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AdrenalineGarageI grew up skiing in North East Ohio in the 90s (BMBW if you must know). They had one park, if you could call it that, for snowboarders only. Of course, I poached it. And of course, because I had no idea what I was doing and there was no place to learn, did all the things that made snowboarders hate skiers in the park. The first resort-sanctioned "jump" I remember hitting was a 3-foot tall cheese wedge to flat surrounded by a forest of bamboo poles so the local joeys wouldn't accidentally go off it. It was awesome.
Culture was purely local. If big things were happening in freeski culture, we were oblivious. I didn't know freeskiing magazines existed because the local book stores only carried Ski, Skiing, etc. I vividly remember the first time I saw Powder Magazine when it was mis-delivered to my mailbox in college. On the cover was a line in Haines. It was life-changing. Up to that point, my entire perception of skiing was resort based. It never occurred to me that there was a backcountry (because in Ohio, everything was man-made snow, how could you ski trees?). And it certainly never occurred to me to setup a handrail or get a ride in a heli to a remote peak in AK. We mimicked what we saw around us. We didn't have any skiing role-models outside of what we saw at the Olympics. Johnny Moseley was the shit.
I moved to Colorado in 2001, at the very beginning of online communities. Colorado already had a well developed ski and snowboard culture. My first exposure to ski movies was when I rented a VHS tape at a local rental store. I then rented every DVD ski movie through the mail from Netflix. Before YouTube you could subscribe to a video magazine and have a DVD sent to your house every month or two. Everyone was reading magazines. Skiers read TW Snowboarding in addition to Freeze and Freeskier because there wasn't enough material out there.
Magazine websites would update monthly or weekly. Months would go by without anything new on a site until Snowboard Magazine decided they would turn over the content on their front page every day in 2006. They didn't always succeed, but it changed online snowsports media.
The magazines and filmmakers were the tastemakers. It was a hierarchical culture where the media shaped the sport, decided who the best skiers, photographers and filmmakers were and what was cool. Getting noticed without connections was impossible, even in Colorado. Meeting a pro in person was unheard of, let alone interacting with them online. You only saw them in magazines, videos or on TV, which meant they seemed larger than life. This is embarrassing, but I still remember being star struck the first time I met Steele Spence.
Things happened much slower. By the time you read about it in a mag or saw it in a video it was more than six months old. Publishing an edit online meant mastering the dark arts of the internet. If you had a popular video, you'd have to set up your own server or declare bankruptcy from bandwidth costs. Popular videos were going offline all the time as a result. Online media was much more limited because it was so hard and expensive to produce. I think that's why content was longer and more polished. There was significantly more cost in time and money per unit, so you packed your best stuff into one edit or one DVD since it was too hard to push out content on a daily or even monthly basis.
RparrHow long were you around bmbw? Is it true they once had a half pipe?