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Dave & Jake Moe

Hall of Fame Class of 2023

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Skiing was just entering a dynamic phase of growth in 1972 when Jake and David Moe introduced the world to POWDER Magazine. Under the mantra “Powder to the People,” the brothers offered a new, more independent, emotional look at the sport. The engaging photography and simple, purposeful words on their pages literally changed the direction of skiing, pushing skiers to discover their own independence on the mountain. The Moe brothers had a knack for finding the wordsmiths and photographers to tell the story of skiing in a new and innovative way, with the magazine continuing its mission for nearly a half-century.

Jake and older brother David grew up in Seattle, learning to ski as young boys on the old rope tows in Cayuse Pass, not far from present-day Crystal Mountain in the Cascades southeast of Seattle. As teens, they were on the ski patrol together, first at Mt. Pilchuck Ski Area, east of Everett, and later Hyak at Snoqualmie Pass. They loved to ski! So much so that the two of them were eventually kicked off patrol for skiing too fast.

While David pursued a teaching career, Jake opted to become a ski bum. He left his studies at the University of Washington in 1968, heading to Sun Valley, working as a patroller and at various mountain town jobs. The ski community greatly impacted his life as he found fun in everything he undertook. He was also inspired by Surfer magazine, which captured the lifestyle of that sport in a very visual way. On a stormy day in 1970 while working ski patrol, Jake conceived a radical idea for a new ski publication while riding the Christmas lift to the top of Baldy.

Jake called his older brother, David, who was a high school business teacher and yearbook advisor back in Washington, for help. David answered the call, leaving his job to partner with brother Jake. Together, they conceived what would become POWDER Magazine, found some investors, and began the process of figuring out how to produce a ski magazine with the initial concept of a yearbook.

That first issue came out two years later: POWDER 72/73 – the annual portfolio of the other ski experience. It was nothing like the other magazines of the time. The opening pages featured a gallery of esoteric powder skiing images and a poetic ode to Deep Powder that spoke of “The Ecstacy of floating …” Its black and white images conveyed the emotion and texture of powder skiing.

As publishers of POWDER Magazine, Jake and David Moe not only captured the sport’s culture but also established its lifestyle direction. The trend-setting magazine was a visual showcase for the beauty of the sport, the athleticism of the participants, and enough craziness to set a tone for what the sport could become. Over the coming decades, POWDER Magazine would lead skiing to become an aspirational lifestyle activity across America and the world.

As the public face of POWDER, David took on the persona of Captain Powder, outfitted in full-white National Guard battle dress, complete with a white helmet and binoculars. Once compared to a swashbuckling, ski-bound PeeWee Herman, Captain Powder became the iconic image of what POWDER and the sport of skiing represented – a cheerleader for the sport, motivating skiers to simply get out and ski! It was a brand that stood the test of time, forever linked to the POWDER movement that so changed the sport.

While the brothers sold their magazine to Surfer Publications in 1981, they remained iconically connected to POWDER for decades to come. A serial entrepreneur, Jake went on to form a host of businesses, from Sports Northwest Magazine to the City League Ski Racing Series and even The Zip Line at Seahawks Stadium. David, known globally as Captain Powder, would remain as editorial director until 1996.

While David and Jake Moe will be remembered alongside the great publishers of their era, their true legacy is motivating generations of skiers to set aside their day-to-day challenges and just get out to ski.

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