DPS has the reputation of being a backcountry-first company, but that's not entirely accurate. It's always valued lightness, but that's been taken to mean, "touring performance," which wasn't really DPS' intention. Lightweight skis, the company will tell you, are just as useful in bounds as out, so trimming the fat is as much a matter of increasing downhill performance as helping you crush the skinner. What you just read, though, doesn't really apply to the Wailer 99 Tour1 Ski. This year, DPS is introducing Tour1 construction, a superlight alternative to the classic Pure3 layup, and one that's explicitly meant to keep the ounces down for improved backcountry performance. DPS has swapped the aspen core out for balsa wood, traded UHMW sidewalls for a lightweight cap, and changed the laminate slightly, all of which means the Tour1 version of the Wailer 99 is . 75lb lighter than Pure3 while being nearly as stiff, so you can fly on the way up and charge on the way down without pooping your pants because of floppy-ski fear. Balsa's ridiculously lightweight, as you remember from your glider-building days, but returns plenty of energy for a lively, fun feel. DPS' special laminate blend of prepreg carbon fiber and fiberglass keeps the Wailer stiffer and more powerful than other touring skis with comparable weights, and even the cap construction is designed to resist twisting, so you can rail powerful turns through chop, chunder, and all sorts of unexpected alpine mank. The profile of the Wailer is pretty traditional by current standards, with moderate tip and tail rocker and plenty of camber underfoot to provide an all-season combo of hard-snow grip and soft-snow float. DPS also designed it with its trademark Paddle Tech sidecut profile, which blends the sidecut to almost nothing at the rocker contact points for smooth turn initiation and a predictably hook-free feel. Narrow-gauge Rockwell 48 steel edges provide loads of bite with a low weight penalty, and the World...
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