Ski: 2020-2021 Parlor McFellon Pro, 185 cm
Test Locations: Crested Butte & Summit County, Colorado
Days Skied: ~9
Available Lengths: 154, 164, 171, 178, 185, 192
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 184.0 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2181 & 2190 grams
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 149.1-112.6-140.5 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (185 cm): 19.8 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 58 mm / 36 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0 mm
Core: Maple + Fiberglass Laminate (custom options available)
Base: Sintered Durasurf 4001
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -9.0 cm from center; 83.0 cm from tail
A few years back, Jonathan Ellsworth reviewed the Parlor Mountain Jay, and in the iteration he reviewed (Parlor can customize their skis however you want), it was a strong, stable all-mountain ski that excelled at carving and making big turns in open terrain.
But Parlor also makes a different version of the Mountain Jay, dubbed the McFellon Pro, which is named after Parlor athlete, Tim McClellan (aka, “Jah McFellon”). Tim is known for taking a more playful approach to the mountains, and I highly recommend giving him a follow on Instagram if you like great skiing and / or fly fishing (seriously, he might hold the title for the person who catches both the most face shots and the most massive cutthroat trout in the world).
As someone who also tends to take a more playful approach to skiing, I was instantly intrigued by the McFellon Pro. Like the Mountain Jay, it’s a unique ski in the current market, and it looked like one I might really like. I’ve started getting time on it and Blister Members can check out our Flash Review for my initial impressions, and in the meantime, here we’ll go over the ski’s design.
What Parlor’s Mark Wallace says about the McFellon Pro
“The Mcfellon Pro is our one ski quiver for the west, and our good day ski for the east. This ski will rail GS turns on the groomers and then float and smear both wide open in the bowl and in tight spots in the trees. It responds best to a centered stance and smooth early pressure, but as long as you tip them up they will do their thing. We designed it with a fairly short turning radius, and a subtle rocker profile to give it the ability to be loose and also to carve.”
Nothing too crazy here. The ~112mm-wide McFellon Pro is supposed to do what many companies say about their similarly wide skis — float in deep snow and still be able to handle firm conditions. But given that Parlor can customize the McFellon Pro to your liking, let’s dive into the specific pair that we’re reviewing.
Here’s what Parlor’s Mark Wallace said about the McFellon Pro we have:
“Based a bit on the feedback from you guys on the Mountain Jay, but mostly based on the Parlor owners’ preference, we built this pair with a Maple core (a bit damper and with a touch more spring) and with a soft flex. We feel like for where this ski is going to be tested it is the combo that will make the ski perform the best (easy on the straight lining, Jonathan). The softer flex makes the ski a bit more accessible and looser, but the damper core makes the ski track and carve like a dream.”
In addition to those notes, here’s the full rundown on the construction of our McFellon Pro:
- Base: Durasurf 4001
- Edge: CDW Profile 129
- Glass: Vectorply Triaxl 22oz as built (we vary the glass with the flex in this ski)
- Epoxy: Sicomin
- Core: Maple, as built (we offer this ski with Maple and Maple / Poplar)
- Camber: Full reverse camber, Medium early rise tip, and low rise tail
For reference, the Mountain Jay that Jonathan reviewed used a maple / aspen core and was built with Parlor’s “medium” flex pattern.
Shape / Rocker Profile
Just like the Mountain Jay, the McFellon Pro is a pretty wide ski that, unlike most current skis this wide, does not have a whole lot of tip or tail taper. The widest points of the McFellon Pro are pretty near to the end of the ski, especially compared to other playful, ~112mm-wide skis like the K2 Reckoner 112, Prior Northwest 110, Moment Deathwish, Faction Prodigy 4.0, and Rossignol Super 7 HD. The ski that comes to mind when looking at the shape of the McFellon Pro is the Liberty Origin 112, though the McFellon Pro has slightly less tip taper.
Like the Mountain Jay that Jonathan tested, our McFellon Pro features a reverse-camber profile, though there are some important differences between the two skis. First, the McFellon Pro has a much higher tail, which makes sense given that it’s designed to be the more playful version of the Mountain Jay. What’s also interesting is that, at least on our pairs, the McFellon Pro has slightly shallower rocker lines — the “flat” section of our McFellon Pro is a bit longer than the Mountain Jay we reviewed. It’s not as flat as something like the Black Crows Corvus, but it’s not nearly as rockered as something like the 4FRNT Devastator.
Lack of camber aside, the rocker lines on our McFellon Pro are not very out of the ordinary for a ski in this class. They’re shallower than skis like the Northwest 110, Origin 112, and Deathwish, but they’re fairly deep and its 36 mm of tail splay is fairly high.
It’s also worth noting that Parlor also makes a McFellon Pro 2.0, which features more of a twin shape and more tail rocker for those who prioritize freestyle performance. We’re reviewing the standard version of the McFellon Pro, not the 2.0 version.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of our McFellon Pro:
In Front of Toe Piece: 7-9
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8
Mark said our McFellon Pro features Parlor’s “soft” flex, though I wouldn’t say this ski is extremely soft. Its tips and shovels are easy to bend, there’s a slow-and-smooth ramp up toward the middle, but then the middle and area behind the heel piece are pretty strong. It finishes with a tail that’s a bit stronger than the tips and shovels, but it’s not a massive difference.
Overall, the flex pattern of our McFellon Pro reminds me of the Liberty Origin 112, though the Origin 112’s tips are a touch softer while its area around the bindings feels a bit stiffer.
The Mountain Jay we reviewed had a mount point around -11 cm from true center, which was very traditional. Mark told us to mount the 185 cm McFellon Pro 83.0 cm from the tail, which equated to a mount point of -9 cm from true center.
While the Mountain Jay’s mount point was very traditional, -9 cm is still pretty far back. Given that and the fact that the McFellon Pro is designed to be a fairly playful ski, we’ll be skiing it both on that line and a bit forward to see how it responds.
Our pair of the 185 cm McFellon Pro comes in around 2185 grams per ski, which is fairly hefty, but not extreme. I was quite happy when I saw that weight come up on our scale — it seems like it could make the ski damp and substantial enough to blast through chop, but not so heavy that it’ll feel super cumbersome in the air.
For reference, here are our measured weights for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples to apples.
1753 & 1756 Renoun Citadel 114, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
1910 & 1941 Scott Scrapper 115, 189 cm (17/18–20/21)
1959 & 1975 Volkl V-Werks Katana, 184 cm (15/16–19/20)
1964 & 1972 Moment Deathwish, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1999 & 2020 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 180 cm (20/21)
2006 & 2011 Rossignol Super 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2011 & 2028 Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20)
2013 & 2099 Moment Wildcat, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2027 & 2052 K2 Reckoner 112, 184 cm (20/21)
2034 & 2052 Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm (17/18–20/21)
2043 & 2046 4FRNT Inthayne, 188 cm (18/19-19/20)
2097 & 2103 Liberty Origin 112, 184 cm (17/18–20/21)
2102 & 2137 Line Sick Day 114, 190 cm (17/18–19/20)
2110 & 2119 Moment Wildcat 108, 190 cm (19/20)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2125 & 2134 Kye Shapes Metamorph, 185 cm (19/20)
2143 & 2194 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2150 avg Parlor Mountain Jay, 185 cm (17/18–20/21)
2153 & 2184 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 187 cm (20/21)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
2170 & 2180 Dynastar M-Free 108, 182 cm (20/21)
2177 & 2180 Moment Commander 108, 188 cm (19/20)
2181 & 2190 Parlor McFellon Pro, 185 cm (19/20–20/21)
2182 & 2218 Nordica Enforcer 110 Free, 185 cm (17/18–20/21)
2188 & 2190 Prior Northwest 110, 190 cm (19/20–20/21)
2190 & 2268 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2220 & 2252 Faction Prodigy 4.0, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
2221 & 2245 ON3P Jeffrey 108, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
2232 & 2244 ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm (19/20)
2283 & 2290 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm (18/19–19/20)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18–20/21)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17–19/20)
2321 & 2335 Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2376 & 2393 Blizzard Cochise, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) Jonathan talked about how the Mountain Jay excelled in more open terrain, so will the same be true of the McFellon Pro, or will it feel equally at home in tight spots?
(2) The McFellon Pro has fairly deep rocker lines, a pretty round flex pattern, and a semi-twinned tail, but then it’s also fairly heavy, does not have a very tapered shape, and Parlor recommended a pretty traditional mount point. So, is this a freestyle ski, a more traditional ski, or does it fall somewhere in between?
(3) When he reviewed the Mountain Jay, Jonathan emphasized its hefty swing weight. The McFellon Pro has a nearly identical shape but a more forward mount point, so will the same be true of the McFellon?
(4) While a 112mm-wide ski is considered by some to be a dedicated powder tool, others pick similarly wide (or wider) skis for their daily drivers. So will the McFellon Pro feel best suited to really soft / deep conditions, or can it handle a bit of everything?
Bottom Line (For Now)
There aren’t many skis on the market like the Parlor McFellon Pro we’re reviewing. It features a subtle reverse-camber profile, pairs that with a pretty traditional, minimally tapered shape, and tops it off with a fairly heavy weight and an accessible, round flex pattern. Blister Members can check out our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review, and then stay tuned for our full review.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the McFellon Pro for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs): I just want to quickly touch on this since I’ll be referring to different mount points throughout the review.
I spent some time on the McFellon Pro with the bindings on the recommended line (-9 cm from true center). There, it feels like a pretty directional ski in that you can drive it hard through the shovels in all conditions, and it feels pretty cumbersome in the air. It’s still easy to pivot, but it feels like a playful but directional ski.
I spent the rest of my time on this ski with the bindings mounted +3 cm from the line (-6 cm from true center), and personally, I preferred it there. I could still drive the shovels when I wanted, but I could also ski it more centered and it felt much more balanced in the air. With that said, here’s how the ski performs in a variety of conditions:
Fantastic. The McFellon Pro has super fat, minimally tapered tips and the version we tested does not have very stiff shovels, so it isn’t surprising that this thing floats really, really well. Especially mounted on the recommended line, I had a difficult time burying the tips in 2 feet of fairly dense powder. In terms of pure flotation, the McFellon Pro is one of the best ~112mm-wide skis I’ve used.
Moving the bindings to -6 cm from true center did not make much of a negative impact in pow, which I was very glad to see. The tips weren’t quite as unsinkable, but I could also ski it with a less forward stance, which is what I prefer in powder and what comes after it (see the next section). Even with the bindings moved forward, the McFellon Pro did a very good job of floating to the top of the snow and I never got a hint of tip dive.
Now, the McFellon Pro is designed to be a playful ski, so I was curious to see just how surfy and loose it’d feel. The interesting thing with this ski is that its shape and rocker profile almost contradict each other, at least on paper. You get a shape that has very little taper (which usually makes a ski less loose) but then a reverse-camber profile (that tends to make a ski feel looser).
The result is a somewhat split personality that I really like, especially when using the McFellon Pro in a variety of conditions. In powder, there are plenty of skis that are easier to throw sideways and hold extended slarves. I did not have any particular trouble slashing the McFellon Pro around in deep snow, it’s just not a super surfy ski like some other, more tapered, freestyle-oriented skis in this class. I think most skiers will have no qualms with how easy the McFellon Pro is when it comes to making quick turn adjustments in fresh snow, it’s just not for those people who want to be going sideways down the hill most of the time. But the upside to the McFellon Pro’s shape / rocker profile comes when the snow isn’t untouched and soft…
I really, really enjoyed skiing soft, low-density chop on the McFellon Pro. It doesn’t get bogged down in the snow, it’s got enough mass and just enough stiffness to blast through patches of chop, and its reverse-camber profile is super useful when it comes to making quick adjustments.
The version we tested has fairly soft shovels, which were most noticeable when trying to nuke through really dense, deep chop (e.g., day after a big pow day when the sun warmed up the snow). In those conditions, I had to ski a bit more centered and couldn’t trust the ski quite as much to just blow through the snow. But I think if you had Parlor stiffen the shovels just a bit (and maybe have them make the ski even heavier), the McFellon Pro could be a very stable chop ski.
When the conditions range from deep piles of chop to firmer, shallower sections in between, the McFellon Pro is great because it’s super easy to pivot in shallower snow. Given that the ski’s swing weight is pretty heavy, this is a big plus because it makes shedding speed and changing direction at a moment’s notice easier than many other similarly heavy skis.
Firm Chop / Crud
The McFellon Pro offers nice suspension, which I’d chalk up to its fairly heavy weight and not-crazy-stiff flex pattern. This ski does a very good job of absorbing rough snow and not transmitting every little bump straight to your legs.
The McFellon Pro also carves really well, which can help a lot when trying to ski fast through cruddy snow, especially with reverse-camber skis (like the McFellon Pro). As with most skis that lack camber, the McFellon Pro feels notably more stable when you put it on edge, rather than when skiing it bases flat. So while it got knocked around if I tried to straight-line through variable snow, it stayed much more composed when I started to lay it over.
The McFellon Pro we’ve been on is not in the upper echelon of chargers. But it does compare very favorably to other ~110mm-wide, playful skis in terms of stability. I didn’t find myself having to really dial back my speed in crud while skiing the McFellon Pro, and again, I think you could turn this into a full-on charger if you made it a bit stiffer and heavier.
Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain
Once again, I’m a fan.
Especially when the tight terrain is not covered in fresh snow, the McFellon Pro is really easy to pivot and slash. As someone who tends to slip and slide through tight spots, rather than really put my skis on edge, I got along very well with the McFellon Pro.
The shallower the snow, the more noticeable the McFellon Pro’s reverse-camber profile is, which can be very useful in chalky steeps, firm bumps, and tight trees where quick pivots are required. But at the same time, the McFellon Pro does not feel “too loose” to me like some skis — I never found myself fighting to keep the McFellon Pro headed down the fall line, rather than sliding sideways across it.
In terms of how forgiving or demanding this ski is, I’d say the McFellon Pro we tested is a pretty easy ski, though its lack of taper means that if you really lean back on the tails, those tails can hook up and dig into the snow. So it’s less of a stiffness thing, I’d say, and more of a shape thing. But I think everyone from intermediates through experts could be happy skiing it in tight spots.
And at least for the versions we’ve been testing, the McFellon Pro is much easier to ski in tight spots vs. the Parlor Mountain Jay that Jonathan tested (Jonathan will have more to say about the Mountain Jay vs the McFellon Pro in our Deep Dive). The McFellon Pro is not a very quick ski in that it requires a good bit of physical effort to move around, but it’s far from feeling locked-in, and our pair has a pretty forgiving flex pattern with a big sweet spot.
For a 112mm-wide ski — especially one that’s reverse-camber — the McFellon Pro carves very well.
As with most reverse-camber skis, the McFellon Pro feels a bit twitchy when skiing it bases-flat. But as soon as you tip it on edge at all, it provides very good edge hold for its width. This is not a very energetic ski (again, as is the case with many reverse-camber skis) but the McFellon Pro is predictable and intuitive on groomed snow.
The McFellon Pro’s moderate sidecut radius (19.8 m @ 185 cm) and minimally tapered tips make it very easy to initiate turns and I found it easy to make everything from short-GS to Super-G sized turns. All in all, I think the McFellon Pro is a very good, 112mm-wide carver.
Overall, this is a playful ski, but there are some caveats.
The McFellon Pro is very easy to slash around, you can ski it centered (when mounted around -6 cm from center), it skis switch well in all but the deepest snow, and it’s pretty easy to bend into butters. But the McFellon Pro also has a pretty hefty swing weight and it’s not super poppy.
So while this ski is not the easiest to flick around nor the easiest to load up when popping off cliffs and jumps, it’s far from some super one-dimensional, directional ski. So I wouldn’t recommend this ski to those who prioritize energy and a low swing weight, but I would recommend it to skiers who appreciate playfulness but who also want to ski hard and fast in a variety of conditions.
And if you want a looser feel and better switch-skiing performance in deep snow, there’s always the more rockered McFellon Pro 2.0 (as noted above in our First Look, the “Pro 2.0” has more tail rocker and higher tail splay than the original McFellon Pro we’ve been skiing).
Who’s It For?
Given that Parlor can customize the McFellon Pro however you want, it is a ski that could work for a lot of different people.
For the particular version we tested, the McFellon Pro is a very solid choice for intermediate through expert skiers seeking a soft-snow-oriented ski that is pretty forgiving, maneuverable, and playful, but that’s also strong and hefty enough to ski quite fast in a variety of conditions. It could definitely work as a dedicated pow ski, but for areas that don’t see a whole lot of icy snow, it’s also totally adequate as an all-mountain ski. It excels in soft snow, but does not feel out of place when the snow gets skied out.
The version we’ve been using is not the best option for skiers who prioritize freestyle performance above all else (due to the ski’s higher swing weight & lack of pop), nor is it for those who mostly just want to ski super fast with a directional style (mostly due to the ski’s softer flex pattern). But you could have Parlor either make the McFellon Pro lighter and more rockered, or heavier and stiffer, if you fit those criteria, respectively.
The McFellon Pro makes a lot of sense for people who want a maneuverable ski that you can also carve quite hard, and that’s easy to ski while also being substantial enough to ski aggressively when you feel like it.
The Parlor McFellon Pro and Mountain Jay make for an interesting example of how much you can change a ski by tweaking its flex pattern and rocker profile. Where the Mountain Jay we tested was a pretty game-on, directional ski, the McFellon Pro we tested is a playful, intuitive, and pretty easy one. The McFellon Pro is surprisingly versatile for how wide it is, is easy to pivot while still being solid on edge, and it’s playful while also being pretty stable.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the McFellon Pro to see how it compares to the Parlor Mountain Jay, Folsom Primary, Moment Meridian 107, 4FRNT Devastator, Liberty Origin 112, Icelantic Nomad 105, Blizzard Rustler 11, Nordica Enforcer 110 Free, K2 Mindbender 108Ti, Prior Northwest 110, ON3P Jeffrey 108, ON3P Woodsman 108, Moment Wildcat 108, Moment Deathwish, Kye Shapes Metamorph, K2 Reckoner 112, Whitedot Altum 114, Faction Prodigy 4.0, & Black Crows Atris.