Is Ski Journalism Dead?

Charlie Walker March 15, 2023

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Is Ski Journalism Dead?

Is ski journalism dead? Yes, and I killed it. However, I alone am not fully responsible for the charges of journalistic manslaughter. I had plenty of accomplices. Ski resort consolidation, mega-passes, big-tech, social media, climate change, short term housing rentals, emojis, the economy, and you! We all have some amount of blood our your hands. But, for better or worse no hard time will be served. And just maybe together we can resuscitate the shit out of it and bring back some good ole fashioned ski stories.

Ski Journalism Is Dead

No Time

There has been no time in history like the present. The speed at which we are all moving is insane. We’re all doing a thousand things at once. Often working harder and longer, leaving us to cram in any recreation to a dwindling chasm of what free time we have remaining. So like with everything today we just consume faster out of necessity. No one has the time to read anymore. We scroll, we swipe, we like, we share. We look at more and know less. It’s seemingly true with news about the world as it is with the world of skiing. Give us the big headlines. What happened now. Get and give our attention for five seconds with click bait and controversy.

This is so true in today’s ski media culture. Complain more, listen less and learn almost never. We’re drowning in content but gasping for quality. And I am guilty! Paid parking, traffic, lines, understaffing there is plenty worth complaining about. Posting and reading about it with others sharing the same frustration offers us some catharsis. And I am sucked in to every new post, reel, or ticky tok Candide shares every 6 months like the rest of you. It’s so bad ass and fun. But wouldn’t deep dives by a true storyteller or investigative journalist going deep into problems facing ski culture or really getting to know the myth that is Candide be more rewarding? Of course. But who has the time?

No Place

There is literally and figuratively no place for ski journalism in today’s outdoor community. Trusted safe havens of our winter written word have closed their doors for good. Those that do still publish seem to be glorified company catalogs filling pages with sponsored articles and more ads than actual content. And even if there was an outlet, an oratory oasis where one could read hard hitting, soul inspiring, thought provoking journalism where would it come from?

Every major mountain town these days seems to face the same challenge, affordability. The people who work in and around our mountain playgrounds simply cannot afford to also live there. Short term housing rentals combined with disgustingly low wages from corporate backed resorts that have no finger on the pulse of the very communities they boast about revering, only to exploit at every possible turn. Ya, it’s dark out there. Sorry. So where would the writing even come from? If the skiers, riders, and workers can’t live where they play, then writers definitely can’t either.

No One

Writing has never been a job for those focused on living a lavish lifestyle. Ski journalism at it’s heart knew that, embraced it, shared it. But with no time and no place to progress from there are fewer and fewer even bothering to take up the pen. And for those that remain it oft seems a self centered pursuit. A very let me tell you about me vibe. Let me find and tell my truth, has replaced actually listening to others and telling their stories. So if there’s no one to write or read about legends of the sport, distant exotic excursions, hidden gems in front of our eyes, and the characters and quirks that have defined generations of ski culture, maybe ski journalism really is dead or at the very least on life support.

No Worries

Hakuna matata. It means no worries. That’s literally the translation in Swahili. And if it was good enough for Simba to get over his unlce killing his dad, sorry spoiler alert. Then maybe we should apply it to the death at our door steps. Consider it the circle of life. Wow, ok sorry I’ll try and knock off the Lion King references. But just like video killed the radio star, and Netflix killed blockbuster. Maybe the death of ski journalism is really just the turning of the page. As Adam X recently philosophized, “Skiing still slaps!”. And no wiser or truer words may have ever been uttered.

Skiing has changed so why would we expect the way we absorb it to remain the same. The skiing still slaps, and honestly with what athletes of all disciplines are pulling off today is mind bending. And maybe finally skiing might even at least be legitimately trying to be more inclusive. That means more people, fresh perspectives, new stories to be told and shared! And there are stories out there, we just need people who care about them and about telling them. If you’re reading this and are thinking, wow I can do better than this drivel. You’re right, so do it! And there are still a few periodicals out there worth reading, so buy them. Support good ski journalism when you see it, no matter what the form. Like certain podcasts for example!

So is Ski Journalism actually dead? As we knew it, ya maybe. But, if we do it right the next chapter in ski media will be a lot tougher to kill.

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