When you hear skiing or snowboarding, what brands pop into your head? Volkl? Rossignol? Burton? Well newsflash; all over the country there are powder lovers chasing the dream and the snow to make their own products, and have people like you ski them too. In order to give these independent ski and snowboard brands the credit we deserve, we at Sunday River host an Indie Demo Day so you can test out these hand crafted carving machines.
Portland, Oregon based ON3P all began in a garage. When Scott Andrus was a sophomore in college he decided to make his own skis after receiving a disappointing custom pair. With the garage set up, Scott set out to build a better ski. Fast forward from the early days, ON3P has remained a small crew of ski builders with an international following. The skis are made with a bamboo core which offers a lightweight, durable and poppy feel and charge mountain wide from park to powder, touring or backcountry. The bamboo core is combined with carbon stringers as well, which also helps to cut down on weight. Also their top sheet graphics are some of the coolest in the game. When it comes to skis, Scott doesn’t mess around; “Above all else, we cherish the knowledge that we’ve created every aspect of the skis we take to the mountains and ski on our days off. There’s pride in what we do and without our craft, we’re just like the rest.”
Parlor Skis was founded on the idea that just making the highest quality, most tailored skis on the market wasn’t enough. As owner Mark Wallace puts it, they felt that New England needed a laminate construction ski that could hold up to the sometimes less than ideal conditions. This means a wider platform and some of the more progressive all-mountain shapes. Essentially, Parlor strives to be a brand that represents just what it means to be a New England skier. What also makes these guys so cool is their ability to put custom graphics on each and every pair of skis while tailoring them to the need of the skier. By being in Boston, Parlor is able to tap the talent of local universities, craftsmen and tech companies. As Mark puts it, “The best thing about Boston is that we have been able to bring a piece of ski culture to the city, the beer is always cold, the shop smells like wax and someone is always ready to tell a ski story that is mostly true.”
To amalgamate is to merge and unite, to fuse and blend, which is exactly the driving force behind Maine brand Amalgam. Co-founded in 2012 by Amy and Phil Taisey, the pair states that they are skiers first and foremost, but a combination of craftsmen, mechanical engineers, artists and environmentalists all in one. These skis excel in all conditions and terrain, no matter your ability level. Amy and Phil source materials as close to home and environmentally friendly as possible and use a CNC milling machine to shape all ski components before pressing and finishing each pair by hand. Amalgam’s cores are made from maple and poplar, which allows for a durable, snappy and stable ski. And fun fact, the original prototype top sheet was inspired by the colors of Phil’s lobster buoys (orange and green), a color way they still use today. Read our previous interview with Amalgam, here.
Hailing from Gray, Maine this crew focuses on the natural finish. Lucid sources all their material from sustainably harvested lumber, most of which comes from their home state of Maine. The construction philosophy for these skis is to derive as many performance aspects as possible from the core. Basswood is ultra-light and has incredible dampening qualities and makes up 50 percent of the core in Lucid’s skis. This wood offers a tighter closed grain that commonly used spruce. What does that mean? Less glue saturation, which can add weight to the ski and make the wood brittle. Straight down the center of the core Lucid places two ribs of white ash which gives the ski its spring and flexibility without compromising strength. When it comes to the flashy natural finish, the team uses a native birds-eye, rock maple veneer. As Travis Legassie puts it, these babies are ready to perform in whatever Mother Nature throws at us. Pow day? No problem. Frozen hard pack and ice pellets? You got it. Read more on Lucid Skis, here.
Thanks to @jake.thisissnow for the featured and ON3P photos.