Round Table on Custom Skis — Wagner, Parlor, Folsom (Ep.33)

This week on the podcast, we hold a round-table conversation with three custom ski manufacturers about the process of building custom skis, and what “custom” really means.

We sat down with Pete Wagner of Wagner Custom Skis, Mark Wallace of Parlor Custom Skis, and Mike McCabe of Folsom Custom Skis, and among other things, we discussed why they each decided to go the custom route; how they each go about the custom process; and what sort of skier might want to consider custom skis.

We also talk about Frankenstein skis, why innovations in materials can be overrated, and the really remarkable fact that Wagner, Parlor, and Folsom all offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.


  • Introduction to Wagner Custom Skis (2:25)
  • Introduction to Parlor Custom Skis (3:59)
  • Introduction to Folsom Custom Skis (5:21)
  • What does “Custom” mean, and why go custom? (7:35)
  • How the Folsom process works (8:50)
  • How the Parlor process works (11:20)
  • How the Wagner process works (13:49)
  • Why custom skis aren’t only for great skiers (16:20)
  • How sophisticated is the input you get from prospective customers? (17:37)
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee (What??) (24:54)
  • What if a customer has a really bad idea? Will you still build it? (26:05)
  • Parlor Ballet Skis ?!?! (31:25)
  • Folsom Trn Tek 201 Pros !! (32:00)
  • Remaking skis that have been discontinued (aka, “Frankenstein” skis). (34:45)
  • How much differentiation/customization is there when it comes to materials? (38:09)
  • Why innovations in materials can be overrated (41:20)
  • The Advantage of Agility (46:32)
  • Designing for individual skiers, not the “average” skier (47:25)
  • What’s the best question I haven’t asked? (49:57)

4 comments on “Round Table on Custom Skis — Wagner, Parlor, Folsom (Ep.33)”

  1. Great roundtable discussion – as a consumer that doesn’t fit the mold (being so tall) it’s great to hear how custom guys like these are enjoying the journey of building great skis that fit each of their customers. I know I’ll be pulling the trigger soon on some Folsom’s since they can make some nice long planks for me.

  2. So now I need to order 3 new pair of skis, one from each, so I can have a mini-BGR podcast custom ski shootout. All of these builders sound supremely capable and when I think of the actual expense for myself of a 30-50 day season, kicking a little extra for an actual custom ski (not simply a top sheet) would be somewhat minor and a whole lot of fun to gauge the results. Wish you all continued success. Thanks go to Jonathan for the podcast. Awesome stuff here.

  3. Really enjoyed listening in on why the guys are building skis and defining what a custom ski is. Great interview and a great last question.

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