The sport of snowboarding is constantly evolving. Trends come and go, with new companies and gear appearing and disappearing every season. Some major brands have become household names, and others seem like a flash in the pan.
Transworld Snowboarding sits somewhere in the middle. This was a top snowboarding publication for decades before recently falling off the radar without much explanation. Many readers, myself included, were left wondering why Transworld seemingly vanished.
The magazine was a trusted resource for many snowboarders and provided valuable articles relating to equipment, top riding locations, and lots of other quality information about the sport.
If you try to access the Transworld Snowboarding website (http://snowboarding.transworld.net/) today, you’ll get redirected to the Snowboarder page (https://www.snowboarder.com/). At first glance, this makes you think that the two companies either merged into one or Transworld was purchased by some other entity.
The purpose of this article is to explore what happened to Transworld Snowboarding to give every rider and reader a better understanding of where it went and if we can expect to read another issue any time in the future.
Let’s dive into it.
The History of Transworld Snowboarding
Transworld Snowboarding was a snowboarding magazine that existed for over three decades – 32 years in total. The first edition came out in 1987, and it quickly became a popular publication for snowboarders and wannabees alike.
I remember seeing the photos in the magazine when I was a kid and desperately wanting to get out on the snow and start going huge like all of my idols. I know many other riders feel the same way. Many of us almost grew up with this magazine.
The magazine was initially published around ten times a year, although this varied from year to year. That made every issue a valuable commodity that would fly off the shelves, especially in the pre-internet era.
Transworld Snowboarding quickly garnered attention around the world and was popular with snowboarders in the US and many other countries. It was distributed worldwide and sold an average of 1.3 million copies a year.
The magazine was well known for capturing some truly amazing photos, and the cover shots were always epic. I know plenty of snowboarders who would hang the pages of Transworld all over their rooms, just waiting for the snow to start falling in the winter.
The Transworld staff were also an essential part of snowboarding history because they helped push to get snowboarding allowed at more resorts during the days when it wasn’t as popular. Yes, snowboarding used to be banned at many of your favorite resorts!
In the 1990s, the magazine began to grow quite a bit right alongside the sport. This continued into the 2000s, which were probably the glory days for distribution and publication, making Transworld the most popular snowboarding magazine in the world at that time.
At its height, Transworld had international appeal, was a favorite publication for professional and amateur riders, and sold millions of copies with the release of every issue. It also had several different mobile apps and even a video game to support its widespread appeal.
The end of the road was announced in 2019, and this marked an end of an era. Like so many other print publications, Transworld Snowboarding ceased to exist. It will surely be missed by many riders, and who knows, maybe old copies will be collector’s items someday.
A Look at Mergers
Mergers and acquisitions play a significant behind-the-scenes role in many industries, and Transworld was owned by several different corporations over the years.
Initially, the magazine had humble roots, but as it gained popularity, it was purchased by the Bonnier Corporation, a magazine publisher based in the United States but looked under by an even larger Swedish corporation.
Bonnier sold most of the Transworld-associated media (the magazine, video game, and some other things) to Source Interlink Media in 2013. Source Interlink owned everything for a while and then changed its name to TEN Publishing.
TEN ran Transworld for several years, and even though there were fewer and fewer editions in the 2010s, they were still beloved by readers and riders. During this time, there were only about four editions of Transworld released every year.
The final merger for Transworld came in 2019 when TEN sold the rights to the magazine to American Media. This corporation was well-known for publishing many common tabloid magazines in the US and has existed for nearly 80 years.
The End of the Road
Transworld didn’t last long after this merger with American Media. Shortly after making the purchase, the corporation announced that it was shutting down the magazine. This wasn’t unexpected news, but it still came as a surprise to many.
American Media acquired 14 different sports brands, which they purchased from TEN Publishing. It was evident to any industry insiders that not all of them would make the final cut.
American made a pretty subtle statement on the closing in 2019, stating that “on February 1, 2019, Transworld Skateboarding will no longer be published.” This is another Transworld magazine that was very popular.
The closing of Transworld Snowboarding didn’t even get a legitimate announcement, which was a shame in my eyes, and many other riders. It was sad to see the magazine shut down without much attention.
A spokesperson for American Media said that “Effective immediately, Snowboarder will be the sole snowboarding brand of the new Adventure Sports Network Group, part of American Media’s Active Lifestyle Group.”
That was it. This spelled out the end of the road for Transworld Snowboarding without actually saying it. After 32 years of pleasing many different types of fans and riders, Transworld was no more.
Why Did Transworld Snowboarding Shut Down?
There is not an exact clear answer for why American Media decided to shut down Transworld Snowboarder after buying it. Since they didn’t release an official statement, it’s anyone’s best guess as to the specifics of what went down.
I think it’s a result of print publications dying out in the digital age. Most people get their content and media online these days, and they don’t buy magazines anymore. I mean, when was the last time you purchased a physical magazine?
This is a natural trend in the media and publication industries, and it doesn’t just relate to snowboarding publications. Many different magazines, newspapers, and other forms of print media have also shut down in recent years.
Without people buying subscriptions and the publishers making money, there is no incentive to keep publishing a magazine. I get it and don’t blame the major corporations here, even though that’s what I’d like to do.
Another reason I think Transworld met its end was the fact that American Media wanted to slim down its offerings. They purchased several different snowboarding brands from TEN Publishing, and it was evident some were going to get axed.
By combining multiple publications under the Snowboarder umbrella, American cut costs and reduced competition. I guess it’s a smart move on their part, even though it means less content overall for snowboarders.
The digital era has its good side and its bad. If you are a fan of print media, you are living in the wrong age. Even though Transworld Snowboarding didn’t make it through the final cut, it had a good run, and its history will live on with Snowboarder to some degree.
The Importance of Transworld Snowboarding
Transworld Snowboarding was one of my favorite snowboarding magazines of all time. It was a pleasure to read and gave me so many memories while fueling my passion for the sport. I know many other riders feel the same way and are thankful that the magazine existed.
The magazine influenced several generations of riders to push boundaries and go huge on the mountain. It allowed kids to dream big, and some of them eventually became professional riders or worked in the industry to some degree.
Transworld effectively spread the good word of snowboarding to the far reaches of the earth, and for that, it will always hold a place in history. Snowboarding would not be as popular as it is without magazines like this way paving the way.
The staff of this magazine was also instrumental in helping snowboarding become more accepted in the early days of the sport. Without the popularity the magazine helped create, riders might still not be allowed at some resorts.
Snowboarding is a culture and a mindset as much as it is a sport. I think Transworld Snowboarding captured that essence well, and its pages were a testament to the magic and power that was possible on the mountain.
A good picture lives through the ages, and Transworld gave hundreds, if not thousands of these to the world. These action shots inspired millions of people to get out there in the snow, and the magazine was an important aspect of the snowboarding legacy.
It was sad to see the end of Transworld Snowboarding. But the magazine has a solid 32-year run that stretched from 1987-2019. It captured the spirit of the sport and delivered amazing photos and articles for its dedicated readers.
Reader trends shifting to online overprint ultimately led to the demise of the magazine. It was a business decision by a major corporation that brought down one of the best snowboarder magazines in the industry.
But regardless of how it went down, what’s truly important is that we, as riders, keep the magazine’s purpose alive and well. Get out there and go ride. Spread the stoke as far as you can to help snowboarding thrive far into the future.About Lorraine