Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Goodbye BackCountry (magazine)

My 3rd letter to the editor got published this month in BackCountry magazine. As usual, the editor took the liberty to comment on my letter after it. Leaving me looking kinda stupid. I hate it how they always get the last word, it seems so unfair. I'd commented (after making several positive comments on the magazine that would help their advertising for the gear issue) that their reviews were almost all on huge skis that almost no one would truly back country ski on, being quite heavy).  I suggested that in the future they tested actually in the backcountry and make testers skin up thus weighing the factor of lightness into the test. They came back with some smarty pants answer that they’d do that when we start having rando races out of bounds (a true back country race).

Well, duh, just because in North America they have the races inbounds doesn’t mean that the sport is really this way. Pretty much every Euro race is held in the back country, with the possible exception of vertical races. American and Canadian races really don’t reflect the true nature of the sport. Euros would laugh hysterically if they saw our small fields with telemark skiers taking part. In one ad for the COSMIC series there was some dufus running at the start carrying a snowboard. Good Grief! What a joke! It’d be like Lance Armstrong not taking drugs!

"BackCountry" mag used to be "Couloir"..... a really classy journal for serious skiers. It profiled real heros of the sport and gave super good instructional tips on bc ski survival and skills. This new mag is becoming increasingly irrelevant to true, hardy, back country skiing. Their gear issue only reviewed gear you’d use for side country and the cover (the cover!)... profiled some fictional brandy swilling, cigar smoking non-skiing moron. I couldn’t imagine anyone appreciating their attempt at humor.

Add to that, I opened the cover looking for Adrew McClain’s column only to find that Biff had replaced him. Biff already had a column on the last page and I’d thought for years they needed to get rid of this self serving, self acclaimed slacker that’s afraid of Christians, conservatives, skimo racers and anyone else that reminded him how pathetic his life is.

I then began to reason that I need to replace my BC subscription with a real ski magazine. Realizing that this would be hard to find in N. America, so I dug out a copy of an Italian mag I picked up a couple years ago at skimo worlds in Italy. "SkiAlper" turns out is way more informative, instructional and motivational to me even if I can’t read a word of it. They had a great pictoral-instruction section on kick turns, several pictures of classic skimo races and racer profiles. They profiled a couple old skiing legends with pictures of their past and now present skiing. The magazine profiled a jr. skimo race club and thoroughly reviewed a new ski brand called "Lighter Ski". There was so much more too.... a review of ski boots Evo v. Alien, great places to tour in Italy and Europe, etc.,etc. There’s no way BackCountry, or probably any other N. American mag will give any coverage to skimo racing or true back country skiing. In it’s day Couloir was pretty good, but things have really degenerated. Unfortunately, magazines like BC have a pretty big influence on the sport. Hopefully, BC mag has just lost it’s way and really doesn’t represent the state of true back country skiing in the USA & Canada.

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