As I was sitting at my desk, getting ready to send my second edit of Slide the Keweenaw back to Hansi Johnson with a couple comments, a subject line in my inbox caught my eye: “FWD: The Ski Journal closes its doors.” Not a week later, while I sat at my kitchen table drinking coffee and scrolling through emails on my phone, another stark subject line stopped my thumb: “Sad News from SkiTrax.” The Canadian-based magazine, like the race-focused Master Skier journal a few days prior, had ceased publication.
Until early August there were three print titles providing coverage of cross country skiing and its participants: this one, SkiTrax and Master Skier Ski Journal. Since the news of our competitors’ closing broke I’ve heard from several readers and industry professionals sending words of encouragement and hoping that Cross Country Skier was in good health.
We certainly are. When Height of Land Publications purchased Cross Country Skier in 2016 the title fell into very capable hands. Our senior staff has the experiences and resources to draw upon from years of publishing Backcountry and Alpinist. Our photo editor owns Teton Pines Nordic Center in Wyoming, and the editorial staff represents three distinct generations, ranging from me, a millennial with collegiate racing still in his rearview, to Dostal, our senior editor who can recall with first-hand knowledge innumerable stories, gear and events from long before I was born. We know the sport and its culture.
I don’t know the particulars of why the other titles folded, but I do know this: one of the first things I do when I pick up a new activity is find a magazine through which I can immerse myself in the culture. When I started bird hunting several years ago, a subscription to Covey Rise sharpened my aim. When our English setter Remy joined the family, subscribing to Gun Dog and Pointing Journal was natural. Each of these titles allowed me to gain insight into the activity through words, design and photos that brought the inner circle to life. It’s one of the attributes I value most about print media.
Now, if I were just starting to ski, Cross Country Skier would be the only English-language print publication I could turn to. Being that resource is a big responsibility to uphold. We’re regularly praised for showing the beauty of the sport, and where else have you read about Andy Newell’s fascination with Triumph motorcycles? It’s disappointing to see other titles close, but now we’ll be working harder than ever to bring the best.