2021-2022 Parlor Warbird

Ski: 2021-2022 Parlor Warbird, 178 cm

Test Locations: Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado

Days Skied: 8

Available Lengths: 155, 164, 171, 178, 185, 192 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 176.6 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1724 & 1735 grams

Stated Dimensions: 125-78-106 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 130.9-77.7-107.1 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (178 cm): 16 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 67 mm / 9 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4 mm

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

Base: sintered Durasurf 4001

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.8 cm from center; 77.5 cm from tail

Boots / Bindings: Tecnica Mach1 130 MV / Tyrolia Attack 13

Luke Koppa reviews the Parlor Warbird for Blister
Parlor Warbird — stock top sheets
Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Full Review //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

These days there are a lot of small and / or custom ski manufacturers making a huge variety of skis, but very few of them have branched out into the category of dedicated carvers.

Boston-based Parlor Skis has changed that with their Warbird, which is a 78mm-wide ski specifically designed to excel on piste.

Luke Koppa reviews the Parlor Warbird for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Parlor Warbird, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

Parlor can customize any of their skis, including the Warbird, to your own preferences. We’ve been testing a “mid-flex, standard build” version of the Warbird and comparing it to several other carvers to see how this small-batch, precision tool compares to its big-batch competition.

What Parlor says about the Warbird

“If you love to carve and the cold and ice don’t keep you inside: This. Is. Your. Ski.

‘Project Warbird’ has been in the works at the Parlor shop for a long time. We’ve spent countless hours in Autocad and several seasons on the slopes looking for the exact balance of dampness, snap and stability to answer the question — When is Parlor going to build a race-style ski? The answer is now we do. And you are going to love the way this ski handles.

Inspired for the frontside and hard pack groomed terrain in New England, the Warbird includes Titanal in the build and has a 16m turning radius and narrow waist of 78mm under foot, giving the ski racecar-like handling and stability to match. Customized to your exact specifications, it will get you making those quick turns and remind you why having a carving ski in the quiver is so much fun.”

So, the Warbird is designed for firm snow, and specifically, firm groomed snow. It’s supposed to be stable and precise, with a “race-style” build.

That said, it’s worth noting that Parlor’s Mark Wallace told us about the Warbird: “This is a ski that wants to be skied, but at the same time is forgiving. It is NOT a race ski, it will let you get a bit lazy if you want, but when you ramp it up and drop a knee it is all there!”

So, what specifically did Parlor do in their attempt to create a forgiving-yet-stable carving ski?

Construction & Graphics

As we just touched on, Parlor can customize the construction of the Warbird however you’d like. The version we tested is reportedly a pretty “standard” build, with a poplar / maple wood core, 22-oz triaxial fiberglass laminate, two strips of titanal metal, a sintered Durasurf 4001 base, and Parlor’s signature wooden sidewalls. Ours came with the stock graphics, but you can choose from a wide variety of Parlor graphics, or come up with your own.

Shape / Rocker Profile

The shape of the Warbird looks pretty familiar if you check out other dedicated piste skis of this width. The Warbird has almost no tip or tail taper, which gives the ski a very long effective edge.

The Warbird we’re testing does actually feature a notable amount of tip rocker, at least compared to other ~78mm-wide skis. But it’s also got a substantial amount of camber through the rest of the ski, with a tail that’s essentially flat / non-rockered.

Looking at skis like the K2 Disruption 78Ti and Salomon S/Force Bold, the Warbird’s tip rocker does make it stand out — at least visually. After many days of skiing it, I was surprised when I took a closer look at the ski’s tip rocker line since I never thought it felt imprecise or lacking in terms of turn initiation (more on that below).

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Warbird:

Tips: 6-7
Shovels: 7.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9.5
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-9
Tails: 8.5

Our Warbird has what Parlor calls a “mid-flex,” and I’d say that’s a pretty good way to sum it up.

This Warbird is not as super-stiff as the K2 Disruption 78Ti or Salomon S/Force Bold, though it’s still a pretty strong ski overall. The Warbird’s tips and shovels are relatively easy to bend, but there’s a pretty quick and smooth ramp-up in stiffness as you move to the middle of the ski, and it finishes with a tail that’s quite strong, but not unbendable.

Sidecut Radius

The 178 cm Warbird we have has a stated sidecut radius of 16 meters. That’s a bit on the tighter end of the spectrum, though pretty much in line with skis like the K2 Disruption 78C, Salomon S/Force Bold, and Renoun Atlas 80.

Mount Point

As with most dedicated carvers, the Warbird has a pretty traditional, rearward mount point. Parlor recommended that we mount it 77.5 cm from the tail, which put the mount point around -10.8 cm from the true center of the 178 cm ski.

2021-2022 Parlor Warbird, BLISTER

Weight

This is one area where the Warbird differs a bit, particularly when compared to some dual-metal-laminate skis like the Salomon S/Force Bold and Fischer RC4 The Curv. The Warbird we’re testing is pretty light for its size, though it’s not drastically far off in terms of weight when you look at skis like the K2 Disruption 78Ti and Liberty V82.

For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski, in grams) for some notable skis. To try to keep things apples-to-apples, keep in mind the length differences and the fact that the skis with an * next to them include the weight of their binding plates.

1608 & 1617 K2 Disruption 78C, 170 cm (20/21)
1724 & 1735 Parlor Warbird, 178 cm (19/20–20/21)
1728 & 1750 Renoun Atlas 80, 177 cm (19/20–20/21)
1784 & 1800 Liberty V82, 179 cm (19/20–20/21)
1790 & 1828 Black Crows Orb, 179.1 cm (19/20–20/21)
1822 & 1845 K2 Disruption MTi, 175 cm (20/21)
1832 & 1841 K2 Disruption 78 Ti, 177 cm (20/21)
1911 & 1917 K2 Disruption 82Ti, 177 cm (20/21)
1936 & 1942 Head Monster 83 Ti, 177 cm (18/19–19/20)
1952 & 1958 Renoun Endurance 88, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1990 & 2036 Blizzard Brahma 88, 177 cm (20/21)
2008 & 2015 Folsom Spar 88, 182 cm (18/19–20/21)
2077 & 2092 * K2 Ikonic 84 Ti, 177 cm (17/18–19/20)
2166 & 2167 * Dynastar Speedzone 12 Ti, 182 cm (17/18–20/21)
2235 & 2236* Elan Wingman 86 CTi, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2279 & 2299 * Head Supershape i.Rally, 177 cm (17/18–19/20)
2317 & 2323 * K2 Super Charger, 175 cm (17/18–19/20)
2320 & 2359 * Head Supershape i.Titan, 177 cm (17/18–19/20)
2336 & 2350 * Fischer RC4 The Curv GT, 175 cm (17/18–20/21)
2414 & 2441 * Salomon S/Force Bold, 177 cm (19/20–20/21)
2414 & 2516 * Head Worldcup Rebels i.Speed Pro, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2489 & 2498 * Fischer RC4 The Curv, 178 cm (16/17–20/21)

* weights include binding plates

2021-2022 Parlor Warbird, BLISTER

FULL REVIEW

Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg): I’ve now spent a number of days on the Warbird at Mt. Crested Butte in a pretty wide range of conditions. I’ve had it in borderline slushy conditions on west-facing aspects at the end of the day, but also on very firm, man-made groomers during the first few weeks of the season. And then I’ve also been skiing it at the end of the day when the groomers consist of a mix of pushed-around, loose snow and icy, wind-scoured patches.

All in all, I’ve been getting along with this ski quite well, and especially given the customizable nature of Parlor’s skis, I think many other people could, too.

Turn Initiation

One of my favorite things about many narrower, piste-specific skis is how easy they are to get on edge and start carving hard. There’s just something really satisfying about a ski that feels like it’s reading my mind and starts turning as soon as I want to. And the Warbird definitely fits this criterion. It requires very minimal effort or speed to start carving on edge.

Despite having more tip rocker than some other options in this class, the Warbird pulls me into a turn and across the fall line as soon as I start pressuring the front of the ski. That’s part of why I was surprised when I was taking the rocker profile pictures of the ski and saw that it actually does have a substantial amount of tip rocker (at least for a ski this narrow).

Turn Shapes

When I first saw the Warbird’s stated 16-meter radius, I was a bit worried it’d feel limited in terms of turn shapes. I love carving really tight turns during my quest to truly drag a hip, but I also don’t want to feel held back by a ski when I want to open up my turns a bit more.

While the Warbird certainly isn’t the ski to pick if you only like to make Super G turns, it does feel more versatile than I expected. When I’m not driving it super hard, the Warbird can comfortably arc GS turns in a predictable manner. And when I really focus on bending it, it is easy to make snappy, tight, high-edge-angle turns.

Luke Koppa reviews the Parlor Warbird for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Parlor Warbird, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

At least for the 178 cm Warbird we’ve been testing (with its flex pattern and construction), I think very large individuals or those with a strong race background could find the Warbird’s sidecut radius more limiting than I have found it to be. Our iteration of the Warbird is not as easy to bend as the 170 cm K2 Disruption 78C, or as short-turn-biased as the Line Blade, but I could see some folks overpowering it. That said, as someone who tends to like carving skis of this length (~178 cm), isn’t a former racer, but who is constantly trying to improve his carving technique, I’ve gotten along very well with the Warbird and the turn shapes it lets me make. I.e., It doesn’t try to force me into a specific turn shape (as some carvers do), but it’s also not a ski that requires a ton of effort to bend into smaller turns.

Edge Hold

In short, it’s very good.

The Warbird we have came with a pretty sharp tune, and combined with the rest of its design, it’s been one of the skis I’ve felt most confident actually laying over on icy sections of groomers.

One thing that stood out immediately with this ski is that its tail likes to properly finish the end of a carved turn. While it can be released and feathered a bit, the precise, secure grip of the Warbird’s tail made me more and more inclined to commit to a properly carved turn (rather than scrubbing the end) — even when the conditions made me less confident in my own abilities to do so. But the harder I pushed this ski and the more I focused on my technique, the more and more comfortable I felt carving it on firm, icy, and / or wind-scoured snow.

That said, the Warbird’s edge hold felt more “accessible” to me than, say, the K2 Disruption MTi. The Warbird rewarded aggressive skiing with better and better edge hold, but it felt more predictable to me than the MTi when I was kind of wishy-washy in terms of whether I truly wanted to (attempt to) leave railroad tracks on a patch of ice. The Warbird has felt better the harder I push it, but it’s not a ski that’s punished me when I’m not at my best.

In terms of being able to feather / release the tail of the Warbird, it’s definitely doable, you just need to stay over the front of the ski a bit. Compared to some of the other skis in this class that I’ve been on recently, the Warbird with its factory tune felt like it required a bit more effort and pressure on its shovels to get its tail to slide out.

Stability & Energy

Again, I think the Warbird skis really well for how light it is. The only times when I thought I was noticing the Warbird’s lower weight were (1) when I was skidding a turn from a more centered stance and (2) when I was skiing really fast and ran into a patch of pushed-around snow.

When carving the Warbird on relatively consistent snow (whether soft or firm), the ski feels smooth and composed enough for me to not dial back my speed. It doesn’t feel as “glued to the snow” as something far heavier like the Salomon S/Force Bold, but on snow that’s relatively smooth, I don’t have any complaints about the Warbird feeling sketchy or unstable.

When the groomers are a minefield of patches of loose snow, I do feel a bit more hesitant to nuke down the fall line on the Warbird. But unlike some heavier, longer-radius carving skis that are more stable in this scenario, quick changes of direction are easy to make on the Warbird, which turns the “minefield” into more of an “obstacle course” to precisely carve through.

Luke Koppa reviews the Parlor Warbird for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Parlor Warbird, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

And one potential upside of the Warbird’s lower weight is the energy it produces coming out of a turn. When I’m pushing it hard, the Warbird exits a turn with a lot of pop. Especially when timed with the peak of a roller that I can air, this makes the Warbird a blast to carve hard. Those who prefer a more damp, muted ride to a lively one have better options to consider, but if I’m on a dedicated carving ski, I want it to make carving as exciting as possible. The Warbird checks that box.

Who’s It For?

Skiers interested in a dedicated piste ski that carves and holds an edge significantly better than more all-purpose “all-mountain” skis, and who prefer a snappy, quick-turning carver over one that only comes alive at high speeds.

There are a lot of skis that are fun to carve. To me, what makes the Warbird stand out is its edge hold, energy, and easy turn initiation. And maybe most notably, the Warbird is one of the only skis in this category that’s made by a small manufacturer that’s building their skis in the U.S.

And since Parlor can customize the Warbird, it could suit a wide range of skiers. The version we tested isn’t ideal for those who place a premium on an ultra-smooth ride or who love to make very long-radius turns. But it is ideal for those who like a ski that rewards good technique with great edge hold and pop coming out of turns, without requiring that good technique for it to be fun or predictable.

Bottom Line

The Parlor Warbird is a fun take on a dedicated piste ski. The version we tested is easy to get on edge and encourages the pilot to push it harder and harder, but it’s not a ski that feels like it’s going to kill you the moment you get lazy. If you want a snappy, lively carver that makes groomed runs (even pretty icy ones) more enjoyable — and especially if you want to customize it and / or support a smaller manufacturer — give Parlor a call about the Warbird.

Deep Dive Comparisons

Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the Warbird to see how it compares to the K2 Disruption 78Ti, K2 Disruption 78C, Fischer RC4 The Curv, Fischer RC4 The Curv GT, Salomon S/Force Bold, K2 Disruption MTi, Liberty V82, Elan Wingman 86 CTi, & Parlor Cardinal 90.

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