After skiing on the Praxis Concept (136-114-126)Â Big Mountain /Â FreerideÂ skis in Tahoe, I came away quite impressed with their versatility. The Concept are handcrafted in Incline Village, NV by local Lake Tahoe resident Keith O’Meara.
Rob at the Sports Exchange in Truckee, CA mentioned that these were designed for the serious skier and also very well built skis. After taking them back to my house and checking them out, I noticed that the workmanship and apparentÂ durability was impressive on both the topsheets and bases of these skis.
The first two days I was out, conditions were excellent as Tahoe had just received approximately 100 inches of new snow in the past week. Temperatures were in the mid twenties during the day, keeping the snow nice and fresh without being mushy or going through freeze thaw cycles.Â The snowÂ and conditionsÂ wereÂ similar to what you’d have in theÂ Rocky Mountains.
On my second run, I was able to dial in the edge pressures necessary to really get the Concept toÂ perform for me. Once I rolled my ankle and pressured the tongue of the boot, the edge really engaged. Even with a beefy 114mm underfoot, these skis were quick edge to edge and had no trouble with the 126mm tails releasing the turn. Subsequent runs just got better as I really was able to get some great performance out of them both on-piste and in the remains from the previous dump.
The flex of the Concept are on the stiffer side. Keith has them rated as a 7 out of 10,Â as these Praxis’s are made to charge big lines and be stable at super fast speeds, of which I couldn’t find their speed limit as they were always stable . The Concept have a 3D sidecutÂ which occurs when skisÂ have a reverse sidecut underfoot. Meaning, the skis narrowest points are between the binding toe and ski tip and between the binding heel and ski tail. But (keep following) after the flared tips, the Concept then taper again so that they cut through the powder and crud.Â The tails are also tapered and thatÂ helps toÂ release you quicker andÂ to slarve a turn.
If 100 inches weren’t enough last week, how about a dusting for @ 40 more inches beginning on Thursday and finishing up on Friday evening. Once again this season, this was not the classic Sierra Cement snow, as this was some of the best super deep, blower powder that I’ve ever had a chance to ski.Â So conditions were prime for Powder skis and for one of the few times in my life, as I like my camber, a Big Mountain ski would have been my second choice.
These Concept demos were 179’s and I certainly could have used the longer ones in these epic conditions. Under normal powder conditions, I wouldn’t have had to worry about these tips doing anything but riding high as they are adequately rockered. So to combat the urge of the tips to dip on this day, I just kept my speed up and watched the tapered tips cut through the bottomless and made sure I didn’t lose any momentum until I was ready to stop.Â The Concept were very playful and easy to ski at speed in the deep stuff, whether I wanted to cruise, slarve, cut a fat rooster tail or land some air.
I think the Praxis Concept skis are worthy of consideration if you are a strong skier who likes to charge big lines and go fast. They will float you through all but the deepest of days and will also have no problem on the days between dumps. Conditions didn’t permit any hardpack testing, however, the makeup of these boards leads me to believe they would end up in the upper tier for their category for this.