“You can’t look forward without looking back,” I kept saying to myself. Someone told me to rock the boat and make some waves. Another said, encouragingly, “Drive it like you stole it.” The thoughts echoed through my head as I joined the list of FREESKIER editors who came before me. Like getting my name etched on the Stanley Cup, sitting at the top of the FREESKIER masthead is a childhood dream realized. But I didn’t celebrate with a round of golf or eat cereal out of a sterling silver trophy. In June, when I was offered this job, I immediately got to work calling everyone I knew—industry vets, fellow editors, buddies from ski towns across the country—and started doing my homework.
Founded in the late 1990s amidst skiing’s shift away from regimented mogul comps and the confines of downhill racing, FREESKIER represented a new wave of freestyle and freeride athletes. Shortly thereafter, the rest of us caught on and FREESKIER has since been the primary publication in the industry that covers all aspects of the sport—backcountry, big-mountain, resort, freestyle, street and everything in-between. It all has a home within the pages of this magazine, and that’s the way it will stay while I’m at the helm.
It’s no secret that the landscape of ski media has shifted dramatically in recent years. Last season, one of skiing’s longest-standing pubs—where I got my start in this industry—shuddered. Conglomerate companies are now swallowing up niche titles and adding paywalls to their content, leaving consumers scratching their heads about what will happen next. Yet, FREESKIER remains focused on the big picture, keeping a close eye on the athletes, gear, brands, destinations and trends that define our sport in all its variations.
When it comes to skiing, style is subjective and what’s considered “mind-blowing” adopts a different meaning depending on who you ask. Massive cliff drops, far away first descents and double (or triple!) corks will always have a wow-factor, but the same can be said traveling to a new resort or exploring an unfamiliar backcountry zone. And that is what makes our sport so special. From the pros competing for gold medals at the X Games, the Olympics and vying for a spot atop the Freeride World Tour podium, to the rest of us, who often split time between our home resort and traveling far-and-wide to make our skiing ambitions come to life, there’s no single thing that encapsulates why and how we do it. Skiing, in its finest form, takes inspiration from every aspect of life and paints that on the mountain.
PHOTO: John Howland
LOCATION: Alta, UT
What you’ll find on the following pages is a steadfast commitment to FREESKIER’s all-encompassing ski journalism, with a modern twist. You’ll find revamped departments—like Edibles, Destinations and Framed. But you’ll also notice plenty of new material, designed to keep you in-the-know about who and what is trending in our sport, across all of its disciplines. Sections like Small Batch, Age Gap, Topsheet, Spot Check and Party In The Back, amongst others, will become the latest mainstays in FREESKIER’s print issues.
Yet, while we strive to keep our storytelling generally fun and laid-back, we’re also not afraid to dive deeper. This issue will educate you on Native American culture and how skiers can adopt Indigenous phrases to better connect with nature; it will bring you along on a bike-to-ski mission from the Adirondacks to the White Mountains, highlighting a resurgence of young skiers in the East; and it will hopefully inspire you to travel the globe, thanks to a comprehensive list of must-do, must-see and must-ski bucket list items from two industry lifers. As you navigate through this magazine and the rest of volume 24, I encourage you to take your sweet, sweet time; to step away from the digital distractions of the everyday and immerse yourself in this analog experience. There’s nothing quite like it.
FREESKIER is the home of skiing.
Welcome to the latest chapter.