Variable / Chop
In firm, bumped-up conditions and dense snow, the skis seemed happiest just rallying through this stuff. Again, they’re fairly straight, and pretty stiff. They aren’t designed either to get all turny or excel at slow speeds.
Having said that, with these detuned a lot, it will be interesting to get the MVP into trees and bumps and see how much more easily they pivot. After all, these do have a lot of rocker, they’re just also relatively straight and stiff. In Las Leñas, they were not the smooth pivot machines that the Atomic Automatics were (and the Automatics didn’t have the high-speed stability of the MVP), but I’m excited to continue to play with the tune and see how I can tweak these.
No real surprises here. The combination of the MVP’s stiff shovels and ample rocker meant that, despite their more centered / less traditional mount, I wasn’t getting any tip dive, nor did I ever feel like the shovels were folding up on me. There were no wacky balance issues on this ski, either, despite the significant rocker. The tails have a substantial, smooth, and supportive flex.
The runs I had where we were in deeper snow, the MVPs planed nicely and still felt best at speed, skiing centered, light, and loose. (Once again, this probably shouldn’t come as a surprise given that this is a comp ski that is an evolution of a model Praxis used to make called the Mountain Jib.)
Some Obvious Statements, Speculative Pondering, and Early Conclusions
1) The Obvious: The more you’re looking for this to be your deep-pow ski, the more I think you’d be wise to soften up on the flex. Kevin’s model is on the stiff end of the medium / stiff spectrum, and if I didn’t have a fatter ski for deeper days, I’d probably opt to go slightly softer. (But I do have fatter skis for deeper days, and I like the flex of this particular pair, FWIW.)
2) The Speculative: This is a pretty stiff, pretty center-mounted, pretty rockered, relatively fat ski. That all makes for an interesting combination, and, again, I wish I was able to spend less time adjusting the tune to taste and spend more time getting used to this ski. I know that, originally, Praxis was going to give this ski a more subtle rocker profile, and I am personally curious what that would look like, since, as I’ve said, I wouldn’t be breaking out a 110mm ski on bigger storm days. I think the subtler rocker profile / increased effective edge length would allow this ski to carve and track a bit better, and I think the shovels are substantial enough that tip dive would still be a non-issue. As always, it just depends on what you want or need a ski to do.
3) The Provisional Upshot: The MVP presents an interesting combination of a playful design (forward mount, significant tip and tail rocker, permits powerful slashes) mixed with a big-mountain / serious-business design (stiff flex, modest sidecut, high-speed stability). The more directional and traditional your style, the less confident I currently am to guarantee that you will adore this ski. (You might prefer one of the MVP’s relatives, the Praxis Freeride or the Praxis Rx.)
Having said that, I’m a directional, non-jibby skier, and now that I’ve got these skis tuned the way I want them, I can’t wait to get them up to Taos, Alta, or Jackson, to see how they handle tight trees, bumps, etc.
But you know who I am confident will like this ski? Strong, playful skiers. This ski—especially our particular version of this ski—is a true hybrid. Some people ski really hard, and some people ski really playfully. If you do both, I think you’ll be a fan. And part of the reason I think this because Jason Hutchins skis hard and plays, and he already is a big fan, so you should now read his initial review of the Praxis MVP.
NEXT PAGE: ROCKER PROFILE PICS
Question: What ski is among the absolute best in its class, yet far too few skiers know about it? Answer: The Praxis Protest. It's a big ski that deserves to have a much, MUCH bigger following.
There are pro models and then there are Pro Models. The Praxis MVP is Kevin O'Meara's, and we are taking to Las Leñas the pair that Kevin literally built for himself to compete on this season. Not many skis out there appear to offer the MVP's level of playfulness, stability, and versatility.
The Fischer Big Stix 110 shines precisely where most tip and tail rockered skis falter. Take a look.