The topic for the cover had to do with Climate change, and how it's affecting the snowfall in the California mountains. No snow in the mountains makes it bad for skiers, snowboarders and ski-towns in general. However the bigger problem is that, this means less spring melt for the valley adversely affecting everyone in the surrounding areas.
The concept was to have high profile, gold medal snowboarder, Shaun White standing on a barren, dried out mountain, with no snow. How is he to train for the Sochi Olympics with not a ounce of snow on the mountains?
So I got to work and came up with an approved sketch.
Shaun White had previously cut his trademark "Flaming Carrot" hair, but Utne felt he would be more recognizable if he still had that "do" for the cover.
Plus I had to tweak his expression so that he didn't look too constipated.
and here is the final cover.