Editor’s Letter: A Decade of Elevation Outdoors

Join us in celebrating the magazine and the community that unites us.

Ten years ago, we stood in the middle of a recession that threatened to bankrupt capitalism. We were also charged up with the excitement of a new President with a message of hope. Those big events loomed large when brother-and-sister team Blake and Meredith DeMaso took me out to dinner to tempt me into starting up a new outdoor magazine. It was to be called Elevation Outdoors, a sister pub to their Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine. Considering how many companies were shedding employees and slashing advertising budgets alongside media pundits proclaiming print dead in a new world of digital media, introducing a new magazine seemed foolhardy. But the three of us still believed in the power of print—especially the free, oversized independent version we had in mind—and we believed in the vision of a publication that would speak to and for the passionate outdoor community of Colorado. Beyond that, the threat of failure has never stooped skiers, mountain bikers, paddlers and anyone else who deals with the uncertainties being out in the wild. In fact, the ability to adapt is what keeps the vast majority of outdoorspeople growing. With this in mind, the DeMasos and I produced the first issue of EO in February, 2009, with wide distribution across the Front Range.

By 2009, our startup had grown from six magazines to our current frequency of 11 issues each year, available in bagel shops, brew pubs, outdoor retail shops and kiosks across the state. We did not do it alone. Former publishers Monica Davis and especially the driven, always affable Elizabeth O’Connell pushed us to new heights. Current publisher Casey Vandenoever and sales reps Conor Sedmak and Martha Evans keep the doors open. And there would be no magazine without art director Lauren Worth and former art director Megan Jordan.

I could not do this without Cameron Martindell, Aaron Bible and Chris Kassar who have contributed to almost every issue over the past 10 years. Author and dear friend Peter Kray and illustrator Kevin Howdeshell have documented a book’s worth of life experiences in “Elwayville” columns since the first issue. Author, editor and consigliare Tracy Ross has helped me up the intensity and quality of every story we publish. Freelance writers and contributing editors including Radha Marcum (my wife!), Adam Chase, Chris Van Leuven, Tyra Sutak, Jayme Moye, Rob Coppolillo, Jayme Moye, Timmy O’Neill, James Dzienski, Lily Krass, Hudson Lindenberger, Jedd Ferris, Patty Malesh, Eugene Buchanan, Melanie Wong, Devon O’Neil, Sonya Pevzner and Rachel Walker are the ones who give EO life. And dedicated photographers including Liam Doran, Devon Balet, David Clifford, Andrew Bydlon, Jeff Cricco, Eddie Clark and Ben Duke get out there and bring back images that give EO its distinct and inspiring look. And when I think about our first issue, I always remember friend and famed alpine climber Jonny Copp, who shot our first cover. There are so many more who have contributed and I thank all of you.

We want you to keep celebrating this anniversary with us. Our goal all along has been to represent the outdoor community, a collection of varied, sometimes odd, always brave individuals who find common ground both individually and collectively out beyond the constraints of human society and limits. It encompasses everything from Sunday night crit racers to bristly curmudgeons who think the term curmudgeon cramps their style. We love to hear from you, love to know when something we do resonates with you and your community (and even the trolls at least let us know someone is reading). We see this community as incredibly inclusive and think it needs to grow to advocate for the wild places in which we play while garnering both inspiration and healing.

On the ground this summer, look for the Live Outside and Play Road Team, which will be traveling to events and festivals in Colorado and beyond, spreading the EO stoke while handing out the magazine. And look, too, for our official 10th Anniversary Issue this August. In it, we will revisit some greatest hits, tap into the wisdom of some long-time contributors and take a good look at what needs to be done, in terms of protection,for us to continue enjoying the wild places that fuel us. Most of all, we hope to sweat, summit and shine with you out there.

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