The custom tweaked Praxis Freeride skis are nimble enough for the tightest of couloirs, but love when the conditions are full-on powder.

Praxis Skis is a small ski manufacturer based in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. For the past several years Praxis has grown recognition and gained a reputation as one of the better “small guys” out there. I’ve had the fortune of skiing Praxis skis for the past few years and I’ve never been disappointed.

For the 2012-2013 ski season I approached owner and founder Keith O’Meara about making me a pair of skis that were built for specific use in the rugged Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Praxis makes an extremely high quality stock fleet of skis each season, but for the past couple of years they’ve also been taking custom orders as well. That means each customer has choice in graphic design as well as flex pattern for their skis.

My first test run of these skis came in the Lake Tahoe area on a classic line known as "The Cross". The skis ate the steep, firmish terrain up just as I had hoped. They did just as well surfing powder on the way out. Photo: Jillian Raymond

As much as I’ve loved my Praxis Powderboards, as well as the BPS design, the Freeride skis looked to be the closest thing to what I was looking for in an “Eastside” ski. In the Eastern Sierra you are often looking for power (duh!), maybe perfect corn, but you’re always going to get a variable mix along the way. I wanted a ski that would ski powder well, but something I could more so trust when variable conditions were encountered.

Ultimately, Keith and crew shaved almost a pound off the typical weight of the stock Freeride ski, and also increased the stiffness of the ski as I wanted a ski mountaineering tool that wasn’t as soft as the previous pairs I had been exploring with other companies. The result is a ski that’s not the lightest on the up, but tours extremely well, is close to 8 lbs., and skis better than any of the other skis in this genre that I’ve tried, period. The slight sacrifice of weight on the up was more than compensated for in performance on the down.

Specs for the stock model of the Praxis Freeride Skis.

That’s the difference with Praxis. Keith and his crew are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about what they’re doing. You can contact them directly and you’ll be guaranteed service that is literally unavailable with most every other ski manufacturer. The whole crew absolutely rips as well, which more than helps. Look no further than what’s on the feet of the current Freeride Tour Winner, Drew Tabke.

As much as I love powder, I wanted to be able to trust these skis in the wealth of variable terrain encountered when ski touring in the High Sierra. Mission accomplished!

In terms of creating the skis of your dreams, anything is possible with Praxis. I’ve been extremely impressed with their powder ski offerings since I fist connected with them, but in working to create a ski specifically situated to ski in the Eastern Sierra the crew has absolutely nailed it. If you’re in the market for something fresh for South America this season, or are already planning for next year, do yourself a favor and take a detailed look at their website. All of your questions should be answered there, but if you still have more, drop the crew a line and they’ll get right back to you. You’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain by giving Praxis a look!