I am 6’1”, 175 pounds. I used to say that I was a level 8 skier, but some days when the conditions are hard and icy, I think that I’m closer to level 3; however I am a very good powder skier and these are powder skis that I’ve skied on powder days. I ski 50+ days a season in Utah, mostly at Alta and sometimes at Solitude. Keep in mind that most of my skiing is done off-piste and I mostly view groomers as a way to get back to the lift. I am a regular recreational skier who learned to ski on cross-country skis and in the backcountry and I have been skiing for 30 years. My resort downhill skis are: Stöckli XLs, 184cm; Elan Apex, 177cm; Stöckli DP Pro, 193 cm; Liberty Hazmat, 181 cm; Elan 1010, 183 cm; Praxis Protest, 188 cm.
Info from the Praxis website [http://www.praxisskis.com/shop/buy-skis.html]:
Length 188 mm
Tip 132 mm
Front 137 mm
Mid 130 mm
Rear 131 mm
Tail 124 mm
Molding extra rock recurve
“Tabke signature model was developed based on the proven concepts of our full reverse sidecut Powderboards. Trying to keep as much of the Powderboards excellent features, we set out to make a more all purpose use powder ski. The ‘Protest’ has a very similar shape in both the tips and tails as the Powderboards. There is an almost unnoticeable transition from the reverse sidecut tip and tail to the subtle sidecut underfoot. The ‘Protest’ sidecut and minor camber in the underfoot area improves performance when traversing, skinning, or riding the groomer back to the lift. The reverse sidecut and rocker tip and tail make for an exception powder ski. The ‘Protest’ has the ability to surf and slarve the mountain and still functions really well in a variety of conditions. Carve up a groomer or slarve a fresh powder line. Whether Drew is conquering a backcountry mountain, skiing in a comp or enjoying a resort day this ski is ready to ride.”
2010 Praxis Protest, 188 cm mounted with 2011 Salomon STH 12 ski bindings. [I think I finally settled on mounting the bindings 1 cm behind the marked boot center line.]
These are a great powder tool and they ski very differently than my Elan 1010s. They are not a one-ski quiver. I took them to a variety of places to answer these questions:
- How much powder do they need to shine?
- How are they on the steeps?
- How much powder is too much?
- How are they on the traverse?
- How are they when hiking in the resort?
- How do they do in crud?
- How do they handle groomers?
- How do they handle bumps?
- How do they handle hard snow?
- How are they when skating on relatively flat ground?
This review is from skiing the Protests on multiple days at Alta and Solitude. Conditions on these days have been anywhere from 4 inches to 2 feet + of powder. These skis are made for big powder days and I only skied them on the 4-inch day to see how they handled that type of condition. I updated this after Sunday’s 25-inch day at Solitude.
1. How much powder do they need to shine? After skiing them in conditions from 4 inches up to over 2 feet, they clearly do better the more powder there is on the slopes. A more traditional ski like the Elan 1010 is better for a skier like me in conditions where there is up to a foot of powder. The 1010 cuts through the snow while the Protest is designed to ride on top. The 1010 accepts traditional technique and lets you weight and unweight turns, and for its size is relatively quick from edge to edge. It also allows you to make jump turns in a chute. The Protest is made to surf and slarve powder. I can’t even conceive of trying to make a jump turn on these boards and if they have an edge, that’s news to me. The key though is that they don’t need an edge and there’s no reason to make a jump turn on these skis. They are made to keep the bases flat on the snow and they turn quickly and reliably with little conscious input. I wouldn’t hesitate to take them out when there’s at least 6 inches of powder. Less than that and while you can still use them, the reality is that they are made for far deeper conditions and skiing them in less powder is more of a chore and less precise than I would like. I will still use my 1010s when there’s up to a foot or so of powder, but if I know that the forecast is for more snow, then I will choose that day on which ski to bring. Once there’s 18 inches or more powder, then the Protest is the ski that I will use and I’ll have a big smile on my face while riding them.
2. How are they on the steeps?Great. At Solitude I took them through the gates and down steep stuff like Parachute and Middle Slope, through the steep trees on Navarone and Here Be Dragons, and down through the cliff bands that the map shows as the closed area near the top of Summit lift. The Protest turns quickly and with whatever size turn that I want. They literally turn without any significant input—just decide where you want to turn and turn there no matter how steep, how bumpy, how anything. They ride over almost anything and after getting air, land without a hitch and keep on slarving down the hill. They ride so smoothly and well that you really don’t have to turn until and unless you think that you’re going too fast.
3. How much powder is too much?I had these in spots where the powder was over knee high and they handled it without a problem. The snow through many of these areas was deep enough for face shots even while riding this 130 mm ski and they did everything I wanted them to do. I’m looking forward to even bigger powder days and trying to find out how much powder is too much. I don’t think I’ll find that there is any depth of powder that the Protests can’t handle.
4. How are they on the traverse?Okay. Once you go through the gate by the ski patrol hut at the top of Powder horn lift and turn right, there is a bit of a traverse along the ridgeline, especially if you’re going over the next ridge into the “closed” bowl. Then more traversing to get farther along above the cliff band towards Summit lift. The Protest does okay when the snow is soft, but they felt a little skittery when the snow was hard and made me consider a couple of times if I wanted to proceed above the cliff band to get to that powdery chute by Summit. At Alta, High T is fine when the snow is soft, but when cutting through along some icy, wind-blown slopes to Stonecrusher, they held okay, but I wasn’t as confident of them as I really want to be.
5. How are they when hiking in the resort?There were a couple of times when I had to break trail to get to a new stash. The Protests are okay when breaking trail, but you have to stay on top of them to make sure that you don’t bury the tips while hiking. This is a bit of a trade-off. The Protest does better on the traverse and on groomers than many of those very soft powder skis because its tips aren’t as soft and floppy. To me this is a worthwhile tradeoff and I’ll take the slightly more difficult time breaking trail over a ski that won’t traverse or ski groomed snow as well as the Protest—keeping in mind that the Protest were only okay at traversing.
6. How do they do in crud?They tend to ride over it. Once the slopes get really skied out and cut up, the Protests still work, but if given my choice, I’ll ski the 1010s instead. By this I mean that the Protests handle the crud that you get late in a powder day well and still provide a fun ride. For the day after a powder day, they are not my ski of choice. I prefer the heavier, stiffer 1010s for these conditions.
7. How do they handle groomers?The Praxis website says, “The ‘Protest’ has the ability to surf and slarve the mountain and still functions really well in a variety of conditions. Carve up a groomer or slarve a fresh powder line.” That is a bit of an exaggeration. Carve a groomer? If these skis have an edge, I certainly haven’t found it. Slarve a groomer, yes, carve one, no, I don’t think so. The real question most people want to know is how do these handle getting from the powder back to the lift? They do well. They turn where you want them to when the snow is soft, but these are in no way a ski I’d choose if I thought I’d be spending even a tenth of my time on groomed runs. The 1010s are a much better groomed run ski.
8. How do they handle bumps? Big powdery bumps are fun to ride over. You can turn where you want, get some air, land confidently and push the snow around. Hard, icy bumps are more of a bear –maybe a bear cub. Even semi-hard smaller bumps are a bit of an obstacle, but then again, these are soft snow skis. Ski them when the snow is soft and plentiful and you’ll be happy; pick something else for all other days and conditions. Slarving is not the preferred way to get down through a hard snow mogul field and if I haven’t said it enough, these skis are made to slarve, not carve.
9. How do they handle hard snow? Not very well (see number 8). Remember, these are soft snow skis. Don’t buy these thinking that you can use them in all conditions, because you can’t, or at least you have to be a much better skier than me, which you may very well be, but really, what’s the point in using a powder ski in hard snow conditions? If you can only afford one ski then in most areas of the world, a 130 mm powder ski is not the best choice.
10. How are they when skating on relatively flat ground? Okay. 130 mm skis are not the best for skating anywhere. They do well enough that I wasn’t dreading having to skate to get back to the Honeycomb Return lift.
I really like these skis. They are a very good complement to my other skis and provide a ski I can use on those few days every year when the powder is really deep. They make skiing deep powder even more fun and much less tiring than when skiing with a narrower ski. These are a go-anywhere ski that makes for a great resort ski on deep powder days. I am glad I have these skis and bought them knowing that they would only be used a few times per year. As such, they are not the most economical choice, but I enjoy having several skis to choose from and the ability to have a specialized tool like these to ride every so often. I do wish that the conditions here in Utah were such that I could use them a lot more times throughout the ski season. If I were looking for a more all-purpose tool than the Protests and didn’t have a ski like the Elan 1010 (which I really love), I’d check out the DPS Wailer 112RP “Banana” ski.
Bottom line is that the Protests are really fun powder skis that can handle anything I ski at Alta or Solitude and these skis make me smile when riding them.