FREEPORT, Maine — Phil and Amy Taisey have been making custom skis from the basement of their Freeport home for almost a decade. Their small business, Amalgam Skis, is getting a serious spotlight shined on it as they are featured in the 2021 Warren Miller film.
Warren Miller was a skier and filmmaker whose movies introduced skiing and snowboarding to a wider audience. In 1949, Miller began making annual ski and snowboarding films to kick off the ski season. The Warren Miller film tours all over the U.S. and internationally.
This year's 72nd Warren Miller film, "Winter Starts Now," not only shines a light on Amalgam Skis but another Maine business, Wintersticks Snowboards, which sells snowboards and splitboards handcrafted at Sugarloaf. The film also highlights Sugarloaf itself and the skiing the east has to offer even if powder is rarely found.
For Phil and Amy Taisey, it was an honor to be asked to be a part of the prominent ski and snowboarding film.
"I've been watching Warren Miller since I was a kid," said Amy Taisey who grew up racing at Sugarloaf.
Since 2012, Phil Taisey has been making around 100 custom skis a year with locally sourced wood and designed with skiing the east in mind. Every piece is put together in the basement of their Freeport home.
Both Phil and Amy grew up in Freeport and stayed in Maine. Focusing on creating a ski for Mainers is at the heart of Amalgam Skis.
Phil is a mechanical engineer and both are passionate skiers. They started Amalgam Skis out of passion.
"I think my inspiration originally was trying to create something for ourselves. I wanted to use our skillset to build something for ourselves knowing it was going to be a significant challenge to do so. That is why we got involved in the ski industry," he said.
The business is just the two of them but they hope the new spotlight from the Warren Miller Film Tour will open new trails for their small business.
"We would love to build some jobs here in the outdoor industry. Continue to expand our volume and our presence and continue to look for innovative manufacturing processes to continue building the product locally," Phil said.
The 72nd Warren Miller film will be screened in Bethel (12/8), Bangor (12/9), Rockland (12/10), and Portland (12/11). Phil and Amy will be at the Portland screening and will be giving away a pair of Amalgam Skis.
Phil and Amy said they felt pressure to represent the east and Maine well in the film.
"We were honored to be a part of it and hopefully we put our best foot forward for Maine and Sugarloaf," Phil said.