A ski company and their skis–built from the ground up.


Every now and then something foreign catches your eye and draws your attention, peaking your curiosity. In a ski town around the U.S., a uniquely-beautiful, custom-built mobile tiny house is parked somewhere around town. Inside lives Community Skis, a custom ski manufacturer whose commitment to learning and knowledge-transfer is engrained in everything they do.

Michael Lish and Kristin Broumas are two business partners who come from very different backgrounds. Michael is a craftsmen who has built mono skis, skis, snowboards and various factories for the last 30 years. Kristin specializes in design and has an extensive culinary background. Together, they make up Community Skis. Their company is based out of, well, wherever they happen to be at the time. Building custom-made skis out of a quirky mobile tiny house made from scrap and donated materials, the two have established themselves as a first of their kind–a ski factory with a mobile capability who has committed themselves to the transfer of knowledge while dedicating themselves to the idea of community.

They've given a whole new meaning to workplace environment.

Upon stepping into the tiny house that Michael fabricated himself, you will notice that it was created using a three-part construction. One-third is a cozy living space complete with a bed, couch and half of a kitchen (and full spice rack). Entering into remaining two-thirds, you are greeted with sights that may resemble more of your dad’s backyard workshop than a factory. The workspace is comprised from tools and gadgets that can be purchased from your local hardware store. This is different from the technologically-advanced and automized factories associated with modern ski-building today. But this is all part of their plan.

They admit that a lot of people don’t understand their company and its platform. “What is this?” “Why do you do that?” “This isn’t how it’s been done.” But one reaction has stayed the same–curiosity. People want to learn more about their skis. They want a tour of their home/tiny house. And because Community Skis is committed to transferring the knowledge that they have attained throughout the years, they accommodate and encourage peoples’ curiosity. The tiny house was purposely built with large windows to draw people in and ultimately spark conversation. They have created a factory model that they hope can be passed on and implemented in industries outside of ski manufacturing. To further establish this model, Michael and Kristin recently implemented a ski-building class at a local high school. The class encourages and focuses on building skills in design, entrepreneurship and manufacturing with the hope that students can apply these skills while going on and creating their own businesses.

Their ability to be towed anywhere that is trailer-accessible and resulting off-gridness has created a freedom of mobility that has never been seen in a manufacturing platform before. It also encourages Community Skis to immerse themselves in nature while building skis with a view. Whether they are in Jackson Hole overlooking the Tetons or in the desert of Central Oregon, they have given a new meaning to workplace environment. Beyond the in-depth customizability of their skis–the length, width, shape, performance, and graphics–their mobile factory and business model of Community Skis embodies the spirit of education. Coupled with their commitment to community, Michael and Kristin have helped spark the conversation that manufacturing can be low tech, lean and affordable. Keep an eye out in your town for a funky-looking mobile tiny house that is building skis. You’ll be met with kindness, inspiration and information that will change the way you view ski-building and manufacturing.

Thanks For Reading!


This story was produced exclusively for Backcountry.com as part of the Basin and Range Unscripted Series. In collaboration with our client, we’ve captured a collection of four distinct human stories aimed to inspire creativity and celebrate diverse backgrounds, encouraging you to venture outside. To learn more about Community Skis and their unique position within the ski industry, check out the full length film below.

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