It is here, and it is good. Long awaited Ski Journal 2 arrived yesterday in a plain white wrapper. The book is thick and content laden. They probably need to print more advertising. But the Ski Journal team is not sitting around moaning about their ratio (at least not in public). Instead, publisher/editor Jeff Galbraith and partners are taking advantage of a blank canvas and filling it with goodies — to the extent it takes me more than two sittings to read through the thing. Shoot, last time that happened was when I picked up my wife’s latest issue of Oprah.
You know how a lot of ski mags put their gallery at the back? Okaaaay, why? You open up Ski Journal and the ski porn hits your retina like you’re staring at the sun with your eyelids duct taped. The format is big, almost full bleed to the edges with color reproduction that yields painterly tones that seem to engage senses beyond the optic nerve.
Then you move along to the content. Aha, a mix of old and new, backcountry and resort. You can hear the editorial team mumbling “it’s all good” as they throw back espresso during an all night production epic. The meat of this issue starts with a lengthy piece about Jay Peak, the New England lift-served that’s said to be a powder paradise. I’m still not convinced Jay=Alta, but author Peter Oliver seems to think it comes close, and his writing is convincing. Next, we visit Kitzbuhel and learn about the culture of the Hahnenkamm downhill race, that amazing test that still makes most freeride comps look like Nintendo — but what happens when Kitzbuhel doesn’t have enough snow for the race?
Whoa, after the words about Kitzbuhel’s epic we dive back into images. Only this time they’re paintings by Austrian landscape artist Alfons Walde, with backcountry skiers included.
You can get stuck on Walde but have to move on as the next treat is a cool retrospective about the backcountry skiing life in Jackson, Wyoming back in the early 1970s. Indeed, we’re getting into history here — only this is history with a truly personal slant.
Okay, turn the page. A good profile the ski industry’s “most successful risk taker” Shane McConkey whets your appetite for the people side of things.
So, now you’re warmed up for personalities? Not to disappoint, we receive as the denouement of this issue the “Flamingo Flashback,” a content rich take on the making of a 1985 Greg Stump movie. Terrific stuff — and the blackmail shots of Plake and Hattrup have to be seen. As it says in the intro: “…our goal was to be outwardly irresponsible with our sponsor’s money, but in a responsible enough way not to lose the sponsors…” Seems like they pulled it off. As for Skijournal, with this issue they nailed it as well. WildSnow.com three thumbs up.
P.S., Speaking of publications, Chris Davenport’s new 14ers book is available for advanced orders, to be shipped in December. Order here.