Maine Ski and Board Makers Star in New Warren Miller Film

Winter Starts Now opens in Maine, and follows the owners of Freeport’s Amalgam Skis.

Winter Starts Now opens in Maine, and follows the owners of Freeport’s Amalgam Skis.
Courtesy of Amalgam Skis (skis) and Sarah Sindo (skier)
By Adrienne Perron
From our March 2022 issue

When Amy and Phil Taisey got an email last winter from a producer at Warren Miller Entertainment — the Universal Pictures of ski porn — Phil thought it had to be a scam. The Taiseys have spent the last decade making bespoke skis in their Freeport home studio, and while their company, Amalgam Skis, has some high-profile admirers, the Taiseys never supposed they were on the radar of the world’s largest action-sports film company. When they realized the email was legit, that WME wanted to feature them in their next ski film, the Taiseys were awestruck.

Since 1950, WME has released one much-anticipated movie each winter, documenting adventurous skiers and snowboarders shredding backcountry and resort slopes across the globe. For generations of powderhounds, Warren Miller films are a quintessential annual showcase for the high-mountain feats and hijinks of talented outdoor athletes — along with the beauty and culture of the communities that nurture them.

Winter Starts Now, WME’s 72nd film, opens in Maine, following the Taiseys from a friend’s lobsterboat on Casco Bay (Phil, a former boatbuilder, has a commercial fishing license) to their Freeport workshop, where they make 100 or so pairs of skis each year, to the slopes of Sugarloaf, where they’ve skied since childhood. The Taiseys share screen time with principals from Carrabassett Valley’s Winterstick Snowboards and that company’s co-owner, Olympic gold-medalist snowboarder Seth Wescott, who’s long lobbied WME to visit Sugarloaf. They carved a few glade turns for the cameras, but the highlight, Amy says, was narrating a love letter to the state. “The backbone of our story was Maine,” she says. “The movie captures the coast, the mountains, and the entrepreneurship of craftsmen: this is Maine, and this is what a Mainer is.”