Dimensions (mm): 124-113-116
Sidecut Radius: 35m (187 length)
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 186cm
Weight Per Ski: 4.4 lbs.
Mount Location: Factory Recommended
Boots: Some Old Yellow Salomon 120 flex something-or-others & Dynafit Zeus, both with Intuition PowerWraps
Bindings: Salomon STH 14 & Dynafit Vertical FT 12, both on Binding Freedom plates
Days Tested: 30+
This write-up has been a long time coming, but there are some good reasons for that.
For anyone expecting to have a normal ski season in northern California, the first reason is obvious: we haven’t had much of a winter. The entire season can be summed up as one poofter cycle that left no real base, one real storm cycle at Christmas coupled with some of the worst avalanche conditions I’ve ever seen here, followed by nothing but super cold, windy clear days just moving the same snow around week after week.
We got one last little wintery blast, thankfully, because I don’t like writing reviews on powder skis that have seen very little powder. The same four inches of 2% getting blown around week after week doesn’t count.
I’ve still managed to put a good number of hours on these things, and finally in all the conditions I would have liked to have seen on a more regular basis. Like the first WooTest, I put some Binding Freedom plates on these. I rode them with alpine binders from chairlifts and my sled, and then even more using my AT setup.
First up, what’s different?
If you’ve been following the development of this ski from idea to product, you’ve probably read my review of the original Praxis WooTest.
The idea that I and everyone who helped fund this endeavor were after was a smaller, lighter, rockered ski from the ilk of a Praxis Protest, DPS Lotus 138, Armada ARG, etc. All these skis are known and pretty well loved, but hiking and breaking trail on skis that big kind of sucks. We wanted to see how skinny we could go while maintaining most of the benefits of skis like that, but primarily with shape and not width.
Version 1.0 was really good, but not without its issues. To this day, I’ve still never skied a ski so narrow that floats as well as that Version 1.0, but several owners (including me) wanted to see the following changes:
• Tip edge contact point moved forward. Version 1.0 worked great when all you needed to do was float. But on harder snow, it felt like most of the ski was behind you. Given the tip rocker, this was exactly what was happening. It was a little like riding a snowblade with long tails. Not a big deal in untracked, but I think a lot of people wanted some more tip support on harder snow.
• More rocker / splay in the tail. What we were all after was a very loose-feeling ski in deep snow. “Slarving” turns were a priority. The tails on version 1.0 just didn’t break loose like a similar shape on a wider ski. Given how much less total surface area the WooTest 1.0 had, flotation was reduced, therefore a more exaggerated shape was needed.
• A more tapered tip. The original WooTest had this really fun phenomenon of carrying a demon around in the tip that would only appear once you were hauling ass, making any shape turn you wanted, and completely trusting the ski. Then that little demon would jump out, grab one of your tips, and toss it around so hard you had one leg facing uphill. A lot of people, including myself, were thinking that squared-off tip inherited from the Praxis Protest needed to go because that’s what was grabbing. Not everyone had experienced this, but enough had. So now it’s gone.
My first day out on the WooTest 2.0 occurred more than a month before any ski area was even thinking about an opening date. We’d gotten several feet of cold, light, gutless snow in October, so I went hiking.
My lasting impressions from those days were mostly that the new tip didn’t climb up on top of the snow as well as the first version, but also that there was not really any amount of grabbing coming from the tips. It wasn’t that I was struggling to keep the tips up or anything, they were just dragging a little more than the 1.0s.
After a lot more days on the ski, I realize part of that was just breaking them in. I think that carbon sheet in the bases provides a ski that’s a little stiffer off the production line. I’ve had a few more blower days on them since then, and I haven’t thought about the tips once. I think beating them in on some hard snow settled them in to a good flex pattern that helps them float better in really light stuff.
More importantly on those first few days, though, it was starting to feel like there was some ski in front of me on consolidated snow. We’d come across some packed cat tracks at the ski area we were hiking, and even the chundered-up, chunky death-cookie texture mixed with boulders didn’t get these things to grab once a greater length of the tips were engaged. The old ones sometimes would. I’ve still never felt anything like that on the new version, and can say with confidence that it just doesn’t happen.
My first day out was on some crappy, post-thaw “frozen granular” mess, and, as with every pair of Praxis skis I’ve ever bought, I just spent some time straightlining and then slamming hockey stops to get rid of the Bode Miller tune. It’s just something I do with brand new skis. And if you like your edges really sharp, you can do fewer hockey stops than me.
I also carried around a coarse stone with me and did some detuning on the tips and tails. Praxis is run by a guy who likes his edges sharp. He says it’s easier to remove material to reduce a sharp tune than to grind the hell out of your bases to regain one. Makes sense. I wanted them detuned a bit.
Shape / Sidecut
That big turn radius is as much a byproduct as a design goal. To keep the skis from grabbing in weird places when snow gets sticky and stabby (generally maintaining a “Spatula-esque” slarve), “straight” was the goal when it came to sidecut. The whole idea of even having sidecut at all was to have just enough to deal with hard snow without dying. The stability and predictability of some of the wide shapes we wanted to mimic made it to this skinnier version. It’s good.
Whenever you find yourself just running out of something, be it a drop or choke or whatever, you can just gently lean these things over into a turn and not have the tips want to spin you around into some tight radius arc that doesn’t really do you any good. Version 2.0 accomplishes this, and accomplishes it well. I’ve skied so much crap snow this year, it was nice to have such a straight ski that let me just haul ass through hard windblown or suncrusted stretches without worrying about my tips grabbing.