REVIEWS AND TESTS
Ski Tests & Reviews
Parlor Mountain Jay 185cm 2016-2017
Parlor Mountain Jay 185cm
“Surfy-Smooth Peterbilt Crud Busters With Trench-Digging Option Built-In”
Parlor Cardinal 100 (left) and Parlor Mountain Jay (right)
“The Mountain Jay combines elements from its narrower wasted brethren, namely the Cardinal's groomer and carving performance and Kingfisher's playfulness, with the Heron's surf through deep snow.
The Jay carries a wide platform and perfect rocker profile for greater stability and superior float for soft snow skiing. Rarely does a wider ski blur the lines between all mountain and big mountain like the Jay.
For many this bird will become a single choice for everyday skiing, or a perfect wider ski addition to the quiver.” - Website December 2016
Parlor builds each ski to the customer’s specifications. These are not off-the-shelf models.
175 Wlliam F. Mcclellan Hwy
East Boston, MA 02128
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
$950 usd (2016) ...depending on options selected
100% Satisfaction Money-Back Policy
(“We guarantee our fits 100%. If you are not satisfied with your skis, send them back.
We will rebuild them or send you a refund and ski them ourselves.”)
All-Mountain / Big Mountain 3D snow bias
Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
8 for boilerplate but really impressive for reverse-cambered ski
8 for packed powder groomers...a bit sluggish until they come alive at moderate speed, but playful.
9+ for mixed conditions...smoooooth crud buster Cadillac with great agility, especially at moderate+ speeds. No deflection. No defects.
Powder conditions unavailable for testing by press time
The new Mountain Jay model takes Parlor’s penchant for secure turns on any surface and widens the platform out to 112mm underfoot, lengthens the radius into a strong and smooth chassis with reverse-camber pivot abilities and delivers a user-friendly crud masher you can dig trenches with when fully engaged on-edge. When you check out the reverse-camber design, you think..”OK...it’s gonna be loose, likely to wander when you run it flat, have a slightly sketchy grip on hardpack groomers, but be awesome in 3-dimensional snow surfaces..”. When you get it on snow, you realize you need to adjust your preconceptions of how reverse-camber skis handle, because the Parlor Mountain Jay can rip GS-like trenches when flexed fully into the snow, yet be playfully loose and eager to change directions without any insecurity traditionally associated with reverse-camber designs.
The Mountain Jay sits on the stouter side of the reverse-camber ski spectrum, which means it likes a bit of speed before it comes alive and responsive, but it is rock-solid with zero deflection when crushing through cut up snow, lousy snow conditions, junk-filled snow and generally unfriendly terrain. The reverse-camber means there is plenty of agility on tap and directional changes are quick and low-effort. The impressive torsional integrity means the forebody never deflects in cruddy snow, and the damp layup with hardwood sidewalls means the ride is super secure, dead-quiet and authoritative with edge grip when needed. The slightly burly feel can be noticed in bumps, but if you ignore your initial instinct to slow it down and instead charge through undulating terrain, the Mountain Jays deliver a freight-train stability with quick pivots and solid on-edge carves when needed. Your speed will increase by 30% on these skis in nearly all terrain compared to your old skis if you let them run...we’d bet a beer or two on it. Mark and the guys at Parlor have filled the niche in their lineup so people can get a wider-platform big-mountain feeling ski you can ski like an all-mountain design..but with a larger radius, higher speed and more stability than the Kingfisher, yet more grip, stability and carve than the Heron powder model. The Mountain Jay might be the ski you pick when you get out of the tight trees the Kingfisher loves, and need to get your speed up for more expansive, more wide-open big mountain terrain.
Technical Ski Data:
3 Layers of Triaxial fiberglass
Custom build – Medium flex
Bindings, Boots, Wax & Tune Used:
Tyrolia AAAtack Alpine Demo Bindings
Salomon S-Max 120 boots.
Green Ice waxes, cold and warm
Skied as-is out of the box – waxing only.
Excellent fit and finish. Strong flex with smooth arc profile, very long, low-rise reverse rocker with gentle graduation...no hinge points or abrupt deviations. Torsionally solid with smooth rebound. Vivid, sharp graphic quality. Glossy top finish. They feel substantial, perhaps slightly hefty, but not heavy.
Eastern corduroy, man-made dry packed powder, shallow powder (6 inches max), Spring-like corn and refrozen man-made hardpack boilerplate in places. Short, shallow bumps.
Hardpack and Boilerplate:
The Mountain Jays surprised us the first time we took them out on the early-season manmade hardpack at Killington because we expected typical reverse-camber behavior of loose, somewhat wander-lust tracking personality traits, but instead found a solid grip underfoot and along the length of the chassis when bent into the snow and pressured. The quiet, solid feel underfoot on hardpack was nearly like a traditionally-cambered rockered ski and instantly delivered a sense of confidence often lacking with similar designs on firm surfaces. You could get some minimal wander on hardpack if you ran the Mountain Jays flat and unpressured, but they really didn’t feel drifty or unattached at any time. “Impressed” is the word we kept coming up with when trying to describe the Mountain Jays on packed surfaces. If the snow was slightly softer than boilerplate or deep enough to sink a sidewall-depth edge into, the Mountain Jays delivered a great GS-like arc of security and fun pressure-intensive ride with great manners and confidence. If you use the whole ski from tip to tail in packed powder conditions and pressure them solidly, you can get some impressive trenches dug into the snow while you find yourself picking up more speed since the Jays like speed more than sluggish poking around on snow.
Parlor’s Mountain Jays might be one of the best mixed-condition, crud busting skis we have seen in a long time. They simply eat up wacked-out, variable surface snow types with authority and confidence while delivering a smooth, confidence-inspiring ride without feeling you’re going to burn all your stamina reserves on a couple of runs. The reverse-camber design really shines in these conditions since the forebody soaks up the terrain and snow surfaces smoothly, delivers your feet onto your target points precisely, yet allows you to pivot, slarve, scrub sideways and then gradually leave the material behind you as the tails finish your turns and adjust your position in the snow you just ran over, letting you get ready for the next maneuver. There is zero deflection without feeling like you’re driving a freight train, yet you can feather your turns fore and aft without any protest or complications underfoot and then deliver a solid carving arc to make a change of direction with accuracy when a loose or drifty turn isn’t what you need. If you make a mistake, you can feel the slight heft of the ski while you make your corrections, but thanks to reverse-camber, it’s a simple adjustment since you’re not locked-in with an unforgiving plank. Kudos to the Parlor guys for nailing this one right on the head. Tight terrain can be a little more work than with a different design (like the Kingfisher), but these skis are really meant to play out in the open with some speed where the Kingfishers might feel a bit darty or less substantial.
Bumps and Powder:
We didn’t get a chance to take the Mountain Jays into serious bumps since it was too early in the season to find snow deep enough to support big bump formation, but we did get into bumps a little less than knee-high, both tightly spaced and widely spaced, and the Jays were a bit burly unless you charged through the bumps at a moderate speed. If you go slow and try tight turns, the Mountain Jays will do the job, but it takes a little effort. The level of effort is relatively small, thanks to the pivoty nature of the reverse-camber, but the ski has a strong chassis and likes to be driven more than passively ridden throught bumpy terrain.
Analogies: ("This ski is like...")
One of those customized, serious-looking 4WD trucks with sticky street wheel/tire setups and anti-roll bars outfitted with a luxury leather interior and really nice sound system. Comfort and strength all rolled into one. Grip the wheel with both hands for best results on or off road.
Vermont Beverage Most Like This Ski:
River Roost Brewing “The Rise” (of The Swamp Monster) 8% Imperial IPA – thickly cloudy with zesty citrus and malty backbone with a deceptively interesting personality good for lots of situations.
Things We Would Change About This Ski:
Nothing, other than maybe raise the shovel curve up a bit to prevent mogul-stabbing in really soft snow.. The ability to order the Mountain Jay in different flexes (soft, medium, stiff) should do the trick for anyone.
Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":
The Parlor Mountain Jay is a great example of how capable a big-mountain oriented, reverse-camber ski can handle on packed surfaces with confidence, yet crush through crud and variable surfaces with effortless authority. Huge performance envelope in a moderately large chassis. It takes some speed to get it to come alive, but it delivers huge fun for enthusiastic skiers.
Advice To People Considering This Ski:
Definitely get a demo ride on a pair to dial in what size you really want for the type of terrain you most often visit. The Mountain Jay skis pretty much true to length, despite having reverse camber, so don’t be afraid of going slightly shorter than you might otherwise pick for a reverse-camber ski design.
Who and What Are These Good For?
Athletic, enthusiastic skiers who like to crush lousy conditions or play GS-racer on packed surfaces when soft snow is hard to find, but want a looser, more variable feel underfoot than a fully-cambered big mountain ski. Storm skiers (you know who you are) will love this ski to get the fresh stuff at first chair, then charge through the cut-up, skied-out snow mid day. Skiers who like to drive trucks with luxury interiors will feel at home on the Mountain Jays.
Parlor Cardinal 100 maple hardwood sidewalls
(Mountain Jay is similar)
Parlor Cardinal 100 full-wrap edge
(Mountain Jay is similar)
Parlor Cardinal 100 maple hardwood sidewall showing topsheet and edge mating (Mountain Jay is similar)
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