Six years ago I thought I was leaving the world of NS content creation forever, so I wrote this article, trying to convince more people to step up and write about their experiences with skiing.
Who knows what impact, if any, that piece had, but here we are, six ski seasons later, and I’m here to say the same thing again, for the same reasons. We need more people talking about their experiences with skiing, what they love, and what they hate about this stupid pastime, and this website offers one of the best platforms to do that.
Ski media has always struggled with presenting content that represents the whole spectrum of sliding around on a couple of planks. That’s how mainstream media works in any environment—when you’re trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator, you end up producing lower quality, generic, boring content. In the last few seasons, we’ve seen good ski media continue to die off. Great mags shut their doors, crappy sites baited our clicks, and skiing continued its eternal commodification.
The best weapon against that bland, generic, homogenous view of skiing is a creative, diverse cast of content creators portraying their lived experiences with skiing, instead of trying to conform to the traditional confines of what ski mags usually print.
Skiing sucks in a lot of ways, and Newschoolers reflects that. Skiing is sexist, racist, ableist, the list goes on. And Newschoolers is a community of skiers, many of whom check those boxes.
The internet is a shitty place, full of shitty people, saying shitty things. I don’t think we’re alone in that. Just peruse the comment section on social media anytime a mainstream ski outlet says anything remotely political. Their fanbase is just as toxic as ours. That’s part of why more established media outlets shy away from hard conversations–they bring the trolls to light and expose the side of skiing we like to pretend doesn’t exist.
But it does. Plenty of shitty people love skiing. Newschoolers gives some of them a platform to talk about skiing, and about how hateful they are. It’s hard to moderate the volume of speech that happens on this site. It’s hard to effect cultural change on the internet. We have a long way to go on both of those fronts.
The flipside of that is Newschoolers offers a free, accessible platform to anyone who wants to share their perspective on what skiing means to them. Make a profile and that little “Post” button is always there, waiting for you to express how this activity makes you feel.
I used to wish I could write for ski magazines, while also understanding that I had no desire to write the sort of things ski magazines published. Endless interviews with the same six pros and generic trip reports have never driven my creativity. But on this website, I saw the alternative, people who were willing to engage with more niche content, interested in learning about how the skiing experience affected others.
I could have just written on my personal blog—after all, we’re not supposed to create content for free, right? But building an audience for a personal blog is a long slog, and the point of writing is to have people read it, so I started posting on here. I wrote terrible pieces, and decent ones, even a few that I’m really proud of. But mostly, I just wrote how skiing made me feel. That’s what I still do, nearly ten years later. Twice a week, every week, all winter. I sit down and try to think through how skiing is affecting me, and how I can express that to you all.
You can do that. Whether it’s photos, drawings, writing, video, poetry. Whatever it is, you can express how skiing makes you feel. Please, do that, share it, make it real.
Maybe I’m just selfish. I’m so damn tired of reading the same canned interviews and trip reports. I’ve blocked the worst of the clickbait sites, and I find myself getting angrier and angrier at generic ski reporting. But please, please, please, give me something new to read! I know there are more interesting takes out there than the ones getting published in mags, on most websites. And NS gives you a platform to share them. No gatekeepers, no editors, just a few clicks, and then an audience.
Sometimes that audience is hateful. NS is still a community in progress. Reach out to a user with a green name and they’ll be happy to help you deal with any BS. I can’t guarantee you any positive response, my first article was a ridiculous flop. But I can say, if you want to be a good writer, you’re going to have to get plenty of bad writing out of the way first. And I want to read what you have to say, whether it’s well or poorly written. I’m here to upvote new writers, try to pump you up in the comments. And I’m happy to give things a quick read before you run them if you think that would be helpful. Mostly, I just want to help anyone reading this share their experience with skiing. So my DM’s are always open, what can I do to help build you up?
In 2012, when I joined this website, I was on a path to be a mechanical engineer who skied a few weekends a season. I started writing here, I realized I wanted to just tell stories, I realized I wanted to dedicate a large portion of my life to celebrate the things I love about skiing while working to change the ones I hate. My entire trajectory changed because I wrote things here, realized I loved writing them and decided to chase that feeling. Write on NS. You might not come away feeling like it changed the trajectory of your life like it did for me, but it will make skiing better, and it might just make you better too.