One challenge in being a middle-aged snowboarder is finding reading materials that are written more like the New Yorker–or even USA Today–and less like … well, I’m not going to go there. A few years ago I wrote a review of snowboarding magazines, and didn’t much like what I saw.
In particular, I had harsh words for TransWorld Snowboarding. One reason is that it is the industry standard and has (I believe) the largest circulation of snowboarding magazines. Another is that it takes the unsatisfactory qualities of the genre–vulgar language, an unreadable graphic design, and an attitude that plays to the stereotype of snowboarders–to a higher level.
Sometime after writing those reviews I received an e-mail from one of the editors of TWS, saying that the magazine was changing. (Unfortunately it got lost in my e-mail box and I didn’t see it for quite a while.) I haven’t had much contact with the publication since.
Thanks to Twitter, I found out today that TWS gives GraysOnTrays.com, and older riders, some recognition in the November, 2009 edition, which contains a letter from KJ Riley, entitled “Old Dog”:
Since your mag is the only widely distributed snowboarding periodical I can find, I get it regularly and enjoy the pics of snow-covered hills, dreaming of that time I will be retired with enough money to ride all those places. But, being 59 and a crazy ol’ man boarder, I sure would like to see some other seniors represented once in a while (maybe I’m one of the very few around … who knows!). Even if we see a lot of good snow riding pics (I don’t do rails or pipes, and I’m waiting until I slim down by 50 pounds to do any jumps) especially on double blacks like Kirkwood’s Wall, Sugar Bowl’s Palisades, or Mammoth’s runs from the top of the gondola, I could get down with that …. otherwise, keep up the good pics and articles like you’ve had last year about resort areas.
The editors responded:
Hey, KJ, We’ll keep stoking you out with epic shots and resort features, but we don’t want you to feel like you’re alone out there, so we’re hooking you up with a Web site to check out: graysontrays.com. It’s for “grown-up” riders. The site itself is whatever (yeah, we read that review of TransWorld … dis!), but they’ve got active discussion boards that are broken down into regions and even one for the ladies. Everyone knows it’s more fun to shred with a crew.
Thanks, TWS, for helping out a rider by referring him to a site that he might find helpful, even if it did give you a “dis” review. Now that’s customer service. Thanks also for the kind words about the discussion boards. I have found them helpful and I know that others have, too.
By the way, another letter in the same issue comes from “a mom of three boys that all snowboard.” She asks “is there any hope of learning to snowboard at 40?”
Absolutely! The TWS staff gave a good reply: “Hey, you can and you will learn this winter–just take some lessons, use the right equipment, and try not to fall on your wrists.”