Dear Readers,  

To fill you in on some essential background: The Stump-Bertoni Prize for Excellence was created to correct a grave injustice.  As of two years ago, Realskiers.com had never won an award, if you can believe that.  The fact that no such award – one for ski reviews and all related subjects – had ever existed was not an acceptable excuse.  So, we created it ex nihilo, (pontifical terminology for “out of nothing”) proving that if you want something badly enough, stop whining and make it yourself. This notice is both a nostalgic look back at life as we knew it then and a prescient peek into the future.  

In a shocking rebuke to conventional wisdom, the Stump-Bertoni Prize for Excellence will not be awarded this year. The well-circulated speculation that this decision implies that the recipient of the 2019 and 2020 Stump-Bertoni Prizes shall retain the title for a third year, set off yet another invective-strewn diatribe from Head Judge & Poo-Bah Gregory Stump, well known for the erudite obscurity of his fulminations. 

Bertoni, who reflexively objects to anything attributed to Mr. Stump, has remained inscrutably silent, perhaps to avoid leaving the impression that he cares one way or the other. Truth be told, he has never accepted the idea that Stump should have top billing. One is left to imagine the turbulence of his feelings as he ignites one of the many wax figurines of Stump he melts down to soothe his nerves.

A non-announcement regarding an event that won’t occur to bestow an award that won’t be given does not normally rise to the level of newsworthy.  But for Realskiers.com, where corporate by-laws have been recently amended to forbid accepting an award that is not accompanied by a substantial honorarium, this particular non-occurrence is redolent with meaning, as it marks the occasion of our Annual Fun-Raising Drive!  Note the missing “d” at the end of “fun,” a playful yet painful reminder that our annual efforts do more to raise spirits than funds.

I know what you’re thinking: “what can I do to help Jackson in his hour of need? He seems to want money, but I’ve already given him all I care to.” Don’t worry, this is a perfectly normal reaction, particularly among the elderly. Be reassured, there’s still a lot you can do.  This is your chance to be an influencer, a very prestigious pursuit, and you only have to influence the people you already know.  Presumably, you already have some influence over your immediate circle: put it to use by pressuring them into subscribing to Realskiers.com and listening to Realskiers with Jackson Hogen with ritual regularity.

For those of you who communicate via social media, inform your Friends and Insta-grammarians that subscribing to Realskiers.com works much like indulgences in the Renaissance Church: doing so practically guarantees the premium package in the afterlife, as long as your sins haven’t been too egregious. 

Okay, I confess it’s possible subscribing to Realskiers.com isn’t a virtual shoo-in for a platinum-card afterlife, but can you be absolutely sure it won’t help? Why risk it all, when for a mere $24.95 for first-time subscribers and $19.95 for those returning to the fold, you can be on the side of the angels?    

For those of you more moved by earthly benefits, consider all that a Realskiers.com subscription bestows:

  • Long-form reviews of all Recommended ski models. The true value in a ski review is in the narrative; our members’ reviews take a deep dive into every model.
  • Test scores for all unisex (men’s) Recommended models. All the data you can eat.
  • Brand Profiles for all major ski and boot brands. When choosing ski gear, it pays to understand the brand.
  • Links to boot reviews on America’s Best Bootfitters. Best boot reviews extant.
  • Archived Realskiers ski reviews dating back to the 2000/2001 season.
  • Archived Revelations dating back to 2013.
    • We’re currently posting a trove of 76 Revelations penned during the 2013 through 2015 seasons. They could have been written yesterday.
    • There are now 270 Revelations posted in the members’ view.
  • Instruction from John Clendenin and Harald Harb.
  • And best of all, membership confers the right to consult directly with Jackson. If you don’t know what to do, just ask! It’s the best ski-buying advice you can get, personalized by the most experienced expert in ski media, period.

If that sounds like a lot of goodies, it is. And that’s on top of such Realskiers free assets as

  • The Returning Skiers Handbook
  • Jackson’s List (America’s top shops)
  • Jackson’s weekly Revelation
  • and weekly podcast, Realskiers with Jackson Hogen, available on SoundCloud, iTunes, Audible, Spotify and, of course, on Realskiers.com.

By now, you’re probably wondering how you’ve managed to blunder your way through life without a membership to Realskiers.com and a weekly listen to Realskiers with Jackson Hogen. I can’t answer that here, but if you become a Realskiers subscriber, it will be my duty to answer you. And that alone is worth the price of admission. 

By the way, while you’ve been reading this, Realskiers.com has entered negotiations to procure the rights to the Stump-Bertoni Prize for Excellence so that it will never again be subject to boycott, labor strife or public scrutiny.  Only the future can tell us if it will ever be awarded again, leaving a gaping hole where there used to be recognition for journalism with an agile conscience, a lurid imagination and a heart that set its beat to the rhythm of a ski turn.

Amen, and bless you all, but particularly the real skiers, for they already vacation in Heaven.