Freeze Magazine Gets Put on Ice
By Bryan Gallant
Freeze Magazine began in Boulder, Colorado, in 1996 as a manifesto for skiingâ€™s new revolutionaries â€“ the pipe and park-popping two-plankers that looked to the energy and innovation of snowboarding for their inspiration.
The ski industry couldnâ€™t ignore the excitement. Race-oriented ski companies started hiring mop-haired Generation Yâ€™ers to help develop new ski lines, terrain parks sprouted like dandelions, new ski companies like Line, Armada and 4FRNT rose out of the hardpack, film companies were formed, and competing magazines such as Freeskier and Primediaâ€™s short-lived Axis hit the stands to compete for the new scene. And last year Time Warner Media and Transworld Media bought freeze magazine to only drop it a year later. This is truly a sad month for freestyle skiers.
Through its 8-year run, the magazine set the standard for New-School skiing, identifying the rising tide of adolescent athletes. They created a media that defined who we were as skiers. But on November 2nd, 2004 Transworld Media, a subsidiary of Time Warner, announced the closing of Freeze Magazine. Freeze was one of very few new-school skiing magazines produced. The reason for the closing of this publication was said to be because Freeze was having difficulty hitting its circulation targets, in part because the magazine had a relatively narrow niche and little room to broaden its market without bumping up against larger stable mates Ski and Skiing Magazines, both of which Transworld Media/Time Warner owns. Do these companies know what they might have caused?
When it was first posted on Newschoolers.com, a few outraged skiers posted on the subject, saying; â€œFreeze is my bible! Well, besides the other oneâ€?, â€œf*ck them, I say petition time.â€? And the last one that was brought up was â€œwait so do I get my money back?â€? All of these thoughts are valid, and these are just some of the emotions expressed by subscribers of this small niche. Do these corporate heads know what they might have caused? What is their real motive? Was it to increase the size of their wallet or was Freeze magazine actually having trouble hitting the circulation target? The circulation target for the magazineâ€™s niche was freestyle-skiers from ages 12 to 25. From the thousands of members of newschoolers.com response, I think they did indeed hit their circulation target. One comment was â€œIts funny because they hit their target market dead on. They not only have extreme amounts of brand equity, they are also gaining new readers.â€œ
Immediately after the press release someone came up with the bright idea of making a petition. Usually petitions donâ€™t work, and in this case it will probably be the same result. I think petitions are useful, but useless at the same time. Once a head of a major conglomerate makes such a decision to close down the major publication of a small niche there is virtually no turning back. Just because itâ€™s not hitting numbers like â€œGolf Digestâ€? and â€œHome and Garden Magazineâ€? which are just 2 of the hundreds of magazines that Time Warner own. Sure the peopleâ€™s voices get heard, but the peopleâ€™s voices get shut out at the same time. Outraged subscribers have even gone a step or two above a petition to post Transworld Mediaâ€™s office number online to get people to call and complain about the decision to terminate this publication. Many have done just that, harassing the offices of Time Warner and Transworld Media. Now is it right to harass these people? No, itâ€™s never right to harass people, even for something this low. Few people actually think first before they do something irrational like harassing a huge corporation like this. I also see their reasoning for it, which is to get heard and heard loudly.
In Vail, Colorado the news that Freeze would cease publication met with speculation that it would also result in the end of the US Freeskiing Open. Beginning in 1998, the Open introduced the slopestyle event to skiing, and helped make terms like â€œjibbingâ€? and â€œskiercrossâ€? part of the ski lexicon. The good news is that Mountain Sports Media will pick up the reins on the Open. Freeze also sponsors an event in Vermont called the East Coast Freeskiing Open that is also in jeopardy of being dropped as well as many other Freeze sponsored events this coming competition season.
A day or two later there was a discussion online about a publishing company in New York that is interested in picking up where Freeze left off. Sure this is in its infant stages, but discussions of this nature are always good. All they want to know is that if they do go through with such an idea, will people subscribe? I think three quarters of the members of newschoolers.com will subscribe to a publication such as that. But can another publication firm make a magazine of quality that Freeze produced? Only the future knows the answer to this and many other questions of this nature and I guess weâ€™ll have to wait.
Credit to newschoolers.com for information and quotes