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There’s no question that skiers with a life-changing injury can still shred the gnar on some of the best slopes in the world. In 2023, the Kelly Brush Foundation helped send Anna Soens to Alaska, where she lived the dream of heli-skiing in the state’s iconic mountains.

It was the first heli-ski descent by an adaptive female skier in history.

But this foundation aimed at helping disabled athletes then partnered with Boston ski maker Parlor for something even more ambitious: designing skis specifically for adaptive athletes.

No other ski manufacturer had tried making skis specifically for athletes with spinal cord injuries. Instead, most adaptive skiers have had to purchase a regular pair of skis and attach one to their sit ski chair — a complex piece of equipment that costs thousands of dollars. They’ll ride that setup until the ski breaks. And they break a lot due to additional stresses from weight and pressure.

greg durso kbf ski
Greg Durso during testing of the KBF Ski; (photo/Parlor)

Enter Parlor, a brand that already had experience with customized skis. Parlor spent years trying to figure out how to design a better monoski. After many prototypes tested by Greg Durso, the foundation’s director of programs, and even founder Kelly Brush herself, the Parlor KFB Ski is now available for purchase online. It comes in several styles and sizes for each. And Parlor’s Boston shop offers additional customization options.

“Other companies aren’t going to go make a custom ski for you,” Durso told GearJunkie. “I didn’t realize I could ski so much better. I’m so jazzed about it!”

Parlor KBF Ski: Details

Durso, who has been living with a spinal cord injury for 15 years, knows from experience that most skis don’t survive the pressure of monoskiing for very long.

In 14 years, he’s broken about 20 skis. Breaking skis that frequently is rare — even for professionals. In addition to the financial burden of replacing equipment so often, the traditional design just doesn’t work that well for adaptive skiers.

When Parlor first began partnering with the Kelly Brush Foundation through its charitable arm, it became clear that “no one is really designing skis for adaptive athletes,” said Mark Wallace, the company’s owner and manager.

Parlor, which started selling laminate skis in 2013, has since become New England’s largest ski and snowboard maker. Customization has long been part of the company’s mission. That continued with Parlor’s approach to the KBF Ski.

Parlor KFGB Ski Monoski adaptive athletes
Durso getting his custom KBF Skis at Parlor’s Boston shop; (photo/Parlor)

“Two years ago, Greg [Durso] and I sat down and said, ‘Let’s make this a reality,’” Wallace said. “He told me about some of the skis he really likes. We talked through what wasn’t working and what he wanted the ski to do better.”

After 2 years of testing, Durso and Wallace decided on a final design. They increased the overall stiffness of the Parlor monoski and also lengthened the stiffest part to accommodate increased forces.

The Parlor KFB Ski has a longer lower-tail rocker. That allows it to pivot more freely for low-speed control without sacrificing the ability to carve at higher speeds, according to company specs. Durso sounded more than a little excited about the result.

“It’s all I ever want to use,” he said. “It holds the edge better and you can do more things with your body. It’s just so cool to have a mainstream company making skis just for us.”

Pricing & Customization

The Parlor KFB Ski costs $700, comes in one of two styles (All Mountain or Carving), and has three sizes available for both. With a blue-and-yellow mountain design, it doesn’t look too shabby, either.

Parlor KFGB Ski Monoski adaptive athletes
Skis in progress at Parlor’s Boston shop; (photo/Parlor)

More importantly, adaptive skiers can visit the Boston shop in person to get further customization to their monoski. After the lengthy development process, Wallace realized that different spinal cord injuries may require design adjustments to get each athlete the best possible ski.

“As we build more custom skis for more clients, we have a bigger understanding of what changes to make for each individual,” Wallace said. “The adaptive category is huge, and we are positioning ourselves to become experts in that field.”

That’s what Durso did, who called the process “one of the best days of my life.” It sounds like Durso won’t be letting go of his customized Parlor monoski any time soon.

“I can’t wait to go to Canada in two days to use them more,” he said.

Check out the Parlor website for more info on ordering one of the brand’s KFB skis.

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