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Review: 2012 Praxis Concept 178cm

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Praxis Concept
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


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:


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

9-10 for 3D and variable snow. 7-8 for pure hardpack


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.  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 since it prefers a punchy direction change on hard-snow rather than “lay-it-over-and-make-a-GS-turn” technique due to its innovative design. Feels like it has a tighter turn radius than its 23m specification would indicate. Extremely maneuverable in tight situations. 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 if you are looking for a more stout platform. Below are 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 and major windbuff & drifts....”wild snow”, “cut-up snow” conditions and fluff.

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 very 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 with a traditional GS-turn technique, they immediately signaled they preferred a “punch-and-go” technique to change direction on the hard surface, and change directions quickly they did.  This is different than any other ski with simlar dimensions 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.  I quickly found I had superb confidence with the Praxis Concepts anywhere I pointed them. Some old-school ex-racers who tried the Concepts found that a slalom-type turn worked quickly and securely, while the GS-type turn on hardest surfaces caused the Concepts to send feedback to the pilot asking to be pressured differently. For punchy, quick directional changes, stand square, pressure the ski quickly in the forebody or tail and punch yourself into a new line. For more cruise-like turns, apply pressure to the forebody or tail section and hold to maintain a new line. (major pressure directly underfoot is not the answer since you are riding reverse-sidecut underfoot – but it's that reverse sidecut underfoot that makes the selectively pivoting, slarvy behavior so addicting in the Concepts in tight terrain). I found you choose the forebody cruise section or the tail cruise section depending on the steepness and terrain type you're cruising on. For tight trees, bumpy terrain or wacked-out cruddy surfaces, just punch-and-go...instant directional change with surprisingly little effort, and that's fun.


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 reverse sidecut and the ski can feel “darty”, 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, really well.

As soon as I got the Concepts "into" snow at least sidewall-deep, the skis's personality shined as 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 at different pressure levels 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  a big 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 cause "traditional carving skiers" to change their technique on real cueball surfaces as they figure out that this innovative shape prefers a different behavior.  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, but when punched fore or aft, it has more bite on hardpack than nearly any ski its size.   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)

post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 

Sorry...the title should read 178cm....NOT 1787 [that length not available to the public  ;-) ]

post #3 of 17

Awesome review!


I ski a pair of the first gens (without the compound camber, but with the same funky sidecut), and really love them in most situations.  I don't think I've ever grown to love the feel of them on hard surfaces, it is a little different like you describe, but frankly I don't bring them out when I think I'll be on hard icy surfaces.  To me, this quote sums them up well: 


Pivoty when you want it, stable platform when you need it.


That's one of the things I really like about this ski.  It's a very nimble, playful, pivoty, slarvy feeling ski, but at the same time it's nice and stable and, at least in 3D snow conditions, doesn't do anything unexpected.  Just a super fun ski, IMO.

post #4 of 17

Nicely done review. The Concept has been my day to day go-to ski for the past couple of seasons.  It covers a ridiculous range of conditions really well. On really big days, I'll break out the fatter skis - but day to day the Concept is the answer for me. As with Praxis skis in general - bomb proof build.


The one additional observation I'd make is that while it does have a distinct personality, it is not all that hard to scope out if you are just a tiny bit willing to play and "listen" to the ski. The Concept's ability to blend and move between skidded. slarved and carved turns is pretty darn fun. Very confidence inspiring while very responsive.

post #5 of 17

Nice review. Could you compare / contrast the Praxis concept with the 112 RP?

post #6 of 17

which flex preference are your skis - praxis concept varies from soft to stiff?



post #7 of 17
Very nice review, thanks.
It is also really helpful to cope with summer heat and humidity, to see pics of real skis on real snow - in August. smile.gif Nice.
Btw, do the skis have some metal, or I missed something ?
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

Nice review. Could you compare / contrast the Praxis concept with the 112 RP?

H Tromano,


They have a very very similar platform size, but different feel throughout their bodies. Let's see if I can hit the main differences: Remember my Wailer 112 RPs are hybrids, so they are more "mellow" than the Pure Carbon version of the RP112.  The Pure versions would have more power, feeling of strength and responsiveness.


  • Pure, fluffy pow:
    112 RP is more floaty, difference in weight is significant (lighter feeling), responds to delicate commands instantly, retains a surfy feel.  Depth changes are effortless.
    Concepts feel more "planted", higher speed limit, less deflection with odd materials or snow types under the surface. Feels like a more substantial platform, but no less nimble than the 112 RPs.  Both are really fun in the fluff (at least our fluff here in Vermont).
  • Manky, cut up crud or "wild snow" as EarlyUps calls it:
    Concepts isolate the rider from surface irregularities more than the 112RP, less "feedback" through your feet...slightly quieter ride, more "stomping" feel.  112 RP has a more precise feel, but somewhat more sensitive to commands, which in manky snow, can result in unwanted "micro directional changes" if you don't pay attention and stay alert.  Both skis are super compliant and capable in wacked-out snow...112RP feels lighter and looser, while the Concepts feel more solid and directional.  Concepts have a higher speed limit in the cruddy, cut up surfaces before you feel like you are loosing command of your skis since they are somewhat stiffer and shaped differently.
  • Hardpack groomers:
    Both skis have best-of-class grip (in my opinion) on hard surfaces for skis 115-117 underfoot.  Concepts prefer to have their forebody OR tail pressured in a more cut-and-thrust (nearly slalom-like) directional change since they are reverse sidecut underfoot (wider underfoot than at the binding toepiece or heel area), while the 112 RP responds to more traditional "roll-em-and-ride-em" GS-turn style, while capable of being very quick when required on hardpack.  Concepts are more "damp" feeling and transmit less vibration, while the 112RPs  are more surgical and sensitive to hardpack...I think top speeds on hardpack are about the same...just a much different feel and personality.


Does this help a little...?  I try to take both skis with me every day, no matter what the conditions (unless it's bulletproof..then the carvers get loaded in the car).  Both skis are really state-of-the-art designs, just different personalities.  Let me know if I can describe more about these two...be aware I have both in short lengths (178 and 177) for squeezing out turns in the Eastern trees, so Western terrain feel will be different in longer lengths, based on my rides on longer Wailer 112s (never tried longer Concepts).

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by canadianskier View Post

which flex preference are your skis - praxis concept varies from soft to stiff?



Hi Canadianskier..

I don't know what flex my Concepts are...Keith just shipped what he had in the 177cm size I wanted...I can ask him.....I think they are nothing special...

post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by ExoticSkis View Post

I don't know what flex my Concepts are...Keith just shipped what he had in the 177cm size I wanted...I can ask him.....I think they are nothing special...

If you do ask, I'd be curious to know which stiffness level comes closest to the old concepts, which were a 7 on praxis' numeric scale.

post #11 of 17

I've got a semi custom pair of Praxis Ullr's on order.  With so many days till we ski I sure didn't need to read this.  Thanks a lot!

post #12 of 17

I got curious about the question on the table. Mainly because I was windering about mine.  So I shot Keith a note & mentioned the Exotic Skis review. Here's his response:


It would be Medium/stiff + on the first generation and Medium/stiff on last
years 177 version and medium on the 187 version last year.
I'm sold out of the 187 version from last year but worth noting that the stock I currently
have up and for sale in the 177 version on the website in the summer blow
out sale are the exact same as what Exotic reviewed.  


Mine are 10/11 original generations. The "last year" above would be 11/12.


As noted before - I love my Concepts. While I have not skied the RP112, Exotic Skis' comments reminded me of one other thing. In my experience, the Concepts are crazily good at abrupt snow transitions. Really predictable & smooth. 


Note - the sale he refers to above is not the 2013 one I posted about the other day. He has just listed a bunch of closeout 2012 skis. I guess leading into Labor Day? FWIW, the 2012 Powders and Protests have an incredible UHMW topsheet that is just nuts. Gorgeous indestructible stuff.  I tried to get it on some 2013 skis and it is not available this year...

post #13 of 17

Awesome, thanks for finding out about that, spindrift.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by canadianskier View Post

which flex preference are your skis - praxis concept varies from soft to stiff?



Keith just told me...."Medium Flex"...right on the button.

post #15 of 17

Hey ExoticSkis, thanks for your review: on the strength of it, I bought a pair of exactly the same skis (year, size, graphics) at an astonishing sale price earlier this year and finally got to ski them yesterday in our amazing early-season snow bonanza. The ski area we visited was a low-key outfit with minimal grooming, and the best skiing (and it was very good indeed) was off the nutcracker rope tow up the top. I was a bit nervous after reading some other comments on blistergearreview, relating to the ski's potential to "take you for a ride" (since if anyone's a contender for that it could be me), but I had a great day and found them very confidence-inspiring and easy to turn in steepish, chopped-up snow, and the odd bit of refrozen crud. I didn't get a chance to test their hard-snow characteristics but did get a sense on one of the groomers heading back to the lodge that they might have a couple of quirks, particularly regarding locking into turns. No doubt I'll find out soon, and learn how to deal with that. Who knows, it might for once help that I've had absolutely no race background.

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Keep us posted as you get more runs on the Concepts in different conditions....This last season, I found myself reaching for the Praxis Concepts any time the snow was variable in density or windpacked in spots or just plain inconsistent....and they also came out when we had the rare, hard-to-find powder day......I just love these skis....can't wait to try some more of Keith O'Meara's handiwork this coming season!  Have tun.

post #17 of 17
So much for high hopes of a bumper season here: we're still skiing the leftovers from that big June dump, and have recently been watching rain wash that away slowly. Depressing. But the Concepts seem well suited to our variable conditions: I've now skied them very happily in pretty much everything but deep powder. I've also had plenty of groomer runs on them thanks to ice off-piste, and they're really fun. I haven't been taken for a ride yet ...

Oh, and really impressed with the durability of their bases. There's lots of gravel in the snowpack around the lift loading area (thanks to the avalanche which, in a double whammy, also ruined the snowmaking system) and despite the unavoidable grindings on my way down there several times a day, only a couple of light scratches on the bases.

Fingers crossed, there might be a bit of snow by the end of the weekend, hopefully without the rain at lower elevations.
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