Ruh roh! We would have gotten out of Michigan if it hadn’t been for those pesky local ski builders! While Michigan is home of some of the largest auto manufacturers in the world, it is also home to Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis, a small independent ski builder in Boyne City, Michigan. We haven’t been to Shaggy’s new facility, which they moved to in 2020. But, we did visit their former home on a trip to "the mitten" to visit family.

: It only seemed fitting to stop in at Shaggy's after spending time in their namesake Copper Country in the Upper Peninsula while at the Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. We met with Jeff Thompson, along with some of the other staff, including some of their family members, at the old Boyne City place. After getting the tour, and a few beers, we can understand why they needed to move to a new facility: Even then, they were busting out at the seams. On that trip they asked if we have skied any of their skis. Sheepishly, we had to admit that we not only hadn't skied their skis, but had never even seen a pair in person. In fact all we could really do was admit that we had heard of Shaggy’s. The year I moved to Reno, the ski builder had moved closer to my old stomping ground back in Michigan.

When Jeff, Shaggy's chief, heard that we didn't have any experience on Shaggy's Skis, he said, “Well, let‘s change that!” This small-town innovator was smart enough to know that the more we talk about their skis, the more interest will be generated in them. After giving us a full tour of the facility and showing us how the sausage is made, he was pretty clear that they felt the 95mm Ahmeek and Medora would be ideal for us to test in Tahoe conditions. He arranged for them to arrive on our doorstep later in the fall. That’s Midwest hospitality! Hospitality aside, they were right: It indeed got us talking about Shaggy's. So here are our impressions on these two reference models from a ski builder that is far from mainstream.

2022 Shaggy’s Copper Country Ahmeek 95
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Philpug: Visually, the finish of Shaggy’s Ahmeek 95 is on par with most any mainstream brand. It has a clean glossy rollover topsheet and a factory tune that was actually very skiable. Dimensions of the Ahmeek are a not-out-of-the-ordinary 129mm tip, 95mm waist and 114mm tail. The Ahmeek will not overwhelm a skier that just wants a do-it-all ski, but also will also please the better skier who really wants to push it. On-the-snow feel is smooth and solid and again on par with any other brand in this class. What separates Shaggy’s from some of the mainstream brands (and even some of the smaller indies) is its blue collar work ethic of putting in a solid day on snow, while all it expects from you is to have a few pops or local brews at the end of the day.

2022 Shaggy’s Copper Country Medora 95
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Upon arrival, the Medora made me almost giggly because it has a playful appearance with a serious construction, two things that should make any skier smile. I tend to take it easy the first few turns on any ski I review, and the Medora was no exception. Honestly, I wasn't quite sure what to think of it at first. After stopping halfway down the run and taking notes, I headed out to put her through the paces. When I opened it up a bit, THAT is when she really started to shine. This is a ski that wants to run, responds to confidence, and urges her driver to explore bumps and trees. With everything I threw at her, she said, "Give me more!" When it was time to dial it back and figure out the "take it easy" side of her, I realized there wasn't anything to figure out at all. She was just fine taking a cool down run and letting me wind down so we could come back for more tomorrow. This is a seriously playful ski with the right mix of spunk and class. Just what you'd expect from a Northern Michigan girl.

I approached Jeff to ask him how they come up with the names of their skis, and he explained that they name every ski after a place in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. The name "Ahmeek”, a small village, is a word taken from the Chippewa term "amik," which means "beaver.” The Medora ski was named after rugged Lake Medora just outside Copper Harbor. However, I also looked up the name “Medora” and learned it is a name from the Greek meaning Ruler. All I can say is: “That, she is!"


Philpug: Having some of the Shaggy’s skis in our fleet has been close to Tricia’s heart for a few years because of her Mitten roots. I am still not 100% sold on Shaggy’s Pocket Camber, a triple camber design. They are building a really well constructed ski; they don’t need this as a gimmick; they can trust their engineers and their construction. In their defense, I felt the same of our local Reno brand’s Triple Camber Twin Rocker. At $749, the Ahmeek and Medora might be a few bucks more than some of its mainstream contenders, but it is on par with the other small batch offerings in the class. This is your chance to put your money where your mouth is when you a want a good ole ‘Murican built ski.

  • Who are they for: Those looking for a small batch good old US of A built ski with a fun name that lives up to the hype.​
  • Who are they not for: Like most smaller builders here in the states, Shaggy's does not make a true hard snow ski under 80mm.​
  • Insider tip: Shaggy's does offer each model with custom graphics.​