American Media Inc. Shutters TransWorld SNOWboarding Magazine

Author

Graham Hiemstra

American Media Inc. Shutters TransWorld SNOWboarding Magazine

Following AMI's February acquisition it's been one sad surprise after the next. Is POWDER or SURFER next?

American Media Inc. Shutters TransWorld SNOWboarding Magazine

Author

Graham Hiemstra

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Field Mag's benevolent overlord, formerly of the PNW and now residing in NYC. We apologize in advance for his many mispellings.

News isn’t often what we do here at Field Mag, but given the legacy of TWSnow and the outsized impact the mag had on this writer's own childhood—and no doubt countless others' too—we're breaking our own norms to share the news as it develops

It's official, TransWorld SNOWboarding magazine is dead. "All good things, unfortunately, must come to an end, and effective March 6, 2019, TransWorld SNOWboarding has closed," states a post on TWSnow.com, "the 32nd volume of the magazine will be our last, and 'Kamakazu' will be our final film." All print and digital operations by the iconic brand have come to a close, though in the coming weeks a few final farewell reflections from filmers, editors, photographers, and riders will be published to the site and social channels.

In the meantime, posts by former editors, current pros, and other industry mainstays are flying up across social media under the hashtags #RIPtransworld and #RIPtwsnow, paying homage to the magazine that for 30+ years largely defined snowboarding.

RIP TransWorld SNOWboarding 1987 - 2019

A spokesperson from American Media Inc, who acquired TWSnow in February, shared a memo with Forbes stating, "Effective immediately, Snowboarder will be the sole snowboarding brand of the new Adventure Sports Network Group, part of American Media’s Active Lifestyle Group. This is a truly an exciting time for Snowboarder as it heads into its thirty-second year with the most diversified, and exciting, content offering in its history."

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I can’t believe it’s over. When I was a teenager I used to treat 7-Eleven like it was my personal library and read an issue cover to cover on a Friday night. I remember reading a profile of Craig Kelly, being mesmerized by his style and concluding that he was the Tom Curren of Snowboarding. At 22, after trying my hand at literally everything...landscaper, drywaller, framer, insulation installer, supermarket floor maintenance guy, bank teller, credit card machine salesman, night janitor, window washer, pool cleaner, busboy, barback, bouncer and waiter...a chance encounter while bussing tables at the Potato Shack in Encinitas would permanently change my life. I landed a job answering the phones at the then small but mighty Transworld Skateboarding and Snowboarding magazines in Oceanside, Ca. I’d finally made it. I’d gotten a job at The Bible. The list of legendary humans I got to work alongside is illustrious and long. Each of whom encouraged, mentored/supported and put up with a kid who had finally found his tribe but didn’t yet have a particularly honed skill that he could excel at outside of his enthusiastic passion for the culture and mighty gift of gab. Receptionist, product sales and video magazine production assistant were my titles during my few years there but it was Transworld’s ‘Board Aid’ event in ‘94 at Snow Summit where a microphone was first put in my hand. I’d overheard Louise Balma stressing loudly near my post at the front desk that they hadn’t yet found an MC for the event. Naturally, I blurted out that I thought I could do it. Somehow, Louise decided to give me a shot. I crushed that first event which would begin many years of live PA announcing, at trade show skate demos (mentored by Double D) snow big airs/halfpipe events and local surf comps. The rest is history. Thank you especially to @dinenna @lavidalucas @shemispheres @jgrantbrittain @jonfoster @louisebalma @jodymaus @timwrisley @atibaphoto @tednewsome @ericblehmofficial @kimballotaylor @skinphoto @daveswift01 @bucclife to name a few, for your steady friendship and guidance in those years and beyond. Y’all are my family for life. Those years shaped the man I am today. #RIPTransworld

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A TWS cover is the pinnacle of snowboard photography and for many years I dreamed of shooting one. That dream was finally realized in 2001, 9 years after I had first been published. I went on to work for TWS as a Senior Photographer for nearly 20 years, shooting a total of 25 covers. I got to travel the world, see beautiful places and meet amazing people. Thanks to all the great people that made this magazine possible, you know who you are and I am forever grateful. I would not be who I am today without you and this magazine. While most other mags closed their doors I expected TWS to be the last one standing. Sad news felt around the snowboarding (and skateboarding) community with the loss of these iconic magazines. @twsnow RIP 1987-2019 • • • • • #RIPtwsnow #PrintIsDead #TransworldSNOWboarding #TWSnow #Since1987 #ripTWS

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American Media's February aquisition of TEN: The Enthusiast Network and the Adventure Sports Network (ASN) included 14 hugely influential action sport and outdoor magazines, including all TransWorld titles, Snowboarder, SURFER, POWDER, and more.

Rumors of an impending sale had floated around the TransWorld offices for months, but to see AMI, publisher of the National Enquirer (you know, the one accused of blackmailing Amazon’s Jeff Bezos over dick picks) and run by outspoken Trump supporter David J. Pecker, was a shock. Almost immediately layoffs started, with some titles losing up to 50% of their staff.

Earlier this week subscribers of TransWorld SNOWboarding, TransWorld Skateboarding, and TransWorld Motocross received a rather callous note in the mail from AMI announcing that the three titles would "no longer be published." While this meant the end of print operations only for the Skate and Motocross mags, it sadly indicated a full shuttering of TWSnow.

As a rather sad consolation, remaining subscriptions will be fulfilled with issues of Men’s Journal (also published by AMI). Some felt the concession only added insult to injury. What's more, in the note sent TransWorld Motocross subscribers, Motocross was spelled Motorcross, only further proving how little AMI cares of the situation.

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Before www.anything, Transworld, aka @twsnow was the internet of snowboarding. For a shred-hungry kid in Vermont, this magazine transported me across the world, to places I could never imagine seeing in person, let alone snowboarding. I’d stare at the iconic imagery, disceting each tweak, article of clothing and location for a scent of what riding could hold outside the Green Mountain state. I went on to write for every volume of Transworld from 2000 until the current, and last, often times contributing a feature or two a year. I wrote about anything snowboard related, from touring Greece’s unlikely peaks, to early coverage of climate change impacting snow sports, and the epic Snow Craft trilogy. I covered weed culture, the “safe jump” controversy, and lift ticket pricing— three of the most complex, challenging and satisfying topical features I’ve written for any publication. A huge thanks to Kurt Hoy, the late and dearly missed @gerhardmg , @taylormboyd and everyone else I worked with at TWS. I wouldn’t be the writer I am without you having given me a chance, pushed me, and published me. ... This watershed is of course a duality of gratitude and grief. Since the internet started to chisel the bottom out of the print industry, I’ve become increasingly unhappy about clicks and algorithms driving “content creation.” I’d be a hypocrite to say I’m an objective commentator, since I’ve gone on to write a paid online content, and branched out into online video production. But as a snowboarder, a writer, and lover of tangible things, I can’t help but be upset by yet another loss of ink on paper, this time an iconic 30-plus year publication. I don’t have an answer to the question that the internet poses us all, let alone the mental resources at the moment to tackle it. ... So I’ll leave it up to the next generation— what medium will you allow snowboarding to be represented, celebrated and archived with? . . . #printisnotdead #filmphotography #snowboarding #media #magazine

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Even with the writing on the wall via TWSkate, to see TWSnow follow suit (a magazine rumored to be one of the more profitable of TEN’s properties) is a huge blow to both print media and action sport culture at large, especially for those of us that grew up alongside the magazine.

Personally, TransWorld SNOWboarding was the Bible to me as a kid. From middle school through to my university years its pages taught me everything I felt like I needed to know—who to look up to, what to wear, what tricks to learn, what brands to support, where to travel to. It feels silly to write, but it’s true. With the arrived of each issue I'd sit down in place and read it cover to cover, then repeat the process any number of times until the next one arrived in the mail.

TWSNOW-1989 12 Dec TerryKidwell by Jon Foster
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1989 December Issue, Terry Kidwell photographed by Jon Foster

TWSNOW-2004 09 Sept LauriHeiskari by Ian Ruhter
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2004 September Issue, Lauri Heiskari photographed by Ian Ruhter

As a teenager, seeing my little local ski hill of Snoqualmie Pass, WA get coverage blew my mind. To later see some of my closest friends get their first photos in the mag made me more proud than I had ever felt. And when I moved to New York nearly a decade ago, then-online editor and now good friend, Hondo, gave me a shot to earn one of my first “real” magazine bylines. It was a dream come true. These days I’m much farther removed from that life, but the many friends I made chasing the dream of an endless winter are still around, even if the very rag that brought us all together isn’t.

Please join me in crossing all fingers and toes that POWDER, SURFER, and the other legendary titles now owned by AMI aren't next on the chopping block.

Published 03-06-2019

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