By David Schissler – As a kid, I can remember the excitement I used to feel when the latest issue of Skiing magazine arrived. You have to understand that at the time there simply was no other source of ski content. I’m sure that’s hard to believe for many of you but about the only other way to experience a ski area or skiing itself for that matter, was to go there and do it. No web sites, no web cams, no e-newsletters, no videos, no Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat. Only magazines. So when the latest issue showed up I would read it on the bus, smuggle it into class or study hall and with eyes wide, longingly learned about places such as Sun Valley, Stowe, Vail, Jackson Hole, and Aspen. Skiing at places like that was something to aim for. I also learned about people who helped shape the sport such as Jean Claude Killy, Billy Kidd, Buddy Werner, Stein Ericksen, Walt Schoenknecht, Pete Seibert and many more. Back in the day Skiing subscribers numbered in the millions, something few if any ski websites can claim today.
Some years ago Skiing and Ski were brought under one roof. I never understood how two former direct competitors could thrive in the same company. According to the Denver Post, the plan was to make Skiing the ski adventure title for younger enthusiasts and Ski was to focus on families and boomers. Now, the two publications will be combined under the Ski title.
Andy Clurman, president of Active Interest Media, publisher of Skiing and Ski said, “We are really focused on the total audience and the growth is in mobile and video. In some cases, if there is less print in the form of Skiing, there is more content going out to more people in total and that’s really the whole mission.” he said. “We are constantly reinventing, redesigning and repurposing magazines as best to serve the audience … that involves responding to how people are changing their habits and how the sports are changing.” Don’t I know it. The White Book began back in 1974. Within a few years it grew to over 700 pages a copy and became “the Bible” for avid skiers and anyone in the ski resort business. To this day, I see a printed copy or two on the shelves of many resort execs. Then the internet arrived and changed the media landscape forever. At about the same time the cost of printing the White Book became prohibitive. The smart choice was to transition to a digital format. The White Book continues to evolve electronically. As my developer keeps telling me, unlike a magazine, a website is never done.
After nearly 70 years the last print issue of Skiing has already been published. The effort will now move to video, TV and the revamped skiingmag.com website. I couldn’t help seeing some of the online remarks about the end of the print edtion. Comments such as “Like the readers of Skiing mag even know how to use the internet.” Or “It’s tough for magazines to keep up with how fast content gets out now. I remember waiting anxiously for the gear guide from all the publishers. Now I just need to browse NS or any other ski blog to find it the day it happens. No need to wait until October anymore.” Too true. Or “Skiing magazine was always lame.” No, it wasn’t.