It is with great excitement, anticipation and stoke that we at Praxis Skis announce my new pro model ski, the Quixote. The Quixote introduces a fresh concept in ski design, something we’re calling offset taper. Simply put, there is a ‘left’ and a ‘right’ ski, each having a tip and tail outline designed to be used on a specific foot. When I joined up with Praxis Skis in 2007, it was because Praxis was one of the only brands making fat, rockered skis, as well as experimenting with unconventional sidecut profiles. (Not to mention they were bombproof skis made by real skiers - as they still are today.) We’ve continued the legacy of progressive design and craftsmanship in the decade since with skis like the Concept and the Protest. And now, we proudly bring you the Quixote.
We built this ski because we think this design will improve skiing for skiers of all abilities, in all conditions. Looking at the biomechanics of a skier’s body, along with the forces applied to skis while skiing, it seems obvious that we should have left- and right-specific skis. When we go skiing, whether its steep Alaskan powder or easy groomers at the ski area, we are not skiing on railroad tracks, as traditional ski design may have us believe. We’re making a variety of turn shapes, carving and sliding and constantly adjusting speed and direction. The Quixote’s design acknowledges and accounts for this.
Its been years since Praxis Skis owner Keith O’Meara and I started discussing building a ski like this. Asymmetric designs are definitely not a new idea in the history of ski (and snowboard) design, and there are many, many ways that it could be done. We finally settled on the offset taper concept behind the Quixote more than a year ago, and Keith and the guys at the factory started building prototypes. Testing was really exciting – it felt immediately like the concept was going to be a breakthrough, but a lot of tweaking and adjustments were left to be integrated. So we kept thinking, testing and adjusting.
At some point last year, I saw the product description for the new ski from K2, the Marksman. I haven’t tried them yet, but it appears that they’ve come independently to the same design principle -- tip and tail shapes specific to a left and right ski. Part of me was pretty bummed – we’d poured a lot of passion and energy into the ski, and a big brand like K2 was dropping a similar idea right at the same time. On the other hand, it felt vindicating that we’re not just pursuing a crazy prototype design -- a big brand thinks something like this is going to work really well, too. In the end, no idea is original. We aren’t doing anything truly new at Praxis with the Quixote and our other offerings; we’re just building on our own experience, as well as everyone else who has come before us.
I recently heard a quote about filmmaking. It basically said you never really “finish” a film; you work on with your heart and soul until you can simply do no more, and then you abandon it. Ski design feels much the same to me. Keith and I could send a thousand more emails, Praxis could build a dozen more prototypes, my artist Ryan Smith could continue to tweak the art, but if we did that we’d never release the ski! Not sure if this ski has reached perfection but its damn good, and its time we release it. I’m looking forward to skiing it in the coming seasons and seeing where it takes me next. I hope you’ll come with me.