In our March print story ‘The Unofficial Millionaire,’ Patrick Rivelli revealed why he has poured so much of his money, time, and energy into three Tahoe winter sports institutions — Unofficial Networks, the High Fives Foundation, and the Push to the South Pole expedition and upcoming documentary. We couldn’t fit everything Rivelli had to say in the pages of our newspaper, so we saved some of his behind-the-scenes scoop on Unofficial for this expanded interview.
Moonshine Ink: Why are you putting all this money into Unofficial?
Patrick Rivelli: I do think that Unofficial is going to be a moneymaker. It’s the kind of thing that could get acquired. On the Snow was bought by Vail Resorts. Powder [GrindMedia] bought Newschoolers.com. It’s another possibility. Traditional print ski magazines are struggling. Bonnier [publisher of SKI and Skiing] only publishes a few times a year. I could imagine selling Unofficial to a publishing house to beef up its online presence.
MI: What is Unofficial’s readership now?
PR: We are averaging 50,000 page views a day. Our goal is to hit 2 million page views a month by the end of the ski season.
MI: Out of Unofficial Network’s 11 locations, what is the most successful after Squaw Valley?
MI: As CEO, what is your role at Unofficial?
PR: If it was print, I would be publisher and Tim [Konrad] would be editor-in-chief. I’m not involved at all with content. I get most involved with strategy, budgeting, and hiring. I am more involved with things like when we launched a site in Japan, our first foreign site. I do things like international expansion and how you do that.
MI: Unofficial’s posts are sometimes controversial and have angered Squaw management in the past. What do you think of this?
PR: If you look overall, we clearly love Squaw and we are positive about Squaw. When Squaw does something good, we try to be just as positive. Last week [early February], Headwall was closed. We gave them some grief, and when it opened, we did a big thank you post.
We made our name on the Silverado story two seasons ago. Squaw wasn’t opening it. We gave them a hard time — why isn’t it open? And they ended up opening it.