Winner of the 2020 Mitch Kaplan Award

Mike Rogge

Mike Rogge winner of the 2020 Mitch Kaplan Award

This award is presented to the individual whose work and spirit best captures the enthusiasm and dedication the late Mitch Kaplan, former NASJA Secretary-Treasurer and multiple Harold S. Hirsch Award-winner, brought to NASJA and to the coverage of snowsports. A gentleman and a gentle man, a fine journalist and a friend to all, he was especially interested in programs and activities for children. Nominees may be, but do not have to be, a member of NASJA, and the 250-500 word nomination can focus on a specific assignment or overall contributions to the public understanding and enjoyment of snowsports. Any NASJA member may nominate a candidate for this award, which will be decided by a simple majority vote in November at the Interim Board Meeting. In addition to Board members in attendance, the Executive Secretary, are allowed to vote for the Mitch Kaplan Award.

Mike Rogge, a self-described award winning and sometimes losing journalist, is on a mission to revive an ideal and the iconic way to communicate this ideal.  He is convinced that no one writes about the joys of being outside anymore.  His cure is resurrecting the fabled magazine, the Mountain Gazette, once home to the writings of Edward Abbey, Delores LaChapelle and gonzo-journalist Hunter S. Thompson, to again tell the tales of outside joy.  

Mike, who calls North Lake Tahoe home with his wife and young son, started writing and film producing at Ski The East and continued at Powder, Vice Sports and The Ski Journal, to name a few of his outlets.  He said that an invitation to a ski writer’s conference in Stratton and a pep-talk of sorts from Mitch Kaplan convinced him that this life he was pursuing was possible.  Mike said that for “the past two decades I worked relentlessly to tell authentic stories about real people living in real mountain towns” and not so much about the “Top 10 Hot Tubs in Aspen,”  “I prefer folks who live in vans, play music, create art, and make their own way in life. I like people who, when given a choice, prefer to do it outdoors.” 

After taking over the magazine and its website, Mike reprinted the archive, and offered cover art, clothing and accessories to his followers.  His short-term goal is to produce two unforgettable issues per year with original writing and photography.   “Mountain Gazette aims to deliver tales straight from the hearts of mountain town people to your inbox, feed, and mailbox.”