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As the only British ski magazine committed entirely to free-skiing coverage, it's a niche that's perfectly filled by Dark Summer's stylish and polished presentation.
For British skiers, it's always been difficult to get exposed to the wonders of free-riding. The Alps aren't particularly close and taking holidays can be expensive. Yet, there's always been an underlying market of skiers and snowboarders desperate to delve into this sport in any way that they possibly can.
With only a few dry slopes around, skiers in Britain struggled to find a true way to group themselves together. And that's where Dark Summer comes in; by becoming the sole voice of the free-skiing market, the magazine has made this community more close-knit than ever before.
Informed, Free and Online
It's not just that co-founders Zack Wragg and Daniel Crawford have found a gap in the market, it's how they've fulfilled that hole and made it their own. Currently enjoying their fifth year in publication, it's clear that Dark Summer isn't just a passing fad, but a magazine dedicated enough to develop and evolve. "We are the only magazine that only has British riders on the cover. It is hard enough for a UK rider to get on the cover of a magazine [and] a British magazine should have British riders on the cover." speaks Wragg on the difficulties of catering for the British market.
It's clear that the magazine isn't just a project, but a passion. By electing to be online, Dark Summer has been able to jump many of the barriers of entry to the market and become available worldwide at absolutely no cost to readers. Better still, by establishing their footing and growing in numbers, Dark Summer has become reputable across the industry. As Wragg puts it, "We are the only UK magazine to be staffed by freeskiers who have skied professionally, worked for brands and worked in retail. We live and breathe skiing."
The most striking thing you'll notice from, firstly the cover and then throughout, is the professional photography that lifts every page. Naturally, snowy mountainsides hold some of the most beautiful sights in the world, but it's also notoriously difficult to get shots just right with timing and lighting being absolutely essential.
The written work and wide span of ski coverage make it obvious that Dark Summer has expanded upon each issue of the magazine to form something genuinely fresh and exciting.
As evidence of Dark Summer's contribution to the market, Wragg concludes "We made Dark Summer more than just a magazine. We run events to help push the freeskiing community. We ran the [UK's] first all-female competition and [introduced] the UK Freeski Awards." You get the feeling that Dark Summer are not just in control, but keen to push the British ski industry for the better. And when people are this passionate about the subject, you can only be in good hands.
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