Publishers David and Betsy Harrower, and equity partner Brian Litz, have sold Backcountry Magazine to Height of Land Publications for an undisclosed sum. Height of Land is a Jeffersonville, Vt.-based, group that includes photographer Chuck Waskuch, 30, and journalist Adam Howard, 28, both former contributors to the magazine. Rena Perkins, 30, the new publisher and Dan Burgess, 36, of Skiershop are also investors.
Howard, who told us that he was thrilled with the opportunity he and his team have been presented with, has been named the new editor of Backcountry, and Waskuch the new photo editor. Senior editor John Dostal will continue with the magazine.
Craig Dostie, publisher of Couloir, told SNEWS®, "Iron sharpens iron so with the sale, we now have a new competitor with an old name. It is time to keep the whetstone applied here at Coulior." Dostie also told SNEWS® that he is most "bummed" about losing access to Waskuch's photos.
While the Backcountry press release did announce that Brian Litz would be joining the team as an editor at large, Litz pointed out to SNEWS® that he is a freelancer earning a buck and that he plans on writing and shooting photos for both magazines.
SNEWS® View: The question remains, can a niche market support two very niche magazines? Some say yes, some say no. Our feeling is that this is very good for the industry and that it needs two magazines to stay fresh. With new blood and energy, we will doubtless see dramatic visual changes to Backcountry, which should make readers and advertisers happy. The current publishing team is made up of enthusiastic skiers and skilled journalists -- the perfect blend to take over. There is also a place for Backcountry that provides a different vision, a different read, a different feel than Couloir. As long as it doesn't go the route of too many magazines in the industry these days -- vanilla coverage of pro-sponsored dream team tele ski expeditions -- Backcountry will find a place. Of course, the challenge will be finding advertising support while it's establishing its position -- we wish Backcountry well.