Our newest pro model is live on the site and just passed it's first test in the Canadian Rockies with flying colors! We sat down with Harrison Buck to talk about why this ski is perfect for the terrain he faces every day.
First off, who is Harrison Buck and where do you ski?
Starting off with a softball, eh? Well, professionally, I'm a photographer, film maker, designer, and creative consultant. At home, I’m a new father (three month old Norman is already excited to shred), husband, and dog dad. To my friends, I am fiercely loyal and to anyone that doesn’t like the Philadelphia Eagles I'm not your favorite person to bark at at a bar… but in all seriousness, I have always considered myself a skier and a gear freak. I love to ski, I love ski equipment and I have truly loved designing these skis. My wife, baby, and dog currently reside in Aspen, Colorado, where we ski all four mountains. We even get to skin on-piste with our dog after hours. It’s an awesome place to live. I grew up skiing in Idaho and all over the East coast. I have taught skiing in Sun Valley and in Jackson Hole, and guided in the Adirondacks. Even though I live in a mountain town, I'm all about exploring new terrain and new snow pack. Since our backcountry in alpine Colorado isn’t alway safe, I like to travel to get in some backcountry skiing elsewhere. I recently got back from a hell of a trip to Terrace, BC where my brother and I got to ski with Northern Escape Heli. It was the stuff ski dreams are made of.
What makes this ski different than other skis on the market or in the Parlor flock and what aspects of the Buck Naked improve performance for you personally as a skier?
The Buck Naked is a special ski for a number of reasons. I had a dream for a big, yet playful ski that would allow the skier to be locked in when desired and able to release from their turn when they want. The shape and dimensions have a lot to do with attempting to achieve both of these turn types. I wanted camber underfoot to help blast through crud and mank found at the bottom of runs on piste and in backcountry trees. I also wanted a nice large tip to be able to smear around in deeper snow without getting hung up. The flat tip was initially to help differentiate from the rest of the Parlor line, but turned out to be very effective in deep snow and allows for convenient skin placement. The tapered tip eliminates uphill ski drag for a natural and smooth turn and engagement in varied snow conditions. The tail was an instrumental part of the design, but I’ll touch on that more later. The Buck Naked allows me to ski the way I want to all the time, whether that’s blasting big lines, or smearing and slashing turns.
What inspired the Striper Tail design and how does it affect the ski?
The name Striper-tech was an homage to Parlor’s home on the East coast, which is rife with Striped Bass. The tail was at first a question: Is it possible? What is to be gained? We’ve seen a ton of “cutout” skis do well in the market in the last few years and felt like there was something more to be done. A concave cutout, or swallow tail, felt too big often leaving skiers stuck in the back seat. I chose to make a convex cutout instead. This design is super popular in surfing and in snowboarding and we hadn’t seen it in the ski market before. With a short (19m) turn radius, the skis are very nimble and surfy. This tail contributes to that. The tail shape enables the skier to disengage with the turn, and scrub speed with the tail without taking too much snow. Picture yourself coming up to a submerged tree. Instead of skiing around it, you can now kick your tips up and smear across the top of the pillow. It allows for the skier to play with the tails without getting stuck in the back seat. It has proven to be much more than a gimmick, and it kicks up a sick rooster tail to boot.
What inspired the topsheet designs for the Buck Naked?
For a while I wanted to call the ski the Striper, and make the top sheets look like a fish to really bring out the fish tail. This got complicated and was taking away from other awesome design elements of the ski. So I backed off the fish theme, and went to my alias: Buck Naked. The next big piece came from Mark, who said, “These top sheets should stand out as much as the shape does." I quickly was drawn to one consistent, bright color. I wanted it to pop when you are in deep snow, as well as on camera, which of course is important to us photogs. Once I found the color, I wanted to add a personal touch. The last few pairs of skis I’ve worked on with Parlor featured art from local Aspen artist, Heather Quinn. Despite her handle, (@sorta_interesting), she is quite interesting. She and I worked on the buck skull design and she absolutely crushed it. I couldn’t be happier. She even painted it on canvas for me to hang in our house. We went back and forth on whether to have the design spread across both skis or just one. I felt very strongly that the graphic should work on either foot. This was to avoid skiers edges getting worn differently because of the graphic placement. Next was how to apply the Parlor logo. After a deep dive of drawing the logo free hand many ways, I stumbled across the concoction with the cut out and the Parlor circle logo, and it fit like a glove. I also wanted it to be very obvious who made these awesome skis, so we put the Parlor logo front and center across the tip. I am obsessed with the shape of these skis and I wanted to put the dimensions on the skis somewhere, so they, along with Heather’s signature and the Buck Naked name are across the tail on the other ski. Lastly, I wanted something truly unique to separate the ski even further from the rest of the Parlor line. As you may be aware the naked maple sidewalls are a Parlor staple. With the good graces of the Parlor team, we were able to stain the sidewalls dark. The black sidewalls and black logos really pop on top of the “electric salmon” color top sheet.
What kind of skier would you recommend the Buck Naked to?
Initially designed as a quiver ski, this ski is for someone that already has a “daily driver”. This is designed to be someone’s bigger ski in the quiver. From backcountry cat and heli ski missions, to hiking Highland Bowl, this ski can rip your bigger lines, without holding you up with extra weight or flimsy tips. They may be big, but they are nimble, and sturdy in heavy or chewed up snow. With a 19m turn radius they are snappy and responsive in the trees. With an aspen/maple core they are light and damp. If you live and ski in the western US, this ski is ideal for many days on the hill. If you live back East, this ski is ideal for big trips to big mountains or deep days at your local hill. Skiers must be ready for lots of colorful conversation in the lift line. Being BuckNaked is about, having fun, not taking yourself too seriously, while taking your turn shape very seriously.