Over the past few decades, there’s been a consistent decline in traditional American manufacturing. On the surface, this is sad. But if you look deeper, you’ll notice the next generation of craftsman are being given a voice. For the first time in history, creators are seizing the opportunity to build things that were once impossible…. like skis. Why should you buy locally crafted skis? Buying skis made in the US means the revenue stays in the country, taxes are paid and most of all, they are made by someone who actually LOVES skiing. For 2018, here are the companies that made the tough business decision to have their skis made in the US.
Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis
Boyne City, Michigan
For some, the American dream might be a white picket fence, a house, 2.3 kids and a car… but for others, it’s about taking your hobby and making it a full-time profession. The folks at Shaggy’s Skis are a great example of this as they grabbed hold of their passion to create skis that “make you happier sliding down the snow than you’ve ever been.”
For the 2018/19 season, this Boyne City ski manufacturer has taken their motto and concentrated on creating rock solid skis for not only the best conditions but also for the worst conditions. It’s for the days when the snow is refrozen, when the powder is skied out and those times you find yourself charging through chunder. Because, let’s be honest… we all want EVERY-day on the slopes to leave us with a smile.
Lake Tahoe, California
Just like many entrepreneurs before them, they were unsatisfied with the workmanship available in the market place. Founded in 2007, they followed their passion and started making skis for themselves. This love transformed into a business that has been around for more than a decade. Still 100% employee owned, Slant Skis doesn’t just manufacture state-side but try their best to also source all materials from the US. Each of their models have full bamboo cores meaning they’re construction is light AND environmentally friendly. For those looking for the perfect patrol-style ski, meaning a ski that’s designed as a tool for “work” on the mountain, check out the “Diplomat”. It’s a ski that can take a beating, go anywhere and keep a good edge on the worst or best conditions.
Are you a tech fanatic? Love everything that pushes the boundary of what’s possible? Well, Renoun Skis are right in your wheel house then. Back in 2011, they stumbled upon a polymer called HDT™ that was used in the aerospace industry. After a few years, they created something vastly different than the rest of the ski industry that they won ISPO’s Gold Award. As they say, there are “1,600 ski models in today’s market… we will NOT be 1,601.”
Wagner Custom Skis
Telluride’s moniker “To-Hell-You-Ride” is still alive and well at Wagner Custom Skis. With their factory literally steps away from the chairlifts, they’re still a bunch of hard-charging Telluride locals living the dream. That means making and marketing skis that are painstakingly handcrafted based on the Skier’s DNA. What does that signify? Well, it denotes each ski that is bought is custom built just for you! Using a different combination of materials, structural layup, sidecut, turning radius, length, width, flex pattern, etc., they make sure what’s attached to your feet works in favor of you not against you.
New for 2018/19, they’ll be launching a podcast in mid-October focused on getting people to take their skiing to the next level. Also, they’ve got a whole new assortment of stock topsheet designs that were inspired by things they experienced last season.
Incline Village, Nevada
Keith O’Meara and his team lets the quality of their skis speak for themselves. Over the years, their team of skiers has won an assortment of trophies in places like the Freeride World circuit. Located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada range on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, they sell factory direct to the consumer. This allows you to get you a better value and buying experience. Besides the high quality craftsmanship, a major difference of Praxis Skis to other ones on the market is their topsheet. Made of wood veneer, it leads to each and every ski being unique and one-of-a kind. So, if you do pick up one of their skis, you’ll have something that works great on the slopes and is a work of art. Something you can’t say very often.
Sego Ski Co.
Teton Valley, Idaho
When it comes to consistent snowfall, Grand Targhee is annually ranked as one of the best. In fact, they’re the ONLY resort in North America with a perfect record of full operation at every Christmas since records have been kept. With Sego Skis being based next to such a reliable mountain range, this translates to them having an opportunity to ski their products on a daily basis. We’re guessing that’s why more than half of their arsenal of 2018/19 skis have won awards from such major ski publications as: Backcountry, Powder, Freeskier, Blister Gear Review and Ski Magazine.
With their headquarters located right in downtown Victor, Idaho, stop by for a beer in their showroom, meet the crew and even take a tour of the newly expanded factory. Not planning on being in Northwest Wyoming anytime soon? Don’t you worry! Keep your eyes peeled for the Sego Bus at a local ski area near you for your chance to try their demos this season.
Pemberton, British Columbia
Only 45 minutes from the legendary slopes of Whistler, they’ve taken the experience and knowledge of the past and applied the latest in techniques. The outcome is a ski that embraces the past, present & future! If manufacturing in North America wasn’t enough, they also locally source the wood for their cores. The Yellow Cedar, which grows on the slopes of the Coast Mountain Range, produces a superior product like nowhere else. How come? Due to climate in this region, the wood is as strong as a hardwood but much lighter! In fact, they’re one of the few ski manufacturers to use a solid piece of wood instead of the typical multi-ply core. They can do this because the wood has such a tight grain, it naturally absorbs vibration.
The list wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning the LARGEST ski manufacturer in the United States… Moment. Combining their love for skiing AND building things, they created a ski that was different than what the Big 5 European ski companies were making at the time. Their focus was to develop a new design that was fatter and has square tips. In their words, they’re “Building the best damn skis for anything the mountain throws at you.”
The #1 thing to do in business is to listen to your customers and adapt. When you don’t sacrifice on quality and hear what they like they’ll be loyal for life. ON3P is THE ski company that does that. Using the forums of Newschoolers and TGR they took the users’ ski wants and needs and produced a product that other companies had failed to make. The result? Skis that follow a 65-step journey to be completed with meticulous pride, from raw materials to finished product. A company definitely worth checking out.
In addition to the companies above, we reached out to the following as well that we think are still being manufactured in North America. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard back from them to confirm:
- Yopp Skis
- Igneous Skis