Magazines

Here's the low-down on many of the best online publications for climbers, cyclists, hikers, paddlers, runners, skiers, and more. Browse on only if you have time to kill.

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SUMMARY

Adventure Cyclist

Selected feature articles available online, but only members have unlimited access to archives. How-to section. Routes and maps—preview, available for purchase. Some very good info for members but not a great site for quick access to info -- you gotta dig.

Adventures NW

Website runs slow. Can download and read old issues of magazine (half of each page is advertising). Poor website for researching specific outings (hard to access or find specific info) but archived issues are well worth browsing.

Alpinist

Spectacular photography, excellent articles… unfortunately the majority of the hardcopy magazine’s articles aren’t online. Organization, like some of the pictures, leaves you dizzy. ‘Weekly Feature Archive’ rules.

Backcountry Magazine

Feature articles, news, avalanche links, gear, photos…about backcountry skiing. Good content, convenient browsing.

Backpacker

The online site of the national backpacking  magazine. Trip reports, gear reviews, how-to info, skills development. It requires digging (the browsing is not intuitive), but there’s a ton much info. Forums too.

Backpacking Light

Can’t many articles unless you have a subscription/membership (articles are marked with an M). More than half content is blocked. Gear, features, people, news, forums. What info you can view is good and worth perusing.

Bicycling

A clean, easy-to-navigate site with excellent content about gear, training, nutrition, news, people, repairs, and where-to ride. The site is a little slow but kudos for the rest.

Big Outside

The website of Michael Lanza, the NW Editor of Backpacker (a good writer and photographer). Gear reviews, technique pieces, and many personal stories about the best adventure destinations around the country. Difficult to research specific topics but loads great reads for inspiration, entertainment, and to increase your outdoor knowledge.

Bike

Without a digital subscription, features from the print magazine are not available on-line. For the cheap crowd (i.e., those who don’t pay), there are good mountain biking videos, ‘News’ stories, and ‘Gear’ reviews.

Canoe & Kayak

Canoeing, kayaking, gear, destinations, skills…good stuff. You can’t read most of  the articles featured in the magazine, but there’s plenty of good material.

Cascade Climbers

Regional forum with trip reports, route info, gear purchase, message board, weather, events. Much good information but also plenty of chest pounding and poorly researched spewing to filter through. Take the good, ignore the guano.

Climbing

Check out the ‘The Mag’ tab where you can see articles from six years of issues sorted by Features, Gear, TechTips, Classic Climbs, Interviews, Travel and more. It’s a gold mine. The ‘Photos and Video’ tab is fun too.

Cold Thistle

A blog covering the gear of alpine climbing and ice climbing. Lots of good information although the format of the blog is primitive and the best way to find whether and item has been covered is through the search box.

Cross Country Skier

A wide array of material from past issues -- features, news, events, and training. Read the current issue of the magazine in a PDF viewer. Also, check out the videos for improving technique.

Dirt Rag

Forums, news, and selected articles from each paper issue of the magazine are found online. On-line content is mainly gear reviews of mountain biking equipment.

First Tracks

Reviews of resorts across the country. Ski map of North America with every resort listed. The other content is not that noteworthy.

Freeskier

Videos, photos, stories, and gear applying to skiers on boards as wide as snowboards and wearing the crotch of their pants at knee level.

Gear Junkie

Extensive sampling of new gear stratified for hikers, runners, endurance athletes, climbers, bikers, and snowsport enthusiasts. A look at what’s coming down the pike, but much of the gear does not get seriously tested through hard use or in varied conditions.

Great Outdoors

An attractive online magazine covering hiking, climbing, paddling, snowsports, cycling and photography. Worth visiting but no need to visit frequently –  the content changes with the speed of a 70-year-old jogger rather than that of a young sprinter.

Grist

Based in Seattle, this environmental on-line magazine is thought-provoking and features a stable of big name writers. The magazine’s tag line: “Gloom and doom with a sense of humor.” Whether you’re a Christian or an environmentalist,the apocalypse is coming, right? So why not make lemonade out of it?

High Country News

A site covering the big issues defining the American West.  Visit if you're interested in energy, water, flora and fauna, pollution, agriculture and mining, politics and policy, or recreation. Much of the content is available on-line but a subscription is needed to see it all.

Master Skier

For Nordic skiers (and especially racers) there’s material about training, technique, gear, and events at the ‘Articles, ‘News’ and “X-C Links’ tabs. Ironically this site uses ridiculously small fonts for many whose eyes are coming into their bifocal years.


Methow Naturalist



 A quarterly journal and website of natural history in the Methow Valley and on the east slope of the North Cascades. Great information about nature in the area (from wildflowers to birds to amphibians), sustainable culture, and organic gardening, among many others. The link to newest publication is found on the top of the left-hand column.

Mountain Bike

A sub-section of Bicycling (see above) culling the mountain-biking content in the ‘Feature Stories’ and ‘Skills’ tabs but pulling from all the Bicycling content for  tabs like ‘Training and Nutrition’, ‘Repair’, and ‘News’. Good content but slow viewing–you may triple click each tab thinking nothing is happening.

NW Hikers

A well-used forum for regional hikers and snowshoers. Trip reports posted. Discussions about issues, gear, food, and  technique. Bulletin boards for finding partners and asking questions. The hiker’s equivalent to CascadeClimbers or Turns-All-Year.

NW Mountaineering Journal

The love child of Northwestern skier and mountaineer, Lowell Skoog, this is a beautiful on-line magazine with a rich mix of information, inspiration, and history. Uncluttered and clean. Considering Skoog is an engineer, how did he get so artistic?

Off-Piste

The cyber sibling of the backcountry-skiing magazine headquartered in Hood River, Oregon. Most of the current season of the magazine is unavailable on-line but previous seasons are viewable as PDFs at the ‘Back Issues’ link. The blog-styled website has good content but the archived content is a bit cumbersome to browse quickly.

Outdoors NW

The web presence of three paper magazines (OutdoorNW, Northwest Cyclist, and Western Snowsports). Read stories from all three in a blog-styled magazine or open up a reader to view the paper version of each rag. For cyclists, hikers, runners, Alpine skiers, and Nordic skiers, there’s considerable regional content. Particularly good is the ‘Events’ area to research outdoor events (especially competitions) around the NW. Particularly cumbersome is finding an old story pertaining to a specific topic. 

Outside

The website of the famed magazine. There’s content about gear, travel, fitness, adventure, and photography you won’t find in the paper magazine. You can also read 15 years of back issues of the actual magazine at the ‘Magazine’ tab. The back issues are fast and easy to reference. Slick.

Paddling.net

A good resource for catalogs about boats for flatwater and whitewater kayaks, canoes, sit-on-tops, and stand-up paddleboards. The actual editorial content housed here is crummy.

Powder

The fraternal twin of Powder Magazine, meaning the content is radically different than the paper mag. You can see what’s in the paper mag, but can’t access it.  There’s lots of online stories about destinations, experiences, and resorts. And lots of videos. No surprises there, Bro -- the magazine has always been more about pictures than words.

Rock and Ice

Loads of content under the ‘Articles’, ‘News’, and ‘ ‘Videos’. You can also read nine year of ‘Back Issues.’ The catch? You only get the words of the article …no pics. A lot about climbing is seeing the beauty of the routes and the surrounding scenery, so this website doesn’t eviscerate its print product by giving everything away. Smart move.

Running Times

News, training, health, gear…lots of good information. Runner’s World (below) is prettier and more content rich, but take a few dances with this Plain Jane site.

Runner’s World

Runners can waste a lot of the work day browsing the stories about health, fitness, nutrition, training, technique, gear, events, motivation, and personalities. There’s so much to read you may not get out to run.

Ski Net.com

The portal from which to enter either SkiingMag.com or SkiMag.com. Traditionally Skiing appeals to a younger crowd (30-  and 40-somethings), Ski to a ‘mature’ crowd (50- and 60-somethings). We found both site annoying to people of all age. The interface is slow, ads blink ad nauseam, and the article share so little information you just want to leave. We did. 

Snowboarder

Snowboarder Magazine (print edition) boasts they are the most read snowboarding publication, but their web presence is downright lame. Transworld Snowboarding and Snowboard Magazine are both slightly better sites with more content.

Trail Runner

It’s a clean joke that they call this a ‘dirty’ magazine. Lots of online content about nutrition, running destinations, getting started, running injuries, performance training, gear, and races. You can also read (but not print) a digital issue of the paper magazine as well as about 8 years of back issues.

Turns All Year

A forum and message board that’s the go-to place for Washington-based backcountry skiers wanting to post trip reports, check current snow conditions around the region, ask gear questions, buy and sell ski equipment, and connect with other skiers. A simple site but an effective information hub.

Washington Trails

A great site for Washington hikers. Excellent content for summer and winter hikers wanting to info about skills, issues, safety, nature, and gear. There’s also an excellent statewide hiking guidebook. Finally, read PDF files of most stories appearing in the Washington Trails Magazine, (a good paper publication).

Wild Snow

Lou Dawson’s well known ski-touring (backcountry skiing) blog covering all thing pertaining to ski touring but specializing particularly in the gear, avalanche info, history of the sport, and cool places to tour.

XC Ski World

This cross-country skiing site has a recreation half and a performance half. There are updates about current events and recent race results, but most of the content predates 2005. For XC newbies, however, there are good general articles about training, technique, sizing equipment, and getting started.