It snowed again in Reno last Monday night, an unnecessary reminder that this season might never end. But while skiing in these parts continues unabated, it’s time for Realskiers to wrap up the current year with a recap of all the Revelations and podcasts I’ve recently created for the collective edification of my Dear Readers and Listeners.
In the lyrics of the Grateful Dead, what a long, strange trip it’s been. Half the country got no snow to speak of, while the other half experienced what it’s like to get too much snow; in some instances, way too much snow. In the equipment domain, a lot of what was new this year happened outside the mainstream: most fresh faces fell into the Big Mountain genre, the province more of dreamers than pragmatists. The arena with the most new product families was Alpine Touring, as America’s infatuation with backcountry skiing continued to inspire new sub-sets of skiers who plan to climb uphill a little, a little more or all the time. What was once a niche is now broad enough to house several baby niches within its ever-expanding confines.
While the ski world is somewhat cocooned in its own realm, it is not immune to outside influences. The ski trade has changed a lot in the last 50 years, but there hasn’t been a single innovation introduced to the sport that can compare with the disruptive force of the Internet. Now Artificial Intelligence, the new darling of the tech sector, will further erode the credibility of information sources. For starters, are you certain what you’re reading now isn’t the product of AI? How about the next article you read, after this one’s contents have been digested by the omnivorous appetite of AI? When will the last shred of credibility go up in smoke? I explore the probability that AI will be the next great destructive juggernaut to deform the ski marketplace in ChatGPT AI Has Ski Patter Down Cold.
Not that ski media needs much help in finding the basement. The ski world’s iconic print titles, and the brilliant editors who led them, are long gone. So is one of the fundamental principles of journalism, the separation of the functions of editing and publishing. The commercial side of the Internet is effing fueled by eliminating this crucial divide. Why bother writing a well-reasoned product profile (or at least the pretense of one) without a link to somewhere the subject under review can be purchased immediately? The inanity of “Top Ten” lists is underscored by their skinny, 4-sentence “reviews” and ubiquitous BUY NOW buttons.
BTW, if you think ANY of the Top Ten lists generated by what’s left of ski media have any validity whatsoever, your brain is suffering from acute malnutrition. To illustrate just how depraved and blatantly dishonest such a “Best of…” list can be, I dissected an odious example in The Bottom of the Barrel.
Fraudulent Top Ten lists are the perfect vehicle for influencing public opinion, which is helpful for brands that cut corners, cheapen product quality and substitute overnight gimmickry for the long and costly slog of R&D. I’d love to tell you that things are going to get better soon, that the market will somehow self-correct when it has no incentive to do so, but the reality is quite the opposite.
I hope you’ll take a moment and visit one of the 26 2022/23 Revelations you may have missed, or listen to any of the 40 podcasts of Realskiers with Jackson Hogen. As you peruse my most recent content, bear in mind that what you are reading – or listening to – is rare and endangered. If you’d like to help ski journalism worthy of the term to survive, we have a Tip Jar on the Realskiers home page…
See you next season.
22/23 Season Revelations:
On Taking What the Mountain Gives You or the Many Shades of Perfect
22/23 Season Podcasts of Realskiers with Jackson Hogen
[Note that all Podcasts use the same url.]
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