BLOOD, SWEAT AND BEERS After eight years, Highline Magazine hangs up its toque
It started as a half-serious conversation.
When it ended, Highline Magazine was still only half-serious (Moose Knuckle, anyone?), but after eight years, 17 issues and eight Know Your Neighbour Nights, the conversations it spawned will last a lifetime.
On March 3, publisher and co-founder Kristy Davison announced that the beloved Bow Valley periodical had printed its last issue. The toil of creating a magazine and a brand which celebrated the mountain lifestyle was, ironically, keeping her and her team chained to their desks.
“When something like this is taking so much of your energy you don’t have energy for other things,” she said. “This doesn’t turn off at five o’clock.”
Nine years ago, it turned on. While carpooling to a gathering in Invermere, Davison and a new friend, Erin Cipollone, asked each other what they’d do if they weren’t afraid of failure and if money was no option.
They both said they’d start an outdoor magazine.
“It was kind of an ‘oh s**t’ moment,” Davison laughed.
Davison had some photography experience and Cipollone was a journalism student, but neither had an ounce of publishing experience. They decided to jump in anyway, committing to one task per day for a year. They read some books about the industry, but their only polestar was their passion. Had they known how difficult the journey would be, Davison says, they never would have began.
“We moved into a condo together, we both had full time jobs. At 10 p.m. we’d both be in our bedrooms working on something, yelling across the hall to each other.” When that first issue dropped, however, it was a magical moment. They launched the magazine at the Grizzly Paw pub. There was free beer, cheap wine…in other words a huge, cathartic party.
“We just wanted to blow it up,” she said.
It did blow up. The magazine gained a fast following. It started off ambitiously as a quarterly, reigned itself in to a bi-annually, then in 2015, started publishing four issues per year again.
Almost as important as the magazine itself, however, were the social events. The KYN nights created a permeable membrane between the magazine and the community, Davison said.
“There was an intentionally creative vibe, that’s where the pages of the magazine came to life.”
And now, that’s where the magazine’s eulogy will be delivered. The last Know Your Neighbour Night will take place April 2 at the Canmore Legion. For Davison, it’s a bittersweet farewell.
“I’m sad to be letting it go, but at the same time, I’m so proud of what we’ve done.”