Not everything comes off a production line today. Chris Bagley has discovered his niche by handmaking skis from his workshop in Maine.
Making these first pairs wasn’t easy. Bagley endured making skis in a barn with a kerosene heater, which he estimates warmed the room to about 40 degrees in the winter. It took days to build each pair, then six or more hours in the ski press for things to cure and harden, always hoping the resin wouldn’t freeze.
It became apparent that to build at the speed and consistency he wanted for Volition, he needed a bigger press. With the help of a small business grant, Volition got a snazzy brand new ski press — the centerpiece of the workshop in Bangor.
It used to take about 16 hours for each pair, but the new space and press — and plenty of practice — cut it to a quarter of that. With more practice, Bagley should get the time down to about two hours per pair.
Which isn’t to say he has loads of free time. Bagley works a 9-to-5 job, so Volition eats up nights and weekends. As his fiancee put it, they “work, get food, come (to the shop), study and work, go home, sleep and do it all over again.”