Q&A: Maine Brand Amalgam Skis

Before getting groovy at the second Spring Apres Concert of the season, why not swap out your tired and battered skis for a pair with some gusto? Freeport-based brand Amalgam Skis will be here on March 25 from 8AM to 2PM offering completely free demos on their sticks. To participate in the demo, you’ll need your own boots (and poles), plus an ID for them to hold onto while you take their skis for a spin!

I caught up with the gang at Amalgam to learn more about their skis and their journey in the industry thus far.

How did you get your start (and your name)?

Amalgam was co-founded in 2012 by Amy and Phil Taisey. Our inspiration for creating Amalgam was to unite our passions with our experience and skill sets to build a business in an industry that we love. Hence the name itself: To amalgamate is to merge, fuse, and blend. We are skiers, first and foremost, but we are also craftsmen, engineers, and designers. We are mountain lovers and environmentalists. For us, Amalgam Skis is about combining all of these things and more.

 How has being a Maine brand shaped your business?

 All of us at Amalgam have strong ties to Maine. We grew up here, moved away, and found our way back. We think being a company from Maine sets us apart from other brands. Maine is known for its coastlines, rivers and lakes, forests and mountains. If you love outdoor adventure, like we do, the state is an absolute wonderland. It is also known for its fine craftsmanship, from furniture making to boat building. Amalgam cares about Maine and embodying the values of the state. We strive to be hard-working, community-oriented, locally-focused, passionate, and humble. Building and designing our skis, we are inspired by our Maine roots in many ways. The heart and soul of our skis, the wooden cores, are made from locally harvested maple and poplar. Phil, our head engineer, has a strong background in boat building and has worked in the commercial lobstering industry for most of his life. He has studied lines, shapes, and fluid dynamics intensely as a boat builder and brings this knowledge into his ski designs. Not many know this, but our original prototype top sheets were inspired by the colors of Phil’s lobster buoys (orange and green). People liked the design so the colors stuck and they are what you see on our current models today.

What sets Amalgam apart from other indie ski brands?

 To put it simply: our product. We have focused a lot of time and energy on our skis’ design and performance. Our skis excel in all conditions, on any terrain, no matter your ability level. We also design and build every piece and part of the ski ourselves, which can be unique in the indie ski world. Rather than outsourcing our manufacturing to other factories, as many brands do, we manufacture our skis completely in-house. We use materials that are sourced as close to home and environmentally friendly as possible. We only outsource our screen-printed top sheets—they are made in Washington State by another small company. We feel that this makes us unique, and allows us to offer an attention to detail that is impossible to match when skis are mass-produced in larger factories.

Describe a perfect day on the mountain.

Oh man, there are so many. Just check out our vendor tent­; we say “Any Day on Skis is The Best Day.” We love the sunny spring days with soft corn. We love the days of perfect storms, that not-so-often 15”+ snowfall with free refills of soft powder all day long. But lemme tell you (in perfect Maine fashion) the best day on-hill is a day that starts with a temp of 25˚F and you get out early. The sun is out. It’s midweek. There’s no one in line—save for you and your friends. It’s a crisp day, you feel the apparent wind on your face as you ride up the lift and take in the fresh air. You’re full of energy and life from the environment around you as you scope out what trail to take and which direction to head on-mountain. You start by shredding perfect hardpack groomers. You are psyched to have this day and conditions and you just keep cruising. As the sun rises throughout the day the snow softens and you hit up a few soft bumps on the side of the trail; you realize, it’s good!  You spend the rest of the day scoping out hidden stashes and glades in the soft side country. By the end of the day your thighs are toasted, but you still have the energy to ski until the sun goes behind the mountain and the light fades. That may be it, the perfect day on the mountain.

 Which ski are you most excited about for this season?

 Our new ski: The Alchemist! The Alchemist is our new all-mountain park ski featuring a twin-tip profile. It is designed to be more symmetrical with respect to the tip and tail widths offering a balanced swing weight when spinning on snow or twisting in the air. The side cut allows for fast, stable carving, and the traditional camber under foot maintains its grip in all conditions and turning angles. Rocker in both the tip and tail allows for more variability and edge-to-edge control when transitioning off kickers or slashing hidden powder stashes in the trees. Distinguished by its exclusive lightning bolt top sheet design, the Alchemist is a super fun ski; it loves the park, but it’s got serious all-mountain roots.

Alchemist specifications:
Tip Width: 134mm
Waist Width: 102mm
Tail Width: 126
Lengths: 170cm & 180cm
Turning Radius: 17m @ 170cm or 20m @ 180cm

What can people coming to the March 25 Demo look forward to from Amalgam?

We will have our entire line-up of all-mountain skis available for demo, in all their various lengths. We have 4 models total, including an 86 underfoot carver we have been prototyping this season. We will also have a few options for tele, our set up will be with 22 Design bindings. Folks can take a few runs and get a feel for the ski and length, come back try a different length or model. It’s all completely free and so much fun. We love meeting the community of skiers around different mountains. We look forward to coming back to The River this season.

Compliment a competitor: who is doing work that inspires you?

 We love brands that take a scientific approach (design! build! test! do it all over again!) to the construction of their skis—and have the craftsmanship to back it up. We love brands like DPS, Kastle, and Black Diamond because they’re brands that continually evolve the products to meet the ever changing needs of skiers as we all push our sport further.

Where do you see the brand going in 5 years?

 We see us growing and continuing to build our community of skiers. Amalgam takes a philosophical approach to the sport, lifestyle, and industry of skiing. As we grow, we want to create a workspace and community that is connected and passionate, driven but also joyous. Amalgam aspires to maintain a small-business mindset: Devoted to the cause and quality of each individual pair of skis that we carefully construct. It is our mission to engineer and manufacture superior products that inspire passionate skiers. We want to be recognized for our superior performance and as stewards to our environment and community.

How can we score one of those sweet trucker hats?

On our website!  We have a whole bunch of cool merch on our website, including those sweet trucker hats.

Anything else you’d like to add?

We hope lots of people come out to the demo! We’re super proud of our skis, and assuming you love them like we do, we hope you’ll consider Amalgam for your next pair of skis. The next few years are going to be really important for us, and we’ll be relying a lot on the Maine ski community that we love so dearly to support us and help us grow!

 

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