2012-2013 Praxis WooTest 2.0


Only recently have I gotten consecutive days on the type of conditions I’d call a healthy percentage of “Tahoe-style pow days” in a normal year. That means feet of snow overnight and then 40–50-degree temps by 2 p.m. They happen every month of the season here in a normal winter, but I had to wait until March until I wanted to open my mouth about these skis.

Praxis WooTest 2.0, Blister Gear Review
Kevin Bazar on the Praxis WooTest 2.0, Tahoe Backcountry.

In short? You’d never know you were skiing on some pinner 124mm-tipped ski if you didn’t look down.

You ever have those days on your Armada ARGs, your DPS Lotus 138s, your Praxis Protests, or your Spatulas, where you’re just cruising along, completely at ease through absolute glop that was cold pow four hours ago before a 50-degree sun hit it? Laughing and actually skiing while your buddies on skis with a bunch of sidecut are hopping all over the place to redirect their boards? Yeah, these do that. And they are by far the skinniest ones out there that I know of that ride that well in that kind of mank. It’s almost like skiing pow, just with more feedback.

Praxis WooTest 2.0, Blister Gear Review
Kevin Bazar on the Praxis WooTest 2.0

One of the great things about this year is that I’ve skied a LOT of crust. No, really, it’s friggin’ great. I’m talking half-inch-thick, 55-degrees-that-then-got-socked-in-with-clouds kind of crust.

And no, they’re not magic—that stuff just sucks all around. But you can easily set them free by just skiing on your shins and keeping the tails loose, or just kind of backseating a bit and carving. Even skis that have rockered tip and tails and nothing else unique about them do better in this stuff than a traditional camber profile, but the WooTest does it even better and as well as any super-wide counterpart that I’ve been on. You can pretty much carve crust. Even the version 1.0s did this. It’s kind of awesome. Not in a, “Hey, it’s like I’m not skiing crust!” kind of awesome, but more like, “Hey, I can almost enjoy myself on this!” kind of awesome.

I’m happy finally to be able to discuss at least a few hero snow days. Hero snow is called that for a reason, and just based on the fact that this is a pretty rockered ski, you should know that it works extremely well in good snow. In fact, on those few days we’ve had, I never even thought about the skis. I went where I wanted to, landed where I wanted to, and skied the same lines I’ve hit numerous times in the BC and at my local resorts just happy to have the surface refresh.

Praxis WooTest 2.0, Blister Gear Review
Gratuitous photo of KB’s “cow” sled that he now admits looks more like a dalmatian.

I’d say my biggest lesson from those days is that these things land really well. They didn’t shoot out from under me, and they don’t give me a face plant if I was just a little forward. It doesn’t make much sense for how skinny they are, but there ya go: they’re predictable with no real surprises stomping down landings in the 5–10-foot range. I’d love to tell you about some ridiculous big drops and hot tubbing, but it just hasn’t been that kind of winter.

It’s also very much worth stressing that version 2.0 lets you ski on your shins a little harder on hard snow if you want to. That’s huge in the BC when you’ve got some wind-scoured entrance or exposed spine you need to navigate to get to greener pastures (i.e.: deeper snow). It’s a better overall iteration, no question. That feeling of having some more ski in front of you on boilerplate surfaces is worth it.

What would I change? After some detuning work, not much. Seriously, not much … at all really.

Keith from Praxis mentioned to me awhile back widening the tip a bit. I told him I didn’t really think it was necessary. But diverging a little from the general idea of just making a narrower version of the Protest, I could see it working in a beneficial way in pursuit of the “the one single ultimate BC ski.” I kind of feel like those are already out there, though.

Praxis WooTest 2.0, Blister Gear Review

Old habits die hard, though, and on some of the January corn days we’ve had (sigh), I found myself wanting to be driving hard on my shins during turns. Unless I was on just a wide open slope, I did have to kick them into a slide a little bit. It doesn’t just happen without thinking about it. Hockey/McConkey/slash turns are the call.

A wider tip would definitely make the ski more reactive in situations like this because there would be more there to grab to initiate the turn. It might also help it float a little better for you Rocky Mountain types skiing on air with some snow mixed in. It’s not like the 35m radius in a 187 would suffer tremendously if that were brought down a notch to the low 30s with just some tip width. It would also help open up a wider range of speeds where you could stay on the rails without intentionally breaking loose the tails. That’s all just theory, obviously; I personally don’t really think it needs to be done. Speaking for myself, I think this is the ski we were looking to create.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a backcountry powder ski that won’t leave you with 20 pounds of snow sitting on top of it when breaking trail, or stress your joints sidehilling a skin track with a 130mm waist, this is one of the better options out there. This is especially true if, like me, you’re not a race-background kind of guy who thinks God is going to give you cancer if you aren’t putting 2,000 ft-lbs. of pressure on your shins at all times. It’s a loose-feeling slarver on smooth snow, for sure. And it’s WAY smaller than anything else that skis anything like it. It’s impressive. (Just be prepared for some break-in time with the flex and the tune.)

If you are someone who likes driving your shins hard and letting sidecut do the work for you regardless of snow conditions, don’t forget: this ski doesn’t really have any sidecut. That makes it excel in a lot of the mid-winter conditions you’ll encounter, but if you’re looking for a ski that rules the hardpack, this isn’t it. It’s fun in corn and softer two-dimensional snow with some sliding around, but that’s not why it exists.

If you follow the thinking behind this ski and have kind of seen the light of what a truly dedicated powder ski can feel like in the backcountry compared to some do-it-all design, let me tell you: this ski is about as good as it gets, especially if you hike for your turns and you live in any kind of maritime snowpack. I can’t stress enough how well these things work in conditions you’re used to enjoying only on boards twice this size. I’m actually planning on getting a second pair to dedicate to resort skiing because sidestepping and traversing on such a narrow little plank that performs 90% as well as something as big as the Protest just feels so much better by 3 p.m.

My only question at this point is: What the hell took so long?



12 comments on “2012-2013 Praxis WooTest 2.0”

  1. how do they grip on well used skintracks with all that rocker? I’m trying to decide between the BC and the wootest and I’m having a really hard time!

    • Like any rockered ski, they do grip less than a fully cambered one. I’ve had a few pairs of pretty rockered setups I skin on at this point and they’re certainly not any worse than the others. I’d say they’re better than Armada JJs for sure in that regard. The Backcountry model is certainly more of a jack of all trades, where the wootest is more the master of some.

  2. These sound a lot like my EHP’s. Now that 4FRNT doesn’t make those with the minimal sidecut, I’ve been looking for an eventual replacement. Have you skied EHP’s, and are these as similar as they sound?

  3. Hi Kevin.
    I’m looking for soft snow BC skis to be set up with dynafits.Mainly to be used as my primary bc touring ski around Niseko.About me level 3 instructor that likes to carve every turn.I did demo 13/14 4frnt hoji and iI would like to know what You have to say about woo test 2.0 compare to hoji

  4. Agh, you guys are killin me. I haven’t skied any of the newer 4frnt stuff so I’m useless for a comparison with those two. Maciej: are talking about the very first gen EHPs?

    Mike: if you’re touring around Niseko, (and correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve never been there) you’re in a lot of powder, pretty much all the time right? You can make any shape turn you want in fresh snow, carving included. It’s only on the hardpack in tight places that you’ll need to slide these around a bit. But this is very much a powder ski.

  5. Kevin,
    I was talking about the 2010-2011 model. I’ve skied them on everything from chalk at A-Basin to glare ice to thigh deep powder, and I’ve found their performance across the board to be exceptional. I feel like the tapered tip and tail, paired with the 40m sidecut allows them to have all of the benefits of a rockered ski in powder without giving up edgehold (esp. on ice) or torsional integrity (esp. in chop/mank).

    Your desciption of the WooTests comes the closest to my experiences on my EHP’s, whereas it sounds like the new Hojis are a different animal.

  6. Maciej, while I don’t know anything about the Wootest, a buddy of mine describes the 196 Renegade as performing better/more predictable on hard snow when compared to the 193 EHPs (he’s owned each for a couple of years as his only ski). He’s no slouch either – runs a big mountain program. So, it’s not strictly the lack of rocker on the EHP. I would think the Hoji would perform similarly, though it’s a bit softer.

  7. @Kevin
    Thanks for this nice work.
    If I could help you:
    – don’t change the 2.0 tip
    The idea to keep it so neutral Is marvellous

    – change a little bit the stance of the bindings
    For me keith Is too classical on this point
    47.5 / 48% will offer easier slides, turn initiation ans the front rocker will jeep the top on the top

    – take the tail profile of concept or BPS >> same lenght of edge on hard snow With less power when it’s soft

    Love your idea of Combine grip and neutral feeling With this long radius

  8. Greetings,

    Quick question about Praxis skis in general:
    In my park phase of skiing I copped a pair of Armada AR6’s. I loved them to death but the decals were just laid on as a single top sheet with no protection. As a result, the decals began to peel off after half a season of usage. Now, both skies are decal-less. I am nervous that Praxis may have a similar type of decal application.

    Have you heard of any issues with peeling decals on Praxis skies?

  9. You mentioned “the one single ultimate BC ski” already being out there, curious as to which ski (skis) you were referring to? Thanks for the review and all the work to get these sticks out there, very happy you guys kept it up and got out the 2.0, I’ll most likely be picking up a pair this summer!

  10. Hey Loren. When I mentioned other skis as a single ultimate BC I didn’t mean any particular ski, just ones designed to ski on corn and harder snow better. Mostly that means something with sidecut and a wider tip to drive with more traditional technique. There are quite a few of this ilk (traditional sidecut, a rockered tip, maybe a slightly rockered tail) that ski soft snow fairly well but not as well as something like the wootest, which also handles baked warm wet natural snow much much better. That’s all I meant by that.

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