Words: Annie Fast
When the first issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding hit the press in 1987, the sport was still in its infancy. Snowboarding was just beginning to earn acceptance at ski resorts, the “industry” consisted of a small group of hands-on creators, and the colorful tribe of snowboarders were still a novelty to the greater population.
TWSNOW was the second title launched by TransWorld Media after TransWorld SKATEboarding; it was founded by Tracker Trucks owner Larry Balma and Peggy Cozens in Oceanside, California. Before the launch, images of snowboarding appeared in early issues of TWSKATE starting in the winter of 1983, introducing the sport to skateboarders turned early snowboard pros like Steve Caballero, Noah Salasnek, and John Cardiel and influencing the freestyle trajectory of the sport.
For the past 30 years, TransWorld SNOWboarding has become the defacto history book for the sport—riders’ entire careers are played out through the pages; trends in riding style, location, and fashion come and go; the nonstop progression of the sport is clearly evident. To celebrate these 30 years of documentation of, and participation in the lifestyle that defines us, we present highlights from the last three decades of TWSNOW. Cheers to the epic past; here’s to looking forward to the future.
First Decade 1987- 1996
The first decade of TransWorld SNOWboarding parallels the trajectory of snowboarding with modest beginnings leading to astronomical industry and participant growth and riding progression. The magazine showcases a sport accelerating from riding in obscurity on sidehills to international competitions, major sponsorships, and the realization of the dream of pro snowboarding.
1987 — Issue #01 Debuts
The first issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding releases in the fall of 1987 with then TransWorld SKATEboarding editorial director Kevin Kinnear as editor and seasoned surf and skate photo editor Guy Motil. The issue focuses on stories of pro riders’ first experiences with snowboarding and a breakdown of the Worlds competition in Breckenridge, Colorado, and the North American Championships in Banff, Canada. Craig Kelly also launches his own trick tip column called “Techniques”, which includes roast beefs, 360 air-to-fakies, and other cutting-edge freestyle tricks.
1988 — USASA Founding
The United States Amateur Snowboarding Association (USASA) is incorporated by Chuck Allen with a 500-dollar donation from TransWorld SNOWboarding. USASA becomes the first governing body exclusively for competitive amateur snowboarding. The organization continues to this day as the main contest circuit for up-and-coming riders competing at local contests in hopes of making it to the annual National Championships.
1989 — First Interview: Craig Kelly
Craig Kelly earns the first-ever interview in the November 1989 issue. Securing an interview became a benchmark in every pro snowboarder’s career along with earning a cover. In the interview, Kelly reveals his plan to transition out of contest riding.
1991 — TransWorld Readers’ Poll Awards
The TransWorld Readers’ Poll Awards are first held March 20, 1991, in Las Vegas as a celebration of the top riders in the sport. The simple categories and the list of winners read like a roll call of all that was cool about snowboarding, with Craig Kelly and Tara Eberhard winning Best All-Around Riders. The awards later become known as Riders’ Poll, which encompass the Readers’ Choice category.
1993— TransWorld SNOW Video Magazine
TransWorld SNOWboarding Video Magazine launches in partnership with cinematographer Mike McEntire (Mack Dawg). The iconic first episode features Peter Line, Todd Schlosser, Dave Lee, Terje Haakonsen, Jason Brown, Jim Rippey, Craig Kelly, Shaun Palmer, Noah Salasnek, Mike Basich, Shannon Dunn, Daniel Franck, Jason Ford, and more. TWSNOW Video Magazine released four episodes this year.
1995 — First Backcountry Snowmobile Feature
TransWorld publishes the first backcountry snowmobile feature in the September issue, “TransCanada Drop Zone,” followed by “The Killing Season,” which relatedly highlights backcountry safety.
1995-98 — The Chameleon Strikes!
Throughout this time, the list of resorts allowing snowboarding grows, while the list banning it shrinks to a few holdouts including Alta, Park City, Aspen Mountain, Keystone, and Taos. The editorial staff famously enlists a secret agent named The Chameleon to infiltrate the resorts banning snowboarding by riding the lifts with a splitboard in ski mode and riding down with it put together as a snowboard.
Second Decade: 1997-2006
Big-time pros and progression personify this era with urban features and massive backcountry cheesewedges serving as the setting for freestyle evolution. The pages of the magazine are filled with morphed images capturing the technical tricks and keeping pace with the massive influence of video crews at the time.
1999 — TransWorld Team Challenge
The first-ever TransWorld Team Challenge—a competition to determine the best team in snowboarding—is held at Snow Summit in California and won by the Atlantis team. The event ran for 10 years before transforming into the Team Shoot Out, which premiered in the September 2009 issue and online.
2002 — ‘Has the video killed the magazine star?’
Former TWSNOW senior editor Jennifer Sherowski asks, “Has video killed the magazine star?” in a feature documenting the supremacy of the powerhouse film companies including Mack Dawg Productions, Absinthe Films, Kingpin, Standard Films, and Robot Food at the peak of their influence. TWSNOW partners with film crews throughout the decade, positioning our senior staff photographers behind the scenes to fill the pages of the magazine with incredible action.
2002 — Shaun White
A 16-year-old Shaun White makes his debut on the cover of the April 2002 issue. By the October 2009 issue he would set a new record for the most TWSNOW covers at six total. This first cover marks the beginning of his momentous career in snowboarding. In his first TWSNOW interview in the February 2002 issue, Shaun lays out his goals to “win an Olympic event … make up my own trick … [and] learn a 1080 flip in the pipe.” The two-time Olympic gold medalist has accomplished all of the above.
2002 — Winter Olympics
Profiled in our September 2002 “Heavy Medal” issue, the US sweeps the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City with Ross Powers, Danny Kass, and JJ Thomas taking the men’s halfpipe podium. The issue also includes a feature “SLC Punks Urban Uprising” written and photographed by senior photographer Andy Wright documenting SLC as the epicenter of urban riding—winches, shovels, and all.
2003 — Craig Kelly’s passing
Craig Kelly’s untimely passing on January 20, 2003, is documented in the September 2003 issue with a eulogy written by former TWSNOW editor in chief Eric Blehm, “The Gatekeeper: Craig Kelly.” In it Blehm recounts Kelly’s immense contribution to both the sport and this magazine.
2003 — The Jeff Anderson Interview
The January 2003 issue features Jeff Anderson’s interview, “I Am Snowboarding: The Jeff Anderson Interview” written by former TWSNOW senior editor Joel Muzzey. The interview captures Jeff at the peak of his career prior to his passing on February 23, 2003.
2003 — TransAm Amateur Contest Series
TWSNOW launches the TransAm amateur contest series. The series continues to this day with a daylong contest focused on maximizing creative features, exuding positivity and exposing local talent. Past winners include Lucas Magoon, Chas Guldemond, Gabi Viteri, and Matt Ladley to name a few.
Third Decade: 2007- 2016
Snowboarding is firmly established and now diversifying into niches. Riders begin to specialize— labels like urban, big-mountain, backcountry, and contest become more applicable. TWSNOW also diversifies as the greater media world goes digital—multimedia features, apps, social media, live broadcasting, and webisode video production add to our established print, web, and video presence.
2007 — TWSNOW Video Re-launched
TWSNOW video production is re-launched with Joe Carlino in the driver’s seat. 20 Tricks is the first full-length offering, followed by These Days, Get Real, In Color, and Origins; 2016 marks the release of the feature film Insight. The 20 Tricks series has continued through seven trick-tip volumes, morphing into the FunDuhMentals series in 2016.
2008 — Sunday in the Park
TWSNOW premieres Sunday In The Park on TWSNOW.com, the first-ever weekly snowboard webisode series. SITP was conceived by Justin Meyer and former TWSNOW online editor Evan LeFebvre and shot and edited by Meyer at California’s Bear Mountain. The first episode featured Johnny Miller, Nima Jalali, Darrel Mathes, Joe Mertes, Zak Hale, and Meyer lapping the park. The series continues to this day with 14 episodes dropping on TWSNOW.com in 2016.
2009 — Team Shoot Out
Inspired by TransWorld SKATEboarding’s Skate & Create series, the TWSNOW editorial staff reimagines the Team Challenge as the Team Shoot Out—a creative battle of photo, video, and skill, pitting four snowboard teams against each other. Each team took on the challenge of conceiving a creative concept and delivering photos and a video from the weeklong shoot. The Shoot Out ran for four winters: Rome Snowboards took the first win and the coveted cover of the September 2009 issue, followed by Salomon in 2010, Technine in 2011, and Nike in 2012.
2010 — The Biggest Greatest Trip Ever
We call it “The Best Biggest Greatest Trip Ever.” TransWorld partners with Brain Farm on the groundbreaking The Art Of Flight movie for our oversized 200th issue, which features Travis Rice on the cover clearing a canyon-sized stepdown. Senior photographer Scott Serfas shares his experience in words and photos of the month-long shoot with Rice, Mark Landvik, and John Jackson in the newly discovered Tordrillo Range of Alaska.
2011 — The first-ever backside triple cork
Mark McMorris lands the first-ever backside triple cork on the fifth jump in Aspen’s public park during TransWorld’s Park Sessions. He does it without a helmet because he’s yet to receive a branded one from newly acquired sponsor Red Bull.
2014 — Holy Crail Sage Kotsenburg
TransWorld’s Holy Crail web series follows Olympic hopeful Sage Kotsenburg as he vies for a spot on the US Slopestyle team. Sage is an unlikely contender at the series’ beginning and the gold medalist in the Games’ first-ever slopestyle event by the end.
2016 — Eddie’s Wall Goes Live
TWSNOW expands on the Eddie’s Wall series launched in 2015, including more user interaction through live broadcasts, allowing viewers to submit questions as Eddie talks with riders and industry folks. Interviewees include Travis Rice, who ends up revealing behind-the-scenes details about the upcoming The Fourth Phase movie supposed to be kept under wraps until the film’s launch.