EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Review: Praxis Concept 177cm 2011-2012
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Review: Praxis Concept 177cm 2011-2012

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Product:

Length Tested: 177cm

Dimensions/Turn Radius:  139-117-125mm, 177cm R=23m

Camber : Rocker-Camber-Rocker-Camber-Rocker

Binding: VIST Demo

Mount point: Suggested

 

Environment & Conditions:

Location of Test: Vermont and New Hampshire (various places)

Number of Runs: 30+

Snow Conditions: Hardpack, packed powder, boilerplate, windbuff, fluffy powder (shin to knee-deep), granular, bumps, crud

Demo or Own: Own

 

Tester Info:

Username: Exoticskis

Age: 52

Height/Weight: 5' 11" / 183lbs

Ski Days/Season: varies

Years Skiing: 50

Aggressiveness: Aggressive(Driver)

Current Quiver:  IDone TR-TTM, IDone TR-TTR, Edewiser Speed, Palmer P02, Anton Dynamics UFOriaXA, Edewiser Firnis, Praxis Concepts, DPS RP-112 Hybrid, various demos of lots of other brands
Home Area: Vermont
Preferred Terrain: Trees w/ pow and Groomers

 

Review:


See below.

 

Conclusion:


The Praxis Concept has several design elements which have never really been combined in a ski before, making it unusual and innovative .  Keith O'Meara has created  a ski with what he calls "Compound Camber" (rocker-camber-rocker-camber-rocker) and "Tri-Cut sidecut " (reverse sidecut underfoot, with traditional hour-glass sidecut in the forebody and tail section. )The result is a ski with a remarkably wide range of excellent behavior and capabilities in many kinds of snow and terrain, along with an effective hard-snow behavior some describe as "quirky" or "unusual" when compared to "traditional" ski designs.  The bottom line is the Praxis Concept is probably one of the best "one-ski-for-varied-snow" skis you can find (like the DPS Wailer RP112, but with a different personality), but you might need to adjust your hard-snow technique to its innovative design. Feels like it has a tighter turn radius than its 23m specification would indicate. Durable and high-performance, made by one of the legends of ski building in the U.S.A.  Since the DPS Wailer 112RP is very similar dimensionally, and may appeal to the same type of skier and conditions, some photos show both skis for comparison (plus, I was skiing both on some of the same days).

 

Pros:


Huge performance envelope in nearly any kind of natural snow conditions...both good and bad and everything in-between. Nimble and quick, with stability and excellent performance on-demand without being burly.

 

Cons:

 

Somewhat "unusual" hardpack personality until you figure out the technique this unusuall ski wants you to adopt.  Can be hard to get in the size you want in-season.

 

My review:

 

Praxis Concept
2011-2012
139-117-125mm, 177cm R=23m

(click images for larger versions)

Manufacturer Info:

Praxis Skis
Keith O'Meara
848 Tanager
Suite J
Incline Village, NV 89451
530-414-1375
http://www.praxisskis.com


Background:

Keith O'Meara is one of the pioneers in innovative, small-brand ski manufacturing, creating such classics as the Praxis Powder, Praxis Freeride and other models highly sought-after by a nearly cult-like following of enthusiastic skiers.  Keith's skis are highly regarded and offer a famous build quality and durability, along with performance and feel the loyal buyers crave and rave about.

Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):

$689.89 usd

Usage Class:

Freeride

My Rating (with comments): (1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")

9-10 for 3D snow. 7-8 for pure hardpack (due to the unusual feel and behavior some people experience)

Summary:

The Praxis Concept has several design elements which have never really been combined in a ski before, making it unusual and innovative .  Keith O'Meara has created  a ski with what he calls "Compound Camber" (rocker-camber-rocker-camber-rocker) and "Tri-Cut sidecut " (reverse sidecut underfoot, with traditional hour-glass sidecut in the forebody and tail section. )The result is a ski with a remarkably wide range of excellent behavior and capabilities in many kinds of snow and terrain, along with an effective hard-snow behavior some describe as "quirky" or "unusual" when compared to "traditional" ski designs.  The bottom line is the Praxis Concept is probably one of the best "one-ski-for-varied-snow" skis you can find (like the DPS Wailer RP112, but with a different personality), but you might need to adjust your hard-snow technique to its innovative design. Feels like it has a tighter turn radius than its 23m specification would indicate. Durable and high-performance, made by one of the legends of ski building in the U.S.A.  Since the DPS Wailer 112RP is very similar dimensionally, and may appeal to the same type of skier and conditions, some photos show both skis for comparison (plus, I was skiing both on some of the same days).

Technical Ski Data:

- Compound Camber (rocker-camber-rocker-camber-rocker)
- Tri-Cut sidecut (reverse sidecut underfoot)
- 4001 sintered base
- UHMW polyethylene orbicular sidewalls
- Basswood & Ash vertical laminate wood core
- 2.2mm edges with full wrap tip and tail
- Rubberized epoxy
- 22 oz. triaxial fiberglass
- Nylon top sheet.
- VDS Rubber damping around the skis entire Perimeter
- Perforated VDS Rubber binding zone;

This pair is mouned "on-the-dot" as recommended by Keith O'Meara.


(data chart from PraxisSkis.com website 2012) - Click for larger version

Pre-Skiing Impression:

Superb fit and finish, with a quality-built look and feel.  Relatively soft forebody and moderate flex throughout the mid and tail sections.  Tatoo-art topsheet graphic that grows on you the more you look at it (pure black is available).  Bi-color sidewalls.  Has a damp feel by hand.  Beefy 2.2mm edges fully-wrapped around the entire ski.  Relatively subtle "compound camber" zones (camber in front and behind the foot - subtle early rise tip and tail with nearly-flat underfoot area - see pics), not as profound as some prototypes seen around the western US the last two seasons. Gives the impression of a high-performance ski for enthusiasts, but not intimidating at all.  Tri-cut sidecut has tapered tip and tail, a recognizable sidecut shape, with a reverse sidecut underfoot. This translates into a ski with a distinctive 3-point contact when tipped on-edge on a firm surface (see pics).  The Praxis Concept is definitely a relatively exotic mix of rocker-camber-rocker-camber-rocker base profile, with three-point edge contact with a "wide-underfoot" reverse-sidecut geometry.  Keith O'Meara is thinking outside the box again.  It begs you to get it on snow and see how it handles.

Test Conditions:

Eastern boilerplate, ice, hardpack, packed powder, granular snow, rain crust, crud and knee-deep, dry fluff powder, trees. Minor windbuff & drifts.

Test Results:

The first few days on the Concepts were on good, old-fashioned Eastern boilerplate (bounce a bowling ball on it) and hardpack with no real snow anywhere in sight.  Most surfaces were hard enough to leave no trace as you skied across them.  At slow speeds, the Concepts felt fairly grippy for a 115+-mm underfoot, but easy edge-to-edge, and fairly damp.  As soon as I got them up to a carving pace and rolled them over, staying centered underfoot, they kind-of did nothing, then the forebody hooked up and changed the ski's direction, but the tail really didn't follow the same way and "lock-in" the way I expected, but had a mild "drifting" feel, until I rocked back a bit and then the tail engaged and locked into the hardpack.  "OK" I said, let's try this again.  Turn after turn on the hardpack, the Concepts showed what I descrbe as a "teeter-totter" effect due to the reverse sidecut underfoot.  Not the "do-the-splits", washout behavior so common in some powder-specific reverse sidecut skis, but a "front-grab, rear-grab" behavior with a pivot underfoot.  This is different than any other ski I've tried, but you quickly learn that you don't ski this untraditional design in a traditional way on boilerplate surfaces.  If you try to ski the Concepts with an ex-racer's carving technique, you don't get what you expect.  If you shift your bias to ski the front of the ski or the back of the ski, you get a remarkably secure grip and bite to change your direction as desired, with no chatter, slip, smear or wimpy feel.  If you stand square and do punchy turns to get the ski to flex and bite, you get quick direction changes.  If you do what Early-ups.com describes as "bump skier turns", the Concepts bite and go where you point them.  On steeper, hard terrain, the Concepts are secure and give a reliable platform underfoot if you avoid the traditional roll-em-and-ride-em" technique and get your focus up front or in the rear as needed.  The torsional stability is excellent and you can put plenty of pressure and tension into them with great feedback and response. 

The Praxis Concepts are not a fluffy, noodly 115+-mm ski, but have a sports-car feel rather than a commuter-car feel.  At high speeds on hardpack, you get a heightened sensitivity to the "teeter-totter" effect, and the ski can feel darty, "quirky" or switchy as the cambered forebody in front of your foot pulls you in a new direction or cambered tail behind your heel pushes you in a new direction.  Again, focus on the front or focus on the tail, and the sensation goes away.  When you ride the center of the Concepts on hardpack, you are riding the reverse-sidecut section, and the forebody and tail are waiting to engage and do their thing.  I am sure the exaggerated prototypes (see the EarlyUps.com photo) had a really "interesting" behavior, and Keith obviously toned it down to finally end up with the current design, which works really well.

As soon as I got the Concepts "into" snow at least sidewall-deep, the teeter-totter effect disappeared and the skis became super responsive and easy to turn in short or long radii, with a sporty, fun feel and a remarkable ability to hold a line through variable surface conditions without deflection or complaint.  You can really load the Concepts up and get a fun rebound response, giving them the feel of a jack rabbit in the tight woods, able to bound left and right over obstacles and junk as needed.  The sporty behavior is in no way nervous-feeling, but damped, controlled and accurate.  That's addicting. 

What was interesting after a couple days in different conditions was the feel of being able to smear sideways, scrub speed, slarve, surf, freight-train or waddle your way through powder or junk on demand.  The Praxis Concept has a full variety of turn types in its toolbox, not limited to just a handful like some skis.  The Concepts are not a "hard charger" ski for huge mountains and intense drops and warp-speeds, but more practical for all-terrain, all-condition scenarios, and the whole ski is  abig sweet spot if the snow is at least a few centimeters deep.  The Concept has an interesting combination of being able to cruise through the windbuff, crud and junk just fine while being remarkably nimble for its size in the tight conditions, quickly pivoting as needed without the slightest hint of balkiness or bulkiness.  After a few days skiing them in different conditions, the Concepts now always get loaded into the car no matter where I'm going, or whatever the snow looks like.  If there are boilerplate conditions, I bring a carving ski.  If it's anything else, the Concepts get pulled out.  I think Keith has designed a really versatile, fun, sporty ski in the 115mm+-waist category with a remarkably wide set of excellent behaviors in variable snow conditions.  I would buy them again (maybe in the longer size for western conditions).

Powder Handling:

Really fun, with porpoise-up, porpoise-down movements, surfing on-demand, excellent sideways slides above and below the surface.  Surprisingly light feeling in powder. Never hooky.  Predictable and reliable.  Did I mention "fun"?

Crud/Windpack/Junk Handling:

Excellent ability to cut through or surf above nearly any variable, uneven or inconsistent surface types.  As EarlyUps.com reported, the Praxis Concept is an excellent choice for "wild snow" conditions.  Instills confidence underfoot, no matter what kind of junk is in front of you.  Due to its mild rocker profile, the Concept is not prone to a naturally "surfy" feel, nor "head-down crud cutter" handling, but something in-between, which is really practical for unpredictable surfaces.

Groomer Carving:

Excellent bite and vibration dampening. Likes to have its forebody or tail driven in a punchy or commanding style rather than "rolled-over-and-ridden" carving style (due to the reverse sidecut immediately underfoot and the combo-camber design).  Could give "traditional carving skiers" a bit of anxiety on real cueball surfaces at first until they figure out this innovative shape prefers a different technique.  Remarkable bite once you get the feel for it.  It takes about 15 minutes to get your head around it, then you're all set.

Directional Changes:

Remarkably nimble directional changes in nearly any snow condition, making it one of my favorites in the trees.  Pivoty when you want it, stable platform when you need it.  Scrubs speed quickly and efficiently without feeling like you're "throwing 'em sideways" to avoid obstacles.  Pivots on semi-submerged downed tree trunks really well!  Good brush-crusher.

Bump Handling:

Responsive and compliant in the bumps for a ski its size, but not mushy and noodly.  Hit the bumps square, and it will absorb, but only up to a point, then it wants to get you up and on-top to surf the apexes until you steer them back down into the troughs. Quick pivots on the tops of bumps when needed.

Analogies: (this ski is like...)

A great pair of trail-running shoes you grab for nearly any condition, anywhere...knowing that a pure racing flat is the better choice for your 5k-10k pavement pounding.

Things You Would Change About This Ski:

Probably nothing.

Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":

Awesome ski for nearly any natural snow condition, good or bad.  Versatile with a huge performance envelope. Not for high-speed warping or huge-mountain intensity due to its responsive, pivoty nature at eye-watering speeds and somewhat softer flex for all-terrain compliance.

Advice To People Considering This Ski:

Be prepared to adopt a different technique on boilerplate surfaces than you're used to, especially if you're an ex-racer.  You don't just "roll-it-and-ride-it" into a carving mode.  Definitely check it out. It's a design that works really well and could become your favorite all-terrain 115+-mm ski.

Self-Description of Skiing Style, Ability, Experience, Preferences:

5' 11", 180 lbs. 52 year-old expert, "old-style" race inspired, "foot steerer" with fairly sensitive edging feel. Loves to hold long arcs with lots of pressure on the downhill ski (you know the type),  but also loves the feel of both skis on-edge leaving tiny railroad track edge tracks.  More a finesse skier than muscle-skier. Loves powder when it's not tracked out. Trees and odd terrain angles are fun.

 

Pics: (click images for larger versions)

 

 

 

 

 


Tail camber section


Forebody camber section

 

 

Praxis Concept (L) and DPS Wailer 112RP (R)

Praxis Concept (L) and DPS Wailer 112RP (R) from the rear

Praxis Concept (R) and DPS Wailer 112RP (L) from the front

 

Praxis Concept (L) and DPS Wailer 112RP (R)

 

 

EarlyUps has an informative review of the 187cm Praxis Concept:

 

http://www.earlyups.com/featured/gear-praxis-concept-187-review/

 

 

post #2 of 3

How did the size worked for you, you said probably the longer 187 for west. You have 35 lbs and 6" over me, and I was thinking on maybe getting the 177, did you feel like the ski was short? Did they ski true to size, shorter/longer?

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

The 177 Concept is the perfect size for me on the East Coast. I would not change the length unless I was out west in the wider-open spaces.  I just read a review by Shu Shu over at TGR (http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/260483-Praxis-Concept-177-Mini-Review-A-comment-on-length-for-EC-terrain)...I would check it out and chat with him too.  I think the Concept feels relatively true-to-length, but not shorter as some rockered skis can feel. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Member Gear Reviews
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Review: Praxis Concept 177cm 2011-2012