Whew, we made it through 2019. Well done, all. Thanks for reading—the good, the sad, the funny—we appreciate you. These were the most read stories of the year. Go ahead and revisit them with us, and then let’s go skiing. Happy New Year and we’ll see you in 2020 (especially if you subscribe to a year of The Skier’s Magazine right here).
1. The 11 Skis of the Year (and then some!)
It’s no secret y’all LOVE new gear. We get it, us too. Of the 49 skis in the 2020 Buyer’s Guide, these 11 scored the highest marks across the board. So if you’ve got some Christmas money from Grandma or a Hanukah gift card burning a hole in your pocket, head here to the Skis of the Year and get lost in bliss.
2. Shoot the Moon: An exclusive look at Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison’s historic first descent of Lhotse
On the afternoon of September 30, 2018, with the sun shining and the wind just beginning to rise, Hilaree Nelson, 45, and Jim Morrison, 43, dropped their packs and skis and sat down in the deep, sugary snow atop the 27,940-foot summit of Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain on the planet. It had been 12 hours and 4,140 vertical feet of climbing since they’d left Camp 3—12 hours of slow, cold, focused, hypoxic suffering; kicking and slipping in breakable crust; crawling on all fours; wallowing in waist-deep snow; and, finally, scrambling up a gnarly section of rocky cliff near the summit. This is the exclusive photography of their history accomplishment.
3. Ski Instructors Are Doing Our Sport’s Most Important Work
Instructors are often the ones who harness the potential of a would-be skier, bringing them into our fold, even if only for a four-hour lesson on the only ski vacation of their lifetime. But on occasion, when the stars align just so and a gust of serendipity rattles the trees, instructors have a hand in the creation of a lifelong skier—a skier who might grow up to forgo societal constructs and their savings account to pursue something once gifted to them by an instructor like Langer, who was making $9 an hour, plus a season pass, to live 2,394 miles from home in a house with five roommates. Read the full feature here.
4. New ‘Return of the Turn’ Reminds Us Who the Real Skiers Are
Don’t miss this one. Marcus Caston (as seen on the cover of our October issue) and producer Tim Jones are back with the seventh installment of their “Return of the Turn” series, shot on location at Buck Hill, Minnesota. These are the skiers who show up, day in and day out, all winter long where the lifts spin until 1 a.m. to make their turns and drink their beers just like the rest of us. Actually, they might be a lot cooler than the rest of us. In those temperatures, they’re certainly tougher.
5. Sam Coffey, Dead at 29, Was Everything Good About Skiing
Sam Coffey, a beloved Aspen skier and our dear friend, died Monday, May 20, after suffering a series of strokes on a surf trip in Mexico. The way Sam lived was authentic, punctuated with his unforgettable smile and legendary mustache. We will remember him for being one of the best goddamn skiers we know, and more importantly for his kindness and acceptance, the joy he found in the people he loved, and for being a living reminder of everything that is good about skiing.
6. Pro Skier Dave Treadway Dies in Skiing Accident
Dave Treadway died while skiing in the Pemberton backcountry on April 15 when a snow bridge collapsed underneath him, causing him to fall into a crevasse. “The true magic of Dave Treadway was not as a skier. It was as a friend, brother, son, father and husband. The way he treated everyone person with love and respect was always apparent, especially with his family.” —Bruno Long
7. Gear to Tune Your Skis at Home
Setting up a home tuning bench may at first seem expensive, time-consuming, and intimidating… But there is something truly enjoyable to this ritual, and it can save you money in the long run in between professional tune-ups. Here’s what you need and how to use it.
8. Man With Zero Experience Heroically Steps Up to Buy Struggling Ski Area
With all the resort conglomeration that happened in 2019, the little areas are getting scrappy! Okay, yes, this is satire… but we love to laugh and so do you. Let’s not take ourselves too seriously in 2020, eh? After being listed for one day at $4.2 million, Undiscovered Ski Area found an eager buyer, a man who realized, “You know what? I’ve been to a whole bunch of ski areas in my day. Hell, I figure I could run the fricken’ thing!”
9. Passing Through: Whistler, BC
From the Latitudes travel department, Powder Productions introduces the Passing Through video series. Passing Through offers a quick perspective on stashes to ski, chairs to lap, bars to après, food, and accommodations—and our episode featuring Whistler took the cake for 2019.
10. U.S. Olympic Committee to Announce American Bid by End of the Year (*Editor’s Note: They haven’t yet.)
The United States Olympic Committee was expected to announce the country’s candidate for a future Winter Olympics by the end of the year… but here we are. Denver, Salt Lake City, and Reno-Tahoe are all contenders for the bid and could host the Games as soon as 2030.