Intro: Annie Fast
Photo Direction: Chris Wellhausen
When the first issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding launched in 1987, the sport was still in its infancy. Snowboarding was just beginning to earn acceptance at ski resorts, the industry consisted of a small group of hands-on creators, and the colorful tribe of snowboarders were still a novelty to the greater population.
TransWorld SNOWboarding was the second title launched by TransWorld Media after TransWorld SKATEboarding; it was founded by Tracker Trucks owner Larry Balma and Peggy Cozens in Oceanside, California. Before the launch, images of snowboarding appeared in early issues of TWSKATE starting in the winter of 1983, introducing the sport to skateboarders-turned-early-snowboard-pros like Steve Caballero, Noah Salasnek, and John Cardiel and influencing the freestyle trajectory of the sport.
For the past 32 years, the pages (both print and online) of TransWorld SNOWboarding have become the defacto history-book-slash-yearbook for the sport. Riders entire careers are played out through the pages; trends in riding style, location, and fashion come and go; and the nonstop progression of the sport is clearly evident.
With the fate of TransWorld SNOWboarding evidently sealed, this legacy will live on in the caches of magazines and posters stashed away by loyal readers, in the ephemera from thirty years of eventsfrom that first annual Riders Poll awards in 1991, the TransAM amateur snowboarding series, Team Challenges, Board Teststhe video tapes and DVDS and the sheer volume of online content weve choked the internet with from that first website launched in 2001.
Through the years, weve paused to celebrate the legacy ofTransWorld SNOWboarding, whether a landmark 100th or 200th issue or recognizing milestone decades. These features honor the riders, the staff, and the historic moments in snowboarding. While these past milestone issues pause to look back before enthusiastically charging ahead, this post has a different and overwhelming mission to honor and provide closure to the entire 32-year legacylets call it a celebration of life without the heaviness of a final goodbye, just a goodbye for now.
After 32 years, we know enough to never call last run. TWSNOW
A Timeline of the First Decade of TransWorld SNOWboarding 1987-1996
The first decade of TransWorld SNOWboarding paralleled the trajectory of snowboarding with modest beginnings leading to astronomical industry and participant growth and riding progression. The magazine showcased a sport accelerating from riding in obscurity on sidehills to international competitions, major sponsorships and the realization of the dream of pro snowboarding
1987: TransWorld SNOWboarding first issue releases in the Fall of 1987 with then TransWorld SKATEboarding Editorial Director Kevin Kinnear as editor and seasoned surf and skate photo editor Guy Motil. The issue focused on stories of pro riders first experiences with snowboarding, a breakdown of the Worlds competition in Breckenridge, Colorado and the North American Championships in Banff, Canada. Craig Kelly also launched his own trick tip column Techniques, which included roast beefs, 360 air-to-fakies, and other cutting-edge freestyle tricks.
Photo Gallery: Through the lens of TransWorld photo editors and senior photographers Guy Motil, Jon Foster, Trevor Graves, Mark Gallup, and James Cassimus.
1988: The United States Amateur Snowboarding Association (USASA) is incorporated by Chuck Allen with a 500-dollar donation fromTransWorld SNOWboarding. USASA becomes the first governing body exclusively for competitive amateur snowboarding. The organization continues on to this day as the main contest circuit for up-and-coming riders competing at local contests in hopes of making it to the annual National Championships.
1989: One of the biggest challenges facing snowboarders in these early days was where to ride. The owners ofTransWorld SNOWboarding and the editorial staff were integral in working to open resorts to snowboarding. Founding editor Kevin Kinnear says, It used to be that Id run a list of resorts that allowed snowboarding in the magazine, then later it changed to a black list of those that didnt and it finally got down to only four. At the time riders endured dubious certification programs and the editors recount putting on painful demos for mountain managers to prove that snowboarders could ride safely and co-exist peacefully with skiers. Kinnear recalls the first snowboard expedition to Vail Mountain, riding the cat track with the mountain manager following close behind. Kinnear says, It was the first time I made it down an entire run without falling because I was too afraid to blow it for the whole sport. We got in. Most of the major ski resorts that had previously resisted snowboarding eventually succumbed. Resorts that resisted snowboarding were paid a visit by the Chameleon (see 1995, Eric Blehm).
1989: Reigning four-time world champion Craig Kelly earns the first ever interview in the November 1989 issue. Securing an interview became a benchmark in every pro snowboarders career along with earning the cover. In the interview Kelly reveals his plan to transition out of contest riding.
1991: The TransWorld Riders Poll Awards were first held March 20, 1991 in Las Vegas as a celebration of the top riders in the sport. At the time it was a reader-voted awards show. The simple categories and the list of winners reads like a roll call of all that was cool about snowboarding with Craig Kelly and Tara Eberhard winning best all around riders. Other categories included best racers (Peter Bauer and Tara Eberhard), best halfpipe riders (Craig Kelly and Tina Basich), best freeriders (Damian Sanders and Tara Eberhard) and most extreme (Damian Sanders and Bonnie Leary). The final 2018 Riders Poll marked the 21st year celebrating the best riders in the world.
1991: TransWorld SNOWboarding Managing Editor Lee Crane introduces the Angry Interns, a snarky opinion column that evolved from The Remarkably Unprintable Letters section of the October 1990 Buyers Guide. Angry Interns was an ongoing column on the current state of snowboarding written by our interns (or was it?) that continued through to be published through the lifetime of the magazine.
1992: TransWorld SNOWboarding begins documenting the outlaw atmosphere of Valdez, Alaska with big mountain snowboarders Shawn Farmer, Nick Perata, Jay Liska, Matt Goodwill, and Julie Zell dominating the scene and the pages of the magazine.
Photo Gallery: Through the lens of TransWorld photo editors and senior photographers Jeff Curtes, Gunar Elmuts, Jamie Mosberg, and Eric Berger.
1993: TransWorld SNOWboarding Video Magazine launches partnered with cinematographer Mike McEntire (Mack Dawg). The iconic first episode features Peter Line, Todd Schlosser, Dave Lee, Terje Haakonsen, Jason Brown, Jim Rippey, Craig Kelly, Shaun Palmer, Noah Salasnek, Mike Basich, Shannon Dunn, Daniel Franck, Jason Ford, and more. TWS video magazine released four episodes that first year.
1994: TransWorld SNOWboarding Japan is born. The sibling magazine has been hailed as the premiere snowboard magazine in Japan.
1994: Longtime TWSNOW Photo Editor Jon Fosters iconic black-and-white image of Jamie Lynn clearing a road gap in Norway appears on the November 1994 cover.
1995-1998: The Chameleon strikes! Throughout this decade, the list of resorts that allowed snowboarding grew as the list that banned them shrunk to a few holdouts including Alta, Park City, Aspen Mountain, Keystone, and Taos. The editorial staff famously enlisted a secret agent named The Chameleon to infiltrate the resorts that banned snowboarding by riding the lifts with a splitboard in skier mode and riding down in rider mode. Former TWSNOW Editor Eric Blehm explainsThe Chameleon made a career out of fighting four-edged ignorance by infiltrating with ease elitist ski strongholds yet to open their lifts to us. The remaining holdout resorts to date are Alta, Deer Valley and Mad River Glenmeh. Some speculate who the Chameleon was, but as of 2019, his identity remains a mystery.
1995: Under the leadership of backcounty-loving editor, Eric Blehm, TransWorld published the first backcountry snowmobile feature in the September issue. Written by Blehm and photographed by Mark Gallup, the Trans Canada Drop Zone feature introduced the powder-mecca Revelstoke to those who had never heard of this Canadian gem. The editorial staff also voted to approve Blehms motion to make backcountry safety and avalanche awareness a key element in every issue, since the grim revelation that snowboarders had become the fastest growing demographic for avalanche deaths in North America. The first real push was The Killing Season issue, named after the feature that told numerous accounts of avalanche deaths and incidents. Another related feature was, Gettin Schooled Seven Days at Avalanche Boot Camp during which Blehm joined pros Shawn Farmer, Pat Abramson and Matt Hale as they earned their Level One Avalanche Certification from the Canadian Avalanche Association. Craig Kelly joined the crew and shadowed the class, which took place at Island Lake Lodge, and applauded the magazines intent to educate snowboarders about the dangers that are unseen in all the glossy photos of untracked powder turns and cornices drops.
1996: The October cover showcases Ingemar Backmans record 27-plus foot backside air on the Riksgransen quarterpipe. One only need to compare this cover to our premier 1987 cover to see the phenomenal progression achieved during this decade.
The Editors Look Back
Kevin Kinnear – EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, 1987-1995
The Last Time
I took my first official snowboarding trip to the 1987 World’s at Breckenridge with my newly recruited photo editor, Guy Motil. Guy was a veteran surf photographer with vast experience covering emerging action sports like skateboarding, hang gliding, windsurfing, and Hobie Cats. His hardcore magazine experience at Surfer was key to the success of Breakout: Californias Surf Magazine where I first cut my teeth in publishing.
Guy was my magazine mentor at Breakout and encouraged me to start shooting for which I am extremely grateful as I later evolved into primarily a photographer. We shared a great working partnership putting California surfing back on the map. And naturally became best friends along the way.
I instinctively knew Guy was the right choice despite neither one of us having ever ridden on a chairlift. He was not only a great photographer, but also a master strategist as well. Its a miracle that two raw rookies pulled off what we did that first season. Both of us wore blue jeans to our first event at Breck.
Having only taken a couple of snowboard lessons, I was both shocked and delighted in early 1987 when TransWorld publisher Larry Balma pulled me aside at the Horseshoe 2 Cafe in Breckenridge to ask if I wanted to start up a snowboard magazine. At the time, I was already working as managing editor of TransWorld Skateboarding magazine for the previous nine months. Larry always ran snowboard stories in the skate mag during the snow season to help the sport grow. That was brilliant and set the stage for our new baby.
I felt deeply that snowboarding was going to take off because it was so much fun despite the pain of learning during those prehistoric days. My vision was to make a surf magazine for the snow. That fit Guy to a T. Together we created a surf consciousness full of Aloha that was purposely distinct from skateboardings in-your-face photos and attitude.
The main difference between the two sports was that we had to pay to ride in a closely controlled environment where your ticket could be instantly jerked by Ski Patrol for any infractions. Skaters were riding in the street and used to running away from the cops. That created real problems with resorts when the skate-inspired freestyle influx happened later on supercharged by the jibbers who invaded from the Midwest and were sliding on rails, picnic tables, and bonking snowblowersanything but the snow.
Guy mostly used short telephotos to create a different look than the typical wide-angle skateboard shot. He even dragged along an 800 lens and tripod that he used to capture great surf-style photos on the switchbacks at Loveland Pass where he could set up a tripod on the pavement. This was before auto-focus cameras, and Guy was one of the very best at manually follow focusinga super-precise art mastered by few.
The very first snowboarding shots taken by Guy were on the slalom course at the 1987 Worlds in Breckenridge. After being ferried up the hill by sleds because we didnt even have snowboards, we walked up to the fence and the first thing we witnessed was two riders crashing violently into each other. I turned around and said, Did you see that? Like a veteran gunfighter in the Wild West, Guy calmly replied, I shot it. That amazing sequence appeared in our first issue.
Guys natural creative talent combined with his vast action sports experience, superior strategic thinking, and meticulous planning were all key to the success of our new venture. Not to mention hauling around a pack that weighed 3040 pounds full of two cameras, lenses, rolls of film, food, and water. Craig Kelly once offered to carry that pack for him and at the end of the day declared, Never again!
Our first season in Spring of 1987 consisted of two trips: Breckenridge for the Worlds and then Sunshine Village for Ken Achenbachs grandiosely titled North American Snoboard Championships.
Before I go any further, Id like to especially thank our two main allies in breaking into the fledgling snowboard culture: The first one to come to our rescue was Kerri Hannon, an instructor at Breckenridge who was one of the top female snowboarders and a World Champion. The second one was Ken Achenbach, one of the first and best Canadian riders who owned the Snoboard Shop in Calgary. Besides showing us the ropes like waxing and tuning and learning to ride, Kerri was responsible for getting us invited to tour Vail as an audition for the entire sport. They wanted to see how well we navigated their resort. I was a total rookie at riding a snowboard and Guy was right behind me. Somehow, we both managed not to fall while being scrutinized by the skiing establishment. I had the Mountain Manager on my tail as I slid down the cat trackthat was their main concern. I knew I couldnt fall or else. We got in.
When we first met Ken and his merry men at the Worlds in Breckenridge, it was instant friendship. Luckily for us, Ken was a surfer and actually knew all about Breakout and Guys awesome surf photography. They were already followers of TransWorld Skateboarding Magazine and knew what we could do.
In 1987, the biggest challenge facing snowboarders was opening resorts. At first, I’d run a list of resorts that allowed snowboarding in the magazine because there were so few. Then later it changed to a blacklist of those who didnt, which was finally whittled down to only four.
The first generation of snowboarders was very respectful of the resorts because they’d done all the work to get in, from being required to complete dubious certification programs to just plain having to put on a demo in front of mountain managers to prove that snowboarders could ride safely and co-exist peacefully with skiers.
There were precious few adult snowboarders who could talk convincingly with the resort owners besides the main board manufacturers like Tom Sims, Jake Burton, and Chuck Barfoot.
I was 35 when I created TransWorld SNOWboarding and my job as one of the few elders of this teenage sport was to make friends with the resorts. Id already had extensive experience with the politics of surfing and it served me well whenever Guy and I would drop in on a mountain manager. I remember telling them about the revenue snowboarders could add to offset the flat skier days and encouraged them to make halfpipes so the boarders would naturally segregate themselves by hanging out there. Sometimes they even listened.
Burton hired the sport’s first professional manager, Paul Alden, who was the oldest snowboard representative in the sport. Paul’s helicopter company put in the lift towers at some of the Summit County resorts like Breckenridge, so he had connections that were critical. Burton as a company was very proactive in opening resorts all over the world.
One of the key developments in the sport also happened that wild weekend at the 1987 Worlds in Breck was the birth of the first professional snowboard association called NASBA headed up by Paul Alden. To me, that was an unfortunate conflict of interest because Paul was employed by Burton, but there was a severe shortage of responsible leadership at the time. The event promoters and professional snowboarders, including the critical European contingent, just let it ride.
The other major competitive development was the birth of the first amateur body for snowboarding, USASA, in 1988. I arranged for TransWorld to fund it for $500 when my old friend Chuck Allen, one of the founders of the National Scholastic Surfing Association, approached me about creating a similar amateur organization for snowboarding.
It turned out to be a great success and I was recently invited to attend the USASA Nationals at Copper Mountain to help celebrate their 30th anniversary and to present the Founders Award for Bob Barci who, along with Tom Sims, created the first Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom in 1985. Unfortunately, Bob wont be there to accept it as he passed away years ago.
After that first season was over and Guy single-handedly scored enough great photos to produce three issues, we spent the summer working hard trying to ignore the endless South Swells breaking nearby with our fellow surfer and design genius, David Carson, who created a vibrant visual look for our new baby. David later went on to international fame as an award-winning graphic designer specializing in tweaking typography.
Id like to give special thanks to Shawn Rogers, our queen of production who meticulously maintained quality control as well as making up for all of our blown deadlines to get the magazine to the printer in time. Then there was Jim Gray, a top skate pro, rated seventh in the world who I invited to sell ads for us instead because he was never going to beat the Bones Brigade. Jim somehow managed to infiltrate the SIA show without credentials and hooked up with the major advertisers against all odds.
Following in Jims boot track was Fran Richards, the first authentic snowboarder I hired. He actually had a marketing degree and was from Boulder. We first met when Fran was head judge at Wolf Creek in 1988. When I saw him frantically trying to figure out the prizes with organizer Mike Mayner, I could see right through the haze into Frans innate potential and overcame his strong allegiance to ISM. Fran was also the proud producer of Frantic Leashes, which I still use today.
Id also like to thank our original advertising manager, Sheri Roberts, who worked with Guy and I at Breakout and then migrated to TransWorld. Our owners/publishers Larry Balma and Peggy Cozens made it all possible by funding our fun. Thanks for all those plane tickets, hotel rooms, and all the film and processing. It was the ride of my life.
Lee Crane, MANAGING EDITOR, 19891993
It would be easy to argue that the early 90s were snowboarding’s first real sellout. One look at the outerwear would seem to suggest that people were getting paid a lot to wear it. They’d have to be, right? Damian Sanders, who off snow was a goth rocker straight out of Road Warrior, wore some of the brightest neon that Op color scientists could createcolors so shockingly bright that they’d send the Airblaster crew running home bloody-eyed to their mommies. And then there was the 1990s Burton Army. Undeniably, the greatest group of all-around snowboard talent ever assembled on one team (yes, deeper than the Forum 8); and they would show up at contests dressed head to toe in matching purple, pink, and gray uniforms, including Oakley Razorblades and floppy Bula hats. Kemper and Gnu riders had it even worse in the colorway department. But that’s what their sponsors wanted them to do and they did it.
And contests? Winter seasons were wall-to-wall contests. Money was raining in from the outside with companies like Suzuki, Swatch, and TDK trying to feast on the snowboarding banquet. At the time, it seemed the only thing they understood was the human drama of athletic competition (some things never change). Not just halfpipe, but Alpine racing, too. And everyone did it all. They traveled to every contest, rode the pipe, and raced the gateseven Shaun Palmer and Jeff Brushie. Not because they were trying to make the Olympic team, but because that’s what snowboarders did. There was the International Snowboard Association in Europe and the North American Snowboarding Association. Calendars included the World Championships at Breckenridge, the Burton U.S. Open, The North American Pro Snowboard Tour, and the Professional Snowboard Tour Of America. It was a competition cluster of gigantic proportions.
Speculators saw snowboarding as a future fountain of cash, and promoters were working every angle to use snowboarding to sell more plastic watches and sunglasses and cars. And snowboarders were not afraid to get paid.
But to say that the early 90s were all about money and competition wouldn’t be the true snowboard story. The reality is much more simple, and ultimately more pure. After ten years of riding in obscurity at places like Mt. Baker, Washington; Donner Ski Ranch; Lake Louise; Stratton Mountain; or Loveland Pass, the idea of getting paid to snowboard and travel the world competing with friends was the realization of a dream. The 1990s delivered the idea of a snowboard career and made it possible to be a professional snowboarder. And everyone was stoked. More importantly, the money coming into snowboarding was reinforcing the idea that all snowboarders had: that we were changing the world. We knew that the people we were riding with, competing against, and traveling the world with were creating snowboarding. But more than that, they were defining, for the first time, what it meant to be a snowboarder.
Jamie Meiselman, MANAGING EDITOR, 19931995
Snowboarding was born, lived, and died in the mid 1990s.
Okay, the “died” part was more for dramatic effect, but if you bookend any consecutive three-year span in this magazine’s twenty-year history, you won’t find a more influential leap in our sport’s progression than the period between ’93 and ’95. The standard for current state-of-the-art riding was all set back then. Vertically challenged Midwesterners like Dale Rehberg, Roan Rogers, and Nate Cole were among the first to take skate-inspired rail riding to the snow. Just as quickly, the rail assault returned to the streets when we published a then-bizarre inner-city rail feature in the January 1994 issue, featuring Martin Gallant and Bryan lguchi sliding urban rails and jibs in the shadow of Montreal’s most notable landmarks.
Sure, much of the moves on rails and in halfpipes were ripped straight from skateboarding, but we can hold our heads high, as Peter Line and Jamie Lynn were blending the ingredients for pure-snowboarding style with smooth, offaxis spins over huge road gaps, backcountry kickers, and cat-built tabletops. In the Nordic backcountry, Terje, Ingemar Backman, and their Scanner pals sculpted and sessioned larger-than-life quarterpipes, scratching the upper limit of amplitude with triple-overhead airs. It only took Danny Way, Bob Burnquist, and their mega-ramps about ten years to span the heights and distances snowboarders were clearing back in the day. Who’s biting whom? What, you say we’ve got bindings? Minor detail.
But wait, there’s more: At ends-of-the-earth locales like Valdez, Alaska, renegade psychos like Jay Liska, Shawn Farmer, and Matt Goodwill were notching first descents and spine-shrinking cliff drops, repeatedly topping their own exploits with the help of equally tweaked outlaw heli-pilots. To this day, no big-mountain rider’s resume is complete without a tour of duty in the Chugach Range proving grounds, our version of surfing’s North Shore.
Fortunately, this progression explosion coincided with our magazine’s equivalent of the Internet bubble. Page counts grew by one-third during my three-year tenure at TransWorld. The timing of this page run-up was perfect, as globe-trotting lensmen like Jeff Curtes, Mark Gallup, Eric Berger, and Mouse were literally shooting twelve months a year, and sent a steady stream of slide-stuffed FedEx boxes to Jon Foster’s light table.
Basically, I’m claiming the mid 90s was an unbeatable time to be chronicling our snowboarding world, because everything that we now consider contemporary was being seen and done for the first time. Since then, sure, kids have spun another 180 degrees or boosted a few extra feet out of the pipe, but honestly, other than the names in front of and behind the lens, how much has really changed since 1995? I just read that Shaun Palmer was arrested for being drunk in public the other day, and Mike Ranquet has a new pro model with a fake Heineken logo. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Addendum: In the above 20-Year Anniversary Issue of TWSnow, I argued my term as Managing Editor from 1993-95 represented the apex of progression in snowboarding. I maintain that opinion, but now I realize the mid-90s also signified the relevance peak” of print snowboard magazines.
The writing was on the wall even then. By 1993, we launched TransWorld SNOWboarding Video Magazine with Mack Dawg Productions, Lee Crane plugged in a dial-up modem to his Apple Mac Plus, offering a crude glimpse of snowboarding on the Internet, and Burton released its Dealer Catalog on a newfangled DVD-ROM. The options for consuming snowboard media were expanding and the importance of print snowboard media began a slow decline.
Something else I concluded in my 20th Anniversary cameo: the more things change, the more things stay the same. In case you havent noticed, retro is so hot right now: 90s board-graphics are back. Carving is cool again. Every brand must have a Milovich-esque deep-swallow pow gun in its lineup. Step-ins have returned. While were at it, lets go WAY BACK to Snurfer days and take the bindings off entirely (Powsurf!).
In other words, keep your eyes peeled for the re-launch of TransWorld SNOWboarding Magazine at an ironic retro newsstand near you.
Eric Blehm, EDITOR, 1995 1998
Anybody who has ever sat in the editors chair at TransWorld SNOWboarding would no doubt say that it was the best job in the world.
I wont bore you with my personal favorite memories, because there are too many to list-too many powder days, lusty adventures, and friendships born from a mutual love of the ride.
Certain things about my tenure stand out. This list wouldnt be complete without mention of The Telephone Book, a.k.a. the 501-page September 1995 Buyer’s Guide (the largest issue in the history of the mag). That issue represented the pinnacle of the snowboarding industry’s rise, and it featured boards from more than 200 board companies. For the advertising department it was the salad days. For the editorial department it was both a dream and a nightmare. We had more pages to use that season than any magazines in the history of the sport. But pages to use meant pages to fill, and the staff that season was charged with the difficult task of maintaining quality while the magazine’s girth was literally busting at the seams.
The mid to late 1990s in snowboarding was a time of exploration and refinement. In essence, everything had been done, but in 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998, the staff of the magazine and snowboarders in general just did it better.
I’ve been given only 400 words, so in order to pack in the highlights of this period, I’ll simply list random memories that make me smile.
Back in the day: Snowboarders still made skiers nervous; some idiotic, nee-conservative resort owners and managers still didnt allow us on their slopes; I hired a secret agent named The Chameleon to infiltrate all the resorts that banned us by riding the lifts with a splitboard in skier mode and riding down in rider mode; there were two Jeremy Joneses, Racer Jeremy and Freestyle Jeremy (now the racer is Big Mountain Jeremy); Shaun White was our token “kid” for the kids’ boards section of the Buyer’s Guide, and he was all helmet and couldn’t clear the coping at the Stratton pipe, but he brought the biggest cheers from the crowd; snowmobiles were just starting to become a standard part of a pro rider’s kit; backcountry safety was becoming a major issue, and we ran a story called “The Killing Season” to wake up some people about how dangerous it could be out there; we weren’t able to spell out “fuck,” not even in Tiny Type; we couldn’t show anybody ingesting anything that resembled alcohol; Craig Kelly (RIP) was firmly seated as the Obi Wan Kenobi of snowboarding; we actually forbade Star Wars references for a few issues, because Jedi was becoming an overused adjective; most snowboarding writers were still genetically incapable of making deadlines; there was a fine line between “journalistic integrity” and “free shit”; there was still more snow in snowboarding shots than metal, wood, or various terrain-park building materials; Eric Berger and Mark Gallup were making a good career not shooting freestyle and jib shots, and Jeff Curtes took more snowboarding photos than any single human being on the planet, and this was before digital; photos of girls were getting double-takes as they began to rival the amplitude and style of the guys; extremely short and fat boards were made for the sole purpose of pissing people off on deep powder days; Tom Burt was the name most synonymous with big-mountain riding; Terje was the unbeatable one; the Hatchetts were all heavy metal and Hessian; ski areas were just starting to be in the minority if they didn’t have a pipe or a park; there was a major sense of travel and adventure, so the editors could look at a world map and honestly say, ‘Nobody has ever done a story about riding in that country;’ twin-tips were about snowboards, not skis, Brushie was spinning in pipes and at parties, and Shaun Palmer and Shawn Farmer were still guaranteed to pull some crazy shit either on or off the snow; Noah Brandon consistently went Bahai-est, Andy Hetzel had long since retired his pink Kemper gear, and Matt Goodwill was the king of big cliff drops; GNU and Lib Tech had the best ads; snowboarding books were hard to come by; snowboarding movies were too easy to come by (at least the bad ones); the Olympics were eyed with equal parts contempt and distrust; Whiskey (need I say more?); Burton was firmly entrenched as the king of snowboarding brands; step-in bindings were being reported as the hottest new wave by companies, but riders still knew they sucked; and … well, Im at 906 words now. Let’s see what gets cut and what survives. After all, it aint my job to worry about that anymore.
In closing, I’ve always felt that magazines are the history books of any boardsport, and I’m honored and a little melancholy looking back at the time in my life when I helped to document a little sliver of snowboarding’s lineage. Snowboarders were more and more becoming victims of avalanches, and I pushed to highlight some of the horrible deaths and accidents to educate the growing masses of riders who were venturing out of bounds with little to no knowledge of proper route-finding or avalanche safety. If there is one thing Im most proud of from my era at the magazine, its instilling the importance of avalanche awareness and safety to our readers.
Four final words that will never go out of style: Powder to the people.