“Now that ski season is over, you guys at Freeskier pretty much get a huge summer vacation, right?” Wrong. This is the question I get time and again from people I meet. The reality is that beginning in May—when the snow’s mostly gone, and the event schedule begins to clear—we dive head first into magazine production. From May through the end of July, we’re hard at work putting together the annual Buyer’s Guide, which lands in subscribers’ mailboxes in late August, and on newsstands in early September. Once we hit “Print” on the Buyer’s Guide, it’s straight on to the October issue, and so on. All in all, we’ll do seven issues.
How does the Buyer’s Guide come together? In theory it’s quite simple: Get loads upon loads of next year’s gear, test it, review it, and craft our findings in such a way that it provides you, our readers, the ultimate source of information that will aid you in your quest to find the best gear that suits your style. In practice, it’s much more difficult than that.
A sneak-peek at some of the 2012/13 gear we’re currently reviewing.
First we begin with the ski test forms that we compile at our annual Ski Tests. The test forms are the culmination of weeks of rigorous on-hill testing. The extensive information on those thousands of sheets of paper allows us to rank and review hundreds of skis from all-mountain rippers, to powder hungry beasts, to park specific twins and everything in between. Whether you’re male or female, 5′ 1″ or 6′ 5″, you’ll find your match inside the pages of the Buyer’s Guide. On top of the skis, we round up outerwear, underwear, boots, helmets, goggles, gloves, sunglasses, backpacks, accessories, gadgets and more. Over the past month, FedEx has delivered more cardboard boxes full of goodies than you could imagine. As a team we narrow down the many products in each category to batches of only our favorites. We then write reviews on these items.
The reviews are passed from editor to editor and torn apart along the way, no different than your high school history paper after a date with the teacher who so strongly favors that devilish red pen. After a lengthy editing process, it’s on to the design stages. One layout is replaced by another, and then a third favored after that. The look and feel of the magazine is in constant flux all the way up until the deadline hits.
Later on, when the first copy of the magazine lands in our hands, its pages are lined with the blood, sweat and tears of the collective staff. We’ll then breath a deep sigh of relief knowing that while the masses are choosing between jacket A, B and C, or skis 1, 2 or 3 for the upcoming winter, they’ll look to the Buyer’s Guide for answers. And that, my friends, is a mighty great feeling.
So while you’re wakeboarding on the lake, ripping downhill bikes on the mountain or stuffing your face with frozen yogurt, rest assured we’re busting our butts at the office to bring you the best skiing gear guide the world has to offer.