Transworld Snowboarding Says: Old Folks, Look at

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, 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: 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.”

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4 Responses to Transworld Snowboarding Says: Old Folks, Look at

  1. curtbader says:

    I wouldnt have found GOT without TW Snowboard Mag. I like the Mag. Its geared to kids, thats their audience. You can get old but you dont have to act old. Hardening of the Boogie will kill you quicker than hardening of the arteries. At 56 I have retired and will start riding at Wintergreen this winter.That is inbetween Triathalons, Team Roping and coaching swim teams. So listen to some music from this century, lighten up already and try and keep up.

  2. GraysOnTrays says:

    Curbader, thanks for stopping by. You like "some music from this century?" Great! I'm also glad that you're able to spend a lot of time riding, doing triathalons and the like.

    I'm simply asking people in the industry to recognize the diversity of the riding public.

  3. samvt says:

    I started snowboarding at somewhere north of 50 and having been riding for 15 or so years. I don't even look at the snowboard magazines now although I actually wrote some articles for some of them in the past. I don't read ski magazines either. Life is short (especially when you get this far) and there are much more interesting and important – or at least entertaining – things to read. I just am grateful I can still get out on snow and have fun.
    Mary McKhann
    Publisher, The Snow Industry Letter

  4. GraysOnTrays says:

    Hey Mary,

    Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I suppose you are right that there are more important things to read–I have some that need my attention, in fact.

    Still, I like having the option of reading about some of my favorite activities from time to time. For example, since I play golf (very badly), I subscribe to Golf Digest. I wait until they offer a cheap price and then renew my subscription. Each issue has two or three articles that are worth reading, and it's the literary equivalent of a favorite junk food snack: It's not something you'd want to consume all the time, but good to have around.

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