Colin also left a pair of DPS Wailers. Not a brand I am too familiar with, so off to the website for more info: https://www.dpsskis.com/
First thing to hit me is the pricing. Ouch! The Wailers cost more than my car, especially once the Carbon Fibre & Unobtanium bindings are added.
Second thing is the finish:
To say they are plain would be to wildly understate how dull they are. Grey crackle plastic anyone?
Thirdly this is the first ski website I have seen that states clearly what the owner should ask for at the tuning shop. Why don’t all manufacturers do that?
But the real shock comes when you pick them up and find that they weigh half what typical all-mountain skis weigh. Despite the fact they are twice as big. Here they are under my Atomics. 2cm wider, 20cm longer and half the weight.
That makes for some challenges. No mass, basically a carbon fibre sandwich, and carbon fibre is dismal at heat transfer. Which basically means that you are three times more likely to burn the bases when you do any work on them as the heat has nowhere to go. And there is work to be done…
But wait a second, unlike most skis the edges seem to be especially resistant to gouging. Plus they’re slightly wider than usual. And what’s that weird corkscrew of steel?
And those strange transverse scratches, just visible on the left? Curioser & curioser.
Anyway, out with the true bar and we find both skis are very slightly concave, but we should be able to bring it down just with base edge filing.
Not much demand for 1.5 degree base so the file guide is still in the box.
But even with the hard chrome file the edges take ages to show progress.
Finally the concavity is sorted and it’s time to P-Tex the gouges. Remembering that the heat has nowhere to go I end up taking three bites of the cherry to get all the gouges, getting a few more each time but all the while aware that a few seconds too long with the heat gun will lead to much wailing and gnashing of teeth as the matrix buckles, melts or worse. The gouges near the edges are especially reluctant to play ball. Finally, with a lot of pussyfooting, we’re there.
A few strokes with the structure tool, a final check on flatness and time to sort the side edges. Again they seem to be especially hard. And maybe there is a bit more width than normal. Slowly it is dawning on me that DPS have made a set of skis that they expect to be looked after – they have used special, wider edges, made of tougher steel that resist gouging but that can be sharpened for ever. The sidewalls are set back from the edges so no need for planing – the edge is well exposed. Even the base seems to be tougher to plane than normal. You pay a lot for these skis but you get feather weight and real enthusiast’s tunability, rather than fancy graphics. But you wouldn’t necessarily spot that in the shop – it only dawned on me after working on them.
Even waxing is walking a tightrope, with the low heat resistance of the skis. To play safe I check the melting point of the various waxes in the cupboard and the Zoom universal claims the lowest so it’s a bit of thermostat fiddling then two coats of Zoom to avoid overheating the bases.
Once they’re done they fairly glow and the initial gouges are nowhere to be seen. You would still have to know that these are top drawer skis as they don’t shout out their class.
So a real learning experience for me and I will be looking out for DPS riders in future as they clearly know their onions.