Dimensions (mm): 133-110-126
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 184.8cm
Sidecut Radius: 26 meters
BLISTER’s Measured Weight Per Ski: 2,119 grams & 2,124 grams
Boots/Bindings: Nordica Enforcer / Marker Jester Demo (DIN at 10)
Mount Location: Recommended (-6 from center)
Test Location: Alta Ski Area, Alta Sidecountry, Park City Mountain Resort
Days Skied: 17
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 MVP, which was not changed for 13/14, 14/15 or 15/16.]
The Praxis MVP got my attention down in Las Leñas last summer. (See our initial reviews of the MVP). Though I skied the MVP only a couple of days in South America, my experience busting through low-angle soft chop off Marte and the exceptional time on the settled powder of Sur 3800 had me excited to get the ski back to Alta, to put it to the all-around test on familiar ground.
I’ve been riding the MVP intermittently since the beginning of the season and have been able to ride just about every type of condition and terrain available here at Alta, while also spending some time cutting laps in the park and lower-angle bumps at PCMR.
Untracked to lightly tracked, shallow (<10”), low-density snow or deeper high-density snow (i.e., cream or settled pow) were the conditions in which the MVP definitely skied the best.
Here the long, gradual splay of the MVP’s tip and tail rocker contributed greatly to the light, surfy feel that could be felt at medium to high speeds. The ski felt best smearing out shallow, long- to medium-radius turns, keeping the ski relatively in the fall line.
The stiff flex of our test ski, however, kept the MVP from feeling as playful and nimble as I would have anticipated for a ski of this size and shape. The rocker line, and to some extent sidecut shape, definitely give hint to a ski that should be easy to blow sideways, slash, and just all-out play in soft conditions. The stiff flex of this particular pair, however, seemed to always fight against the other “playful” characteristics of the ski.
Even in deeper pow, where the rocker line should have helped the ski plane at high speeds, the stiff flex seemed to inhibit those performance characteristics, forcing the ski to start driving through the soft snow rather than rise above it, much like in deeper crud.
The MVP feels light, and it performs better from being airborne to landing than it does anywhere else. Takeoffs don’t feel overly poppy, unless the jump has a pretty significant kick to it, but once in the air, the MVP feels light and has a low swing weight. Whipping the ski around in the air is about as easy as it gets for a ski of this size.
Landings feel super solid, albeit a little firm from the stiff flex and lack of camber. Thanks to the supportive tails, I don’t think I’ve ever wheelied out on a landing. But the skis feel best being stomped to the balls of the feet, as off-kilter landings can be a little rough on the knees, again due to that firm, unforgiving flex.
Railing turns down soft, corn, groomers in Las Leñas, I noticed the MVP felt stable, but lacked some energy from turn to turn. Back home on the early/mid-season snowpack at Alta and PCMR, combined with a fresh, sharp tune from the Peruvian Ski Shop, the MVP continued to present the same characteristics.
The ski has performed best on medium-pitch groomers, high up on edge, engaging as much usable edge as possible, and carving the ski hard. Regardless of pitch, the MVP shone brightest on groomers while carving. Though not really energetic or exhilarating, carving the MVP is an enjoyable experience.
Due to the light weight of the ski, the short running length of the effective sidecut edge (135cm), and medium length sidecut (26m), carving turns at ultra high speeds on steep groomers does feel a little nerve racking. In this instance, the ski feels fairly twitchy, especially through transitions, and simply doesn’t feel like you have much ski under your feet.
The MVP also isn’t incredibly confidence inspiring once the groomers start getting chopped up a bit. Here the ski can feel a little twitchy, and the stiff flex (an attribute you’ll be hearing lots about) of our particular model seemed to intensify every little bump in the snow. De-tuning the ski tips beyond the contact points does help decrease this twitchiness a little.
While skiing slower and using variety of skidded turn shapes, the MVP did require more effort than most of the skis I have been on. The ski is fairly flat underfoot, with 2mm of camber running only 95cm, and needs to be placed fairly high on edge to engage enough sidecut to effectively bend the ski. This meant that bases-flat, skidded / smear turns required more steering input from the driver than I’m accustomed to, even compared to the 192cm Black Diamond Zealots I’ve been riding. For a ski of the MVP’s size, shape, and light weight, it isn’t as easy to transition from turn to turn as I would have expected.
The best way to ski the MVP slowly on groomers is to attack with short, aggressive slalom turns. As I have come to find out with the MVP, there is rarely an opportunity to kick back an relax.