Dimensions (mm): 124-113-116
Turn Radius: 30 meters
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 185.8cm
Weight Per Ski: 1,954 grams / 4.49 lbs.
Mount Location: 99.5 cm from tip
Days Tested: 35+
The day of reckoning has come. Not many people get the chance to see the design of a ski from start to finish (see Protesting the Backcountry), and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to do so. I cannot thank enough the guys at Praxis Skis; Keith, the owner, who had faith in the project; and, most of all, the somewhat surprising number of people who got on board and stepped up to purchase a pair.
So what did we get?
First off, as expected, a wonderfully manufactured ski whose quality in craftsmanship is evident. The sidewalls are burly, shaped with functionality and durability in mind, and meld well into the both the edges and the top sheet. The bases match up flawlessly with the edges on the downside. The rocker profiles are completely symmetrical between members of a pair, and most importantly(!), the graphics look great. It doesn’t matter which topsheet you got. (I mean, my taxi graphics undoubtedly look better, but yours probably look pretty nice too….)
And they’re light. (No surprise to me, as I was familiar with the other Praxis skis around this size.) They’re not some featherweight, 50mm-waisted piece of crap that no one wants to descend on, but my pair, with the heaviest of the topsheet options, came in under nine pounds.
With the abbreviated winter we had in Tahoe, it’s probably easy to believe me when I say I literally skied the WooTest “all winter.” I touched two other pairs of my skis four times total, no exaggeration. It wasn’t a legendary season, but I got a solid 30-40 days on the WooTest. I’ve had them in corn, blower pow, wind-scoured boilerplate, rotten sunbaked pow that fell in feet the night before only to see 60-degree temps by 10 a.m., the typical Tahoe snow that falls in meters and skis like feet, and zipperline crusts varying in thickness from skiable to outright embarrassing as far as what it can do to an ego.
With the help of some adapter plates (more on that below), I’ve been able to skin on them, run tandem sled laps with them, and put them through the paces on a chairlift with some solid alpine binders. I really wanted to feel like I skied these things before I opened my trap, and I now feel comfortable doing so.
The entire impetus for this project was first and foremost a backcountry ski. The first few real days I had these out, mid-winter corn was the best bet going, so that’s where they went.
Rather than stay 100% true to the OG model for this beast (the Praxis Protest) as far as rocker profile, I thought taming down the tail rocker (tail “splay” as Keith would correct me) just a smidgen would help in skinning with a little more tail on the snow. It does. That’s all there is to say about it. This thing skins just fine, and I have no complaints on that front. It’s narrow enough to drive into “soon to be corn” on frozen sidehills, wide enough to grip and go up the right fall line direct routes, and light enough with my Dynafit bindings that my fatigue was based on miles and my lack of skiing through late January, but certainly not the skis.
On the first few descents in corn conditions, the heavily rockered tips and slightly tamed rocker on the tails felt a little weird, but not unmanageable. There wasn’t a lot of tip on the snow and certainly more proportionally in the tails, and that’s exactly what the ski felt like. But I felt like I could drive them well, ride the rails a little bit, and break loose the tails and throw them sideways when I needed to. The best thing about them is they didn’t feel like the 17m snowblades I’d used as my backcountry skis last year, the Armada JJ. On the WooTest, I could make big, nice arcs without feeling like I was on skis made for slalom gates.
At first, I found the WooTests to be a little tough to break loose and slide, but once I realized I just had to stay forward on them and commit, it wasn’t that big of a deal. But this also ties into something that I think (and hope) everyone who bought the WooTest figured out: They need a detune like Seth Morrison needs outdated punk music.
Keith and a few of the guys at Praxis skis are from the “ice coast,” and these things came sharp as hell. Ginsu has nothing on these skis. I swear I could have shaved with them. Most of the other folks I know who bought a pair of these agreed: Detune them. Now.