After 12 years of publishing a local group of magazine makers has landed an extraordinary honour — two in fact.
Kootenay Mountain Culture (KMC) has been named Magazine of The Year for BC/Yukon by the esteemed Western Magazine Awards (WMA), an organization that for the past three decades has represented all of the magazine titles throughout BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Yukon.
What’s more, KMC’s partner publication, Coast Mountain Culture (CMC), has been awarded the Best New Magazine.
“We were really honoured,” says KMC/CMC publisher Peter Moynes, who attended the 31st annual WMAs with Editorial Director Mitchell Scott and CMC editor Mike Berard last month. “The first thing we thought of was all the support we’ve had from so many folks throughout the Kootenays, some for quite a while now — our families, all our readers, contributors and all the businesses who’ve put their trust in us.”
“The crowd at the awards let out a huge cheer and applause when we won Magazine of The Year,” says Scott. “We’ve been the little guys that the big guys have been watching. We’ve had all kinds of kudos from all sorts of major league print and web media titles before—everyone from the National Post to National Geographic. But to have been chosen by all our peers for this, well, it’s really something extraordinary.”
KMC was up against a number of iconic Western Canadian publications including BC Business, Vancouver Magazine, Western Living and Geist. While the honours took the KMC cohorts by surprise, the awards are more than well-earned according to well-wishers at the WMAs and Canadian magazine veterans alike.
“When I first saw a copy of KMC, I couldn’t believe how polished a product it was, nor that it had emerged from a small town in B.C., of all places,” says Calgary-based writer Kevin Brooker. A journalist for the past 30 years, Brooker is a multiple WMA winner who contributes to publications including The Globe and Mail, Outside, Powder, ESPN and Applied Arts.
“Most of all, however, I was heartened to see that at a time when budget constraints and changing times are forcing a lot of magazines to lower print standards, replace custom photography with stock and reduce their editorial staff, KMC and CMC were forging a really sophisticated visual and literary voice,” says Brooker. “The products go light-years beyond anything that one normally encounters in the mountain/outdoors genre, or most any other genre for that matter.”
What onlookers say is most extraordinary about the KMC/CMC product, is the fact both magazines are free, relying entirely on advertising and distribution support. Launched in 2001 as a tiny 28-page handout, and today still run from over top Moynes’ backyard garage, Kootenay Mountain Culture (KMC) has been supported by small businesses, resorts and destination marketing organizations from throughout the West and East Kootenay and Columbia regions.
Moynes credits the magazine’s well-targeted distribution for the success, noting that the publications are essentially calling cards for the places and people the magazines’ writers and photographers tell stories about.
“We live in one of the greatest places in the world. We’re blessed. And to be able to work with so many people in the communities all around us, and help build their businesses, we consider ourselves very fortunate. Our sincere thanks go out to everyone.”
• The magazines are staffed by just seven part time workers, including Whistler-based Coast Mountain Culture editor Mike Berard
• Designer Chris Rowat worked for seven years with Canadian design icon Bruce Mau
• Both magazines are distributed every six months by the same people who write, edit and help design the publications, via a two-week, 5,000 km round trip that stretches from Nelson to Calgary to Tofino to Seattle and back.
• Both KMC and CMC have entirely unique content in both their summer and winter magazines. No single story or photo is shared, although a theme is. This summer’s shared theme is “Home.”
• The magazines are printed at Burnaby’s Hemlock Printing.
• This is the second year the magazines are up for Western Canada Magazine Award honours. Last year they were nominated along with some of Western Canada’s most iconic titles, including 40th and 35th anniversary issues of Western Living, BC Business and Vancouver magazine.
• There are 1,200 Canadian content magazines produced in Canada, according to Magazines Canada
• KMC and CMC proudly sponsor some of North America’s greatest home-grown outdoor events: including this summer’s Rip Curl Pro Canadian Surf Championship in Tofino, and the Squamish Mountain Fest,as well as the Banff Mountain Film Fest, Vancouver Mountain Film Fest and Whistler Deep Winter Photo Challenge, plus Washington State’s Vertfest.
• Kootenay Mountain Culture — 170 pick up locations from Vancouver/Whistler to Banff/Calgary/Edmonton, including the Kootenays and Okanagan, plus Northern Idaho, Montana and Washington State, all outdoor/adventure sport retailers and resorts.
• Coast Mountain Culture – 150 pick-up locations from Vancouver/Squamish/Whistler/Vancouver Island, the Okanagan and the US Pacific Northwest, including Seattle, Bellingham, Portland/Bend and the Cascades, all outdoor/adventure sport retailers and resorts.
• Published twice a year (May and November).
• New digital product: www.mount.ai/n — a beautiful, highly readable format optimized for everything from smart phones to huge cinema displays