Remembering Mitch Weber, Founder of

This past weekend, Mitch Weber, a man known for his writings and musings on the website, passed away two days before his 60th birthday after an extended fight with cancer. Weber is survived by his wife Laurie, daughter Allison, son Neil and step-son JT. Craig Dostie, founder of Couloir Magazine and a senior editor of Backcountry, wrote this remembrance to his longtime colleague and friend, which was first published on

Mitch Weber [Photo] Tim Connolly

Mitch Weber, 1956-2016. [Photo] Tim Connolly

Mitch burst onto the ski scene in 1998 with Telemarktips. The World Wide Web was still in its infancy, but it was already past the budding shoots stage and was ready to leaf. Mitch picked up the remains of a tele-centric forum,, while the Terminator, the first plastic telemark boot, whipped the imaginations of American backcountry skiers into a telemark fever. Mitch came along and added just the right twist to the telemark potion, and in short order the ski industry was in a lather over all things telemark.


Weber dropping a knee. [Photo] Tim Connolly

This was pre-Facebook and YouTube but not before iPods and cheap video cameras. Mitch got a high-end video camera and used it to show how his friend Big Tim could rip, and then BT would take the camera while Mitch interviewed personalities in the world of telemark. Mitch knew how to get people to share more intel than they planned to and how to build relationships, all while the camera on BT’s shoulder was recording.

He was gregarious and disarmingly charming, sometimes to a fault. Mitch would be the first to tell you he wasn’t perfect. I remember roaring with laughter as we both recalled the time during an SIA convention when he adamantly demanded that media and manufacturers not adopt the term “freeheel skiing” to promote backcountry skiing. He was insistent, pounding the table with his fists and knocking nearby drinks over. Everyone in the room was aghast. What few understood was that Mitch was all about telemark, and he didn’t want to see his vision—in or out of bounds—be confused with backcountry-esque terminology. He couldn’t have cared less about backcountry skiing. Looking back, we both agreed it was hilarious; nobody was willing to pound back, and frankly, none of us had half the wit he did. I’m laughing about it right now, and hopefully, so are you, and so is he.


Powder days are deeper on telemark skis. [Photo] Tim Connolly

In the rear view mirror, it is clear why Telemarktips was so successful. In many ways it was the perfect storm of advancements in electronic journalism and growth in the sport of telemarking vis-a-vis advances in materials—from plastic telemark boots to shaped and then fat skis. Forums became places where like-minded people could mingle remotely. Although those elements contributed to the explosion of interest, there was another ingredient that few other forums had— Mitch’s love of people, his love for tele and his natural ability to host a party. He knew how to stir the pot of passionate opinions like an artist adds color to a canvas. He knew when to interject with a moderator’s voice, and when to encourage others to speak out and offer their point of view.

He once shared with me that he modeled Telemarktips after talk radio, where he would determine the subject for the day, and then let the listeners fill in the blanks and provide the entertainment. It was genius.

He did something many have tried since but few have succeeded in achieving—he built a community. The recent outpouring of testimonials is a reflection of this community engagement. Even though there are much bigger places for people to congregate and share their opinions on the web these days, I, like so many others, still long to hang out at the digital lounge I dubbed Mitch’s Bar:


Weber clearly enjoying some sun and pow. [Photo] Craig Dostie

As the web grew older and alternative forums spread and took root in our daily lives, it seemed as though interest in telemark began to wane, and perhaps coincidentally, it appeared Mitch’s energy did too.

A lot of folks wondered what happened to Mitch as his involvement diminished, and then three years ago the site itself crashed, and disappeared from the web.

Understandably, some thought Mitch had burnt out and moved on to other passions, but sadly now, we know the truth. Mitch was sick, real sick. He had cancer, and it was bad. He courageously pursued all of the treatments modern medicine offered. He was willing to do anything, go through anything, in order to be here on earth as long as he could for his beloved family.

At the time, I shared my hope that he just needed to rest up a bit and he’d be back in some form or another. But when cancer takes control, well, sometimes you can’t bounce back.

I consider myself lucky on two counts. Firstly, Mitch and I turned our once very competitive relationship into a friendship, and secondly, I have hung out and skied with Mitch on many occasions. My only regret is not making the time to hang with Mitch once more before I couldn’t anymore. Like the Terminator he promoted so effectively, we all thought he’d be back.

To his closest family and friends, those who loved Mitch and lived with him, the collective heart of thousands of telemarkers worldwide goes out to you. Just like you, he made our lives better, and we deeply mourn his passing.

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  1. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to my remarkable Uncle Mitch. He will be missed by many because he influenced many.

  2. Charal Slowey says:

    As Mitch’s mother I want to thank you for this , and wish you good luck in trying to keep the telemarktips strong., you are right in saying Mitch tried as hard as he could considering how hard he was fighting his cancer.
    Love to all,Charal

  3. Michael B. Mc Daniel says:

    Mitch Was a great Guy! I remember him from our youth when he drove his green Camaro with those huge white racing stripes. He was fun to be around and I enjoyed talking to him after we graduated. He always greeted me with a hardy “Mac it is good to see you” when we ran into each other in our town of Burbank California. you are missed!!

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