Strap on a pair of state-of-the-art, Northern Michigan-made skis from Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis
The evolution of Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis began with a surfboard: in 2004, the father-and-son duo of John and Jeff Thompson built one as a side project. Next came a ski-bike—essentially a bike frame with a single ski replacing each tire. Then, with John’s eldest son Jonathan joining the fledgling manufacturing team, the Thompsons’ set out to build their first set of skis.
At first, the going was admittedly tough: “There wasn’t a lot of information about building skis at the time, and we really relied on trial and error to improve our designs,” says John, who previously worked as a carpenter. What began as a family hobby eventually became a small business: the Thompsons’ initially sold their skis to friends and family around their South Lyon home through word of mouth. Yet as word spread about the Thompsons’ skis, demand for them increased, and the family relocated to Boyne City to establish Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis.
The company’s name deserves a quick explanation. As it turns out, John and his sons aren’t the first in the family to make skis: John’s great uncle, Shaggy, first built skis to explore the Upper Peninsula’s rugged, copper-filled mountains. The name, then, pays homage to their family’s deep roots in ski building industry.
Unlike mass-produced skis, which are lucky to land in a pair of hands during the production process, the Thompson family handcrafts their skis, with each pair requiring about eight hours of meticulous hand labor to complete. Their line of skis features designs for all types of conditions, terrains and skiing styles, from do-it-all models like the Tubby or Fanny Hooe, to the powder-slaying Purder Two. One facet that places Shaggy’s above the competition is their generally wider designs: “Increasing the width gives the skis a lot more stability. Our skis are still parabolic—allowing them to turn well—but more width means a smoother, steadier ride. We’re just waiting for the big companies to follow suit,” says John Thompson.
Shaggy’s has shipped their skis to both the East and West Coasts, but some of their most reliable customers are Michiganders who have moved out west. “Transplants will come back to Northern Michigan and take a set of our skis home with them. They love the idea of having a pair of handcrafted skis from their home state that can perform well on big mountains. Not many people have an emotional attachment to their skis, but ours remind their riders of their homes and families in Northern Michigan,” says John Thompson.
Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis is based in Boyne City, and is a featured retailer at ShopMyNorth.
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