Ed's Note: Mountain Gazette Editor Mike Rogge recently sat down for a podcast interview with Stuart Winchester of The Storm Skiing Podcast. Below is an excerpt of that conversation.
Words: Stuart Winchester
Why I interviewed him: Because even as the founder of a publication that lives entirely and eternally online, I have always loved the depth and expressiveness of print media in general and ski magazines in particular. I learned how to ski from fat newsstand-bought issues of the middle- to late-90s, and I learned everything else I knew about skiing there too. When I commenced the series of explosive yardsales and ever-farther roadtrips that constituted my early ski career, I knew almost no one who skied, and certainly no one who had skied the amazing snowy West. The magazines were my Yoda. There were four mainstream publications available in the Midwestern pharmacies and grocery stores of my teens, as indistinguishable as leaves on a tree to passersby, but to me, to a skier, each distinct and vital and alive. Skiing was attitude. Powder was poetry. Ski was groomers. Snow Country, trying to be a little bit of each, felt scrambled. I bought them all. Inside these glossy magazines lay an immense landscape, frantic and relentless and always stomping through snowy netherworlds put suddenly at my reach. They may as well have been tales of Narnia, so absorbing did I find these steeps and snowfields and snow-choked woods, these far-off resorts and the characters that animated them, their legends hardened through writing sharp and piercing and explosive. That’s all so diminished now. Snow Country and Skiing evaporated. Powder is down to four issues per year. Ski survives, but in a massively slimmed-down state. Yes, Freeskier popped out of the glossy halfpipe at some point in the late ‘90s, and it still exists and does good work, though with a diminished print run. While Mountain Gazette has never been explicitly or solely a ski magazine, the publication is an important part of the ski media’s print legacy, and its return – the magazine had two previous print runs, from the ‘60s to 1979 and from 2000 to 2012 – as a high-end, twice-annual expression of modern mountain life is a positive development, and something I wanted to hear more about.