Posted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:15 pm Post subject: Review: 184cm Praxis Freeride 2010/2011
Review: 184cm Praxis Freeride 2010/2011
The Ski: 184cm Praxis Freeride, 135-107-125, 24m radius. Mounted tele with TwentyTwo Designs Axl with bootcenter 795mm from the tail (2.5cm back from the recommended alpine bootcenter). Looking at the 11/12 spec sheet, it appears that the alpine BC mark has been moved from 82cm to 80cm from the tail for this year, so I'm pretty much right at the current recommended point New red T-Race boots.
The Skier: 5'9” 140lbs, average maggot abilities. Ski fast, prefer long turns to short, occasionally straightline, frequently take small air. However, I'd call my style more “smooth” than “powerful.”
Quiver Includes: 184cm Blizzard Answer, 189cm Praxis Pow RX, 185cm Nordica Blower
Similar sized skis I've tried: This list is getting long. 186cm Rossi S6, 183cm Volkl Katana, 175cm BD Justice, 182cm BD Zealot (old and new), 186cm Ski Logik Howitzer, 186cm Volkl Gotama, 178cm Volkl Nunataq, 180cm BD Verdict (old and new), 181cm Icelantic Nomad, 180cm Praxis Backcountry, probably some I've forgotten.
This is kind of a hard review for me to write because this ski is one that just disappears under my feet. I don't have to think about skiing them; more than any other ski I've owned, they just do everything I want them to without me thinking about it.
Keith states on his website that part of the idea behind this ski was to design a one ski quiver for traveling anywhere in the world, a ski that would ski every condition well. I think he nailed the design perfectly. The 24m turn radius is perfect – small enough that the ski is never hard to turn, but large enough that the ski never gets hooky except in the funkiest of snow conditions (gnarly breakable crust). The 107mm waist is also perfect – very easy to get on edge on hardpack, yet still wide enough to float. Speaking of float, the tip of the ski has a nice smooth rocker profile that gives the ski exceptional float for it's width. It actually floats a little better than my Praxis RX at 115mm underfoot (an old generation with a pretty subtle rocker).
I've skied the Freerides for a full season as my go-to backcountry ski, and as such, have skied it in pretty much every condition imaginable besides resort post-powder day chop. Ice, corn, windcrust, suncrust, bottomless pow, tight trees, huge open faces – these skis have seen it all. And they really do ski everything very, very well.
The flex is fairly stiff. Not super stiff by any means, but it is a ski that needs to be driven. I've never felt like the ski was working me, but a friend who borrowed them who is probably 180+lbs but an advanced intermediate tele skier said he got kinda worked by them. For those that prefer a little softer ski with a little more sidecut, the Praxis Backcountry would be an excellent choice. I sold mine simply because they were a bit too soft for my tastes.
As always, the Praxis construction quality is absolutely the best out there. There isn't a single flaw in the ski, and despite skiing them hard through all sorts of rocky terrain, I haven't managed to do any major damage to the Freerides.
My only knock on this ski that that I do want to get something a little wider and more funshaped (longer tip and tail splay, more rocker tip and tail) to complement them for bigger pow days. The Freerides actually handle the big days very well, but they feel like a traditional ski. You can stay forward and drive the tips and they don't sink, but they don't have the playful, slarvy feel that modern pow skis do. The Freerides will absolutely stay in the quiver for days when I don't know what the conditions will be, all spring tours, and any time I'm traveling and can only bring one ski. _________________ mediocre kneedropper
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