A comprehensive retrospective from the former Editors of SNOWBOARDER Magazine, originally published in the 30th Anniversary Issue of SNOWBOARDER Magazine, pick up your copy now!
Words by Doug Palladini- Current Global Brand President of Vans
On my first day of work as Associate Editor for SNOWBOARDER Magazine in 1989 (I was the magazine's first dedicated employee), I met Powder Magazine editor Casey Sheehan in the Las Vegas Hilton lobby as the SIA Show was about to begin. He was already late for a meeting. "Here's your badge. I'll see you at five for beers. Have a good day," he said. Casey shoved my credential and a battered folder into my hands and quickly disappeared into the huddling trade show masses. This was all well and good, except that I had no idea whatsoever what I was doing.
Fresh from San Diego State's School of Journalism, having ridden a snowboard once in my life up to that point, I was recklessly unprepared to assume any level of magazine stewardship, let alone the awesome responsibility of running the thing, soup to nuts. But ignorance was my ally on that day, and not knowing just how humorously overmatched I was for the task at hand, I steadied myself and marched into the convention hall. What I recall of those first few days was a humbling mix of derision from the staffs of existing snowboard magazines such as TransWorld Snowboarding and ISM, a powerful education from the likes of Tom Sims, Jake Burton and Chuck Barfoot (all of whom worked their own trade show stands), even more derision from pompous, douchey ski brands such as Lange and Rossignol, and an overwhelming sense of inspiration that I was on the burning fuse end of a business/sport/culture powder keg ready to explode.
From 1989 until almost 2000, I had the immense honor to work on SNOWBOARDER Magazine, along with an incredible team of people both inside and outside the office walls, as snowboarding blew the fuck up. Our four-times-a-season, 48-page snowboarding brochure ballooned to 10 issues at sometimes more than 300 pages a go, ski areas smelled the money and opened lift access in droves, and snowboarding's first real stars such as Craig Kelly, Damian Sanders and Shaun Palmer fueled millions to give sliding sideways on snow a try.
It was snowboarding's formative years, from back hills to highbacks, from rope tows to pipe cutters, and we were the awkward, pimply-faced teenagers filled with adolescent angst and wonderment documenting it all. It wasn't always pretty (or even that good), but it was real, raw, and radical energy that drove us to make those magazines, and it cemented for me snowboarding as a life-long pursuit as a participant, fan, businessman and promoter.