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
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….
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.