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This was a big year for The Storm. I published 140 articles – 44 of which were podcasts. In February, after two years and four months of working for free, I activated a partial paywall. It was the right decision. A large percentage of readers – far larger than the Substack average, I’m told – upgraded their subscriptions right away, and more do so every day.
That skiers will pay for content they value is both humbling and encouraging, and I will continue to create more value for them in 2023 – at least partly by tucking more content behind the paywall. Thanks to these readers and to my advertising partners – a stable that this year included Mountain Gazette, Aspenware, OpenSnow, Spot Insurance, and Oregon State University’s Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy – The Storm is now a sustainable operation, which I will continue indefinitely.
I have so much planned for 2023, including an absolutely stacked podcast guest list, a content expansion into Canada, and enhancements to the chat feature, which I hope will create a true Storm Nation. As we rev up for all of that, here’s a look at The Storm’s most popular posts and podcasts of 2022:
Top 10 Storm Skiing Journal articles for 2022 (by number of views)
10. The annual Epic Pass release story
9. Jay Peak goes to auction
8. The Storm goes nutso
7. Come on, Dudes, this is like Taco Bell fucking up a taco
6. Some guesswork before 2022-23 season pass sales start
5. The Storm goes nutso, part II
4. Jay Peak’s six-year drama is over
3. Ikon swipes Snowbasin and Sun Valley from Epic
2. A couple of nincompoops in New Hampshire want to try running a ski area for $25 per day
1. It’s a joke, Guys, but the comments suggest that not everyone got it
Top 10 Storm Skiing Podcasts for 2022 (by number of downloads)
10. Tamarack, Idaho - Feb. 7, 2022
9. Arapahoe Basin, Colorado - April 14, 2022
8. Boyne Resorts - Nov. 21, 2022
7. Mount Bohemia, Michigan - Oct. 26, 2022
6. Timberline Lodge, Oregon - Jan. 21, 2022
5. Snow Partners, owners of Mountain Creek and Big Snow American Dream - June 19, 2022
4. Summit at Snoqualmie, Washington - April 20, 2022
3. Alterra Mountain Company - June 25, 2022
2. Big Sky, Montana - April 6, 2022
1. Vail Resorts - Jan. 25, 2022
Passes: Skaneateles, a 350-vertical-foot T-bar bump in Central New York, joins Freedom Pass (I’ll provide a more thorough write-up in the new year). No Boundaries Pass price increases to $109 and will go off sale Jan. 15. Indy Pass prices will increase Jan. 1.
Business: The National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame launches an endowment, with $200,000 in initial funding from Fairbank Group Chair Brian Fairbank and skiing heritage enthusiast Dave Holli (I am a member of the hall’s selection committee).
Expansions: An non-update update on the proposed expansion of Kendall Mountain. Cuchara, lacking state certification for Lift 4, will not re-open this year. An overview of Waterville Valley’s planned expansion.
Lifts: An update on North American lift projects as of Dec. 27. Snowbasin will build a new six-pack called DeMoisy Express, which will run parallel to the Strawberry Gondola and terminate at mid-mountain. Eek:
We’re live with the nation’s most ambitious new lift, in California:
Trailmaps: Official new map showing Lookout Pass’ expansion:
Safety: Court rules against person suing Hoodoo for a slip-and-fall because they hadn’t bought a lift ticket yet. Blevins explores the automatic emergency calls inadvertently set off by skiers carrying iPhones.
Stoke: An ode to chairlift conversations. Sutner in Vail. Ranking Utah’s major ski areas. Belleayre was the first chairlift-served, outdoor ski area in the Northeast to hit 100 percent open, as far as I could tell. Five Colorado resorts celebrate 60. New York Ski Blog visits Magic and Plattekill on their respective opening days, plus Gore. A Bachelor exploration. Basecamp podcast talks to Sugarloaf.
This week in skiing
It was dumping up north but I headed west, instead, to rainy Camelback for their opening day. Any other year I may have skipped it, but planted lodge-side stood the ski area’s spectacular new six-pack, a smooth D-Line bomber named Black Bear. It replaces the Sullivan high-speed quad but leaves Camelback’s fleet of old fixed-grips in place. It’s a wonderful machine:
I lapped it a dozen times. Soft snow. Black diamonds for the first time all season. Then a double-black. Poconos double-blacks so short but the pitch is there and after whirly-birding greens throughout the early season it felt good to drop in. I didn’t let them run just yet. Short-radius turns all the way down. Legs screaming. Can’t risk the speed. Not yet.
A bit after noon I ambled back to my van and scattered my wet things beneath heating vents and ate lunch with the fans on full blast. It was snowing now, thick and heavy, and I drove west and north an hour to Montage. Also opening day. Snowing hard. Busy. Kids had a snow day. Teenagers everywhere. I skied with a patroller. Beautiful skiing. Long fall lines at Montage. More than you’re expecting, always.
Windham – day 1
In the snowy evening I drove back to New York and repacked the van and drove north two and a half hours to Windham. Roads clear by then. Twenty inches fresh when we woke in the morning. I was there for this:
Afterward, turns with my son:
Then I skied all over. To the top of the sixer. Long winders to the bottom. The snow buttery. Sharp turns still. The best snow off Wonderama. The ungroomed beneath the lift. Easy turns in choppy soft. Toward day’s end, Windfall, narrow and icy. Treacherous. I skied the edge, as I’m wont to do, where the snow piles and I can make short, sharp turns in piled fluff.
Windham – day 2
Then, skiing with my son, 6 years old and fresh from Saturday ski school, all day long. Endless laps on K lift. On the carpets. Covered and otherwise. Back to K.
Finally at 3:00 mom took him and I did fast-laps on Westside Six and Wonderama. Skiing small bumps. Carefully. Deliberately. The mountain emptied out. Everyone headed back to wherever they headed. Chairs to myself. The empty, dark mountain. And home.
Oh yeah and there’s this so shut up and leave me alone:
The Storm publishes year-round, and guarantees 100 articles per year. This is article 140/100 in 2022, and number 386 since launching on Oct. 13, 2019. Want to send feedback? Reply to this email and I will answer (unless you sound insane or, more likely, I just get busy). You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Hey Stuart, just wanted to leave a note saying I’m a huge admirer of what you do and how you’ve created this niche for yourself. I’ve been working in surf, skate and snow media for almost three decades now, and I really recognise the picture you paint about how media in these fields can be guilty of serving industry rather than consumers. It’s one reason I do what I do. But I agree with a comment elsewhere, the voice you’ve created here is really original and special. Have just subscribed to support 🙏