In search of the perfect mountain town

Kootenay Mountain Culture marks a decade

Wandering mountain culture junkies travel around BC in search of great powder, steep slopes, big jumps and epic trails.

Wandering mountain culture junkies travel around BC in search of great powder, steep slopes, big jumps and epic trails.

Nirvana for most of them is a small mountain town where they can combine work and play in perfect harmony.

Peter Moynes, publisher and creator of Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine, was one of these adventure seekers who caught the ski bug after moving to Whistler from Ontario when he was 18.

“To be honest I was standing on the road hitchhiking in Whistler one time when I saw a car drive by that said ‘Old skiers never die, they just move to Nelson,’ and I thought ‘I’ve got to go check that place out,’” said Moynes.

Years later, after travelling around from mountain town to mountain town in search of a place to live, he ended up in the destination for old skiers.

“I guess you could say I moved to Nelson for the lifestyle,” said Moynes. “I thought of moving to Fernie. For reasons more of economics I thought Fernie might be a better place to have a business, but I like the lifestyle here.”

It was his love for the mountain lifestyle and the knowledge that Nelson was a make-work community that he embarked on creating Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine, which celebrated its 10th birthday with its 20th issue released this month.

“I would like to say that there was great vision for the magazine right from the beginning, but I would say it was based more on passion than business numbers,” said Moynes.

“It was a project of passion that grew into a business more than a business that started a publication.”

Moynes’ passion for mountain culture is something that people born in the Kootenays and those that land here share, which has given the magazine a unique audience.

“Though we do run international pieces [in the magazine] and people do enjoy them, a lot of the feedback that we get about Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine is that people know the people in the magazine. It really is a magazine for the people of the Kootenays,” said Moynes.

Like many new small businesses, the first few years of Kootenay Mountain Culture were full of change and adjustments.

After seeing a couple business partners come and go in the early days of the magazine, Moynes was joined by current partner and co-publisher Mitchell Scott.

With the addition of Scott in the winter of 2003/04 and local design firm Chris Rowat Design in 2005, the magazine started down the path that has now resulted in its 20th issue and a sister publication on the Pacific Northwest.

Even though Chris Rowat Design is a Nelson-based firm, their notoriety extends into Europe and around the world.

Rowat even spends time designing fonts that are specifically used in the pages of Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine.

“Mitchell introduced me to Chris and Daiva [Villa],” said Moynes. “Daiva is Chris’s partner and she’s our production manager. Chris is one of the most talented designers that I know. They’ve done stuff for museums in Germany and architectural institutes and stuff. They’re a highly sought-after, very talented design house. We feel extremely fortunate to work with them.”

The showcase of local talent is obvious on every page as Moynes and the team at Kootenay Mountain Culture work to produce a high quality publication.

“Our magazines go quickly and people want to collect them,” he said. “We’re very pleased with our business model currently and we feel that with the high quality paper stock that we use and just keeping the quality high, we feel great for the future.”

GROWTH IN TOUGH TIMES

Since Kootenay Mountain Culture landed on shelves in 2002, the magazine industry has faced a lot of changes including the introduction of technology like iPads.

But Moynes doesn’t feel like new technology is a threat to the magazine. He sees it as a complement to the current product.

“We will have an iPad magazine within the year,” he said.

“It’s something that we want to embrace because there might be people from around the world that will want to just subscribe online. It’s just another product that we’ll have to offer people. We’ll still print as well. We don’t see it as a one or the other thing. They kind of complement each other.”

The road for the magazine has also led Moynes and his team to producing a new magazine which caters to mountain culture junkies of the Pacific Northwest.

During the summer Moynes and Scott released their first issue of Coast Mountain Culture Magazine.

“The Kootenay is a very special place. It didn’t need to become an outside magazine,” said Moynes. “We didn’t want to bastardize Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine and make it something that it didn’t need to be. It doesn’t need to be the world’s biggest magazine, and yet we had all these opportunities with writers and photographers to do bigger things.”

The team saw the opportunity to tap into an unclaimed market on the Pacific coast and produce a product that people living in that region could identify with.

“We want it to grow and we saw the opportunity on the coast as being a very good market,” said Moynes. “Nobody else was doing something that covered the whole Pacific Northwest and for us that was sort of a glaring hole that could be filled by our style of magazine, so we went for it.”

Now that the 20th issue of Kootenay Mountain Culture is on the shelves and the snow is starting to coat the mountains around Nelson, Moynes will be getting back to what drew him to the Kootenays.

“I could say my house was purposefully purchased because I’m strategically located so that I can hit the ski slopes in 20 minutes,” he said. “You could say that my reason for all of this is skiing. My life has been put together so that I can continue to ski, basically. Being the photographer, publisher of a mountain culture magazine put me in the position that I can ski lots — as much as possible really.”

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