Boulder-based Mountain Gazette magazine has announced that it is temporarily suspending its print edition.
The venerable outdoor journal, which was founded in Denver as Skiers’ Gazette in 1966, will continue to operate online, and Summit Publishing President Blake DeMaso says he hopes to find a new model for eventually bringing the printed version back.
“This decision was very difficult for the company, and we feel both sadness and guilt about disappointing our many loyal readers, contributors and distributors who relied on MG each month,” DeMaso said in a prepared statement provided to Boulder Weekly. “Slow advertising revenue, along with increases in printing and distribution costs, really left us with no alternative option with the current business model.”
He explained in a subsequent interview that one challenge the magazine faced was selling advertisements in its geographically broad distribution area, which spans much of the mountain West.
“It’s hard to get a salesperson to all of those towns,” DeMaso said.
“Every problem that a publication can have, it has, by virtue of its spread-out territory and isolation of the mountain valleys,” added longtime MG contributor George Sibley.
It won’t be the magazine’s first hiatus. Mountain Gazette ceased publication in 1979 and was resurrected in 2000 by a group that includes its current editor, M. John Fayhee. The monthly has published works by the likes of Edward Abbey, Hunter S. Thompson and John Nichols.
Sibley and Dick Dorworth, who have been writing for the publication since it changed its name to Mountain Gazette in 1972, said the print version will be missed.
“I’m sorry to see it, but it’s not like it’s the first time,” Sibley said of the decision to halt publication. “Somewhere out there, there’s probably a college student who’s been reading Fayhee’s stuff, like Fayhee was reading [Skiers’ Gazette publisher] Mike Moore’s stuff when Fayhee was in college, and there’s some guy that’s going to come along in 10 or 15 years and say, ‘It’s time to start the Mountain Gazette again.’
“I love the magazine,” he added. “It’s just a reflection of a way of life that continues to flop along underneath all of the bullshit associated with resort communities.”
“We’ll have a wake for it and hope it resurrects,” Dorworth said of the print edition’s discontinuance, adding that he thinks MG could succeed as a literary magazine published quarterly.
“That’s one of the best ideas I’ve heard so far,” DeMaso said of that proposition.
Mountain Gazette has previously been owned by GSM Publishing, Skram Media and Active Interest Media. Summit Publishing purchased the magazine in 2010.
DeMaso says readers are being encouraged to sign up for the magazine’s email newsletter or follow MG on Facebook to stay informed on progress toward the magazine’s next print iteration.
Fayhee told BW he is proud of the fact that the publication has retained its integrity in the face of increasing pressure to compromise.
“We remained true to obstinate ourselves and, in a world where sales and marketing people run the editorial show at a lot of publications, that is something of which I will always remain proud. Unemployed, but proud. We never whored ourselves — and, by extension, the mountain country we love so much — out.”