If you're looking for a single ski that can rail at high speeds, hold its edge in don't-dare-fall steeps, and rotate quickly, well, you probably haven’t found it. But that's the promise of the DPS Wailer 99, a narrow-waisted carbon ski with tip and tail rocker as well as slight camber underfoot. And it delivers on that promise. The ski, which weighs 1,600 grams, rips through bumps and floats through fluff while remaining as stable as a big mountain stick in the steeps. In fact, it's one of the best all-mountain skis we've ever stepped into.
The key is in the construction. Rather than featuring a sandwich pattern of carbon layers, the ski features a latticelike structure, with a specific focus on making the ski stiff enough so that it doesn't wither underneath you at higher speeds. What's more, DPS also added aluminum damping strips within the carbon lattice. While that tacks on a bit of weight, the payoff is a quiet ski. And where typical ultralight skis are too underbuilt to hold an edge when you start to charge a groomer, the Wailer 99 absolutely rails. Edge holding was tremendous; chatter was nonexistent. Swing, from turn to turn, was delightfully balanced. And the best part? It's more than a mere high-speed animal – its rocker tip enables excellent float in power.
The ultimate question, of course: Is it the lightest around? Nope. But it's just light enough to feel quick and just stout enough to make you a more confident skier, no matter the terrain, no matter the conditions. [$1,249; dpsskis.com]
Days Tested: 3
Conditions Encountered: Everything from powder and crud to ice and groomers.
Area Tested: Whistler, British Columbia.
Nitpick: The price. Yeah, it's a carbon ski. But still . . .