2019-2020 Parlor Cardinal Pro

Ski: 2019-2020 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm

Available Lengths: 175, 182, 189, 196 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 180.8 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1976 & 2028 grams

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 141.1-102.5-129.1 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (175 cm): 18.5 meters (we’ll have the radius for 182 cm ASAP)

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 66 mm / 16 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4 mm

Core: maple/poplar + titanal (2 layers) + fiberglass laminate (custom options available)

Base: sintered Durasurf 4001

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -12.8 cm from center; 78.0 cm from tail

Blister reviews the Parlor Cardinal Pro
Parlor Cardinal Pro
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

Parlor is a custom ski builder based in Boston, Massachusetts, and we’ve reviewed a couple of their skis in the past, including their signature all-mountain ski, the Cardinal 100 and their big-mountain ski, the Mountain Jay.

We’re reviewing several other skis from Parlor this year, including the McFellon Pro, Warbird, Cardinal 90, and the ski we’re talking about today, the Cardinal Pro.

The Cardinal Pro was based on the Cardinal 100, but is a bit wider and with the help of two titanal layers in its core, designed for hard-charging skiing. Check out our video First Look for the quick rundown, and then here we’ll dive into the design of the Cardinal Pro.

What Parlor says about the Cardinal Pro

“The Cardinal Pro is designed to do a bit of everything, but we feel is better suited for skiers looking for a demanding and stable ski. The Pro will cruise high-speed groomers and is happy snapping off a few quick turns to bring the speed down, and then staying there laying mid-radius carves on the groomers. In the mixed snow, bumps, and crap the Pro looks for a bit of speed to get moving but then can carve through just about anything, but will break loose and get a little slarvy if asked to. We feel this is an all-around charger with no real speed limit and loves to make turns!”

This all seems very reasonable. The 102mm-wide Cardinal Pro is designed to handle a bit of everything, with an emphasis on power, stability, and enough maneuverability for smaller turn shapes and some slarving / sliding. And given that the Cardinal Pro features two layers of titanal, it’s not out of the ordinary for Parlor to call it a “charger.” But as always, there’s more to it, so let’s dive in:

Construction

Given that Parlor is a custom ski manufacturer, you can work with them to adjust the construction of any of their skis. For reference, here are the nitty-gritty details of our pair of the Cardinal Pro:

Base: Durasurf 4001
Edge: CDW Profile 129
Glass: Vectorply Triaxial 19oz as built (Parlor varies the glass with the flex in this ski)
Epoxy: Sicomin
Core: Maple and Poplar
Metal: Titanal (two layers / top and bottom)

It’s worth quickly noting that the titanal layers in the Cardinal Pro are 5 cm wide and run nearly tip to tail, somewhat similar to the titanal layers J Skis uses in their Masterblaster and Metal.

Shape / Rocker Profile

The Cardinal Pro’s shape is very similar to the Cardinal 100’s, with the most noticeable differences being the Cardinal Pro’s wider overall design and a subtle change in the tip shape. The Cardinal 100 has a slightly more “pointed” tip shape, whereas the Cardinal Pro’s tips are a bit more blunted and less pointy. That said, the taper points on both skis are very similar and the difference in the tips is very small. The tails of the Cardinal Pro looks basically identical to the Cardinal 100’s tails.

All in all, the Cardinal Pro is a pretty traditionally shaped ski with minimal taper and lots of effective edge. Its shape isn’t too far off from the Volkl Mantra 102 and Nordica Enforcer 100, though the Enforcer has a more tapered tail.

You can customize the rocker profile of the Cardinal Pro to your liking (we know a Blister Member who went with a reverse-camber Cardinal Pro), but the version that we’re testing has what Parlor calls a “medium length early rise” in the tip, traditional camber underfoot, and “a slight rise in the tail.”

Overall, our Cardinal Pro has pretty average rocker lines for a directional, metal-laminate, 102mm-wide ski. There are plenty of more playful skis out there with much more tip and tail rocker, but our Cardinal Pro’s rocker lines are not that far off from skis like the Blizzard Bonafide, Armada Invictus 99Ti, or Volkl Mantra 102.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of our Cardinal Pro:

Tips: 6
Shovels: 6.5-7
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-9.5
Underfoot: 9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-9
Tails: 8.5-7.5

Since you can customize the flex pattern of any of Parlor’s skis, it’s worth noting here that our pair of the Cardinal Pro has what Parlor calls a “mid flex.” On our pair, the tips and shovels are pretty soft and easy to bend, but once you move past the shovel of the ski, the flex pattern slowly and smoothly stiffens. Overall, the front of the ski feels like it’ll be easy to bend into a turn, but then you’ve got a very strong midsection and a tail that’s notably stiffer than the tips, but not extremely stiff.

Compared to the Volkl Mantra 102, our Cardinal Pro is much softer in the front, similar around the bindings, and a bit softer at the end of the tail.

Compared to the Nordica Enforcer 100, our Cardinal Pro is similar in the front half and the middle, but a bit stiffer in the tail.

Compared to the 185 cm Cardinal 100 Jonathan Ellsworth tested, our 182 cm Cardinal Pro is fairly similar in the front half, but finishes with a slightly softer tail.

Mount Point

Parlor said to mount the 182 cm Cardinal Pro 78.0 cm from the tail, which on our pair equates to a mount point of -12.8 cm from true center. Like the Cardinal 100, that’s a very traditional, rearward mount point, but it seems in line with the rest of the ski’s design.

Weight

Interestingly, our 182 cm Cardinal Pro is coming in at a similar weight vs. the 185 cm Cardinal 100 that we tested (which did not feature metal in its construction). Now, that length comparison obviously isn’t totally fair, but the Cardinal Pro is still on the lighter end of the spectrum for a ski with two layers of titanal. It’s pretty similar in terms of weight vs. the Fischer Ranger 99 Ti and 4FRNT MSP 99 (two lighter metal-laminate skis that we really like), while it’s notably lighter than some other metal-laminate skis like the Volkl Mantra 102, J Skis Masterblaster, and Blizzard Bonafide.

For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.

1629 & 1684 Elan Ripstick 96, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–19/20)
1894 & 1980 Black Crows Daemon, 183.6 cm (17/18–19/20)
1896 & 1919 Dynastar Legend X96, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1928 & 1933 Moment Commander 98, 178 cm (19/20)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1976 & 2028 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm (19/20)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
1994 & 2011 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, 181 cm (19/20)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–19/20)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–19/20)
2050 & 2080 ON3P Wrenegade 96, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–18/19)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20)
2324 & 2359 Kastle MX99, 184 cm (18/19-19/20)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) Just how stable and how much of an “all-around charger” is the Cardinal Pro?

(2) When you’re not looking to charge, how forgiving / accessible is the Cardinal Pro?

(3) Many ~102mm-wide skis promise versatility across all conditions, so will the Cardinal Pro live up to that, or will it feel biased toward any conditions or terrain?

Bottom Line (For Now)

The Parlor Cardinal Pro looks like an interesting addition to their lineup — two layers of metal, a traditional shape, and an overall design that looks like it could be a versatile, stable all-mountain ski. We’re getting it on snow ASAP, so stay tuned for updates.

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Rocker Pics:

Full Profile
Tip Profile
Tail Profile
Top Sheet
Base
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2 comments on “2019-2020 Parlor Cardinal Pro”

  1. I think I may have said something like this before on another review, so sorry if it’s repetitive, but…

    In regards to the weight [non-]difference between the Cardinal and the Pro, Titanal has a higher stiffness-to-weight ratio than fiberglass (carbon is a very different story). This means that if you’re simply exchanging glass for metal while holding stiffness ~constant as was the case here, there is no reason why weight would be expected to increase.

    Also, stiffness is proportional to thickness cubed, so very subtle profile changes can matter a lot more than any material change.

    I think that the reason that metal skis are often heavier is because they’re usually made to be burlier and more damp (beyond just the impact of the metal itself) than otherwise comparable non-metal ones.

  2. IMO : The secret sauce of the Parlor skis is the solid maple, vertical sidewalls. They give the ski a very noticeable extra grip, a bit of suspension when you’re on edge and just have a very precise feel to them, in the sense that you really feel the edge engage and cut through the ice but without a lot of unwanted jarring feedback.

    Old school ski race design.

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