In the past few years there’s been a resurgence of ski manufacturing in Maine. Yesterday I visited Amalgam Ski Company in Freeport, an exemplar of this new trend.
Maine was once home to numerous ski manufacturers, but by 1965 they had either gone out of business or at least ceased making skis. See the little feature story on Paris Manufacturing Company on WoodenSkis.com.
So the recent resurgence is very encouraging to. History repeats itself. But not really.
These companies combine old-fashioned passion for the sport with a distinctly new school approach to materials, construction and marketing.
Amalgam was founded in 2012 by the husband-wife team of Phil and Amy Taisey, who boast strong, lifeliong connections to Sugarloaf. Amy is also a 2002 graduate of Carrabassett Valley Academy, an anchor of Maine’s skiing culture.
For the first few years, the Taiseys focused on design work and building a shop in the basement of their home, which now includes a computer numerical controlled jig, a heated ski press and a tuning machine. Plus raw materials and a tiny inventory of finished products.
This past season was the first for sales. An encouraging 20 pairs were sold, mostly to members of the Sugarloaf community.
I talked about the Ski Museum of Maine‘s upcoming project and exhibit, which will feature half a dozen of our state’s ski and snowboard builders, and Phil and Amy were eager to participate.
[In expanded form, this article will soon be published in the Ski Museum of Maine’s quarterly journal, Snow Trail.