To heck with molecular cell biology, Miles Clark’s college major. The Squaw Valley skier and writer seems to have found a niche in the field of online snow journalism.
Clark, the former editor-in-chief at unofficialnetworks.com, recently unveiled his new website, snowbrains.com, with a mission to provide readers with original, intelligent ski and snowboard content on a daily basis — plus other goodies.
“I think that’s what people want,” Clark said. “What we’re trying to get across is that most people in skiing are higher educated and professionals, and they appreciate this kind of stuff. They don’t just want to hear the bro-brah, blah, blah.”
Clark, 34, has spent every winter in Tahoe since graduating from U.C. Berkeley at age 22. He spends his summers guiding, skiing or surfing in adventurous places like Alaska, Washington, Argentina and Indonesia — all of which will provide fodder for his new site.
Aside from his love for adventure sports — namely skiing — Clark likes to write, a skill he credits to his “brutal” high school English teacher, Mrs. Rasmussen. He dabbled in freelance journalism after college, writing first-person accounts of his adventures on the slopes of Mount Rainier in Washington and summer trips to Patagonia, among others.
The experience led to his position with unofficialnetworks.com, which he bolstered significantly in a short time, growing the site from 30,000 page views per month to 1.8 million in just over a year.
He hopes to grow snowbrains.com beyond those numbers, and he thinks he can given his content model. The site will focus on producing original material, written by him and a network of similarly skilled friends in the ski and snowboard industry, with an emphasis on positive, community-oriented information presented in an intelligent light.
As a biology major, one of Clark’s favorite aspects of the site is his Brain Post, a daily fact about anything interesting, snow-related or not.
“It’s going to be kind of my own creation,” Clark said. “I’m a very science-oriented guy. What I really dig is kind of human traits, evolutionary kind of stuff, biology. I love space, terminal velocity of a human, stuff like that. And it just sort of goes along with the theme of the site. I dig that.”
So far, the snowbrains.com is receiving roughly 3,000-4,000 page view a day, Clark said. The site has about 650 Facebook friends.
“That sounds like nothing, but it’s much more than we thought it would get,” Clark said. “We really want to be community-oriented, because we know if the community enjoys what we’re doing, and they’re behind us, that’s going to spread.”
Much of the traffic comes from the Tahoe area, as the site is based out of Squaw Valley, but content comes in from all over the world, from Alaska to the Alps to Japan and more, Clark said. He said he updates the site with about eight posts per day, and writes 99 percent of the content. The rest of the content is submitted by contributing skiers and snowboarders from Tahoe and beyond.
“The show of community support has been ridiculous. But the site is not making any money right now, so I can’t pay anybody just yet, so I have a lot of people interning,” said Clark, who named Eliel Hindert and Eric Behn as a couple of key contributors.
While Clark said he’d like to limit the amount of “regurgitated” video posts that circulate on the web, he will include select clips. But for the most part, originality is his theme.
“The potential for original, intelligent articles and fun content with snowbrains.com is enormous,” he said. “While endless videos of big-mountain shredders hucking cliffs has its place, today’s skiers and riders need more than that. They want content that they can relate to and articles that get their brains working and spark conversations. Whether it’s snow-science article, original ski videos, industry news or intelligent, thought-provoking articles, the niche for a website that meets these demands is wide open, and snowbrains.com is poised and ready to fill it.”
Check out the site here.