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Q&A by R.E. & Ben Dolenc

A new telemark specific magazine. Why? Because we deserve it. Susie and Matt talk turkey.


Descender: How did Telemark Skier come about, and what were your motivations?

Matt: Telemark Skier is an idea that Susie Sutphin has had brewing for several years. Now you'll have to verify this with her, but her direct involvement with Couloir began because she had an interest in starting her own magazine. She was living in Summit County, Colorado at the time, learned about Couloir and ultimately decided it would be easier to learn about the world of magazines rather than launch into it blindly. At the 2002 Winter Outdoor Research show in Salt Lake City, Jeff Wright of USTSA and Susie had a conversation that rekindled Susie's original magazine idea. She sold Craig on the idea, and then one day this spring while we were skiing at Alpine Meadows she asked me if I was interested in throwing my hat into the ring. So...she's the ring leader.

Susie: I don't know about ring leader. It is definitely a team effort and without everyone's contribtibution the concept would have stayed just that, a concept. It is a truly a dream come true to see this idea come to fruition. During this production process, I keep having flash backs to the day six years ago when I got the idea to start a tele-magazine. I think I was having a quarter-life crisis on deciding what I was going to do with my life when it hit me. It's a good feeling when you see your goals actually get reached.

D: . Who is the target audience?

Matt & Susie: If you look at the numbers of participants across the North America compared to other outdoor activities/hobbies, the sport of alpine skiing is a niche market. Keeping that in mind, telemark skiing just may qualify as a super niche market. We titled the special issue Telemark Skier because we have every intention of making it appeal to telemark skiers, all telemark skiers. There have been some misconceptions that we were producing a "new school" Freeskier/Freeze type magazine. Sure, we will cover the current progression of telemark skiing with profiles of athletes and stories dedicated to the new state of freeheel exploits at events such as slopestyle, but without ignoring the roots of telemark skiing. Telemark skiing has a heritage linking back through the years to Sondre Norheim, Fridtjof Nansen and more recently, yet equally nostalgic to many, Alan Bard. In abstract sense, telemark is about soul. If we can place that soul on the pages of the magazine then we've done our jobs well.



Make it Happen Cap'tn. The Crew @ Telemark Skier/Couloir.
Photo courtesy of Telemark Skier Magazine

D:. How do you see the magazine evolving along with the emerging telemark demographic?

Matt & Susie: At this point Telemark Skier is a venture into the unknown, tentative turns in a whiteout. We feel telemark skiing has grown enough to support its own publication- plenty of individuals have agreed with us- but it remains to be seen what type of support the publication receives. The goal of Telemark Skier is to inspire and promote the sport, and as the sport continues to evolve so will the magazine. The cult of personality is key to the success of the magazine. As much as we're interested in the gear that defines telemark skiing, it's the people who shape, personify and redefine the sport that keeps it fresh and innovative. You'll see one issue this year and with the support we already seeing, Telemark Skier will have anywhere from two-four issues next year.

D: Telemark films showcasing "fresh" aspects of the sport have had success over the past few years. Why do you think it has taken some time for a magazine to cover this "scene?"

Matt & Susie: Money. Filmmakers like Josh "Bones" Murphy and Nat Ross barely have the proverbial two pennies to rub together. Yes, they're capturing and producing images that showcase the modern aspects of telemark skiing, but they receive very little support monetarily. Companies that specialize primarily in telemark skiing products have little money available to subsidize other ventures, such as Unparalleled Productions, Tough Guy Productions or Telemark Skier. Nonetheless, telemark skiing is growing and should be able to support efforts such as movies, magazines and websites that promote the sport.


D: Who gets the first copy off the press, Craig, Matt or Susie?

Susie: I'm not that strong of a morning person and advanced copies of tend to make early appearances at the office, so I'm a long shot. If I was a betting man, I'd say either Susan Schnier, Couloir's senior editor, or I will have the first copy in their hands. Either that or Jose at the printer in Denver who binds the magazine!

D: Your work is appreciated. Go Big!

To learn more about Telemark Skier Mag: http://www.telemarkskier.com/

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