Interviews with Former Outdoor Sports Guide Staff
By Connie Lewis
In honor of our 30th anniversary, we interviewed past editors and contributors to learn about their experience at Outdoor Sports Guide, and find out where they are today. Do you have memories from Outdoor Sports Guide’s past? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Noble was the first editor of Outdoor Sports Guide 30 years ago when it was called the Wasatch Skiers Guide. After a full winter of successful issues, the magazine broadened its focus to cover all outdoor sports and became Wasatch Sports Guide.
Chris was writing freelance articles for national ski magazines when he was contacted to be the editor. With a background in creative writing and journalism, along with a love for outdoor sports, producing the then bi-monthly magazine was a natural fit. “Being an editor after being a freelance writer and a photographer broadened my perspective and introduced me to a lot of talented people,” Chris said.
When he became too busy writing for National Geographic, Outside, and Rolling Stone, Chris reluctantly gave up his duties at Wasatch Sports Guide.
Still drawn to outdoor adventure topics, Chris is currently writing a book for Falcon Press about inspiring women climbers. He is excited about the project and said, “I get to profile some of the finest female climbers in the country.”
Rose (Gilchrist) Fryer
Before making her way to Wasatch Sports Guide, Rose Gilchrist Fryer, worked for 13 years as a reporter and editor for the Salt Lake Tribune. With her journalistic background she took the publication from bi-monthly to monthly and changed the name to simply, Sports Guide.
She went on to change the focus of the magazine. She said, “I was not a mega athlete so I wanted to gear the stories more to beginners and add some humor.” She remembers one of her articles, “Carabina in My Hope Chest.” Being the editor of an adventure sports magazine, she got in great shape and tried everything from skydiving to mountain climbing. Rose used her experiences to write stories from a beginner’s viewpoint.
After marrying she left Sports Guide, and subsequently moved to Moab. Rose runs an import shop there and continues her adventures with hiking and river running. “Every weekend is an adventure,” she said.
Steve Howe edited Sports Guide in the mid ’80s for six years. He said, “It was a one-man band kind of operation. I was doing editorial, advertising, and art.” Besides Dan Miller as publisher, he relied on freelancers to put out the magazine.
In a typical month, Steve planned the issue, assigned stories, picked out the cover, wrote headlines, filled in captions, and wrote some of the features. That’s back when the features were longer and ran from between 2,000 and 2,500 words. He said, “I could not have purchased a better journalism education, even from the most prestigious school.” He figured he did 72 issues in six years working 60 plus hours a week.
Steve transitioned from Sports Guide to Backpack Magazine where he was a technical field editor, consultant, writer, and photographer for 22 years. He now works as an REI guide for day hikes and backpacking trips in Zion and Bryce Canyons. Steve describes himself as a ski bum who fell into editing and built a great life and career through it.
In May of 1993, Drew Ross took the reins of Sports Guide and brought a new focus to the magazine. Drew felt the magazine had become too much of a guide–telling people good places to hike or where to go to find the latest equipment. He brought in stories with more of an experiential element. With Salt Lake’s growing population he said, “I felt there were plenty of guide books available.” He decided to focus on pieces about the experience of adventure.
From that base he moved the magazine into more of an activist role. Drew included reporting on environment and conservation, as well as legislation impacting the Wasatch Front’s mountain playground.
In 1998 he left Sports Guide to move back to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he grew up. He is now a full-time writer with interests in American History. He published a book called, “Walking on Sand” in 2004, a non-fiction account of Italian immigrant, Rocco C. Siciliano, growing up in Salt Lake City.
Drew moved on and away, but he remembers Sports Guide as, “Really great times.”
Ben Tiffany followed Drew Ross after working for him as a freelance writer for the magazine. Drew called him up and said he had just resigned and had recommended Ben to fill the position.
Ben said, “It was the best job I ever had.”
When Ben edited, Sports Guide was a monthly publication with overlapping deadlines requring Ben to work on three issues at once. At any time he was wrapping up the current issue, editing the next issue, making assignments for the upcoming issues, and writing his monthly column. He said it was like juggling.
Besides working with great people, he tried activities like biking, backcountry skiing, rock climbing, and all the outdoor adventures featured in the magazine.
Now living on the East Coast and working as a financial advisor for private wealth management, Ben’s current occupation is more profitable than editing Sports Guide, but he said, “If I could support a family, I’d still be doing it.”
Tom Price’s idea of a dream job is one where he got to meet great people, learn about new equipment, and try cool activities. He found all these elements as the editor of Sports Guide from 2003 to 2005.
When he took over, he felt the content had remained unchanged for a long time. Tom canceled some of the columns he felt were too technical and added a more upfront and relatable feel. He changed the style of the cover and added more color. Tom also tried to get more current information out to readers, instead of just a list of what was happening in the area.
At the time he was supplementing his income with freelance work for magazines like Outdoor and National Geographic. He said Sports Guide was great about giving him time off for research in places like Southern Africa.
Tom now lives in San Francisco and is head of policy for a solar company. He said, “I kind of regret leaving Salt Lake. It’s the go-to place for outdoor sports in an area where there are so many possibilities.”
The magazine was looking for someone totally committed when they hired Jill Adler. A writer for several years with a masters degree in Journalism, she had a lot of experience. Jill is also an avid outdoor sports enthusiast. Mention a sport and she has tried it. She brought all that experience to Sports Guide.
Jill moved the publication from a monthly schedule to bi-monthly and loved the position because, “It was an opportunity to tell Utah stories for those who may or may not be involved in outdoor sports.”
She now pursues a course that will keep her from working in an office behind a desk. Jill is a professional alpine skier and sports model, a level three certified ski instructor, and actor. She authors a syndicated blog and writes for outdoor trade publications and outdoor magazines. Jill enjoys rock climbing, white water kayaking, and adventure travel in her free time.
Dennis Turville is one of Utah’s pioneer canyoneers. He said, “I did the exploring before post and boast blogs.” He did it for the love of the canyons, but kept quiet about the things he discovered. Dennis knew the peace and serenity he found in the canyons would be lost when the secret came out. In the beginning, he could hike all day and not see another person, now Dennis finds over 50 people a day and the solitude is gone.
Dennis is a writer and photographer who contributed great stories to Sports Guide through the years. Some of the topics he explored were going up in an ultra light, free-fall skydiving, ski tuning, building igloos, climbing, ski technique, and river running. He’s passionate about the art of photography and does work for magazines, catalogs, and natural beauty posters. Dennis also taught photography classes at the University of Utah for several years.
He is still writing today and is currently working on an article about Harold Goodro and Jim Shane and their early ascent on the northeast face of the Grand Teton.
Connie Lewis attended BYU and the U of U and has written for the past 33 years. An avid skier and jeep enthusiast, she thinks Utah is the ideal recreational destination for any sports enthusiast.