Not a day goes by that I don’t think of the thousands of readers who are checking this page out, and whether what we’re publishing about backcountry skiing is worth your time.
Thus, thanks for the nice phone call yesterday from a longtime friend and WildSnow supporter. Actually, a couple of phone calls, from a couple of readers.
Points of yesterday’s conversations involved the issue of blog style and voice. I’ve been told over and over again that what people like about WildSnow is that we stay true to core backcountry skiing, but without as much of the chest pounding bluster (and sometimes overt negativity) you’ll find in other venues. Readers say we touch the spirit of the sport, but in a unique way since we have such a depth of experience and industry connections. At the same time, they point out we’re always dancing on the edge of a cornice as we mix a pinch of humility with a dose self confidence — the ingredients that hopefully produce good writing but can easily segue to boorish junk.
Not that we’re against good natured bragging now and then, and I can’t say any of our writing is as good as it could be. But as an editor and writer I do put in as much time as physically possible to refine our word. To that end, along with trying to improve our basic craft I make it a mission to look for the humanity in the greater sphere covered by the subject of “backcountry skiing.” That means looking for deeper sharing in our trip reports. It also means reporting on the triumphs of technology in our gear reviews, as well as its failings.
To that end, I had an epiphany yesterday that was instigated by my friend’s voices on my phone. I have no doubt that WildSnow.com reached another level in the blogosphere with epic publishing sessions such as our coverage of the Salomon Quest tech fittings debacle and our WildSnow Denali field blogging. An obvious increase in readership bears this out. All well and good. Fun even. But, in my view, along with another level of content and readership numbers does come some responsibility on the part of the blogger (be he the editor or writer).
So, what came to me so strong was that we do need to watch what we publish. Every day. Every minute we are editing and writing. We need to keep that mix of self confidence and humility, pride and youthful exuberance, technology worship and cynicism, humor and serious.
Writer Simon Dumenco said this about blogging “There is no such thing as a blogger. Blogging is just writing — writing using a particularly efficient type of publishing technology.”
I’d add that yeah, blogging is just writing. But, it’s also writing that involves the voices of readers in the form of comments. In that, we have hit the ball out of the park and I thank all of you for the amazing contributions and feedback you keep shooting this way. Comments, phone calls, talks on the street — all that keeps me striving to improve what we’re doing here. Thanks for the help.
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.