Photo provided by Grant Kaye Photography
Interview conducted by Jamie Schectman and originally posted to the MRA Blog – The Official on Unofficial
MRA had the pleasure of chatting with co-founder, Tim Konrad, and got to find out what it’s like being the skier’s information source, if it’s really as fun as it looks behind the Unofficial Networks curtain, and whether or not we are going to be getting more GNAR excitement…
MRA: Tell us about your background. When did you first know you were a passionate skier?
TK: I grew up just outside NYC so skiing was not something that was on my radar as a kid. At 12 or 13 I went on a Boy Scout trip to Butternut, Massachusetts. I remember sliding to a stop at the bottom of my first run and thinking “WOW that was awesome!”. I was hooked.
After that first taste my dad would take me up to a little mountain at the West Point Military Academy on weekends. In high school my buddies and I would head up to legendary New York ski areas like Hunter, Windham and Belleayre.
When it came time to go to college I had the opportunity to study at Saint Michael’s in Northern Vermont. It was during my college years that skiing really became a big part of my life.
MRA: How did you come up with the idea for Unofficial Squaw?
TK: The idea for Unofficial Squaw came after years of stalking the official websites of my favorite mountains. The official sites never seemed to give enough information about their conditions and operations. I wanted videos, photos and essays about the mountains but all the official sites would give you was a photo of the day. And that was if you were lucky. I knew that if there was a website that provided more in-depth unofficial coverage of the resort it would be something skiers would check out. At that point my brother stepped in and helped build our first site in October of 2006.
MRA: Since then you have branched out to other ski towns, with Unofficial Networks having over 500,000 monthly pageviews. Are you surprised at Unofficial’s popularity?
TK: Getting the website to this point has been a wild ride. There are a lot of rumors floating around about unofficial’s funding but the website has gotten to where it is today because of the hard work of skiers who want to build something cool and useful. I am one of the biggest fans of Unofficial and I get why people enjoy it so much. It is refreshing to read a site that is driven by passionate skiers who love their sport.
MRA: By all accounts, the GNAR movie has been an overwhelming hit. For us at MRA, we believe skiing should be about having fun, so we obviously love it. Are there any plans for a GNAR 2?
TK: YES, more GNAR to come. Not sure if it will be GNAR 2 or a TV show or what, but stay tuned.
MRA: Any clip from GNAR that ended up on the edit room floor that is worth sharing?
TK: The making of GNAR was such a fun experience. Thanks to the great work of Scott Gaffney and many others the film really came together. To be honest, during the filming we had little idea of what we were doing and were really flying by the seat of our pants. There was all kinds of craziness going down during GNAR but most of what ended up on the edit room floor were shots of naked dudes skiing, which is not worth sharing. It’s just gross.
One clip I wish we had for the film was the meeting I had with Squaw management when they informed me they were shutting down the Unofficial Game of GNAR. Needless to say, they did not see the humor in our little game. At one point in the meeting a Squaw bigwig was screaming at me “You think this is funny!? It would not be so funny if someone’s dick got ripped off and ski patrol was out there picking up dicks!”
MRA: Unofficial travels to many exotic locations. What’s your most memorable trip?
TK: Hard to say. I am one lucky monkey. As I sure all MRA members know, it is in every skiers DNA to travel and seek out new terrain. One of the greatest things about being a skier is that it gives you an excuse to go travel the world. I lie awake at night just thinking about what a lucky S.O.B. I am. Having the opportunity to ski on all seven continents has been extraordinary.
MRA: What’s the funniest incident or story to happen so far?
TK: I would say the funniest part of traveling with unofficial is hanging with Timy Dutton. That kid has way more fun then you, trust me.
MRA: What’s the future hold for Unofficial Networks?
TK: We’re working on getting an unofficial site at every major ski resort in the world.
MRA: Does Unofficial have groupies?
TK: Tons of them. It has gotten out of control. Miles and I need to carry ski poles with us at all times to fight them off. It is everything you could ever imagine….. and more.
MRA: Can MRA host the GNAR World Championships?
TK: For sure!
Interview originally posted to the MRA Blog – The Official on Unofficial