For better or worse, none of the weight savings is in the pick or the adze. Therefore it chops steps and tent platforms better than many of the general mountaineering axes we tested. It performs as well as the Black Diamond Raven Ultra and far better than the CAMP Corsa. The Snowracer self-arrests nicely, even in firmer conditions. The pick penetrates firmer snow and glacial ice better than most of the lighter ice axes in this review. It is more versatile and friendly on late season glacier routes than the Raven Ultra and is much better than a CAMP Corsa. The head is designed effectively for improvised snow anchors because it has numerous clip-in points in the pick and some smaller (slightly less useful ones) in the adze. The clip-in points in the head were not as easy to use as the BD Raven Ultra's but a little nicer than the CAMP Corsa. It does have a cap to keep the shaft from filling with snow. The textured shaft helps to increase your grip when booting steep couloirs even when wearing fleece or other non-leather palmed gloves.
The Petzl Snowracer lacks a real spike, which keeps it from having a secure feeling in piolet cane position (spike in the snow). This is a bummer on long, icy traverses. It also kicks out more than a Raven Ultra because of the Ultra's steel insert. While we understand the Snow Racer was designed for ski mountaineers and adventure racers, it is disappointing to see that it is only available in the 50 cm length and nothing longer. The head of the ice axe is well designed to work as an improvised deadman but the lack of a spike makes driving the ice axe in vertically in firm snow conditions pretty difficult. The Snoweracer is below average in comfort; it scores behind both the BD Raven Ultra and the CAMP Corsa.
The Snowracer is designed for more moderate snow climbers and ski mountaineers who ask a little more of their ice axe than early season backpackers would. It isn't as well suited for all alpine routes but will handle most general mountaineering applications effectively. Along with the Black Diamond Raven it is a favorite among alpine rock climbers in areas like the Cascades, Tetons and the Sierra where you often have to carry your axe up your route and want a durable steel pick.
At just under $80 the Petzl Snowracer is the best deal on an ultralight ice axe. The Snowracer compares with any ice axe we tested in the price to weight ratio. This is a great ice axe for ski mountaineers or early season hikers not wanting to throw down the extra $30-$40 for a Raven Ultra. The Snowracer is the best price for a sub 14 oz ice axe in the whole review.