Founding Publisher of SAM Magazine, David Rowan, Died on June 8

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SAM Magazine--June 10, 2005--David Rowan, founder of the industry's trade publication Ski Area Management (SAM Magazine) died on Wednesday, June 8, from a rare cancer, mesothelioma.

Rowan started his industry career in 1949 when he joined Ski Magazine as editor, interim publisher and ad salesperson. Rowan stayed with Ski until 1961 when the magazine was sold to a New York publisher. By 1962, Rowan, along with Otis Ridge Ski Area owner David Judson, organized the first national association of ski area operators, the National Ski Areas Association, and launched Ski Area Management, the industry's first trade publication devoted to the owners and operators of of ski areas, both large and small, in North America.

In 1964, Rowan rejoined Ski Magazine as publisher, all the while ensuring that SAM continue to grow. In 1973, Rowan rejoined the world of independent publishing and in the last 32 years has overseen the growth of SAM. Rowan stepped outside his role as publisher many times as a tireless advocate of the suppliers. Over the years, Rowan's editorials have shaped the debate over almost every controversial subject in our industry. He never feared championing unpopular causes if he thought they were right. He also organized conferences, and with his daughters, created the SAMMY Awards, Cutters Camp and ensured that the editorial content of the magazine challenge, help and, above all, be true to its original mission statement: "Ski Area Management intends to be a forum for the exchange of constructive ideas between area operators."

Because of his efforts, Rowan was inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 1996 as a Ski Sport Builder. Rowan was also the recipient of the NSAA Lifetime Achievement Award.

"Our father was a pioneer and we are so very proud and honored to continue to pursue the high standards that he set forth in SAM," say Olivia and Jennifer Rowan, publishers of SAM. "His writing, his style, his grace, his wit and his wisdom were rare and we are fortunate as an industry to have benefited from his years of devotion and hard work."

In David's own final words to his family he said, "My one over-riding thought seems so banal as I write it, but perhaps truth is banal. It seems to me "decency" is a human quality that should be pursued above all others. maybe it smacks a little of elitism, but I don't care. If people measured their actions against a standard of "what is the decent thing to do?" the world would be a much better place. Such a standard forces you to reach down into your innermost self and measure your action against your own innermost standard of right and wrong. No expediency allowed. Yes, an unsophisticated concept, but it has been a core one with me ever since I learned it as a little English schoolboy."

SAM Magazine will honor David in its September issue and a memorial service will be planned in the coming weeks. Outside of his passion for winter, David Rowan was an avid gardener and his love for the theater was fulfilled with many roles in local productions.

"Our father's gardens are brimming with beautiful blooms," say the Rowans. "We ask that in lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to his local theater.

Theatre Works, 5 Brookside Avenue, New Milford, CT 06776, (860) 350-6863.


Snowsports/Travel Writer

I met David Rowan several times during my 40 years as a ski writer. He was, as we all know, one of the best informed ski industry members in recent memory. He also shared his knowledge with others, including we writers. He will be missed, but no forgotten. I was with the late writer/editor, I. William Berry one time at Hunter Mountain and listened as Bill and David discussed the ski business in general. It was one of the most enlightening exchanges imaginable. Dick Healy, The Record, Troy, NY

A continuing legacy

During my 30 plus years of ski area management David Rowan inspired me and stimulated me to think outside the box. I always looked forward to the next issue of SAM and made sure my management staff received copys. His sharing of valuable information and raising of issues that needed thought and consideration helped grow this industry in a way it could never have grown otherwise. That he passed that task to his daughters who pursue it so passionately is something I am thankful for. His talents and contributions were many and he helped me in many ways. Jennifer and Olivia my thoughts are with you and I hope you find some degree of comfort knowing that a part of you father is with so many. Bill Murphy

I Count Myself Lucky

I count myself very lucky to have worked with and learned from David Rowan for a few years. During my time at SAM I got to know a man with a wide range of interests, an easy smile, and a sharp wit. That he made a lasting and positive impact in the ski industry is clear, it is less obvious that he did the same thing outside of it.

I learned plenty about the ins and outs of the ski industry from him, picked up great amounts of history, and absorbed some wordsmithing skills, but what I count most valuable from that time is that I got to know a rare human being. David practiced what he preached, treated everyone with respect, and loved to have fun. Who will ever forget the Grand Smurf Kamehameha at the Orlando SAMMYs or that huge, infectious grin under a long, blond wig in, I think, San Francisco?

I envied, a bit, the relationship Jennifer and Olivia had with their father. While at SAM, years after my own father died, I was privileged to witness a slice of the professional and personal relationship they had going with David, and it made me feel good for all involved. They are lucky to have had that. In fact, anyone who got to know David a little should count themselves lucky.

Jonathan Gourlay \

Jean-Marie Choffel, Director Méribel Tourist Office, France

we have met on a couple of occasions at the BEWI Awards during Bernie's Boston Ski Shows.
I have just read the sad news of your Dad's demise in june 10th's SAMHEADLINES for which I am grateful to be on your e-mailing list & which I always read with great interest.
I wish to extend to yourself, your sister and your whole family my sincerest condolences under such painful circumstances.
With your Dad's departure, yet another witness of the great adventure of the development of winter sports leaves us.
Yours truly, Jean-Marie

U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame

We would like to express our sympathy for the passing of David Rowan. Our hearts go out to his family. He will be missed!

The Most Eloquent Voice of our Skiing Industry

Jennifer, Olivia, I am so sorry to hear of your father's passing. Simply, this guy was one of the best friends and ambassadors our industry ever had, as well as probably the most influencial person of our industry. His "banal" comment to you certainly fit his life. We all will miss his wisdom and friendship very much. Jan Leonard

A sad loss for the industry

Sad news indeed... The industry has just lost one of its kindest, most thoughtful and most important people. Jen, Olivia, and all at SAM - my thoughts are with you.

Skip King \

The Staff at Pats Peak

With an eye towards a career in the ski industry during my college days I will never forget the time I stumbled upon my first issue of SAM. I went immediately back to my dorm room and devoured every last article in that issue - two times. I remember saying to myself this is great that somebody is writing about the "behind the scenes" of this industry. I have been a lifetime subscriber of SAM since and no matter how bad a day maybe going there is always a silver lining when a new issue of SAM shows up in my mailbox and I can steal a few hours of time to escape reality. We use SAM articles extensively as a management tool here at our ski area. His presence in the industry will be missed greatly. Our prayers go out to the entire Rowan family at this difficult time.

VP Loss Control, Willis MountainGuard Ski Insurance Program

Although I did not know David personally, I have been an avid reader and fan of SAM for years. His work with the magazine and with the entire ski industry has been legendary. SAM, and the spirit in which it is published, is indeed a proud legacy. My heart goes out to the Rowan family. The industry will truly miss his presence.