things we've learned

A portfolio of work 

Professional Photography by: 
Christian Pondella Mammoth Lakes, CA   -  Will Saunders Salt lake city, UT    -   Rebecca Garrett Mammoth Lakes, CA   -  Teafly Bend, OR   -   Carol Sternkopf Bend, OR   -   Tim Green Bend, OR

The act of making requires curiosity, due diligence and a respect for communication.

(Michael Lish routing ski cores, Community Skis trailer)

In a well designed environment, comfort can be a great asset.

(Kristin Broumas on ski wet lay deck, Community Skis trailer)

food tastes best when eaten outside with friends

(Dinner under the stars in Tumalo, OR)

Asking a question is so important, but encouraging others to ask questions, be curious, explore, is just as important.

(Michael with interns in the trouble shooting phase)

The eye of a good photographer gives us perspective. Perspective gives depth.

(Overview of 5x15 highschool manufacturing platform)

The thought process, picking up the tools, building something you're already falling in love with.

(Father & Son Build Your Own Skis Workshop)

Moving through town & country, forest & field. Art and manufacturing with a view.

(Community Skis mobile ski manufacturing live/work trailer, Bend, OR, photoshoot)

We found in doing interesting things, others get interested too.

(Kristin working with students, Bend High School)

environments for dining can be wide open

(A restaurant unlike others, House in the Fields)

The shop was built with a lot of glass. You can see in from all the work spaces and you can see out from all the work spaces. When people came through the front door, it was important they felt comfortable and welcome. It was a factory, a live/work space but what made it feel accessible was the contribution made by artists and their art.

(Community Skis brick and mortar shop, Mammoth Lakes, CA)

a cooking class birthday party for 6 best friends

The majority of this wall utilized reclaimed material. We needed the trailer to be interesting. We wanted the students to take ownership, not of something common but of something unique. The impact from moving outside to inside, the students stop being students and start to become individuals, ready to learn.

(Centennial School District, mobile ski & snowboard manufacturing lab)

Freedom is real. Sometimes you’ve got to work for it. Sometimes you’ve got to drive off the given path.

(Michael Lish working with a view of Mono Lake from the auxiliary ski building station for the 333 Skis trailer)

The original 333 ski trailer was made from 90% reclaimed material leftover from a massive job site in the Owens Valley. The wall opened up enabling us to give presentations to young people in regards to applied math, engineering and small business.

(Eastside Magazine photoshoot, Kristin Broumas and Michael Lish working in the 333 Ski Trailer outside Death Valley, CA)

How important it is to listen. It allows the person speaking time to think, stumble, find clarity, make a beautiful point.

(Michael listening to high school students)

The right lower corner is an unusual box with round cut outs. On top is a glass table to see inside. inside we dumped 40lbs of sand and ordered 30 hermit crabs from Florida. We were hoping that when parents brought their young children in, the children would sit on the floor and look at the hermit crabs. This would give us a comfortable time to discuss ski design and sales with the parents. This is not what happened. The parents sat down, looked through the holes and were so excited about the hermit crabs while their kids roamed all over the shop. 

(Community Skis Shop, the crabitat, Mammoth Lakes, CA)

This unusual entrance following the motif of a draw bridge, gives people pause before entering. It's almost as if their minds are being recalibrated. When a student welcomes them in, their eyes open wide.

(Centennial School District, mobile ski and snowboard manufacturing lab)

One of the things we learned through teaching; it's so much better when you're happy.

(Kristin teaching high school student/intern)

We had a lot of events at our brick and mortar Location. They provided some of the happiest times of our lives.

(Community Skis Shop, Mammoth Lakes, CA)

Yes, surely, location, location, location.

(Community Skis trailer redesigned and rebuilt into House in the Fields Restaurant)

You can learn to belong to a place and/or you can learn to create a place.

(Kristin, Blue and office work)

House in the Fields is redefining what a restaurant can be. not concerned so much with numbers of clients and turnover, but simply focused on one table, one group of people and an amazing meal.

These young people are part of America's future and for that matter the world's future. We have a lot to look forward to. We should give them every opportunity. 

(Student trim cuts ski while classmates take note of their work, Carbondale, CO.)

 a great personality, a clear understanding of the subject matter and the ability to engage one-on-one as well as in a group allows young minds to engage to the point where they are enthusiastic about learning.

(Kristin working with middle school students on how to design their ski graphics, Philadelphia, Centennial School District)

Working in a manufacturing environment with middle school students, often times with smaller hands, shorter, but no less smarter, no less eager to do good work, just as focused and just as willing to make a contribution to the greater good.

(Michael working with middle school student cutting her first ski core, Centennial School District)

The commercial kitchen, with all of it trappings has a certain level of benefit. The kitchen at "House in the fields,” has taken a different approach.

(View into kitchen during prep)

The mind travels differently when the hand grasps a tool. The feed rates, tension, pressure, the cut itself. the mind begins to open up to possibility.

(Michael Lish trim cutting client skis, photoshoot, Basin Range clothing company)

A pencil, a ruler, focus, concentration. when a human being becomes present in the work the community benefits.

(Michael and interns design/build 5x15 manufacturing platforms for high schools)


There are big things and there are big ideas.

(On location, Fort Rock, OR, photoshoot)

Architecture at its best inspires great conversation. Design at its best inspires great work. 

(Photoshoot highlighting build your own skis workshop full experience. Kristin, dinner prep)

If one is fortunate, hard work continues throughout life. The benefits of hard work can lead to many places.

(Dinner time, Build Your Own Ski Workshop)

American youth given the opportunity will make us proud.

(Intern, Cascades Academy)

So much of our world is material. for better or for worse there's a price to be paid. but taking the time to arrange the material world to reflect inner values helps us achieve something closer to balance.

(Blue waking up from nap)

We’ve laid a path in a field, how the next generation continues the path will be the next story.

(Blue posing for photoshoot)

A lot of people love to ski. It's a passion. There are also a lot of people who would love to build their own skis. It's an adventure. 

(Kristin, wet lay deck with client in a Build Your Own Skis Workshop)

we tried to make the process look good. It makes us work harder and feel better about our work.

(Teaching seminar, final finish process)

Manufacturing, fluorescent lighting, depressed wages, off shore resettlement to procure ever lower wages, and now robotics. What will we do with our hands, how to build those connections in our brains that rely on creativity to be established? how will we educate our children without the manual arts and art in general? Yes, there are apps, big data, college degrees- all heavy leaning on the left side of the brain. a great community is built with a balance, and learning the power of the balanced human both in work, learning, and teaching is our aim.

(333 Ski Trailer, Build Your Own Skis Workshop, Mammoth Lakes, CA)

The beauty of the 333 manufacturing trailer was its visceral nature. its whimsy. its request, "please be curious". its proclamation, "working with your hands and mind, together, is beautiful".

(333 Ski Trailer, chair 2 parking lot Mammoth Mt. with curious skiers on board)

The mind can be mysterious. who knows when great ideas come. Who knows where you will find the strength to keep moving forward. but you must give the mind opportunities to find these things.

(Kristin’s sleeping quarters on board mobile factory)

The act of knowledge transfer requires you take a step back and let the person fly.

(Michael Lish with intern on first run)

Teach somebody to explore the world of details (the simple things that accumulate to make something beautiful).

(Michael watching work flow)

It's here we realize how small we are, how important big ideas are.

(On location, eastern Oregon)

Most people when given the opportunity to travel off the path set before them will be tepid, unsure, possibly recoil. But given an opportunity which beckons, pulls from them latent desires reaching back to childhood, just simply to climb up on top of something, can be the first step.

(Looking for cell signal, 333 Trailer, base of Eastern Sierras)

The idea of teaching very young people to build composites or the parts that go into a high performance ski was not intuitive. But as we took the first small steps, we were delighted to learn they cared, they wanted to learn, and they were willing to take chances.

(Elementary school students working during summer program, Community Skis, Mammoth Lakes, CA)

When art is not relegated to the background, but becomes the foreground, the richness of space is often reflected in a person's sense of self, and a sense of happiness.

(Community Skis brick and mortar location Mammoth Lakes, CA, Lead singer- Andrew Webber Blues Band)

The arts, having great spaces to flourish, bring a great deal to the community.

(Student, Bend Senior High School, guitar made by his own hand)

The tone set in a learning environment is often reflected in the movements, gestures and tone of the teacher. when done well, one both learns and begins to imagine at the same time. 

(Colorado Academy Build Your Own Skis Seminar, Golden, CO)

Paying attention to light. It's a blessing.

(On location, eastern Oregon, photoshoot)

As we settle to enjoy a part of the week or month, it's nice to be in a space where one is inspired to take a deep breath.

(Hor d'oeuvres, House in the Fields)

michael built Community Skis by hand, weld by weld, cut by cut, to encourage our community to share their lives and aspirations within our space. Some events were only a few strong, some were so packed it was shoulder to shoulder and back to back.

(Jeffrey James and the Wanted Gang, Community Skis, Mammoth Lakes)

For all we try to give, we are more often taken aback by what we receive.

(Community Skis sponsored summer camp )

Rethinking the restaurant, the restorative nature, the benevolence of time slowed, and rich conversation that can take place at the dinner table.

(Bar view from House in the Fields )

Welcoming young women into the manufacturing environment has far reaching benefits both in the tone of the environment and influence on what will be built.

(Elementary school students working during summer program, Community Skis,Mammoth Lakes)

We put this huge window in. We wanted the students to feel like rock stars because in a sense they are. They are being given an opportunity to rock this world. We just wanted them to be seen.

(High school manufacturing project, Philadelphia, Centennial School District)

We are never sure how much a young person gets out of the workshop. we are only part of their lives for a short period of time, but we can tell you what they put into the workshop- their best effort and it shows beautifully.

(Colorado Academy students admiring their work, Golden, CO)

At “House in the Fields” the desire to reflect, make a truly beautiful meal, one that aspires to touch the soul is paramount.

Asking people to pay attention has made it incumbent for both Kristin and me to make sure what we say is worthy of their attention.

(Colorado Rocky Mt School receiving instruction set)

their eyes, hands and emotions engaged, we can only wonder at what they'll create.

(Colorado Rocky Mt. School, last photo from weeklong Build Your Own Skis seminar)

The little finger glides along the T5, 5052 1/4 hardened aluminum sheet, guiding the thumb and forefinger as a droplet of adhesive is deposited on each flange.

(Ski assembly, Mammoth Lakes)

students drew a pathway on veneer, then we placed a high speed router on a sheet of Lexan. Then they routed along the pathway to produce the first part of their composite.

(Summer art and science program, Mammoth Lakes, CA)

All great things have one thing in common, at one point they inspire great conversations.

(Opening night, House in the Fields, Bend, OR)

Manufacturing is cool.

(Building skis next to the Deschutes River, OR)

As the human endeavor seems to become more and more specialized, it is not so much the act of forfeiture to the cause, a political side held with vehemence, and uneducation for the sake of anything but education; workmanship, collaboration, community must somehow prevail.

(Building skis in Bend, OR)

When lifestyle become choice, and choices demand hard work, we build better communities.

(Factory transport)

Who knows how to make something beautiful. Those who are given the time to learn.

(Dinner service, Build Your Own Skis Workshop, Wyoming)

Manufacturing out in the field with natural light and early morning coffee is an exciting way to start a day.

Working is a state of mind. The manufacture of full custom skis is a state of art. Competing in world markets is an exercise in artful thinking.

(Resin tube, Community Skis Shop, Mammoth Lakes, CA)

When creating the skeleton, the sinew, the super structure, how the human will interact within the space must be held in high regard.

(Build out, Mammoth Lakes, Community Skis Shop designed and fabricated by Michael Lish)

An endeavor that requires a person to dream, think critically, design passionately, communicate clearly, get up early and breath the air of midnight, often boarders on failure.

(Build out, Mammoth Lakes, Community Skis Shop designed and fabricated by Michael Lish)

It's a wonder, hundreds of individual steps, at this point I was working by myself. I off loaded the steel with a fork lift and brought it into the building, used a 14” cold saw to make every cut, a small Miller 130 welder for the initial welds, calculated all the loads, submitted the plans for engineering approval, lifted the steel decks for the second floor with a high lift jack. Then I removed the roll up door and built these widow frames that pivoted mid point on the vertical access. Then trades people freaked out and offered their free time to make a contribution to the vision.

Certain things reveal a person's character far greater than a resume. The care one takes in their approach to work is one of them.

Fabrication is angles, sweat, pain, use of tools, the smell of cutting lubricants, heat, and when it's done, a mark is made.

(Building out Community Skis brick and mortar shop Mammoth Lakes)

A factory Kristin and I built in Golden, Co in Collaboration with Chris Curton, Owner, for full custom skis. This is our first foray into a unique business model we created for a local regional ski manufacturing facility. We integrated a high degree of reclaimed material, our proprietary tooling and the most important thing; a chalk board table for the owner's daughter to do her homework in the company of her father while he works.

(Simpatico Ski Shop, Golden, Colorado)

It’s hard to estimate, actually very easy to under estimate, the joy we take in learning something. It's what we do best as humans when given the opportunity.

(Build Your Own Ski Workshop, Idaho)

Ask 5 cool kids to put on trash bags, maybe not so easy. Ask 5 kids to put on protective gear so they can get to work on something they care about, a little less hard.

(Colorado Academy Build Your Own Skis seminar, Golden, CO)

The least important part of knowledge transfer is talking, but still it's important; we try to do it as well as we can.

(New installation of 5 x15 ski building platform)

As young people are educated and as they grow older- when they are older and they remember when they were younger- a few things will stand out. It's possible in many cases, what will stand out is Blue.

(Blue organizing photoshoot for Colorado Academy Workshop)

actually this an unbelievable picture. We created a factory that is precise, fast and capable of producing full custom skis with low energy consumption. all of which allows for a father and his daughter to work together, side-by-side after she finishes her homework.

(Simpatico Ski Factory designed and build by Michael/Kristin in collaboration with shop owner, Chris Curton, Golden, CO)

Our work is primarily in the material world. We measure, we cut, we install. Often it's a long day, but it's a good day.

(Kristin upgrading insulation on House in the Fields restaurant)

a conversation, a date set, invites go out. Not a bad way to enjoy the tail end of summer with good friends and good food.

(Dinner party, Shevlin Park, Bend, OR)

Where does great food come from? Probably and most likely from someone who cares to make it.

(Large event, dinner prep, Bend, OR)

Often times I take on an intern or apprentice to teach them things to help them grow in life. When this isn’t the case I work solo. In either case the outcome is different. but in both cases, beautiful things happen.

(Inside fabrication space, Bend, OR)

We tried to count the steps once- it was actually impossible. Then we tried to count all the decisions required- it was unfathomable. After all that we just got back to work and got the job done.

(Inside fabrication space, Bend, OR)

It’s like a star. The north star.

(Michael fabricating custom trailer for public school district in Philadelphia)

Details can add so much to a space. they tie one aspect together with another element. Choosing them can be difficult, but once acquired, these details have a tremendous impact within a space.

(Kristin stenciling ceiling panels for primary design section of manufacturing trailer, Philadelphia)

House in the Fields, primary dining area before dinner is served, allows for guests to feel comfortable and engage in conversation. 

out in the field amongst trees, a small pond, a scattering of lights; a great place for a restaurant .

(House in the Fields, opening night, Bend, OR)

Fabrication, design, food and community.

(Client becomes best friend and cooks amazing Indian meals at Community Skis shop, Mammoth Lakes)

Most of what we do is one step at a time. These treads were made from a reclaimed bar- designed by Ian, chef and restauranteur of Skadi, Mammoth Lakes, CA

Intern learning to use a 252 plasma cutter to straight cut structural steel for the community skis trailer. It's a rush, plasma is intense, pulling that trigger.

Michael Running the primary panel with switching capabilities between off-grid and on-grid power supply. Service is to support all systems related to the factory structure and manufacturing platform.

This was a simple gesture, that in our greatest hopes would create a fond memory of a birthday.

(House in the Fields, private dinner event)

Blue’s in a lot of pictures, but when you meet Blue for the first time, or the second time or even the third time, it's pretty clear, she's pretty special.

(Kristin plating up 4th course for dinner event, House in the Fields)

This was the second time people gathered to experience House in the Fields. My instinct is to ask what they thought about their experience. I didn’t. By this course, the 4th course, some of the people took pause, looked at their plate and for a moment the conversation quieted and then people began to eat. As a chef I understand there is possibly better food to be had, but a great restaurant experience which certainly includes very good food, comes down to a restoration of the soul.

We acquired this 13” sewer pipe at Redmond's "Restore". They make great air vents. adding circles to a linear space seems to allow the mind to be a little freer.

(Building out design space for high school custom ski manufacturing platform, Philadelphia)

Our primary philosophy is that the people who are learning from us will gain confidence to then teach the next person. It's not as simple as step 1, step 2, step 3. There's a great deal of work to create the information and process in the first place. then to be able to articulate it clearly so that it can be absorbed clearly and then taught clearly is the task at hand. But the value of knowledge transfer is immense. It's the basis of humanity.

(Michael training teachers and students in their new trailer, on site, Philadelphia)

This young man sanded meticulously for 5 mins. He found a rhythm, a flow. there is a contentment in his work. he found something that he really loves to do. in the scheme of manufacturing, this process takes about 50 seconds and yet he took 5 mins. this addition, 4 mins and 10 seconds, is a value beyond belief, it has no measure.


A different day, a different crew, different trash bags. We didn’t have enough aprons for all the students who participated. one of the students quickly came up with the idea of donning trash bags.

(Colorado Rocky Mt. School students, ski building interim week)

When you're there at that moment, and you can tell she is thinking about everything you’ve explained, you can see her adjusting, moving and trying to route the core. You're really trying to let all that happen and not be intrusive. You're encouraging with the least amount of intervention. 

The tracks leading to the trailer, lower left quadrant of the pic, were made by those cheap plastic sleds you buy at Rite Aid. We took some time off from the work day to enjoy the sun and snow to slide down a powdery hill.

(333 Ski Trailer off-grid and outback for the winter, Eastern Sierra's)

I wouldn’t say maintenance is a bitch. What I would say is having a tire fall off at 60mph is terrifying, so better do the maintenance.

(Michael in a parking lot, somewhere in Wyoming)

Idaho. Dirt road, big skies and a little bit of time to relax.

(Magic Reservoir, Idaho)

When I first heard the word eceletic, I thought it was a great word. I rarely use it but it has a great influence on material selection. Ramen noodles, home grown sprouts, glass of Pinot.

(Dinner served, Utah)

Working a lot doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

(Work while Blue relaxes, East-side, Bend)

There's salesmanship, there’s sales and there are salesmen. Salesmanship is a beautiful art. It is really about giving people the information they need to make the best decisions.

(Michael Lish, Chair 2 Mammoth Mountain, 333 Ski trailer, Powder Magazine photoshoot)

When we put the glass over the gooseneck I was really concerned it would look too unusual, abstract, wrong. As it turned out, it created a beautiful space, unusual, abstract but right.

 (Michael building Community Skis trailer)

The brick and mortar component of Community Skis, Mammoth Lakes, was built primarily from reclaimed materials. Glass from the dump, decking material discarded and recut, cable laying in a heap.

It had never been done, building skis off-grid. It had never been done, building full custom skis. It had never been done, building off-grid, full custom skis in a trailer built with reclaimed material.

(Michael Lish, Chair 2 photoshoot for Powder Magazine article, 2008)

 Tailoring flex patterns to client is key. The tooling package we have created for precision tapers is so accurate but it all started at zero, we knew nothing. Now we possess a body of knowledge which we continue to transfer to a next generation of full custom ski builders, primarily through high school programs.

(Michael Lish, 333 trailer circa 2009)

When manufacturing in the 333 trailer, we trekked in material, food and fuel. We trekked out finished product to be shipped around the world. we did this for over 4 years out in the field. 365 days a year. This picture was taken in a caldera after a 3 mile trek pulling the materials with a sled on a beautiful sunny day, well below freezing.

(Kristin Broumas, Deer Ridge, Base of Eastern Sierra's)

For nearly 4 years, we built skis in a Caldera outside of the town of Mammoth Lakes. We lived and worked in the 333 trailer on BLM land. This order was placed from Switzerland, a mid fat for the Swiss Alps.

(Hot Creek, Mono County, CA)

The client marked a favorite backcountry route and gave us the maps to inlay with a straight grain veneer.

(Photoshoot near Mono Lake, CA)

Fishing and skiing were the two passions of our client. We were building skis next to this river and the idea occurred to us to let the snow melt christen the skis.

(Photoshoot, Tioga Pass, CA)

An architect designed a bar counter with 1/4" plate steel with a 2” bull nose. It was ripped out. By this time the fabrication process of community skis, mammoth, the whole town was sending over materials for me to work with. I cut the bar counter to make treads for our cantilevered stair case.

Unlike things that have been given to you, bought, handed down, acquired, found, little compares to something you made yourself.

(Happy students, Colorado Rocky Mt. School)

This is how you acquire a body of knowledge that means something, that's worth passing on. you have to do the work step-by-step.

(Michael building Simpatico Ski Factory, Golden, CO)

The eye watches the hand. This creates a great state of mind.

(Michael working, Community Skis shop, Mammoth Lakes, CA)

Events, architecture and art- it all makes for great conversation.

(Art Opening event, Community Skis shop, Mammoth Lakes, CA)

A soldier returns from Vietnam in 1969. While in service for the united states, fighting in a foreign country, he was tasked with the unique responsibility- he was ordered to draw what he saw in combat, in the countryside, his comrades and the war itself. Decades later, when his art gets released from the government archives, he presented these works to the community of Mammoth at our shop. This is the first event which encompassed a lecture series which included senior members from the plank institute in germany, lead engineer for DARPA, JPL/nasa, grammy winner composer and every single candidate running for office in mono county and the incorporated town of mammoth lakes.

(Community Skis Shop, Mammoth Lakes, CA)

Typically manufacturing is at the end of a road, Very little natural light, depressed wages and an unsure future. We rethought the whole paradigm. rather than make manufacturing separate from innovation, management, nature and supply chain, we tried to find a balance and reconnect the human spirit with the act of manufacturing.

(Building skis, Salt Lake City, UT)

opportunity beckons.

(Community Skis trailer tucked into a beautiful spot near the Deschutes River, Bend, OR)

Community is bold, it's big. It holds tremendous potential. If fed and encouraged it will exceed the sum of its parts.

(Michael, Portland, OR)

333 redefined how skis are built and introduced for the first time full custom. We also changed where skis are built, but most importantly why skis are built. It's a big concept, all of it.

(Kristin building skis, Jackson Hole, WY)

We rethought how ski graphics can be designed. working with each client can produce stunning results.

This is our first 5 mins with the students. We can only hope it's going well.

(Michael explaining ski design to students, Colorado Rocky Mt School, Carbondale, CO)

Kristin is familiar with every aspect of the manufacturing process. She’s been responsible for designing the majority of our clients skis as well as the second phase- wet lay where the ski is built and pressed. The accomplishment is unprecedented. the wealth of knowledge gained is beautifully transferred through our projects at Community Fabrication.

(Kristin working in 333 Skis Trailer circa 2009, Owens Valley, CA)

Clinic was a favorite. I’d take 5 runs with a client skier. This had nothing to do with if they had a set of our skis or if they were interested in buying a set of our skis. They just had to contact me and I’d take 5 runs with them.  I didn’t have an appreciation for how people were being taught to ski so I found a different way, clinic, it was fun, it made a big difference in a lot of skiers' lives.

(Michael Lish, Mammoth Mountain with ski clinic student)

Kristin’s ability to take images and concept through the proofing process where clients are able to request changes and make additions is unprecedented. She’s designed thousands of skis, each one for the individual client. Each one reflecting the personality or aspirations of that client.

The tubes that extend on the left section of the picture are full of resin for building skis. As a young person I went on a school field trip to the natural history museum. i saw this massive whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling so I tried to create that look. You can see the wooden suspension fixtures kind of like part of a spine.

(Community Skis Shop, Mammoth Lakes, CA)

Thanks for taking the time.

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