Protesting the Backcountry: Building a Better Backcountry Ski

Editor’s Note: For several years, BLISTER reviewer Kevin Bazar has been searching for a very specific ski, one that didn’t exist. 

But that’s about to change.

Kevin and I started talking last spring or summer about the ski he’s been after, and after countless phone conversations, email exchanges, TGR forum discussions, and the encouragement from BLISTER to get this done (I’m jonesing to ski this thing, plus I really want to see Kevin get his ski), his idea is about to be realized. Praxis Skis‘ Keith O’Meara is going to make it happen.

BLISTER is going to be documenting the process, and we’re beginning by letting Kevin explain why he hasn’t stopped talking about this design for a very long time. So here’s part 1 of a very cool project that we think you’ll enjoy following. And who knows? Maybe you’ll decide that you need a pair for yourself.


Protesting The Backcountry: Building A Better Backcountry Ski

Part I: The Rationale

There’s an old saying in the moto world that goes something like, “The best you know is the best you’ve ridden.”

Far from being unique to the world of motorcycles, I firmly believe this to be pretty universally true, especially in sports that are either currently undergoing (or emerging from) periods of rapid changes in design approach.

I think both scenarios apply to the world of skis in 2012.

The fatter, more rockered, more tapered, more well conceived shapes these days are still pushing new thinking in design, but there’s been a bit of a decline in the truly unique approaches coming out year to year. It seems to me that we’re leveling off a bit, and that this isn’t entirely for the better.

But we are in a sport where the question of, “What do you think of rockered skis?” draws responses based on anything from a Moment Bibby Pro, to a Dynastar Legend 105—skis that have almost nothing to do with each other still share some trickle down technology. But for a given application, the best you know is the best you’ve ridden.

As a former snowboarder, I still think back fondly to what I call ‘the bitchslap heard round the Alps,’ the Volant Spatula.

Photo of the Volant Spatula
The boat that started it all, the Volant Spatula.

Previously, I had no interest whatsoever in skiing because of how skiers were moving around the mountain at the time. At the time, it was obvious that the extra surface area of snowboards kept the worlds and the experience of skiers and boarders so distinct on big snow days. (I admit that, back then, shape didn’t really enter into my mind too much. I knew snowboards worked better in super deep snow, and just let it rest at surface area.)

But the first time I saw a pair of Spatulas, I thought to myself, Oh, right…water skis. That makes total sense.

2 comments on “Protesting the Backcountry: Building a Better Backcountry Ski”

  1. The ski will be narrower all around. Essentially about 15mm subtracted from every dimension of the current Praxis Protest. That equates to a 113mm waist.

Leave a Comment