When you think Maine, maybe you picture locals being born on either the slopes or lobster boats, but just because you didn’t start shredding at age three, doesn’t mean you can’t start.
Maine native Travis Legassie is one of those people, and although he didn’t grow up in a ski family, his classmate’s chatter about the sport piqued his interest early on. When he met EJ Martin in 2010, Travis got his chance, hitting the slopes for the first time at Smuggler’s Notch. “I took a lot of bumps that first day,” he remembers, “but I knew it was something special that I was going to continue to improve at.”
Countless ski trips and runs later, EJ and Travis set out with Corey Kelkenberg to Sugarloaf to see how a local company makes skis. After that visit, and some tequila, Travis says the rest is history.
Soon thereafter the three of them entered business with Lucid Skis, the brain child of Ian Reinholt and Nick Mukai. Founded on the dream to create the perfect Maine hardwood ski, Ian and Nick set up shop in 2009 in Kingfield, Maine. With the addition of Travis, EJ and Corey, the shop moved to Gray, Maine in 2015 and has been turning out their own corduroy-carving, glade-flying bad boys.
“Owning an independent ski company is hard,”Travis says. “It’s definitely a work of passion. I still have my day job and do this in my free time. It’s challenging because we put a lot of effort into the skis and not everyone wants to pay a premium price for a handcrafted custom ski. It’s also fun because we often get to experiment with some different things to see what is possible.”
Compared to out west, New England doesn’t always have the best conditions (read: ice and the last week’s temperatures), but that is the foundation that Lucid is built upon; to create skis and snowboards that are responsive in all terrain levels and in the fiercest of snow conditions. As Travis 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.
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.
For Travis, he prefers the Cannon model, perfect for hitting un-groomed or groomed cruisers, taking in those grand mountaintop views and then charging around the mountain. When it comes to glades, he opts for the Trip model, which offers a tad more flexibility when shooting through tight tree turns.
Beyond rolling out 156cm size of their most popular models as well as protoyyping the Dream series, Lucid has a more race oriented model and ultra-wide, pure powder ski on the drawing board. And in the spirit of their company’s expansion, the team is toying with the idea of offering workshops for those who are interested in learning more about the ski making process and want to put some of personal handy work into your ride.
When it comes to indie operations, it’s all about risk and reward.
“[There’s nothing better than] when I’m riding a chair lift and my neighbor looks down at whatever pair of skis I might have on and says, ‘Those skis are gorgeous, the most beautiful skis I’ve ever seen,’ or when someone doesn’t want to turn in the skis on a demo day because they are so much fun,” says Travis. “Hearing any of those things make it all worth it for me.”
Interested? We figured. Whether you want to test out some of the Lucid Ski products or talk shop, Indie Day is where it’s at. For $15 you can try skis and boards from these independent brands. We’ll be announcing the date of this year’s Indie Day shortly.