The gray walls of my cubicle were made of plastic and other bland material, but they might as well have been the iron bars of a jail cell.

Sorry. That’s a little dramatic. Let me try again.

The gray walls of my cubicle should have been the first sign that I wasn’t cut out for corporate America.

I tried to spruce things up by plastering every inch of my workspace with colorful trail maps, but even James Niehues’ masterful artistry wasn’t enough to keep me from feeling the dull, aching pain of making 30+ phone calls every day to doctors.

I never wanted for my first job out of college to be selling colorectal cancer screening kits to doctors over the phone, but as Matt Damon said in ‘Good Will Hunting’ I “had to see about a girl…”.

I spent most of my days doing my best to avoid the gaze of my boss, faking phone calls, glaring at the same aforementioned trail maps, and religiously reading Unofficial Networks.

The seemingly endless feed of goofy blogs felt like my personal mainline into the ski culture that I so badly wanted to be apart of. I was living in Wisconsin, and while there’s certainly a diehard population of skiers, I was a long way from the slopes of Vermont and Utah that I loved so dearly.

One day, as I was scrolling through Unofficial’s main website feed, I saw a blog titled: ‘Unofficial Is Hiring Interns!’. I clicked not knowing that it would change the trajectory of my life.

I started off writing 2-3 pretty mundane blogs about news related to skiing and snowboarding, but I was instantly hooked. The fact that I, a stupid ski-obsessed kid from Delaware, was writing for the most-viewed ski blog in the country, was something that I just couldn’t get over.

My writing got better over time, and I became even more obsessed.

I got in trouble multiple times at my poop-in-a-box-selling-job (seriously, that’s what I was selling) for writing blogs or researching topics. I didn’t care. The satisfaction I got from writing for Unofficial’s audience brought me joy when I needed it most.

 

Two years passed and I finally made the jump to writing full-time in November of 2020- just a couple of months after I was married. My then-wife (more on that later) didn’t approve because I took a serious pay cut, but I knew that this was what I meant to do.

Writing full-time about skiing felt like my answer to the over-used trope about work. You know, the one where people say ‘If you love your job you will never work a day in your life.’ Let’s be real, writing 10 blogs everyday is definitely work, but I was excited to wake up each morning to do it.

Things went seemingly-well for the next two years or so. I wasn’t making a lot of money, but I was able to travel the country for stories. Ski for free and write about it? Yeah. I could live with that.

Unfortunately, my world was turned upside down in April of 2022. Here’s a way-too-quick summary of what happened: I was abusing substances, my wife filed for divorce, I ended up in the hospital for mental health concerns, I moved home with my parents in PA, and I felt like I had nothing left to live for.

Heavy stuff I know, but I think it’s all relevant to the story.

Despite everything I was going through, the guys at Unofficial stood by me. I took some much-needed time off, but I was back at it grinding out content by the end of the month.

Don’t get me wrong, I was in a rough spot for the better part of six months, but I genuinely looked forward to writing every single day.

Writing about skiing was something that I could always find motivation for even on my darkest of days, and I’m forever grateful that Unofficial’s editor Mike Dudek and Unofficial’s CEO Tim Konrad continued to give me endless opportunities to flex that creative muscle. I needed it.

All of this gratitude is why I’m sad to say this:

I’ve published thousands of articles since I started in June of 2019, but this will be my last.

I have accepted the role of Lead Trending News Writer for Powder Magazine. I start in just a couple of weeks.

Unofficial’s CEO Tim Konrad asked that I write this blog to say farewell, and again, I’m grateful for how generous he has been through this whole process.

So, loyal readers of Unofficial Networks, I’d like to finally say- thank you.

Thank you for reading my nonsense through all of these years. Thank you for calling me out when I made mistakes. Thank you for laughing at my terrible jokes. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your interest. Thank you for reading.

I don’t know where I’d be without you. You have done so much for me without knowing it. You have been a guiding light through my dark journey through depression, divorce, and substance abuse. Your interest in my work is the greatest gift anybody has ever given me.

I know that the folks at Unofficial will continue to pump out great content, and I know you will continue to support them in their never-ending mission to provide you with the news and entertainment you have come to expect.

This is farewell, but I know that our paths will cross again.

I’ll sign off with the only way I know how:

Thank you AGAIN, and stay safe out there, friends.

-Matt

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