SBG: Where we’ve been, where we’re at, where we are going

By Chris / On / In Chris' Blog, Uncategorized

This is the original business card we hit the road with in 1999

Originally posted on SnowboarderGuide.com

I started SBG with two good friends in the fall of 1998 as we prepared to hit the road on a snowboard roadtrip. It’s been more than a decade since I started cobbling together bits of code to make a website that would catalog our trip as we traveled from Alaska into Canada and then down through Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado during what was to be one of the best seasons on record.

We started out as what would later be called a blog

In the years since, Snowboarder Guide has taken a number of forms. We started out as what would later be called a blog, an online journal chronicling the story of three 18-year-olds on the road with the sole mission of snowboarding. The journal turned into reviews, and the resort reviews we wrote and published were some of the first available on the web. Over the next few years we moved into product reviews as well, and before the term blogging had even been coined, we had adopted a web magazine format.

We’ve been as small as two people, and at times had ten contributors. Maggie joined our team, first writing reviews, then articles, and then taking on the role of women’s editor and overseeing the female half of the product world as the industry recognized the need for women’s specific gear. We married in 2001, and celebrated 10 years this year. We’ve traveled all over the US, attended incredible events, hung out with legends and heroes, and made friends throughout the snowboard industry, and along the way we’ve had more powder days than anyone really deserves.

In the process, we lost our voice.

In the mid-to-late 2000s, two things happened: snowboard blogging really took off, and the print snowboard magazines started to put some real money into their websites. SBG was caught in the middle, more than a blog, but without the resources or print-revenue of a magazine. Stretched thin, we adapted by posting more press releases (because it was free content and search engines loved it), and opening our review system up for public reviews. In the process, we lost our voice. We were still here, snapping photos at events, publishing press releases to the website, and moderating user reviews, but it was no longer our words that made up the bulk of the site. The personality and character that our readers trusted and came to our corner of the web for, vanished.

At the same time, I was being pulled away by my other project, teaching, coaching, and guiding with Steamboat Guides. Steamboat Guides is awesome, and I’ll still be on-snow with SG many days of the week, but SBG is back.

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.”

We’re still hammering out a number of details for this season, but I thought it was time to start laying some of it out. As Mark Twain so eloquently put it, “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” So here are a few of the changes:

Press Releases: We strongly feel that press releases are an important part of snowboard story, and so we’ll continue to post press releases. However, our goal is to do a better job of filtering the interesting and newsworthy (or things we want to make fun of) from the bland, generic press releases that fill up our inbox, and provide you that information with our voice. You can still read the standard press release at the bottom, but the top will be our words.

Contributors: Reviews and articles are back to a small team of on-snow reviewers. We hope to grow this and include more riders, but we’re starting small, and finding our voice again. If you’re interested in joining our team, feel free to get in touch.

Reviews: Reviews have been migrated out of the separate Censura review system and included within the main site. This makes for a site that runs faster, is actually searchable, and is far easier to update.

Review Scores: After ten years, we’re updating our review scoring. More on this soon.

A new look: This one is still a little ways off, but should be ready by the time snow hits.

SBG is a testament to years of hard work and great rewards, and is proof that if you work hard you can create something from scratch. It has been an incredible journey. I hope you’ll join us as we explore what’s next for Snowboarder Guide.

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