by Michael Maginn, originally published in seniorsskiing.com, February 20, 2017
The rumors are true. SKIING Magazine, like so many other classic magazines, has finally closed down after nearly 70 years of publishing. This is especially sad for me because I worked for SKIING in the early 1970s as a junior editor. It was there I found myself catapulted into the whole ecosystem of the ski business where SKIING and its uptown rival, SKI, were the nexus of all that was happening.
Under Doug Pfeiffer, editor-in-chief and already an industry legend, and Al Greenberg, executive editor, the magazine in those days was a creative, innovative and exciting place to work and for readers a valuable and entertaining look at what was emerging as a growing winter sport. Interest in skiing was bursting in the early 70s; celebrities were being recognized and promoted by the press: Billy The Kid, Jean-Claude Killy, Karl Schranz. Harry Leonard’s Ski Shows—with a young Bernie Weichsel on his staff—descended on major cities. The movie, “Downhill Racer”, starring Robert Redford, brought the drama and beauty of racing to the public. There were new boots, new bindings, new skis, new everything from destinations to accessories, and SKIING covered it all with expertise, a touch of irreverence and some really great writing.
I will never forget learning the basics of cross-country skiing in Al Greenberg’s office at One Park Avenue, New York. Or watching Senior Editor John Henry Auran getting his feet “foamed” for ski boot liners, an outstanding innovation back in the day. “Have you been foamed?” he always asked mischievously. There were also 3:00 AM deadlines, last minute changes, hysterical laughter when coming up with headlines with Managing Editor Dinah Witchel. It was always fun watching Fashion Editor Cathie Judge sort through piles and piles of new clothes for photo shoots.
One month, we were so late in getting final editorial done that I—the junior person— was tasked to personally hand deliver the physical page layouts and copy down to the printing plant in Doraville, GA. I was driven to the airport in New York for an ultra-early flight straight from the office after an all-nighter by John Henry and some other anxious production people. When I landed, I took a cab from Atlanta miles out to Doraville only to find the plant was closed for Confederate Memorial Day. So I left the whole edition—packaged in a giant cardboard sandwich bigger than two super-sized pizzas—with the security guard at the gate who promised to get it to the right person the next day. I gulped, left it with him, got back into the cab, and flew back to New York.
And of course, I will never forget the early 70s ski tests with Wayne Wong, Doug and Ginny Pfeiffer and Jim McDill out in Mammoth Mountain after Memorial on spring snow and bright sunshine near the top of the mountain.
Memories, bound volumes, and reunion phone calls from long-ago colleagues are left. Thanks SKIING for the run.