Praxis WooTest

I think we’ve made a pretty sweet backcountry ski, one that will last forever. The only wear mine have shown, other than some hard base hits (still no core shots), is some minor chipping on the topsheet. I’ve never owned a pair of BC skis that get stepped on regularly that don’t do this, but with Praxis skis in particular there’s an easy fix.

Before you even ski them, just file down the topsheets. All this involves is dragging a fine file in one direction along the edge of the topsheet and sidewall. Once you smoothed it down, you’ll see some kind of feathery things. Then just do the same in the other direction. A few swipes each way is all it takes. What this does is break up the uniform smooth edge of the topsheet so that when something wants to lift it up, the force is broken up a bit and not transferred along the entire topsheet.

Just do it. It works.

There still seems to be quite a bit of interest in the idea behind the WooTest, and, as evidenced by the above comments, I feel this ski in most ways accomplished what we were after. But I also think it isn’t ready to be put to bed quite yet. The appeal of making a narrow version of bigger skis was not only to have a nice backcountry ski, but, with the shape and rocker profiles already proven, also to have a potentially good resort ski. It was never the goal, but a side benefit I was secretly after.

Praxis WooTest Rocker Profile, Blister Gear Review
Praxis WooTest - Rocker Profile

I can say with certainty that it’s been absolute heaven to have a smaller ski for sidestepping around the resort and for breaking trail to get to sidecountry stashes (both with skins and with alpine binders), but that still rules the untrackted descents. I don’t feel like we’re 100 percent there yet, but that alone has me really motivated to fine tune the WooTest a little further. I want to ditch my Protests for something smaller, and after skiing the WooTests, I’m completely certain this ski will do it. It’s almost there.

So, what to change….

Having a little narrower ski, it’s obvious that the WooTest won’t be floating quite as much as its bigger brother. I think the sort of squared-off tip of the Protest works fine on that ski, but in a little deeper in the snow, I think it best to look at what’s already been done with some narrower pow skis with a solid reputation. I believe a more tapered tip would cut down on some of the grabby feeling without those corners. Nothing exaggerated and pointy, just not so squared.

Regardless of whether it was intentional, the production WooTest came out pretty rockered in the tips, more so than either Protest model. While this allowed for a nice forward mount and the ability to float as well as a much wider ski, I think that deep rocker combined with the squared tip was causing some of that grab once the ski was leaned over. All of a sudden, there was a lot more tip touching, especially considering it wasn’t floating quite as much in soft snow.

The third thing I would tweak is the WooTest’s flatter tail. It’s humbling to have to admit that I’m not nearly as brilliant as I think I am, but I think the ski has been compromised a little by putting a tail on it that doesn’t break loose as easily as its larger brethren in the exalted “slarve” turns. It’s not something I would have noticed so much if I didn’t have a pair of Protests to jump back on in the same day, but the WooTest tails wanted to hold noticeably more than the skis they were based on.

It may be because there’s more edge pressure from the narrower profile, but they need to be loosened up a bit to get that super easy, effortless slide I’ve come to adore in the Protests. BLISTER founder Jonathan Ellsworth had probably the funniest response to these skis. He said he literally couldn’t turn them his first day out. (Of course, he’d decided not to detune them before skiing…and the mount point was a factor, too, but still: I’ll forever regret that I wasn’t there to witness this.)

Praxis WooTest, Blister Gear Review
Praxis WooTest - Tail Profile

Tweaking the flatter tail would help beginners like Jonathan really see the potential of the design, I think. But I think this version achieved most of what a lot of us were after and this would be a good fine tune. If it compromises skinning (I know it will), I don’t care. I don’t go into the wild for the walk up, I go for the ride down. And I know a lot of people out there concur.

It sounds like Praxis is getting a lot of interest in the WooTest for next year. We’ll be working out the kinks in the very near future. I got a chance to talk to Keith today, and we’ve pretty much come to the same conclusion regarding future tweaks. Although minor, they’ll be happening on future presses.

It’s been great finally getting this ski made, and my only regret is not having a long enough winter to enjoy them in their element.

Fellow WooTest owner? If you got a pair, speak up in the Comments section below and let us know what you think.

14 comments on “Praxis WooTest”

  1. In a world with mystical scenes from fairy tales and graphics of block symetrical patterns, I really dig the ski’s look.

  2. Gotta agree with Joel, dear lord those are ugly. Praxis makes bomber stuff though and it seems like an intriguing design. Good review.

  3. been following the developement of these. great concept and i’ll be interested to hear how the tweaks go. like you i’m in it for the down, but with a short inseam i’m finding 177- 180 provides a great deal of ease on the climbs particularly switchbacks. i’d seriously consider a light (carbon?) 178ish . any possibility of a lighter version?

  4. I’m pretty sure the lightweight topsheets from the Backcountry models are available. They were on this run even though that’s not what I got…..that’ll save you a few ounces for sure. There was some mumbling about additional carbon in the ski (meaning reduced fiberglass, and reduced weight) for the next run. Even the ones I have are certainly not heavy by any means……especially with dynafits on them.

  5. I really wish we had a better winter to get more days on them. I agree with every thing in the review. The plates add versatility for in and out of bounds. Detune the shit out of them and seek out the untracked. I detuned in 3 stages and wish I would have just hit them hard the first time. Multiple passes with the panzer at 45* from contact points is the way to go. The edges come way to sharp to start.
    I think part of the weirdness in the afternoon has to do with just how easy they are to ski. They are just so easy to pivot and turn that when the tip gets engaged on chunder it can toss you around faster than you can react to it. Big straight fast turns were the best at avoiding the weirdness. Slower, shorter turns were where I found myself lacking some confidence.
    I found committing to them 100% and staying forward decreased the weirdness as did keeping the speed up. The couple roundhouse days we skied showed me this. Once I got them up to speed they were much less reactive to the chunder. They can’t hook if you don’t turn!

  6. From the looks of it, you seem to be mounted too far forward in the sidecut. That’s probably why more tail on the snow was giving you such a hard time.

  7. Hey Kevin.
    Any news on the Woo 2.0? Which of the changes you hinted at in your review are likely to be implemented? I – and I suspect many others – am very interested to know.
    As someone who finally got on a pair of Protests (good lord, they’re good), the Woo would be the logical ski to replace my Praxis BCs once they give up the ghost.

    • The guys at praxis are planning to implement pretty much everything I mentioned in this review as far as changes to the ski. That would be a more rockered tail, a more tapered tip that’s not so squared off and round, and a slightly deeper sidecut (not much at all). I’m not sure if they’ve gotten any pressed yet. I’ve been gone for a lot of the summer and have been riding bikes whenever I’m home. I’ll swing by there in the near future and see what I can find out. I’m dying to see the 2.0 version too!

  8. Hello kb,
    Do you remember tip/tail splay numbers from the original wootest?

    wootest 2.0 shows 60/33 cm in the 187 version and a -10 cm mount position.

    I have the file on another computer and will post it up

  9. Hey Kevin, did you have any time on the BC or Yeti? I’d love to hear about those skis as well… thinking about one of these as my first touring ski!

    • Not much on the BC and none on the Yeti. The BC definitely seems like one of the better ‘quiver of one’ skis out there. I’d certainly rather have those than the Wootests come corn season. But with version 2.0, I’m still in love with the Wootests mid winter.

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