Ever since high school, I’ve loyally subscribed to numerous ski magazines. Back then, I used to scissor out favorite photos and tape them to my bedroom wall. I’d devour every article and dream of someday writing for Powder, just like T.J. Burke from Aspen Extreme. As an overeager, wannabe pro skier, those publications were like mentors to me. They taught me the important stuff, like what to wear on the slopes, how to speak in bro-brah slang, and how to find single women in sausage-fest ski towns. But most importantly, the words and images between the covers of those past issues instilled in me a love of ski culture.

But over the decades, as these legacy magazines have been handed down to younger and more hip editors, I’ve slowly come to realize that I am no longer among their target reader demographic. Flipping through one such recent issue, I found articles and advertisements filled with Millennial-style and Gen Y turns of phrase and design choice. I’m perplexed by certain words. As I flipped through the pages and scanned the columns, I felt totally “not woke,” like I’m “basic AF.”

In addition, the usual photos of skiers on big lines that I used to hang on walls now scare more than inspire. The young bum in me who was once able to hop-turn down 60-degree slopes and brag about 100-day ski seasons has become a career man, weekend warrior, father, and not-so-proud owner of failing knees. As a result, my risk tolerance is about as low as my adrenaline level.

So I propose a new backcountry ski magazine aimed at middle-aged parents who have full-time jobs and are psyched if they can ski at least once a week. A publication that caters to the has-beens, never-have-beens, and wish we had-beens. I’d call it Meadow Skipper Magazine.

Within the pages of this hypothetical rag, I’d enjoy reading articles that speak to my current level of ski involvement. Here are a few ideas I could pitch to the publisher:

Illustration by Scott DuBar

“Top 5 Wasatch Routes Your Knees Won’t Let You Ski”

Does your Wasatch backcountry bucket list include marquee lines like Coalpit Headwall, Lone Peak’s East Face, or Cold Fusion Couloir? Well you better put that Sharpie away because you won’t be checking off any of those boxes. After the skin track approach and about an hour of boot-packing, your bum knee will be screaming like that chick in the psycho shower. Instead, we offer alternatives from Andrew Mclean’s Chuting Gallery that better describe your physical condition; routes like Granny Chute, Baldy Chute, or The Hangnail.

“Mentorship: Is It Really Worth It?”

So you’re backcountry skiing with 20-somethings who are keen to learn from your decades of touring experience and knowhow. Congratulations! You are now officially a mentor. Soon you’ll feel the eye-opening regret of being left behind in the skin track. When you finally catch up at the summit, any questions posed to you about avalanche risk or route-finding will go unanswered because you’ll still be catching your breath by the time they’re all skiing down. In this article, we will dive into the traumatic psychological effects this may cause, and explore how skiing with partners your own middle age leads to healthier self-esteem.

“How Low Angle is Too Low Angle?”

Our crack team of parental staff writers will scour the backcountry to discover the ultimate low-angle slope. Using a scientific approach that you can use in the field, we’ll determine the ideal degrees between safe meadow skipping and so flat that you might as well be going uphill. Our handy chart will include a breakdown of how low-angle is too low angle based on a degrees-to-new-snowfall ratio to help avoid floundering on deep powder days. Because if you have kids waiting for you to come home, you can never be too safe, even if the avalanche danger is green at all elevations and aspects.

“Hacks to Make Your Beacon Harness Fit Around Your Belly.”

Not touring as much as you used to? Has a recent lack of exercise made you fat? Eating too much pocket bacon? Then you better check and see if your beacon harness still fits. If you’re like me, you adjusted your brand new beacon harness to fit your younger and thinner body, then cut off the excess straps. Fast forward a few years and uh oh! Now there’s not enough strap left to size up to your newfound rotundness. What to do? We’ve got simple hacks using everyday household items to retrofit your harness so that it fits again. Pro tip: elastic is your friend. We’ll also include techniques to use aftermarket GORE-TEX waist extenders to resize your pants if you prefer using a beacon pocket.

“Most Forgiving Gear Guide”

Meadow skippers don’t need the fattest, stiffest, highest turn-radius skis on the market. Those planks are too hard to control. Instead we prefer skis that are a bit more forgiving. So we will dedicate an entire issue as the “Most Forgiving Gear Guide.” We’ll gather together a dozen geriatric skiers and splitboarders to Powder Park in Big Cottonwood Canyon and test the latest skis, boards and boots from select brands to determine which setups let us weave through tight aspen glades and slow-speed pastures without wrenching our hips.

“Pro Tips to Capture Slow-Speed Ski Photos”

Speed is necessary to throw up a proper rooster tail or in-the-face snow wave for that “looks deeper than it really is” powder pic. But it’s an even more difficult task when your subjects are meadow skipping low-angle fluff. We’ll enlist professional photographers (read: Action Shots photographers from local ski resorts) to share their trade secrets on how to make bad skiers look so ‘effin rad.


So, who’s ready to sign up for an annual subscription?

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Jared Hargrave

What innovation would you (realistically) like to see that might be beneficial to backcountry skiing?

Grumpy Hargrave doesn't want innovations, so as not to attract more skiers into an already crowded backcountry. However, optimistic Hargrave wants a new innovation in avalanche airbag packs. Specifically, technology that would make them far less expensive, so that everyone can afford to be safer in the mountains.

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Eric Bonin
Eric Bonin
3 years ago

I would subscribe. This is great.

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