2015-2016 Praxis MVP

Praxis MVP, Blister Gear ReviewSki: 2015-2016 Praxis MVP, 187cm

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: Atomic Redster Pro 130 / Marker Jester (DIN at 10)

Mount Location: Recommended Line

Tune: 1/1

Test Location: Las Leñas Ski Resort

Days Skied: 4

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 MVP, which was not changed for 13/14, 14/15, or 15/16.]

As I wrote in my preview of the Praxis MVP, this is a ski that I’ve been very excited about, so check out the preview if you’d like to know why.

Plus, this happens to be the pair that Praxis ski builder Kevin O’Meara—Praxis owner Keith O’Meara’s cousin—built for himself to compete on this season. (Kevin picked the topsheets, too. And there are a bunch of other graphics you can choose from, in addition to choosing your preferred flex and layup of the ski.)

To put it mildly, Kevin skis hard. I was trying to find the video of a ridiculous run of Kevin’s at the FWT Snowbird comp two years ago, but instead I’ll post this footage of Kevin from Kirkwood, 2007. (The video quality is terrible. Watch it anyway.)

Kevin is the real deal, and I still think it’s pretty incredible that Praxis, this tiny little ski company in Tahoe, has not one but two of the best comp skiers in the world on their roster (Drew Tabke won the Freeskiing World Tour in 2011).

Anyway, whatever we might end up thinking of the MVP, we were honored that Kevin would give up his own pair. And on that note…

Day One (and Two and Three and Four): The Tune

Praxis is notorious for shipping out skis with super sharp edges, and this was true of the MVP. Only problem is, I didn’t want to detune the crap out of these right away because part of the objective was to ski these exactly as Kevin had set them up.

Long and short: Kevin likes his edges either really sharp or really dull. The MVPs were in the really sharp camp, and after two days of skiing them as is, I threw in the towel and detuned them several times over the course of day 3. Then I detuned them again at the end of the day. Then I detuned them again a bit after day 4….

Jonathan Ellsworth, Praxis MVP, Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth on the Praxis MVP, Las Leñas Ski Resort.

Each attempt definitely improved the feel of the skis for me—detuning is a very subjective thing, and you might prefer these closer to the factory tune. The only downside is that I spent a good chunk of time getting them dialed in, then had to pass them off to Jason Hutchins while I moved on to other skis to review. Jason loved the skis and liked the tune right off the bat (you’re welcome, J-$$$), so consider this sort of a tag team review: I’m going first, we’ll post Jason’s thoughts in short order, and Jason and I will both update our preliminary findings this winter.

But unless you ski like the maniac in that grainy POV video, I’d recommend that you detune these things right away. As in, lightly detune the entire length of the ski right away, then be prepared to heavily detune the tips and tails an inch or two past the rocker lines, down the shovel.

Groomers / Hardpack

Since none of us had been on skis since May, we stuck primarily to groomers on our first day in the attempt to (1) try to remember how to ski and (2) begin to find our ski legs.

On Las Leñas’ long groomers, what the MVPs wanted to do was run. They were happy skiing bases flat (if I just stayed centered and light, I was good) or making big-radius turns as opposed to high-angulation carves. It could have been the pilot rather than ski, but the MVP seemed to be fairly quick to give up the tail and slide a bit rather than throw down railroad tracks. But this makes perfect sense, keeping in mind that Kevin specifically built this pair to be his comp ski.

Big-mountain contests aren’t typically about perfectly carved turns, they are about going mach-looney fast, making powerful slashes to scrub speed, doing some billygoating, perhaps spinning, and definitely straightlining some run outs. (Again, watch that video.) I can’t speak to the spinning part, but the MVPs do the rest of these things very well.

The MVPs didn’t feel completely locked into each carve (the Fischer Big Stix 110 does), but there is a deep rocker line on these skis, there is not a lot of sidecut, and our pair is fairly stiff and not the easiest ski to bend. So, again, not really surprising.

I also found the MVP to work best when laying turns over to the side rather than trying to get more forward, out over the shovels. Too much of that (unweighting the traditional camber behind my boots), and the tails would stop tracking and wash out a bit. But get them up on edge with my weight less forward and more centered on the camber, and the MVPs would bite, carve, and encourage speed.

But if you really want your 110mm tip-and-tail rockered ski to lay down smooth, beautifully carved turns and encourage solid, traditional technique (and you’re willing to sacrifice some high-speed stability in chop and deeper pow performance), I’d check out the Big Stix 110.

12 Comments

  1. Euroskier September 27, 2012 Reply

    Why can’t Praxis be an European company. I need here some Protests and Mvps to test. ;-)

    Nice review as always. Personally I had expected that the Mvp is more Jib oriented.

  2. Zak (auvgeek) September 27, 2012 Reply

    More info about the flex would be helpful. The Praxis website lists 4 available flexes; I assume that Kevin’s pair was made in the “stiff” flex? If so, could you provide a comparison to some other skis so those of us who aren’t near enough the factory can get a better handle just how stiff the “stiff” flex is?

    Don’t need a pair, but I bet the 196 Protest in a stiff flex would be money for pow-day charging.

    • Author

      Keith said that he’d locate this particular pair on the “stiff” end of the “medium/stiff” spectrum. These aren’t total beasts. But they are definitely stiff for such a centered ski that’s this rockered out. Line SFB? The MVPs are definitely stiffer. 12/13 Influence 115? MVP is stiffer. Kastle West 110? MVP as I recall, but Jason should answer that (he’s got the MVPs and West 110s with him). Fischer Big Stix 110? Definitely MVP. Moment Deathwish? MVP. Atomic Automatics? MVP. Bibby Pro? MVP, but now we’re getting closer. 191 ON3P Billy Goat? Probably the BG.

      I’m having a hard time thinking of 110mm skis that have this much rocker that are stout, but don’t flex like the RC112s, either.

      • Zak (auvgeek) September 27, 2012 Reply

        Excellent answer, as always. “Stiff” means different things to different people, so it’s really nice to have these types of comparisons.

        Regarding your last sentence: Wrengade…or 186 Jeffrey (if you desire tail rocker)…maybe…?

  3. Ben September 28, 2012 Reply

    I’m surprised by the weight of these skis. Do you know if there is anything different about the layup of Kevin’s ski versus the standard model? Praxis’ stated weight for the 187 tradtional layup MVP is 9 pounds, and my hybrid layup ones weigh in around 8.6 pounds. It seems odd that this pair weighs almost as much as a pair of Protests (2140 grams/ski as measured by Blister).

    • Author

      There could have been some differences in the core Kevin used, Ben.

      But you’re right – looking at our measured weight for the Protests, I need to double check that, and will do so Wednesday morning. That weight for the Protest looks suspiciously light. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Rod September 28, 2012 Reply

    How would you compare the mvp with the katana? Which is a ski that I really like.

    By the way, I read your review in the dps 99. I demoed the hybrid, at the same time as the bonafide, and I might ski differently, but I thought the bonafide skied a lot better. The 99 had a fee flaws, like dramatically straightening out a turn if you shift the weight back, grabby tips.

    • Author

      Hi, Rod – mostly, the MVP and the 191 Katana are very apples-to-oranges. (We’ve only skied the 191 Katana, which has a stiffer flex than the 184 Katana.)

      The 191 Katana has no traditional camber, but full-length subtle rocker. The Katana has a far more traditional, directional mount than the MVP. The Katana is one of the best crud-busting skis I’ve been on, but there is nothing playful about it. We are really hoping to ski the 184 Katana this year, and that would certainly close the gap between the 191 Katana and the 187 MVP.

      Jason and I both spent a good bit of time on the Bonafide, but found it kind of lifeless and very conventional-feeling. Our Blizzard contact thought that the flex of our particular pair might have been off, so we’re hoping to get back on the skis this season.

      As for the 99s, I’m not sure that I’d call it a flaw of the 99s that they straighten out a turn if you aren’t skiing centered or driving the tips, but are getting back on your heels a bit. And the 5-point tip shape of the 99s might be more inclined to grap than a tip shape like the Bonafides, but a proper detune can usually go a long way to mitigate that effect. Neither Jason nor I had issues with the the 99s or the Bonafides in that regard.

  5. SLCSkier November 18, 2012 Reply

    Out of the this, the LSFB, R2 108, which would you say is the best on the groomers, and the most playful, poppy, etc. I like to ride pretty close to center, but im also a pretty hard charger as well.

  6. Dan. K December 21, 2013 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,
    These skis sounds a lot like our fave ski, Bibby 190 (except its 110 underfoot). I was thinking about buying last year’s Billy Goat in tour layup for some backcountry action. I was also thinking about buying the same bibby 190 and use it for backcountry (short tours) but then I read your review here and I’m thinking maybe I should go with the MVP. Your thoughts would be really appreciated as always. And I thank you again for introducing me to Bibby. And I got a ski for that I think you gonna love. Try Lib Tech Pow Nas. You gonna rock the groomers and hardpack andnice with that like you have never before. I bought the 181 but would have been happy w the 191 as well but I have a lot of skis in 190’s arena and I’m 5’10” , 170 lbs so I got it in 181 so tight chutes and trees. They turn on a dime!

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