The print mags keep gliding into WildSnow HQ.
Ski Journal is now a WildSnow supporter (see ad to left). We’d have blogged their pub anyhow but good to quid pro quo, since they deserve it.
“SJ” is on year two, issue three. I’m certain it’s not easy putting out an arty, less advertisement laden magazine. So far, the SJ crew has risen to the challenge and this issue witnesses that. The book is beefy. Six features and eleven departments, along with dozens of full page and double page photo spreads. As a techie, I love the article about Hub Zemke engineering the first honeycomb core skis thirty years ago. Zemke was involved in a true grass roots effort not unlike that behind some of the hipper skis you can get presently.
The honeycomb proto ski factory was operated in the early 1970s by Zemke in Mammoth, where he “never made more than 5-6 pairs of skis a month…” That is until he made a race ski and gave it to Perry Thompson, who entered the National Championships and raced out of 72nd position to first in the slalom — totally acing the U.S. and Canadian teams. After that, things changed.
I won’t give away the rest of the story, besides sharing that production was ramped to 126,000 pairs of planks a year. Check it out, as well as features about film makers, skiing Greenland, and a girl named Linsey Dyer who’s said to have a pretty face and leap huge cliffs.
Next up, Skiing Heritage.
I love getting this publication and savoring every page. This month did not disappoint. Highlight is an incredible look back at the roots of ski testing. Article author John Fry was a chief at Ski Magazine from 1964 to 1980, while author Doug Pfeiffer was chief at competitor Skiing Magazine from 1965 to 1976.
The two men were there when magazine style ski testing was first conceived and birthed. If you’ve ever been on the inside, or just imagined such, you’ll find yourself nodding your head as you read. Review only stuff the testers like, to avoid being crucified by advertisers? Check. Question validity of ski testing because different skis work better for different styles? Check. Test prototypes rather then production product, yet imply you’re testing the same skis people will buy? Check. And so on.
I love this gem from Fry:
“…The ski magazines were reluctant to condemn products manufactured by the magazine’s major advertisers. Their tests rather resembled the stock evaluations done by investment banks, whose analysts must consider what a negative rating may do to a company’s business. As for the ski companies, the test reports were a mixed blessing. They exulted at the chance to use an approving quote…On the other hand, they squealed like stuck pigs if a magazine gave the slightest indications that a ski was anything less than superb.”
Indeed, I’ve hard a few of those squeals, some rather loud.
All amazing stuff that stokes the furnace for a big winter. WildSnow four thumbs up.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.