2020-2021 Parlor Skis Mountain Jay


As noted in my First Look, there seem to be a growing number of wider, fully-rockered / reverse-camber skis on the market, and the Mountain Jay appeared to be pretty different from the pack in a couple of ways. So how did this all translate on snow?

One general statement: the 185 cm Mountain Jay feels like a ski that’s bigger than its length, weight, width — and perhaps especially, its rocker profile — would suggest. So I’ll be saying more about that as we go.


As I noted in my First Look, while the Mountain Jay is a reverse-camber design, it is a very subtle reverse-camber design, and when you tip this ski on edge (even a little), you get a whole lot of edge engagement. And given that, this ski does not leave you feeling squirrely even when carving across very firm snow.

While the 185 cm Mountain Jay is very solid on edge (especially for a 112mm-wide, reverse camber ski), this is not a quick ski. So those who still want their ~112mm ski to excel at carving shorter, quicker turns will be disappointed.

To cut to the chase here: the shovels of the Mountain Jay feel really big. And I can’t think of any other ~112mm-wide ski that has shovels that feel this wide, and carry this much swing weight. The good news is that for me personally, the Mountain Jay is a good fit for how I generally like to ski groomers: fast, big-radius, high-edge-angle, drawn-out turns, where you’re sitting in the turn and arcing hard across the fall line. If that’s your thing, then this ski does all of that quite well.

To be clear, It doesn’t approach the best-in-class stability of the 184 cm Head Monster 108 (which is a much heavier, stiffer ski with traditional camber underfoot) when those groomers get to be really roughed up, but given how strong this ski feels on fairly smooth hardpack, I still have trouble believing that it only weighs ~2150 grams per ski. But its combination of wide shovels and subtle tip and tail rocker mean that this ski feels very engaged when tipped on edge even slightly, and bring it up to speed, and you’ll have no problem hitting high edge angles.


Skiing good chalk on Kachina Peak is certainly where I had the most fun on the Mountain Jay, and where I don’t think I could have possibly had more fun. And this makes sense. Take everything I just said about the Mountain Jay’s performance on groomers, then imagine a steep, big-mountain face with very smooth, edgeable snow. Everything about the Mountain Jay is designed to shine on this, so if you spend a good bit of time skiing long, wide groomers or open bowls that frequently have smooth (and / or deep) snow, you’ll love these skis. They provided good stability without feeling demanding, and those big shovels track well without ever feeling twitchy in the least. I may have mentioned once or twice on Blister that I dislike heavily tapered tips, and the shovels of the Mountain Jay are about as un-tapered as it gets.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Parlor Skis Mountain Jay for Blister Gear Review.
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Parlor Skis Mountain Jay. (photo by Patrick Sinnott)

So in fairly soft, consistent conditions, the Mountain Jay will allow you to make some shorter turns if you’re running bases flat and smearing / feathering the ski a bit, or you can choose to dig your edges in and carve hard and fast down open bowls and big faces. It’s up to you.


In 12-18” of light powder, the Mountain Jay performs just fine. But we’ve already established that this ski has far less tip and tail rocker than most other 108-112 mm wide fully-rockered skis on the market. So if you are looking for a ~112 mm wide ski to shine on really deep days — or in really wet, heavy Sierra cement, then a ski with more tip and tail rocker might serve you better. And in fact, there is a special edition of the Mountain Jay that I believe would work better in such conditions (and other conditions) and we’ll be talking about it in just a second here.

Big, Messed-Up Moguls

To be clear, I’m not talking here about big moguls with deep troughs where you can still pretty easily find a nice line down them. I’m talking about big, junk-show moguls where you are wrenching your skis at almost every turn to make up a line.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then consider yourself blessed. But also know that those of us who do know what I’m talking about — and actually sort of enjoy such junk-show moguls and find honor in skiing them — acknowledge that you are blessed, but we also think you’re kind of soft (I may or may not be looking at you, Paul Forward).

Anyway, point is, the Mountain Jay is not fun in big, junk-show moguls. In fact, those massive shovels are a pain in the ass, and coupled with the Mountain Jay’s quite traditional mount point, of -11.2 cm, you will expend a lot of energy trying to whip those shovels back and forth.

Again, if we’re talking about big bumps where you can find a nice line, the Mountain Jay handles these fine. But I mention this only because this is the one area where I really disliked these skis, and found them to be more work than every other reverse-camber ski I’ve been on this season.

But this would be a good time to talk about this other edition of the Mountain Jay…

Mountain Jay — McFellon Pro Edition

Those of you who want a more maneuverable version of the Mountain Jay that ought to perform better in (a) really deep snow; (b) really wet, dense, cake batter cement; and (c) ought to pivot better in tight spaces and junk-show moguls, you might want to check out the McFellon Pro edition of the Mountain Jay. It has the same flex pattern as the regular Mountain Jay (though of course, Parlor will allow you to customize the flex pattern if you’d like to make it stiffer or softer), but it has more tip and tail rocker, and also a recommended mount that is +3 cm forward of the standard Mountain Jay. (You can see rocker profile pics of the McFellon Pro on the next page and compare its rocker profile to the standard Mountain Jay.)

We haven’t yet skied the McFellon Pro edition, but we will this coming season, and everything about its design should make it quicker, more pivoty, and more deep-snow oriented than the Mountain Jay. We’ll confirm as soon as possible.

Sizing Recommendations?

For the standard Mountain Jay, I’d say that if you are on the fence about sizes, I’d size down before you size up — especially if you regularly ski in tighter spaces, and especially if “quickness” is characteristic that you particularly value in a ski. Personally, I tend to value stability more than quickness, so outside of screwed-up moguls, I get along well with the Mountain Jay.

Who’s It For?

If you prefer traditional mount points (ex-racers anybody?) but you’re interested in checking out a fully-rockered wider ski, there’s a good chance that you’ll get along better with the Mountain Jay than many of the other fully-rockered designs that have a more forward mount point and far more tip and tail splay (e.g., 184 cm 4FRNT Devastator and 187 cm Moment Meridian).

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Parlor Skis Mountain Jay for Blister Gear Review.
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Parlor Skis Mountain Jay

Of course there is another pretty well-known ski out there that is about 112 mm wide and has an even more traditional mount point: the Volkl Katana. The Mountain Jay doesn’t have metal, so it isn’t the crud-busting destroyer that the metal Katana was. But it also doesn’t have the razor-thin, even lighter, carbon-fiber construction of the current Katana. And to be honest, I can imagine more than a few skiers who felt like the old metal Katana was a bit too much ski, while the current Katana is a bit too light and / or delicate. If you are one of those people, then the Mountain Jay might represent a pretty ideal middle ground.

Bottom Line

The Parlor Skis Mountain Jay is an all-mountain ski that excels in more open spaces. Those looking for a wider ski that will allow them to get on the shovels and carve hard — while also allowing them to pivot more easily if and when the snow starts to pile up a bit — should check out the Mountain Jay. You might even say that this is a wider ski where old school meets new school. And if you want to move the needle a bit more new school, check out the McFellon Pro edition of the Mountain Jay.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

12 comments on “2020-2021 Parlor Skis Mountain Jay”

    • Ok, Hannes to attempt an answer to your question:

      This is a little tricky because I was getting re-acquainted with the current Cochise this past June, and the Mountain Jay doesn’t really remind me of the current Cochise at all. So to Hannes’ question above about the 1st gen Cochise? Still, I don’t really think so. And I think the reason why is that the Cochise — whether 1st gen or current gen — really feels like a ski with metal; the Mountain Jay doesn’t. So it’s a bit tough to quantify or explain, but while the shovels of the Mountain Jay are wide and feel big, I don’t think I could drive them quite as hard at high speeds in variable terrain as I could the heavier, metal-having Cochise. It’s not that the Cochise is massively more stable, but it felt like I could fold up / flex the shovels of the Mountain Jay (at least, in Parlor’s “medium” flex pattern) more than I notice with the Cochise. And given that the Cochise isn’t *that* stiff of a ski, it strikes me that the difference I’m feeling is more the (a) overall heavier weight of the Cochise and (b) the metal.

      I won’t continue to drone on about this any longer, so please let me know if I’m doing a bad job of explaining this.

  1. Put a smidge of camber in that ski, and I might be in love!

    The mount point appears to be further back than the norm these days. Maybe just the photo.

    • -11.2 cm is definitely in “traditional” territory, but with my time on the ski so far, I did not immediately wish I was forward. But I also want to get the ski in some softer snow, conditions in northern New Mexico might finally be just about to cooperate. Stay tuned — this is a solid ski, not some dedicated pow ski that’s too light & too twitchy to handle less-than-perfect conditions.

  2. I’ve got a couple pair of Parlor ski’s .. a set of 90 Cardinals… and a set of full on custom pow ski’s designed for tree’s .. super floaty and short radius turns….. I also have a couple sets of Line Influences and Stokli Storm riders….. after demoing the 186 Jay(east coast crap conditions, firm(ice) with a dusting) …. I decided I needed yet another set of Parlors … the Jay just rocks

  3. Are you guys getting on the McFellon Pro this year? The profile looks similar to a Hoji but with more side cut and maybe a weight difference? These are very important things I need to know!!!!!

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