Ski Blog... Been doing this since 2005!

November 20, 2009

Latest Ski Journal is Out

Good stuff as always. The latest Ski Journal just arrived and it is awesome as always. Perfect for the coffee table.

Check the site out:

Mt. Baker, WA – With winter hammering down full force, and our local mountain opening up tomorrow, The Ski Journal's latest edition is hitting homes at the perfect time. The Ski Journal #3.3 features another great line up of timeless stories, new heroes and stunning photos, including: a Wayne Wong interview – arguably the world's most influential freestyler on Sun Valley in the '60s, skiing with Jean Claude Killy, Pepsi ads, being inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and a lifetime of charity work for cystic fibrosis; A journey to Antarctica involving broken boats, 30-foot swells, sublime descents and penguin sex; a photo retrospective by veteran Wasatch shooter Lee Cohen featuring a 1970 Buick Le Sabre, $100 passes and two very, very stoked young men; and a profile of JP Auclair, one of the patron saints of the modern freestyle movement on going from Quebec to AK, being harassed in the pipe by snowboarders, and his non-profit work in Kenya. Also: Vermont backcountry touring, a Christian Pondella photo gallery, and becoming a certified Canadian Ski Guide. This issue continues the tradition of quality TSKJ has established, and is on newstands and shipping to subscribers now.

My black TSJ t-shirt is probably the favorite in my closet, but it is now the shadowy black color complete with the start of the the body salt pit stains from total overwearage. I had a Ski Journal sticker on my old work laptop.

If you ski, you must subscribe.

Posted by Justin at 12:39 PM

September 22, 2008

New Issue of the Ski Journal

From the Ski Journal website:

Where should we start? In 1950s Communist Poland, you say? Okay! Contributor Majka Burhardt pokes fun at her father, who grew up skiing the Soviet-occupied Karkonosze mountains in eastern Europe, for making her wear bad pants as a child on the slopes of Buck Hill, Minnesota 30 years ago (she's still recovering). Take our word for it: if you see an older guy skiing down the mountain with pink flagging tape strapped to his backpack, get out of the way.

From there we venture to the batting cages and handrails of modern Salt Lake City, where photographer Erik Seo sets up shop to capture some of the most amazing urban skiing imagery you'll ever see. His work decorates this issue's Gallerie. Multi-talented freeskier Lynsey Dyer is the subject of an extended feature that showcases her considerable artistic side. Ever wanted to go heli-skiing in Greenland? Via words and pretty pictures, we'll take you there. As well as back in time to circa 1975 when Hexcel Skis were the sticks to own. Inventor Hub Zemke fondly recalls the good ol' days of honeycomb and pre-preg.

No issue is complete without a trip to Canada. Contributor Lisa Richardson checks in with Nelson, B.C.'s Bill and Dave Heath surrounding the filming of Bill's movie Nine Winters Old. Patagonia's Volcan Lanin makes a rare appearance (it's usually shrouded in clouds), and yes, you can surf and ski in the same day on Hawaii's Big Island. We have pictures to prove it.

Did I mention how much I love the Ski Journal? Gorgeous pics to get you ready for the season.

Posted by Justin at 11:34 AM | Comments (1)

February 28, 2007

Heli-skiing on Someone Else's Dime

First, props to The Ski Journal for having tons of eye candy and well written articles. Side benefit, it is not filled with 500 pages of ads by the major companies and resorts that seem to be in every other magazine.

So how do they pay the bills without $$$ from the folks that pimp themselves in every other publication? Subscribers. Wow, that is like a first for a magazine...

TSJ has a contest to get new subscribers:

Mt Baker, WA – The Ski Journal is pleased to announce a special spring event and contest exclusively for subscribers, The Golden Wicket. One lucky subscriber will be drawn for an amazing package, including:

-One day at Whistler Heli-Skiing with Line Pro Eric Pollard
-Two days of skiing at Whistler Blackcomb
-Three nights at the Adara Hotel - Whistler's only contemporary boutique hotel
-A pair of 07/08 Line Skis
-Winner will also appear in an upcoming TSKJ videopodcast.

The Ski Journal’s Golden Wicket winner will enjoy Whistler Blackcomb'smassive acreage, incredible terrain and all that Whistler Village has to offer. Plus a day with Whistler Heli Skiing giving you access to over 494,000 acres throughout the Whistler Backcountry. Subscribe by March 10, 2007 to be automatically entered.

So you get a magazine that way doesn't suck and you could win some skiing at Whistler that sucks even less. Pony up the money for a subscription. Unless you like subscribing to one of those other magazines that are nothing but ads and articles pimping the $85 a day resorts and $1,000 skis. And if you have money to buy the $1k skis and pay for an insanely expensive lift ticket, then you have the money to subscribe the TSJ anyway.

Posted by Justin at 02:17 PM | Comments (1)

February 19, 2007

Ski Journal is Out

The new edition of the Ski Journal just arrived.

My wife gets the new mag from the mailbox. “What kind of magazine is this? There are no articles. It is like all pictures.”

She apparently is looking for some Cosmo ski quiz on how to find your soul mate or what kind of sexual positions skiers like or whatever they print about Britney or Justin or Tom Cruise in the trash magazines she reads these days. It is rude to drive, talk on a cell phone, smack the kids, all while holding a latte—and try to read at the same time. I am waiting to get home the check it out.

“It is a coffee table magazine,” I explained, “and this is their first edition.” She continues thumbing through it trying to see what a coffee table ski magazine is supposed to look like. All she keeps saying is that the pictures are awesome.

Score one for mankind. Coffee tables used to be for setting down my bowl of Cap’n Crunch, resting my feet on, and for the Xbox controllers and TV remotes. I gotta figure out which one of the three to move, but the new Ski Journal is going on mine.

Posted by Justin at 01:53 AM | Comments (1)

January 23, 2007

New Magazine-The Ski Journal-Takes on Day Trip Resorts

The Ski Journal is a subscription financed venture that is not filled with the advertising 10 page glossies and pimping for the big resorts that seems to haunt the big publications. Call it a coffee table magazine filled with big pictures and stories that are not tainted by the need to please the big money advertisers.

This week's issue takes on four day trip areas including Jeremy's favorite, Bridger Bowl, Montana.

Condos, alpen-malls and lift-serviced snowshoe trails – resort development has overrun many of North America’s classic ski haunts. Here are four which strive to remain true to their local base while dealing with the challenges upgrading and competing. Featuring Bridger Bowl, MT Alpental, WA Powder Mountain, UT and Mad River Glen, VT.

I have to add Wolf Creek, Colorado to the list. In a recent article in Transworld Magazine, they stated the following:

If you call Colorado’s Wolf Creek Ski Area during business hours, you’ll actually get a live voice; call after 5:00 p.m, and you’ll be greeted by what sounds like an answering machine—there’s no automated voicemail system here. The venerable resort tallied around 216,000 skier visits in 2004/05—record-breaking numbers for Wolf Creek, but small potatoes compared to nearby heavyweights like Vail and its 1.5-million skier visits.

This grassroots appeal—along with an annual snowfall of 30 to 40 feet—is the very thing people love about Wolf Creek. Recently a proposed development in the middle of the resort has stirred a heated battle between resort operators, the Forest Service, Texas-based developers, the county, residents of several nearby towns, and a slew of environmental groups.

As proposed, the Village at Wolf Creek would include around 2,200 housing units—enough for up to 10,500 people—and 222,100 square feet of commercial space on 300 acres of land inside the Rio Grande National Forest. The land, acquired by Texas-based developer Red McCombs in a 1986 land swap with the Forest Service, is surrounded by acres of federal land, including the 1,600 acres that comprise Wolf Creek. The resort currently has no base-area town, and visitors head to nearby Pagosa Springs and South Fork—towns with a combined population of less than 1,000—to sleep, eat, and rent gear.

If you read my entries regularly, you will notice that I have several longstanding opinions:

  • Skiing and snowboarding are becoming increasingly exclusionary sports due to rising prices of gear, lift tickets, lodging, etc. This is making our sport the sport of the rich and super rich and pricing families out of the industry.
  • Mega-resorts that cater to big city affluent folks (read the Vails and Aspens of the world) dominate the landscape of the sport because of their tie ins with ski magazines, marketing outlets, and the big money folks that run the sport.
  • Small resorts are finding it increasingly difficult to expand or offer better terrain, snowmaking, etc., due to the economic disparity between the big resorts and small and due to the fact that most ski areas lose money on the skiing operational aspects of their business, but make money off of ancillary services such as Real Estate, Development, and Commercial businesses that cater to the affluent.
  • Housing, Wages, and Benefits for workers in the industry remain poor which further increases the gap between the wealthy folks that can afford to ski and the rest of the folks that have to work as waiters, lift operators, or hotel workers to get their season pass at the local resort.
  • When you drop $83 per day for a lift ticket and that is more than most of the employees at the resort make for that day ($9 per hour X 8 hours per day = $72), you have an industry that is priced beyond the reach of a growing number of consumers.
  • The economic forces that allow ski resorts to charge $83 are simple supply and demand. There are not enough resorts, enough runs, enough lift capacity, enough good terrain, or enough snow to support more than 60M skier visits per year and the big resorts already have their share of the affluent folks that everyone wants because they are the ones that fuel the bottom line. So the smaller day trip resorts without condos to sell, hotels to fill, shops to sell gear, and the other economic advantages of the majors, fight for the scraps of day trippers on a budget.

Ironically, the populist party lead by folks like Ted Kennedy, John Edwards, and John Kerry give their "Two Americas" speech over and over, yet they participate in a sport (see Michael Kennedy's death at Aspen in 1998 and John Kerry's snowboarding in 2004 prior to the election) that most of the people in that "other America" can not even dream of enjoying. Add in the fact that environmental groups move to block every single expansion of every single resort in an attempt to keep the world "pristine". With no expansion, resorts will continue to raise prices and the demanding and wealthy public will continue to pay it.

This is what two Americas is, my friends. One America where the rich have their own sports like polo, yachting, and increasingly skiing; another America where the rest of us save for months to afford to take day trips to places like Wolf Creek, Colorado, where we can afford to ski because they offer a no frills experience for under $50 per day. A sport where in order to snowboard, people have to steal gear since a new board and bindings run over $600. Wolf Creek, Alta, Bridger Bowl, A-Basin, Loveland, Brian Head, Arizona Snowbowl, among others, are the antidote to this world. All have lift tickets for around $50 or less. Most are no frills areas with minimal night lifes and minimal or affordable lodging.

I am not saying that we need to not allow them to ever expand because it will change their character, although some suggest just that sort of thing. I am suggesting that we indeed allow them to expand, but in measured and reasonable ways--things like adding snowmaking or installing new lifts or opening new terrain. We allow them to develop their areas, and even build reasonable base areas and condo developments. These condos and base areas help support the sport and keep these places in business. Many locals and environmentalists don't want any growth because it will change the character of their favorite spots.

I want more people to enjoy the sport. I want more folks to be able to afford to ski. I want my friends to go and to be able to afford to go more often. I want middle class people to take their kids. But strangely, a lot of the affluent folks don't want us at their areas unless we can afford to be there. As if my dad skiing on my hand-me-down skis and wearing my hand-me-down jacket diminishes their enjoyment of the sport of the super rich.

Let them keep polo and yachting. I want skiing back for the rest of us.

Posted by Justin at 01:03 PM | Comments (1)