Words: Annie Fast
Photo Direction: Chris Wellhausen
Snowboarding is firmly established and now diversifying into niches. Riders begin to specialize—urban riders, big mountain riders, contest riders, soul carvers, splitboarders and technical masters. 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 productions 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, Nation, Origins, Insights, Arcadia, through Kamikazu, our final film releasing in 2019. The 20 Tricks series has continued through seven trick tip volumes, morphing into the FunDuhMentals series in 2016.
2008: TWSNOW premieres Sunday in the Park on TWSNOW.com, the first-ever weekly snowboard webisode series. SITP was conceived of 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. With edits releasing into 2019, this series might also be the longest running snowboard webisode series.
2009: Inspired by TransWorld Skateboarding's Skate & Create series, the TWSNOW editorial staff reimagine 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.
2011: We called 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: Mark McMorris lands the first-ever 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.
2016: TWSNOW expands on the Eddie's Wall series launched in 2015, including more user interaction through live broadcasts, which allows 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 then-upcoming The Fourth Phase movie supposed to be kept under wraps until the film's launch.
2018: The December 2018, and what would be the final issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding, hits newsstands and mailboxes around the world. It featured Dustin Craven on the cover and was photographed by Darcy Bacha.
The Editors Look Back:
Joe Carlino, VIDEO PRODUCTION MANAGER, 2006 – 2010
I remember the first day visiting the TransWorld office in Oceanside, CA and feeling the glowing energy of the athletes, photographers, filmers, art directors and editors who had been in there. The place bleeds creativity and to be a part of that was a dream. Growing up in New York reading TransWorld Skate and Snow, it was an honor to just visit the building, let alone bring the snow video production back to life. From day one, then Editor Kurt Hoy threw me in the mix and we dug right into creating web videos and DVDs, first 20 Tricks, the instructional video series, then onto the feature films like These Days and In Color. It was a learning experience every year, videos got better with riders like Devun Walsh, Iikka Backstrom, Scotty Lago and Keegan Valaika joining the crew; Robbie Walker, Mark Sollors, and Mikkel Bang put crazy video parts together.
It was an amazing time because I was just coming up in the scene along with the next generation of riders like Bryan Fox, Austin Smith, Louif Paradis and Jed Anderson to name a few. Crazy times were had with Evan LeFebvre who was the TWSNOW Online editor at the time. We traveled the world and documented snowboarding and the life we all dreamt of as teenagers. We worked hard, but the whole time it felt like we were scamming the system, 'How could this be our job?' we'd always ask each other. The good times from filming in Japan, New Zealand, flying around in helicopters to maybe sinking a rental van in a pond (shhhh). They were all experiences we will never forget.
Those years our SNOW crew was tight, we surfed in the morning together, rolled to lunch eight deep, worked all day, then hung out all weekend together—it was a strong team. I'll never forget the life lessons and inspiration I took away from that workspace. Late nights talking to our eccentric "chief inspiration officer" John Wright, TWSKATE's Eric Stricker popping his head into the edit bay at 11pm to offer a Coors Light, or the mind blowing tricks that I was able to include in the videos that changed urban snowboarding to this day–Louif's first backside 270 to fakie, Robbie Walker dropping all four 1080s in These Days, Jed and Nick Dirks creative spot selection. There is no doubt in my mind I wouldn't be where I am today without everyone at TransWorld. But more importantly I was honored to open the door and work with so many talented filmers like Theo Muse and Justin Gunson who eventually took the reins of that dark but spacious Carlsbad edit bay.
Annie Fast, EDITOR IN CHIEF, 2008 – 2012
My time as Editor In Chief started with a big move, literally. After about 20 years, TransWorld Media was moving out of our Oceanside, California offices, packed with character and history, into shiny new Carlsbad offices courtesy of our new owners, Bonnier Corp. The move was good—we now had a full suite of state-of-the-art editing bays for each magazine's video production staff. We had reliable high-speed internet at last to feed the hungry website allowing us to do bandwidth-hogging things like launching live video premieres with in-office rider interviews—cool ways to interact with our readers in the mountains as we continued working remotely from snowboarding at the beach in SoCal.
But the catch was that we couldn't move everything with us, we had to let some of the past go. It was soul breaking walking away from the memorabilia layered on the walls, crammed into nooks, packed into every available space in the building. And maybe a little prescient of the road we were heading down.
My time in the editor's seat was definitely about digital, that's not to say that we weren't still cranking out twelve issues per volume, but that was now a given. We looked at everything with a new set of eyes, reinventing the Team Challenge to be the Team Shootout, Park Check is now Park Sessions, more online friendly with video—I think the ad guys were calling it 360 degree activations or something. We added scan QR codes linking every print cover and feature to a video component—while those ugly QR codes never really took off, the "pivot" to video definitely did.
Then there were the iPad issues. Oh man, did the art department of Dustin Koop and John Antoski (aka the Canadians) ever put time and energy into creating dynamic, immersive iPad versions of each issue. Their contribution to TWSNOW at this time was immense, creating identities and graphics for movies, Buyer's Guide covers, product shoots, all of course while designing the magazine. I'm not even going to get into the effort the editorial staff put into maintaining the newly-significant social media accounts. But we fed those beasts, too. And online, better get those contest results up as they happen or it's old news.
In all seriousness, the website gave us great opportunities, one of my favorites was our coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Honestly, the halfpipe was shit right up to competition day, we (then Photo & Video Director Nick Hamilton and I) documented the challenges faced by the riders and the eventual miracle of competition day in a daily blog that had more reader comments and interaction than anything we'd ever experienced… and of course, Shaun White.
During this time, in sync with the magazine's diversification, riders were specializing in sub-genres of the sport that had little overlap. We were in the double-cork era. Mark McMorris did us a solid and landed the first ever triple-cork during the TransWorld Park Sessions at Aspen. Thereafter contests became affairs that required either a penchant for math or a pocket calculator. Alternately, splitboarding was taking off—Josh Dirksen got the cover airing in front of Mt. Whitney on his splitboard. And JP Walker was still dominating out in the streets—and he finally got his first TWSNOW cover! Not sure what the holdup was.
With all of this progression, we still kept an eye on the past. Two of my favorite issues during my "reign" covered the history of the magazine—Travis Rice and John Jackson blew minds blasting over a huge gap in Alaska in the oversized 200th issue complete with a pullout poster of all 200 covers. And Craig Kelly (RIP) got a cover again on our January 2012 issue celebrating 25 years of TransWorld SNOWboarding, my last issue as editor.
We threw a rowdy party at Hyde Lounge during opening weekend at Mammoth Mountain to celebrate the 200th issue with Travis and John. This was always my favorite part—getting out of the office. Being a snowboarder. We had plenty of time to do that, too. Summers in Chile and Argentina, exploratory missions to China (has that market taken off yet?). A couple weeks with the Car Danchi crew in the backcountry of Hokkaido, 24-hours of daylight on an Icelandic glacier, snowed-in in the Atlas mountains of Morocco. The snowboarding, the riders, photographers and videographers we got to travel with are my best memories. Yes, TransWorld was a dream job, in the same way that being a snowboarder is a dream life.
Nick Hamilton, CONTENT DIRECTOR, 2012 – 2019
Media and the world as we know it started a huge transition a decade ago. Since the dawn of time the content seen by snowboarders was curated by the editors of magazines and the very top filmmakers. Only the highest level of photography and video footage was shared. As the world embraced digital, young riders trying to break through and get noticed began riding with cell phones in hand, documenting and posting directly to a rapidly-growing and highly-engaged audience. In this media transition, the owners of TransWorld at the time were Bonnier, a forward thinking Swedish company whose belief was digital first. With my background in photography and video, I transitioned into a new role as Content Director, replacing the previous Editor position to evolve with the times. Reaching new audiences through new channels was the priority, and the old print magazine formula we all grew up with became just part of a complex puzzle of the ways TransWorld reached passionate snowboarders. TWSNOW.com was the largest snowboarding website in the world, along with massive social channels, multiple movies, a robust YouTube channel, iTunes library, 21 years of the Riders Poll Awards show, live social shows like Eddie's Wall Live, as well as the traditional print magazine.
During this window snowboarding peaked out on the rapid progression, watching the first double corks from JP Walker and David Benedek, then the first triple corks from Mark McMorris and Torstein Horgmo, to then the first quad corks by Max Parrot and Billy Morgan. With all the digital channels available to riders, as well as an audience, snowboarding was able to diversify like never before. Through social and real time engagement, the feedback was like nothing experienced before. The old focus groups and Readers Surveys were replaced with like counters and comments, which, within a few minutes of posting, would clearly define the audience interest. Viral videos ranged from the aspirational riding like Travis Rice’s Supernatural hosted at the exclusive Baldface Lodge, to the attainable riding from Dylan Gamache's carving combos in the Yawgoons videos from a tiny hill in Rhode Island, to the popularity of local Banked Slalom events. Riders like Jeremy Jones who founded Protect Our Winters were able to share their beliefs and influence directly.
If the original mission statement of TransWorld SNOWboarding was to "Grow and Promote The Sport," that mission was clearly completed. TWSNOW's departure leaves a special place in many people's hearts around the globe for guiding the voice of snowboarding during pivotal years of its growth. Now it's up to the riders themselves to continue to steer, entertain and educate.
Taylor Boyd, MANAGING EDITOR, 2016 – 2019
"Make every mag like it's the last." It was both a mantra to work by and a lightly sinister joke between Nick Hamilton and I, given the times we were working in. I read TransWorld SNOWboarding cover-to-cover from the time I knew how. Ingemar's method graced the front of my first copy. According to my mom, a subscription was the best way to get me to consume words on paper. I couldn't have imagined I would someday work there, but by the time I was old enough, the big budgets were gone, and so too were the days of exotic trips written about months later. The insatiable internet has no patience. A tumultuous reality was all I knew, and that was just fine.
I met Nick in the White Salmon Lodge at Mount Baker, while I was recording video of the Legendary Banked Slalom awards ceremony on the phone in my left hand and trying to aim a clunky 70-200mm with my right, hoping in the back of my mind that maybe I'd have to set it down to go stand up there. Of course, my time wasn't fast enough. The snowboard magazine I was shooting these shaky photos for was feeling the squeeze that TransWorld was slightly more insulated from, and as I boarded a flight out of Sea-Tac, an email from Nick brightened the screen of that same phone. So I drove to California to take the dream job that is working for TWSNOW, packing my bags each December to head quickly back to higher elevations, then migrating south again in the spring to pull out that key card Kurt Hoy spoke of.
Since past editors have written of snowboarding's climate at the time, I suppose it's my duty to address the present. And speaking of "climate," let's start there. Seasons are less predictable than ever, and it seems the snowboard community that is dependent on at least three of four is starting to take note. It's a start. From a fundamental standpoint, us printing a bunch of magazines was never helping that cause anyway.
It was a business restructuring that sent TransWorld SNOWboarding the way of the leash and the low-back. For the year leading up to this memorial, we were aware that an impending sale would affect us, but in what way we weren't sure. Each potential buyer had a different plan for the magazine titles they were acquiring. That the entirety of the snowboarding industry is run more by corporations than ever before is a natural part of its aging. But snowboarding as a whole is reorganizing right now, and it's something corporate overlords can do little to affect. We are in a time where anything goes in snowboarding, its fundamental aspects are appreciated more than they have been since the magazine's early days, and in their pocket, everyone has the means to document it. As we climb closer to the ceiling of physics' limitations on spins and flips, an appreciation of style and the most elementary but integral components is seen in riding from participants of all demographics. Everyone can find something to latch onto in this culture that TransWorld has played such a critical role in creating. But snowboarding can stand on its own better than ever before. It will find new ways to document itself and chronicle the feeling that everyone who's worked at TransWorld has strived to convey through its channels.
No acquisition can affect the act of snowboarding, but I wouldn't have the same appreciation for it without the magazine I grew up on, and I know I'm not alone in that. I'm proud to have worked alongside such an incredible team, in the footsteps of everyone else whose words sit above mine. It's wild to have worked on the final issue, but at least we didn't hold back!