Cover Story: Remembering Carl Skoog

In our 20th Anniversary Issue, we speak with editors, art directors, photo editors and contributing photographers past and present about their favorite covers from our first 100 issues. Here’s an excerpt from the conversations with ski historian Lowell Skoog.

October 2000 Skier: Brian Sato Location: Mt. Baker, Wash. Photo: Carl Skoog

October 2000
Skier: Brian Sato
Location: Mt. Baker, Wash.
Photo: Carl Skoog


“From 1994 through 2003, my brother Carl had nine cover photos in Backcountry Magazine, more than anyone else, ever. Each of those shots displayed Carl’s knack of placing a skier in a setting that made you want to be there. My favorite is the photo of Brian Sato on Mt. Baker in Issue 24. It’s a picture that—in the Lower 48—could only have been taken in Carl’s beloved Cascades. It reminds me of the classic glacier shots by Bob and Ira Spring, Washington’s best-known mountain photographers when Carl and I were kids. I think that was deliberate. Carl wanted to create a set piece in a classic style, but with an edge that was thoroughly modern. He succeeded wonderfully.” —Lowell Skoog, ski historian. Contributing photographer Carl Skoog died on an expedition to Cerro Mercedario, Argentina in 2005.


  1. Thanks for sharing this set of memories, Lowell. I had the distinct and memorable pleasure of joining Carl on Martin Volken’s first tour near Mt. Waddington, in 2000. I was a still-budding ski touring maniac back then, with ambitions MUCH larger than abilities. As such, I was the caboose of the group. However, Carl gently and humorously assisted me with many small tips that I still recall today. And, I got to host his slide show at MY home after that trip! I knew I was in the presence of mountain greatness, having shared a trip with Carl and Martin. I even bought his, “:Enjoy Free Snow” T-shirt at your garage sale of his gear. Each time I wear it, I raise a ski pole in Carl’s honor. I’m glad that you and Gordy shared Carl with the rest of us, after, of course, you made all those first ascents/descents…Greg Lange

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