Jake and Dave Moe founded POWDER in 1972 as an alternative to the other, uptight skiing magazines. “To us, powder skiing means freedom, with an emphasis, not on how you do it, but just on doing it more,” they said. Now entering our 45th anniversary, that’s what we’re still trying to do in the magazine and on Powder.com. While our staff and regular contributors write a portion of Powder.com content, we encourage freelance writers to submit query emails for web content. It is rare for a writer we are unfamiliar with to break into the magazine, so we suggest you direct your efforts toward establishing a working relationship with us via assignments on Powder.com. We are always looking for new writers and fresh ideas that fit within the Powder voice. As a general rule, pitches should be short and succinct. Tell us what your idea is, why it matters to Powder readers, and why you’re the person to write it.
Pitch a story, not a topic. Be specific. Think about who the characters are and how you will use them to tell the story. You should be able to summarize the point of your story in a sentence or two.
Do your research. We may come back to you with questions and we are more likely to run with your pitch if it’s clear you’ve already done some legwork and know why and how you will tell this story.
Do more research. Get familiar with Powder.com by reading past articles, especially in the department you’re pitching. Know what we’ve covered in the past, how we cover it, and familiarize yourself with the distinct Powder voice.
Prove your story’s relevance. Tell us why this story matters. Don’t fall into the “because it’s there” trap. Why do we need to read this story? Why is it relevant right now? What does it matter?
Consider photos. Do you have a lead on someone who has photographs related to your story? Do you have high-quality professional photos you can provide? If you can put us in touch with someone who can provide images to go with your photo, that’s a big help to us.
We will only accept pitches via email. Please do not call us. We will probably mistake you for a telemarketer and block your number. Allow up to two weeks for queries on Powder.com stories. If you haven’t heard back from us by then, feel free to send us a reminder email, but please not before then. All queries for Powder.com should be emailed to Associate Editor Julie Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Assistant Editor Sierra Davis (email@example.com).
Below are the various departments of content for Powder.com. Ideally, this will help you develop your idea into a specific story by determining where on the site it belongs
First Chair. The everyday blog for skiers. We’re looking for your ideas to make First Char THE place for robust, opinionated, hilarious commentary, marked by the Powder voice. These stories are shorter, quick hitting, and can be inspired by other happenings on the internet. This is probably the most open-ended of all departments, so don’t be shy about bringing something different to the table. Example: First Chair Blog
News. Spot news to bigger issues, what is happening to skiing right now? And why does that matter? From climate change to resort development, skiers are nothing if not passionate, and they care about the things that will affect them and their ski partners. For this department, we need more than just the cold, hard facts, we need credible sources explaining why and how this news event matters to skiers and we need it to have Powder’s voice. Example: Gimme Shelter
Interviews and Profiles. Who did you meet this winter that deserves introducing to the Powder audience? Who are the up-and-coming athletes that cleaned up in the contests and competitions this winter? Who is the next Nick McNutt? Who is the local you’ve always wanted to know more about? Chances are we do too. Call ‘em up and give me a Q&A. Examples: Chasing Gravity and a Globe | Meet the Woman Running Jackson Hole’s Ski Patrol
Essays. Things that matter in skiing. One thought about an experience you had this winter. A dispatch from the road. Those are all departments in the essay category—Skiing As Craft, Morpheme, and Passport. It’s important to note that while these essays are often first person experiences, there needs to be a takeaway that matters to a reader other than your mom (even though she counts too). Example: Skiing as Craft, Last Chair
Travel. Not that you want to blow up your favorite spot, but actually, that you want to blow up your favorite spot. Where did you ski this winter that you’d recommend to a friend? This place can be distant and foreign or right down the road. Lower 48 or exotic. What made it great? Tell us where to eat, sleep, drink, and most importantly, where to ski. Example: Passing Through Senja Island
Safe Zone. Moving away from tip-based stories, what can we share with readers about avalanche education and safety, while also celebrating the unbound joy that skiers get from the backcountry? This department is meant to be service-based. Example: Backcountry Basics
Gear. What did you use this winter that you can no longer live without? Write up a tried and true gear review about the things you love and used every day. Know of something new in the gear category that skiers should know about? Write that up too. Original photos carry a lot of weight here too. It helps readers see that yes, you really did use this piece of gear yourself. That being said, they need to be high quality and professional-looking images. Examples: The Storen Jacket | Road Atlas
Small Brand Shoutout. Interesting brands that are doing something different. This department is mostly about the small, indie brands in skiing, but we’re also interested in the big guys. What are the K2s and Volkls of the ski world doing to make waves and create change? There are a ton of small garage-based companies making skies from scratch—what sets this one apart? Example: Black Crows
Opinion. What gets your blood boiling? What matters? What needs to change? What needs to stay the same? We’re looking for reported and supported arguments that will get a conversation going. Example: Silver Bullsh!t
Serial Content. Give us ideas for a column that you want to write once or twice a month. It must have legs and be able to go somewhere across multiple installments. It must have irreverence and voice. Can be based in any of the departments above. But it must be relevant. Example: Hack Your Gear