Over 400 magazines folded in 2009, according to the publishing database mediafinder.com, and close to 25 more went the way of the printed-word dinosaur in the first quarter of 2010. Early last week, swirling industry rumors held that in a matter of days, even hours, Skiing Magazine would be announcing a similar fate. But don't add the 62-year-old Boulder, Colo. institution to the magazine "death list" just yet.
Skiing, a brand that remains one of the sport's most defining voices, will be indeed be scaling back its print operations going into the '10/11 season. The number of issues will likely decrease from six to two, with one of those issues being devoted to gear. But Skiing will also be ramping up its digital offering, as insiders are quick to point out.
"Make no mistake, they are not folding the magazine," said Jake Bogoch, who served as Editor-In-Chief of Skiing until last Friday. As for the future plans, however, "they haven't been firmed up."
Skiing's decision to revamp its publishing strategy follows a subtler but no less significant about-face on the content side. Bogoch was hired two years ago to return the publication to its hard-core roots. "They hired me to make Skiing less mainstream, to make it appeal to a more hard-core skier," he told ESPN. He and his staff tried to transform the magazine into a more photo-driven publication that did a better job covering ski culture -- more like Powder, he said.
But Bogoch was never quite able to fulfill his vision. "After one year, [the parent company] flipped the script on me and wanted to go back to a mainstream magazine," he said. "And that wasn't the magazine I wanted to make. We already have a mainstream magazine. It's called SKI."
Bogoch resigned three weeks ago, leaving the management at Bonnier Corporation -- a Swedish publishing giant that purchased Skiing, SKI and 16 others from Time Inc. in 2007 -- to search for a new editor.
"I really, truly mean no ill will toward this company," says Bogoch. "I got the top job when I was 31. That's a huge gamble for them to take, giving a young guy the big chair. They allowed me to make mistakes, and they allowed me to fix them."
Bogoch has taken a job in the newly installed creative-and-strategy division with the advertising behemoth Leo Burnett in Chicago. As for the magazine's future, Bonnier has yet to address any details publicly. Greg Ditrinco, who was promoted to editorial director for SKI and Skiing in April, declined to comment but said an official announcement is forthcoming in "weeks, not months."