I vividly remember when SBC SKIER emerged as part of the ski media insurgency of the late-nineties and early new millennium. Within a six-year period, the snow world saw Freeze, Boards in Motion, Freeskier, Axis and SBC SKIER join legitimate, longstanding periodicals such as Powder and Skiing – and lamer journals of fur boots and luxury homes like Ski, Snow Country, and Ski Canada.
So it‘s with some pleasure and plenty of surprise – to see that, 10 years later, you are among the last men standing. But let‘s face facts: it‘s always been hard for us south of the border to take you seriously. For instance, it‘s impossible to read “2-4″ without getting a Bob and Doug McKenzie’s version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” stuck in my head. Your founding father has a girl’s first name. (I know you‘re thinking: “Ooo, noo, up’ere in Can-nah-duh, Leslie is a man’s name … ” But guess what bitches? It’s not. Ever. Even his last name is a nom de plume, adopted to cover up something which, out of concern for his safety, I won’t reveal (though it translates roughly into “unlofty penis”). Worse, your prefix SBC – actually stands for Snowboard Canada; down here, good ski magazines start snowboard titles, not the other way around.
But somehow you’re still here, and that’s a good thing. Because, well… we need you right now. Skiing has disappeared into cyberspace, and Freeskier seems intent on emulating skateboard mags (“Team Empire Shreds Albany!”), oblivious to the fact that skateboard journalism is the barrel-bottom among action-sport literati – even worse than the snowboard version.
Which is why I‘m writing this. The other day I was walking through the Salt Lake City airport, and noticed there were only three snow titles on the rack: Powder, Snowboarder and Transworld Snowboarding.That‘s not a good sign. So this is what I‘m thinking: I’d like to personally invite you down to the U.S. to join the party; SBC SKIER can have the honor (notice how I spelled that word) of being Powder’s personal enemy! Our parent company, Source Interlink, will even distribute you (for a fee, of course, payable in pictures of ducks printed on red paper).
Think about it: every good hero needs a nemesis – the way Superman had Lex Luther, Larry Bird had Magic, and Wayne Gretzky had that other Canadian guy with the Italian/French name who was really good at hockey.
Now, I know you’re new to this confrontation thing. But, before you just hop over the boards and start punching people, there’s a few things you need to know. First, most Americans are armed – even in airports. Second, we take our sports pretty seriously, and skiing’s no different. It’s not all fun-and-games and high-fives and then go drink a sixer on your sled while burning a pine tree, like you seem to think (and show). It‘s serious, serious business.
You’re going to be expected to learn a few gang signs, and yell “What!? UHHH!” really loud whenever you see something cool. And I highly recommend a cycle of Human Growth Hormone to help you sack up. This shouldn‘t be hard, because like our paper, weed and bald eagles, we source most of our HGH from Canada.
And you’ll also have to start covering more American skiers. There’s more to the sport than Dave Treadway sledding, Daryl Treadway shredding, and Dan Treadway drinking rye then doing the other two things. Just peruse an issue of Powder and you‘ll find any number of U.S. skiers worth covering: Sean Pettit, Mark Abma, Mike Douglas, T.J. Schiller and Eric Hjorleifson to name a few. Actually, come to think if it, Hjorleifson might be Norwegian, which brings up another point: you gotta be international. This isn’t a North American sport anymore. There are many great European skiers, and American ski magazines aren‘t afraid to cover them: Alexis Godbout, J.P. Auclair, Jamie Pierre, etc.
Ronald Reagan is remembered as one of our greatest modern presidents (that’s like a prime minister, only with some actual power and no boy-scout uniform), not because he was a great statesman, but because he had a nemesis – Russia. These days, Americans are afraid of pussy things like car-bombs; in Reagan’s era, it was nuclear holocaust. Total annihilation is a much cooler fear than being worried about a 70s-style mob hit. The bottom line, SBC SKIER, is that you may suck, but we need you to put real publishing fear back into us, our bosses and the Source Interlink empire. So what do you say? Will you be our Soviet-ski Union?
In case you can‘t read between the lines, Derek Taylor is editor of Powder magazine. He is also the world‘s only remaining Hartford Whalers fan. That makes him Oh-fer. As in 0 for 2.