by Justin Phipps,
Mary Walsh has one of the most important jobs in snowboarding. As online editor at SNOWBOARDER Mag, she has to be keep the world connected to not only the day to day shred scene but also to keep the content fresh and meaningful in the big picture. She’s really easy to talk to and made sense out of all my questions and put a lot of thought into each one. Want your content online at SNOWBOARDER? Chances are excellent it doesn’t happen without it Mary having seen it first.
JP: So we’re up here at The Launch far away from sunny soCal and they really put a lot of effort into this for the riders and stuff what were your initial impressions of the courses?
Mary: Oh, I was really stoked. I got here a day late because my flight was cancelled. I missed the day it was really snowy, so when I got here it was like really beautiful out and blue skies and sunny and I first got to go check out the Industrial Parkway area and I was really stoked! I’ve seen it in operation before, but then they usually change it up a little bit for events and it was really really cool, very proper. One thing I think is cool that Seven Springs does is they make a lot of lines for everyone and they don’t want it just being hit one way, which I think is really cool. Then I came over and checked all this stuff out (the Cube), and like, the jumps are MASSIVE, the second jump in particular, absolutely HUGE and the halfpipe walls are really really fun even though the bottom is kinda rutted today because of the weather, the walls are still super fun. The hip/plaza feature.. is SO cool (laughter), I haven’t even watched anyone hit it yet. The redirect wallride and tube portion of it are cool and like the tombstone segment of the right side hip.. yeah I think it’s really cool, I’m so stoked. This is only my third Launch ever so each one has been really creative that I’ve gotten to see. I thought Seven Springs did an awesome job and built some really unique features..
So internetting and stuff like that, you have a lot of control over what does and what doesn’t make the feeds at SNOWBOARDER, is it kinda awkward having that type of authority and has anybody ever gone over the top of your head to try and get their content viewed. What are some of the awsm stories you can share?
Mary: (laughter) I post everything, but we definitely work collaboratively too. Like if Cavan, our video production manager, if he sees something he really likes he’ll send it over to me, or if Pat sees something he really likes, or if our art director sees something, like ‘hey I just saw this video and it’s really cool’. So if like one of them backs it I’m totally down to post it, like ‘Cool, done!’ For me the hardest thing is we get so many videos. Like especially certain times of the year, like the fall we get everyone’s full parts then in March it gets really busy too and that can be really hard because it can be hard to get time to watch them all, so I think that’s the hardest part of it.
Everyone’s pretty good. I mean like nobody really tries to go over my head. But then sometimes people will send stuff to a bunch of us (at SNOWBOARDER) and I’ll check it out which is totally cool, but, for the most part we get pretty lucky with the stuff people are sending us. And for me, and I think I speak for the rest of us at the magazine, we really want to support local riders. Like of course if VideoGrass makes something we’re gonna put it up, or if you get something that Louif is doing or Pat Moore or like maybe one of the really strong AM/pros like Mike Ravelson or Worm, we definitely wanna put that stuff up because you can almost always count on riders like that to put out amazing content. But, we also really wanna support the local riders, the guys that are up and coming, the riders that are gonna come to The Launch. Or maybe they’re from like a small hill in Ohio but they’re just killing it and it’s really cool because guys like that will just send stuff my way and I’ve never met them or anything, but they’ll shoot it over and we’d like, ‘Hey this is really rad!!’.
If somebody’s maybe like not quite up to snuff or we’re not ready to put it on the site we try, I’ll try to email them back and say hey this is cool but maybe next time make it a little longer or a little shorter or do some other stuff. You know, just try to help them out. We really try to be very gracious with submissions because I think it’s cool that kids are putting themselves out there on the line to have fun and get noticed and showcase what they’re doing just because they love snowboarding and stuff. I feel like if we’re gracious to them they’ll be awesome to us and we’re stoked to work with everyone.
Mary: (laughter) well best stories, for online. I guess some of the best occur when we’re just out there travelling as a crew. The whole SNOWBOARDER Mag crew is just so rad. Doing events like The Launch, or The Open, or X Games.. we just kinda all pull together and one person will do photos, one will do video, myself or Pat or Tom will do words. I’ll kinda pull it all together and put it on the internet. I wish there was one great story, I feel like there are a lot. You know last year at The Launch it was so hot and even warmer than it is here, and you kinda just get brain dead by the end of the week and being on the hill for four days, working 18 hour days. And it just gets funny, like everyone at the magazine is funny and so T-Bird will start cracking puns or Yosh will just start saying really funny things and then it just becomes people will be laughing the whole time. I guess it’s not a really good story, but it’s just really fun to travel with the group. In the office it’s pretty mellow, but.. wow I wish I could think of a better story for the road… maybe we can come back to that one.
JP: Ever get in a flame email war over artists content n stuff? Like I bet people get their feelings hurt all the time?
Mary: I think when people are sending videos especially, it’s very personal. Like if people are trying to make a name for themselves or they’re just putting themselves out there, like AM riders and stuff it is VERY personal what they are doing putting themselves out there. So I really do my best to be as kind and gracious as possible because I do appreciate what they’re doing. It’s hard to do. It’s hard to put yourself out there and send it to someone you’ve maybe never met before and to have that person judge you to see if your work can make it onto the website.
We’re pretty strict about what we put on social media. Initially when I started a year and a half ago people would like be a little more pushy and be like ‘You posted my video but you’re NOT putting it on facebook?’ But now it’s kinda like people have simmered down a little bit which is nice. Sometimes, and I mean this the best way possible, people will sometimes send me multiple emails in the same day about a video and usually if I don’t email somebody right away it means I’m out of the office. Sometimes I do have to write people back and say ‘Hey maybe if you could just calm it down a LITTLE bit that would be cool!!!’ (laughter).. but most people are really nice. I’ve been lucky I haven’t really had too many gnarly email experiences yet and if somebody does send something really gnarly I’m sorta like, ‘Well you’re gonna catch more flies with sugar’ than through this. So if people aren’t gonna be nice I’m not really gonna deal with ’em really. So I’ve been kinda lucky but if people start getting kinda aggro in email discourse I kinda try to be polite and kinda wrap it up (giggle).
JP: What is the worst thing about the internet as it relates to snowboarding?
Mary: Oh man!! Sometimes I just wish the Internet would slow down! (laughter). Like I said, they’re just these times when you get SO MANY videos and you wanna let the content shine but it’s hard when there’s just so many videos coming out on top of one another. I’ve been lobbying for the Internet to maybe go offline from like midnight to 6AM. If we could just slow it down a little bit that would be good.
I think it’s really cool that the Internet can be so accesible and put themselves out there and get their snowboarding out there into the public eye in a way that wasn’t possible ten years ago. It shows in stuff like this (The Launch). We get to see up and coming riders that we wouldn’t have been able to see if it weren’t for their ability to post their own videos. But you know they’re just so many videos too, sometimes they can just get lost in the shuffle so it’s always super challenging.
Then, and not to sound cliche, but they’re just so many people out there hating on the Internet and I think it’s terrible for snowboarding! I love sarcasm, I’m all for that kinda stuff but sometimes people get so aggressive on other people’s work, you know just tone it down a little bit!
Oh, another thing.. one of the things the Internet has done is really change the way videos and video parts come out. There are some really cool positives to that. People that may not have budgets can still have parts. Or take the Keep The Change story..they were kinda doing their own thing and then VideoGrass wanted to collab with them and now they ARE a VideoGrass project and like that’s so cool! But even this creates new challenges for filmers who are trying to make it or selling hard copies of videos which are so important for snowboarding. I think some video companies like VideoGrass or Think Thank have done a really good job of that but the Internet is really changing that and people just need to keep finding solutions because the videos are so very important.
JP: Is snowboarding kinda sacred in that you have to be like the guardian f producing awsm content for the brand? Do you ever feel like holding back on somebody is hurting them? or is it maybe helping them grow as a rider?
Mary: You mean like if somebody submits a video but then it doesn’t get posted kinda thing?
Mary: If someone sends a video that wasn’t showcasing their riding to their ability, like it we know they can do better but their riding wasn’t reflected poorly on them we would wanna hold that back. For the most part, holding back happens when we just have too much content going up and that stinks because often times we don’t wanna hold it back but if there’s too much going on you just kinda lose things in the mix I guess. Unless the part wasn’t showing them at their best, at their talent level, I think holding back is ideal, we wanna be able to post all the videos we can. Our video page is so important we wanna keep people updated with what’s going on. The biggest thing for us is just when we get into those really busy times. Does that kinda answer the question?
JP: Well also like, does holding back maybe encourage the rider to grow..
Mary: Oh, oh.. well we kinda talk about that in the office. You know we wanna represent a strong level of riding in snowboarding. For up and coming riders being able to see their edit on SNOWBOARDER mag (is important). Unless it’s just a really bad edit we’ll hold it back but most edits we get aren’t like that. I almost think the positive reinforcement of having the post is saying ‘We’re down, we wanna help you grow’. I mean they may not be JP Walker yet, but yeah we’re down with what you’re doing and we wanna support you and I think that speaks a lot better than saying ‘hey this just isn’t there yet, work with us next year’. Sometimes you have to do that though, but whenever we can I wanna be like let’s do it. If you’re an up and coming rider and you get to see your edit on the site I think that almost can drive you to do more because you wanna do it again. I’m all for putting edits up and not holding back. Sometimes you have to, but I think it’s better when you can stoke people out drive them to do more because they’re stoked.
JP: What’s up with Colorado? do we kinda get hated on? If yes, why do you think that is?
Mary: (laughter).. That’s an awesome question!! (laughing). A little bit yeah!! I think, and with all due respect to Colorado, I think Colorado does get hated on a little bit. I mean everyone loves Colorado especially those of us at SNOWBOARDER. We’ve done The Launch there, we’ve done Ms. Superpark, we’re totally down with Colorado. I probably spend more time in Colorado than I do any other state in the winter time because there’s so much going on there. But I think Colorado does get a little bit of flack. I think it’s because the jumps n stuff are so good there and people go to train, contest training. So I think Colorado gets a reputation of having a lot of contest riders, not that there’s anything wrong with contest riding. I just think sometimes people will give it a little bit of… you know, some jabs for that. And then now I think because of the whole medical marijuana thing I think people like to give Colorado jokes about that too. But I think Colorado’s legit, a lotta good riders come out of Colorado, there’s gnarly mountains there, and the altitude’s hard to deal with so I think if you can deal with that you’ve one up on the rest of us. I love riding Colorado. Copper Mountain is one of my favorite spots, I think it’s so fun there. I think maybe people make a little fun of Colorado because they actually like it. It’s all good natured fun!
Mary: (laughter).. I’m from the east coast so we kinda get the same thing, we get made fun of a lot too.
JP: Any questions that maybe I should have asked you that I need to cover but didn’t?
Mary: Hmm, no those are pretty good. I’m pretty down. Those were solid, I enjoyed them.
Mary: I wish I had a better funny story. I have a lot of like stupid semi funny stories but they’d all end up like ‘You had to be there’.
JP: Cool, thank you!