Browse Our Archives

May 2022

Hidden Gems

Sound familiar?

Written by The Editors | 0 comment

SAM Magazine is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. In the next few issues, we’ll use this space to dig into the archives and discover what lessons history can teach us as we navigate our future. For this first edition of “Hidden Gems,” we play the game “Sound familiar?” Many of our contemporary challenges, ideas, and debates have surfaced intermittently in our past. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it ... like mom jeans and mullets. So, let’s look backwards for a moment. Check out all six decades of archives at


This 1979 cover—a repeat of a 1974 cover—addressed impacts from a second era of gas shortages, recession, and inflation. Inside the issue, founding publisher David Rowan editorializes on those challenges in “On the Clicking of Worry Beads.” 

“These are the best of times for those of us who enjoy worrying,” he writes. “I mean, how can you top it? We’ve got ‘energy crisis,’ ‘galloping inflation,’ we’ve got ‘deepening recession,’ and what’s more, we’ve got ’em all at the same time. An orgy of angst for the knitted-brow set!”

We, too, are experiencing a trifecta of worrisome challenges these days: Covid, supply chain backlogs ... that looming specter, inflation. “How to sort them out? Which to worry about first? Or most?” David asks. “Frankly, we think the ski industry has most to fear from inflation,” he answers.  


Another cover from 1979. This one looks  ahead at what the next decade will bring to the ski industry: “Skiing by reservation is already a reality and will expand its focus in the ’80s,” SAM speculates. 

“Even the government regulatory agencies are recognizing that it is impractical and unwise to sell an unlimited number of tickets just because the demand is there. Smaller areas will move towards a time period in the ’80s offering skiing by the hour ($2/hour) from 9 a.m. – 12 noon and 2 – 5 p.m., with a $2/hour premium from noon to 2 p.m., and large areas may well get into morning half-day ticketing in order to relieve crowd pressures. Ticket pricing by VTF will also become an accepted fact based on the premise that ‘the more you use the more you pay.’” Covid briefly made visit reservations a reality, but capacity is still a conundrum 43 years later.


Fire risk mitigatation has been a concern for decades as evidenced by this winter 1975 cover. In this issue, the focus is on “training employees in firefighting techniques which can and should go beyond lift emergencies. ... Just the handling of equipment before an emergency occurs can help employees gain the confidence necessary to deal with fire.”

That principle of preparedness remains true today, even as climate change has dramatically accelerated the threat of and level of destruction caused by wildfires in particular, and the insurance market is hardening in response. 


Our inaugural “10 Under 30” feature debuted in July 2007. It was exciting to shine the light on up-and-comers since so many of the industry accolades available up to that point focused on mid- and end-of-career recognition. It was even more exciting to put Isabelle Falardeau, a badass female terrain park supervisor, on the cover.

Others who might sound familiar from this inaugural class: Nick Herrin—then assistant director of snowsports at Telluride, Colo., and now CEO of PSIA-AASI; John Paul Bradley, GM of Sipapu, N.M.—then one of the youngest GMs in the biz, and still leading the way at the helm of Sipapu; and Laura Schaffer—then director of PR at Snowbird, Utah, and more recently, Powdr’s director of corporate responsibility, the 2021 NSAA “Hero of Sustainability,” and a SAM Summit Series mentor.


This cover from January 1982 shows the world’s first ever detachable quad, installed at Breckenridge, Colo. In January 2022, 40 years later, we put the East’s first eight-pack, installed at Loon Mountain, N.H., on our cover. Both covers accompanied SAM’s annual Lift Construction Survey, which—just like the magazine—celebrates 60 years this year. It is the longest running documentation of lift installations in the ski industry.