Two pairs of Praxis GPO!
Good gear is a collaboration of the builder, the design team and the end users.
Studying weapons, and climbing gear, which are all just tools really, I've come to one solid conclusion.
The more the end user is involved the better the product. Seems simple but it only takes a few minutes of looking around at any one piece of gear you use to play with or defend yourself with to see just how connected the end user has been to the design team. Doesn't matter if that 'tool" is a season old or a several millennium.
The best designs are built to be used with a LOT of influence by the peoples using them!
The closer your requirements are to the designer's/end user's original applications are the better those tools will likely work for you.
I can think of a half dozen designs just off the top of my head that have stood well over the test of time.
New technology can be a really fun thing and make us humans much better with less effort at what we do.
In this case skis are on my mind. I've been skiing a long time. The Volant Spatula, DPS 112RP, the Dynafit Broad Peak all come to mind as game changers for me. But there are lots of skis out there I never got on. And lots of skis that likely changed your own skiing. My original fiberglass ski, the K2 Holiday, changed skiing for me :)
The newest Cho Oyu, the RPC and the Huascaran are current choices that make me wiggle in anticipation for the first snows of winter while I am out enjoying myself on sun warmed alpine rock in mid July.
But I have a couple of new toys you'll be hearing about the next chance I get on some snow. (Mt Hood In July hopefully) I'm pretty stoked for the obvious reasons. When the real players are involved, magic happens. Think CCW packs, the Nomic, Low tech race bindings and the newest Rebel Ultra.
"The story that Praxis Skis has played in my career as a skier cannot be underestimated. Since I started riding their Powder Boards in 2007, they’ve been a steadfast source of support and innovation for me as well as the core group of skiers who support their small brand. Praxis is a puzzle piece that doesn’t always fit in to the makeup of the ski industry. For example, as an athlete it has been difficult to secure sponsorship from binding or boot sponsors without committing to a particular manufacturer’s ski line as well. But I’ve always believed that having access to the innovation and quality that a small brand like Praxis offers is well worth giving up a the visibility and contracts that can come with the bigger brands."
You can spend a lot of dollars, hire bright new engineers and designers to little avail. The guys that can make the stuff work? Really work for those of us actually using it? It is the guys/gals deep in the game are the ones that will really make a difference. Pity the fool who hasn't figured that one out yet. And trust me...more that haven't, than those that have.