Book Report: Ingenuity, Insanity, and 25 Years of European Snowboarding
"Hold Fast, Tweak Hard" documents a lifetime of chaotic genius by snowboarding's most infamous title, Method Magazine
Snowboarding is a funny thing. At best it’s an “extreme sport” that pops onto the mainstream radar every four years before being largely forgotten immediately after the Olympics ends—save for the occasionally cameo in a Jason Statham, Vin Diesel, or James Bond movie. At worst it’s a privileged activity with a limited lifespan due to the climate crisis and skyrocketing lift tickets. But it wasn't always this way. For most of my youth, it was all that mattered.
My obsession with snowboarding started with magazines. First in the 90s with Thrasher where I discovered aging issues wrapped in vinyl at the public library in Portland, Oregon—believe it or not the bible once ran a snowboarder on its cover. Then came a subscription to TransWorld Snowboarding in the 00s, and VHS and DVD videos soon thereafter. I was obsessed with the simple act of riding a piece of wood on snow. It defined me, and millions of others around the world. Only in Europe, the media outlet that mattered most was the infamous Method Magazine.
“Hold Fast, Tweak Hard” is a new hardcover book telling the harrowing tale of an indie snowboard magazine that brought a once fractured European snowboard scene together and changed the way we interact with media today. That's 25 years of innovation through insanity, chaos, genius, and sheer luck. Compiled and edited by former Method Mag Editor-in-Chief Michael Goodwin, this book is a must own for lifelong snowboarders and recent born agains alike.
Though lesser known stateside, Method Mag was and continues to be a true innovator in not just snowboarding media but in publishing in general—when it launched in 1994 the digital-first publication was quite literally one of the first websites on the then nascent web.
Started by two enterprising teens, Anders Hagman and Calle Eriksson, and based as often out of a modest apartment in rural Sweden as the back of a station wagon or a rundown hotel lobby, Method applied a Gonzo style of journalism to snowboarding, profiling the biggest contests, the wildest parties, and the most influential riders, set a new standard for covering snowboarding from a cultural perspective.
The raw and unpolished point of view and near real-time coverage stood in stark contrast to what the major glossy mags were doing elsewhere around the world. In addition to informing readers around the world of contest results weeks, if not months, before the major print mags, Method’s early web innovations like forums and commenting allowed those without a local scene be a part of the conversation for the first time.
Over two and half decades the magazine underwent a series of changes in format, ownership, location and staff, pushing what a snowboard magazine could be and do. Through innumerable ups and downs and against all odds the skeleton crew never gave up—even when salaries were paid in magic mushrooms.As a result, Method today stands as one of very few remaining print snowboard magazines—even the mighty TransWorld and its reported 1.3MM subscribers couldn’t keep American Media from shuttering the title after its sale last winter.
Hold Fast, Tweak Hard tells the story better, with more detail, and endless epic photos over 216 pages. Interviews with former founders, current employees, living legends, and other industry heads adds color to the truly unreal story of how the hell Method managed to hold on. And yes, the full color archival imagery will full every nostalgic style fantasy you can conjure up—just look at Terje in the Oakley’s above.
Printed in the UK in beautiful hardcover form, Hold Fast, Tweak Hard is available in limited quantities for €34.99 (roughly $38 USD). Support independent media. Support not giving a fuck and doing what you want against the odds. Support snowboarding.