went fast or wanted to set a hard edge.
The rockered tip and lightness of the ski do make the Wailer F99 easy to initiate in a variety of terrain, where the ski is also very maneuverable and simple to pivot. Ski it too hard, however, especially on firm snow, and it does have a tendency to lose performance and feel chattery at higher speeds.
Ditto for Stability. If you are a foot steering style skier who likes to roll into each turn with a little bit of a shuffle and a lean, the Wailer F99 could very well be the kind of ski you can use for All Mountain conditions, all without feeling like you’re doing too much work. If you like a more rapid, deeper leg flexion of both your legs, you’ve probably already decided that the Blizzard Bonafide or Atomic Vantage is a better fit for your tastes.
The mix of rocker, lightweight, and the nice even flex of the bamboo and poplar wood in the shovel complement one of the strongest attributes of the Wailer F99, which is its Resort Float. This ski is awesomely easy to initiate in a variety of conditions, most notably off-piste.
Carving, at least where the first half of the turn is concerned, is also a strong point, the ski does roll onto its edge easily, especially in short to mid-radius turns, with a predictable grip. As noted in the Full Review, there were mixed ratings on how well the ski finishes a turn, with some saying it was quick edge-to-edge, while others said only the “first three quarters of the turn felt right.” We recommend the Wailer F99 for lighter skis with a stand up style who want to see what all the DPS excitement is about. Hard chargers who want a little more heft underfoot will prefer something else.Continue Reading
Peter Kray- Publisher
Peter Kray is a co-founder of the Gear Institute, and a longtime specialist in the testing of skis, snowboards and outdoor equipment.