“The only thing unchanging is change itself.” Greek philosopher Heraclitus scribbled that adage more than two thousand years ago. He was right.
Here at WildSnow.com we have always been about change: rolling with the vagaries of internet publishing; website modifications; covering fast-paced changes in ski-touring gear and style. One turn changing to the next. No end to the two-plank fun.
And now, we are changing our business structure.
Don’t panic. I’ll still be contributing, writing, drinking espresso with European binding inventors and believing every word they say. More, we’ll continue with our esteemed cadre of guest bloggers, and introduce more.
But rather than me being the sole proprietor, we’ve got new blood.
Over the past two years you probably noticed the “Sponsored by our Publishing Partner Cripple Creek Backcountry” banner leading many blog posts. Those resulted from an advertising deal with Cripple Creek (CCB), my go-to guy on that being shop owner Doug Stenclik.
Over the years Doug continued to contribute as a WildSnow blogger. And his ability to talk for, in his words, “hours at a time,” led him to start the popular “Totally Deep” podcast, which will now live under the WildSnow tent.
Along with our business relationship, Doug and I became friends — skiing together, banging on our guitars like 14-year-olds, joking about the ski industry. We also talked incessantly about internet publishing, and the possibilities of Doug becoming involved in the blogosphere beyond producing his store website.
I came to realize Doug was the perfect guy for Wildsnow (though I’m not sure I’ll relinquish my “His Blogness” imprinted climbing skins and water-bottle stickers — that’ll be up to you, dear readers.)
So today I’m here to tell you that Doug and I are now partners in the WildSnow publishing effort. Doug, as an independent publishing company, will gradually take over majority ownership of the site, in continued partnership with me.
Moreover, let me introduce Manasseh Franklin as our editor-in-chief. “M” moved to Aspen in 2008 where her passion for skiing and the backcountry were born and “let to blossom.” With her ski education taken care of, she headed to the University of Wyoming to hone another craft: nonfiction writing. But Colorado kept calling. Now with her MFA in hand and several years of teaching college-level writing under her belt, Manasseh is back and WildSnow is ready for her literary expertise. (Manasseh did a blog post for us a while back, enjoy it here . I’m looking forward to many more.)
PLEASE NOTE: While Doug owns Cripple Creek Backcountry, CCB has no direct association with WildSnow other than Doug. I’m in partnership with Doug, not with CCB. Sure, you’ll see continued advertising from CCB, and sales links, but this will NOT be a corporate website all puffed up with its own importance (not that those are bad; they are what they are). Instead, “The Ski Touring Website” will continue as little ol’ WildSnow.com, independent, bringing you the timeless opinion, humor, tech, lifestyle and travel writing you have come to expect, only in greater quantity, and enhanced by other fabulous content we’re working on.
I’ll let Doug and Manasseh detail our plans for the future (post coming soon). Meanwhile, a look back at where we came from. Our roots will continue to define us.
In 1995, The Federal Networking Council (FNC) unanimously passed a resolution defining the term Internet. Various digital communications existed before that, but 1995 was when we heard the birth cry of the digital neonate, the web child, who would grow to touch every part of our lives.
1998, August: Bill Clinton was president, the euro currency had just been created…ski touring was still a fringe sport… “Doing basic websites is easy,” my IT career brother Tom had told me in a phone conversation. “You should learn HTML and make them yourself.”
I thus made part of my living in website development, beginning with work on a magazine site in partnership with Tom. At one time I had a stable of thirty clients — everything from a bluegrass band to a realtor. But my first love was in creating content, not managing someone else’s.
So In August 1998 I registered the domain name WildSnow.com and with Tom’s help built my very own website. Thus ensued what our family would eventually call the “wild snow ride.” Like a Kentucky hay ride. Only different.
Unlike writing for paper publication, which I’d always found frustrating, I took to website content production like I was born for it. The fluidity and immediacy appealed to my go-for-it style. I could scribble something in the moment, go public, and do a “ghost edit” later.
And I was my own boss. If I got readers, my fault. If I bombed, my fault. All up-front and obvious in seconds. Contrasting to book and printed magazine work that took months to publish, sometimes with no reader feedback other than a couple of letters or a phone call. If that.
Around 2004, chronological web journaling became known as the “blog” (short for weblog). Tom had seen me publishing a sporadic series of website ski touring articles. I knew my subject, had plenty to say, and could pump out the prose like a fire hydrant.
“Lou, try blogging,” Tom said during another phone call. “Just code an HTML page for each post, with an updated index and a smattering of navigation hyperlinks — it’s the next great thing.”
I jumped on it. Hand coding a blog was hard, but the resulting web pages brought a significant amount of attention and traffic. Thus sponsors. I’m forever grateful to K2 as a our premier sponsor, BCA soon after.
Around 2004 I converted to the now-ubiquitous content management system known as WordPress. Our cash advertisers were now making me as reasonable a living as any trade writer could expect.
Fast forward to this late summer of 2019, two decades after I began publishing WildSnow. With the help of my family and a group of talented guest bloggers, we’ve published more than 4,000 pages of ski touring related gear, opinion, recipes, jokes and so much more.
Along with that, our readers have contributed more than 80,000 comments — the majority being on-topic, amusing, and useful. Thinking of it all makes my brain sizzle. I’m forever grateful to all of you.
If anything is ever-changing, it is snow and ski touring gear. Now, with the added energy of Doug, Manasseh, and their network, we can stay on top of of that like never before. We are taking WildSnow to yet another level.
Heraclitus isn’t known for smiles, but we did get a flicker of a grin when he found out about our changes. Stick around and enjoy the fun.
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.