Custom Ski Design - Step #3 by Arthur Wright

The third step in the process is probably the best part... getting the final product in the mail, to hold and to feel in your hands.  The dreaming is over and now its become reality!  Due to Parlor's increased order load and POOR snow conditions on the East Coast, the production of the Dogy Down Kingfishers wwas pushed back just a tad.  I officially received these beauties at the beginning of December 2015.

The Dogy Down Kingfishers getting worked on at the Parlor mother-ship in East Boston!

I have been doing a ton of research on what I hope will end up being the PERFECT East Coast backcountry ski.  The waist width of 105 seems to be a great middle ground to provide plenty of float but also allows the ski to perform in variable conditions at a high level.  

Hanging out in East Boston, just waiting to lose some excess Thanksgiving fat!

I arrived home late from working on a Tuesday, my day was especially busy and I had a lot on my mind.  Usually my mind is easy to wander into the woods and away from my desk, but on this particular day between the many tasks on my desk, difficult clients and the impending second job of being a father that awaited me at home, I really didn't have time to think about skiing at all.  I turned into my driveway and as my headlights lit up the front porch I noticed the box that was slender and around six feet tall.  In that quick moment all my worries were shed and forgotten... for I had realized what I forgot for a moment... THE PARLORS HAVE ARRIVED!!  

A most welcome surprise visitor showed up on my doorstep today!

Opening this particular pair of skis felt truly different than other like shaped boxes unpacked in the past.  This time it seemed more personal, like I had a more intimate relationship with this piece of equipment.  As I stripped down the bubblewrap the most beautiful skis I have seen presented themselves!  The skis were exactly as how Mark and I had talked about over the past month of many back and forth discussions and mock-ups.  It was like looking at a newly finished sports car fresh out of the shop and ready for its maiden voyage.  

The new Parlor's fit right into the gang in the #gearcave

As you can see this completes my 3 ski quiver and feel I have finally assembled the perfect arsenal.  Eventually the plan would be to have all Parlors making up this 3 ski orgy ;)

The Line Up:

- G3 Empire Carbon 115, mounted with Dynafit Speed Turn bindings.  This ski will serve primarily as a BIG powder day or very long touring day.  They are extremely light and focus on some big mountain lines.  Of course living on the East Coast, this ski just isn't a realistic or viable daily driver

- Parlor Kingfisher BC 105, mounted with G3 Ion LT bindings.  This ski (as discussed prior) will serve as my everyday companion in most of my adventures this season.  Unfortunately mother nature doesn't always cooperate!  As of January 19th, 2016 the VT backcountry is still in rough shape and in desperate need of some storm cycles.  But until those storms come and 'OPEN' signs show up in the woods, they are mostly going to be used to tinker with around with during dawn patrols at Smuggs and Stowe.

- Nordica Hell and Back 98, mounted with Salomon Guardian 16 bindings.  This was the original ski setup that got me introduced to backcountry skiing.  Simply put, I love this ski!  It is a perfect setup (in my mind) for all things resort and sidecountry and slackcountry adventures.  Think of the Volkl Mantra as a good comparison... or better yet, the Parlor Cardinal 100!

Finished product... DOGY DOWN!

I have skied the Parlor Kingfishers a few times while out for some dawn patrol laps at Smuggs this season.  The ski at first felt different than what I was used to with the hard charging Hell and Back.  However, after getting these birds up to speed I found they really screamed to engage in some solid short and long GS turns.  They really drive through the hardpack and felt extremely stable from edge to edge.  The G3 Ion LT bindings felt solid as well and I was happy the combination performed so well in these conditions.  I am really excited for when I get to run these out in the wild and see how they manage the tight chutes and trees of the East Coast that we all love.  

Bravo to Mark and his crew for working so hard on honing their craft and creating a truly one of a kind ski for the Dogy Down team to use.  We look forward to many years of a successful marriage between our two organizations.

Further reviews of the Kingfisher BC 105 to follow once I am able to run them in their natural habitat a bit more... stay tuned!  If you have any questions about my experience thus far with Parlor or would just like to talk gear, always feel free to contact us at




Custom Ski Design - Step #2 by Arthur Wright

The Second step in the process is finding how you want your skis to look.  Yes, Parlor has stock graphics and it will save you some money and yes, they look very nice!   However, the idea of being able to not only customize the feel of your ski but also customize the look of the ski, was just too tempting to pass up!  Working in tandem with Mark we have been shooting ideas back and forth on what the Kingfisher should look like.  Below is the final draft of what the ski will look like.  The 'look' we are shooting for is simple lines with bold graphics.  Love the black topsheet with bold orange coloring.  These skis will be mounted with the G3 Ion LT bindings so the orange will play nicely there.  That is the cool part about this enter process, it truly is a customized approach.  Once we have the graphics dialed in we can start with production!  

Final design after some back and forth with Mark, we landed on the simple design but what is tough see in the mock-up is the carbon will be visable through the topsheet but in a subtle manner. 

Custom Ski Design - Step #1 by Arthur Wright

The first step in the process is to have a one-on-one conversation with a member of the Parlor team.  I was fortunate enough (although I believe this is the norm, but I just want to feel special) to speak directly with Mark Wallace, Co-Founder of Parlor Custom Skis.  During this call Mark was very professional and his agenda/goal is to ask very pointed questions that truly get at the core (pun intended) of what makes me tick as a skier.  Parlor's philosophy is that every skier has his/hers own unique style and more importantly reasons for why/how they ski.  After going through many questions we landed on an approach that I wasnt even thinking about at the begining of the call.  The point here is that sometimes we think we know what we want but when we really have a discussion around it and we are HONEST with ourselves we find new ideas that become more appropriate!  As many of you know the Dogy Down crew has a passion for finding the best backcountry that the east coast has to offer.  We adhere to the 'earn-your-turns' mantra so as a result Mark and I came to conclusion that the best suited ski for my needs would be the Kingfisher that was recently introduced by Parlor.  This ski has a waist of 105 and excels in tight spaces, it will look to shine in the powder but still be comfortable with the variable conditions we are used to encountering here in the East.  

"The Kingfisher: is a quick, responsive ski with more tip and tail rise than other birds in the Parlor flock.  With its bigger rocker profile, the Kingfisher smooths out the bumps, crud, and slush and allows quick maneuverability in the trees. Coming back on piste, let the slight traditional camber take over and settle into long slalom or tight GS turns with confidence, even on the hard stuff.  When it snows, the Kingfisher's wider platform and tip rocker lets it dance quick turns on the surface. If speed is your preference, just sit back and enjoy the float"
Statistics on the Parlor Kingfisher ski 

Statistics on the Parlor Kingfisher ski 

We were even able to customize the wood that would be used in the core to minimize weight, we selected an Aspen core due to fact that it is more supple and packs a bit more spring from edge to edge. Mark took things a step further and suggested that we use a carbon and Technora Triax in the construction to further the notion of making a ski that is both strong and lightweight.  We took into account my weight, height, ability (expert, I am sure) and type of terrain I typically ski.  In the end I was very impressed by this process Parlor has in place, the first interaction/call with Mark felt more like a consultation than someone trying to sell skis. 

next step is graphics!

Mark hard at work in the shop coming up with game plan for my custom Kingfishers!

Mark hard at work in the shop coming up with game plan for my custom Kingfishers!

The Parlor Proposition by Arthur Wright

When Jon and I were sitting and enjoying some Headytoppers in the Fall of 2014 we had no idea the conversation would spark something truly amazing in our lives.  We both had a passion for the backcountry and were big fans of the many films around the subject.  But we felt there was something missing and for some reason decided we were the chosen ones to tell our story.  We are both new fathers and finding time to escape to the skin track is more challenging than ever.  We embarked on telling our story of what the backcountry means to us.  as a result of 'The Way Up' we have gained some incredible connections to the industry.  One connection we are especially fond of is with the team at Parlor Custom Skis.  Out of East Boston they have a mission to customize skis for the true enthusiast.  After a trip to check out the Parlor headquarters we have decided to work closely with them to help craft a ski that is tailored to what we do... skiing the east coast's best backcountry terrain.  This blog will serve to document my experience through the process, from the very first conversation to the review of their product on the slopes.   

Dogy Down founders enjoying a cold Heady at the Parlor headquarters!

Dogy Down founders enjoying a cold Heady at the Parlor headquarters!