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New magazine signals sport's maturity
Wednesday, 18 February 2004
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It's hard to believe that snowboarding, once the enfant terrible of the winter sports scene, has been around winter resorts for more than 20 years.

It has grown from an oddity with a few thousand adherents in the early 1980s to a full-fledged Olympic sport with 5.5 million riders today, according to a recent Snowsports Industries America survey.

And now, a group of snowboarding veterans has launched a magazine that reflects the sport's maturity and, yes, even its history.

The Snowboard Journal debuted in January and already is riding a powdery wave of popular acclaim within the snowboarding community, publisher Jason Ford said.

"When we sent the first issue to the printer, we thought, 'Well, we know it is good.'

"But we really didn't know if we were right," said Ford, a 33-year-old former professional snowboarder.

"But we are getting calls and e-mails and trade-show feedback, and the response has been overwhelming.

"People really love this magazine."

Weighing in at 114 pages of slick, heavy paper, the first issue includes lavish photo spreads (check out the picture of Mike Basich dropping 80-feet from a helicopter - the amazing picture actually was taken by Basich himself, via a remote camera).

The writing is richly literate and thankfully free of the expected "Hey, dude!" snowboarder's jargon.

Typical of the content is the premier issue's in-depth interview with Todd Richards, a former Summit County resident, U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team member and acknowledged master on the pro circuit, that offers readers the inside perspective on the changing competition scene.

There also are many surprises, such as an article and photos that trace the snowboard's origins to a Chicago inventor who carved turns on a true snowboard made of barrel staves and even patented the "improved sled" design in 1939.

Ford and his partner, Jon Foster, a professional photographer and past editor at Trans-World Snowboarding, hope to unleash novel photos and articles with each issue and explore aspects of snowboarding that haven't been addressed elsewhere.

"There will be surprises," Ford said. "We want a reader to open the cover and say, 'Wow! I never saw that coming!' "

Recognizing that snowboarders come in all ages and from all backgrounds, the folks involved with the magazine hope to make something that will appeal to 30-something moms and dads as well as 16-year-old kids.

"Snowboarding has reached maturity, and this verifies it," Foster said. "TransWorld, Snowboarder and the other magazines, they are very important to the sport of snowboarding. They push the limits. The kids relate to them. But what they can't do is reach the entire audience of snowboarding.

"Until now, if you weren't a 16-year-old kid, where would you go?"

The answer, at least for now, is the The Snowboard Journal. The quarterly magazine is available through Barnes & Noble bookstores, snowboard shops and via subscription on the Web site www.snowboardjournal.com.



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