The 106 Wailer has been an interesting ski for me, not quite the "one ski to rule them all" that Drake and Co. might have you believe, but a soft snow charger built for fun and surfy turning. Background for me is that these were my first tech-mounted skis >100mm underfoot, though I spent many years on tele boards of that size or greater (Voile Charger, BD Warrant, various G3 models). It's been an adjustment process, and I'm still not convinced that the size is really needed for speed-oriented randonneurs looking to ski in the "classic" style (both in terms of turning and in terms of route/line selection).
I chose the 106's after borrowing a buddy's 99's and also demo'ing the 112's, feeling that the moderated tip/tail rocker would suit hardpack use a bit more, and that the 99's were too sidecutty for my liking. The ski immediately fit the bill for deep days but also for unconsolidated/mixed conditions of any kind, from overcooked corn to chunder. What surprised me most was the flex. Relative to the 99's I felt that the ski had a hard time moving into the front seat and engaging the full ski through a turn, as the tips preferred to pull out of the arc and "rocker" through to the finish. Similarly, defensive backseat skiing required more strength/heft than with the other Wailers I had skied, which allowed me to get a lot of power and control out of sloppy, out of control skiing. None of this is a bad thing, but it did take a half dozen days to get use to the unconventional flex pattern, coupled with the rocker and sidecut.
All told, skiing soft snow on these is just plain fun -- whether you're dealing with a 2 inch or 2 foot storm, dry or wet, bridged or unbridged. Where the Wailer 106's got a bit funky on me was on steeper, firmer snow. I couldn't shake the feeling that the ski was "squirming" or 'wiggling" a bit when I tried to edge into a slower turn, or hop the skis around. This was especially pronounced in windbuff situations where I had trouble checking my speed coming out of powdery pockets and onto buffed sections. For sure, this is the reaction of someone who usually skis 75-85mm skis in such conditions, but it's also a weakness of a more powder-oriented platform.
All told, this is a great ski for rallying soft snow with speed and confidence, but I'll stick with my Euro widths for 80 percent of the skiing I do. I also want to experiment with some other boot/binding combos. This past winter I was running Plum Guides, which have a higher ramp angle than most tech bindings (that compensated for some of the rocker throw), but some low-ramp Plum 170s might be a fair swap. I skied the Wailers with Alien RS as well as the Sportiva Spitfires -- the Spitfires are stiffer and thus more versatile, but the RS was plenty of boot for deep days.
Note, I got these as a factory 2nd from a local shop, though I can't imagine that affects the performance to any noticeable degree.
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