reved Revelstoke's Arts, Culture and Lifestyles Publication
SUMMER '14 Issue #37
of Mount Revelstoke National Park, pg12. Early morning at Jade Lakes, Mount Revelstoke National Park. Photo: Rob Buchanan/Parks Canada
A photo of Mike Welch taken by his daughter, Alexis Welch.
ProfiLe Athletes Through The Lens by Imogen Whale
he photo shows rivulets of rain flowing down the road as a road bike racer, gasping and grimacing with determination, forces his way uphill. In a different shot a skier gags on snow while heli-skiing. A third photo shows the extreme focus on a ski racer’s face. For sports action photographer, Mike Welch, it is the athlete’s effort, agony and skill that he aims to capture. “I also like incorporating elements of nature into my photography,” Mike explains. “Mud at a motor-cross, rain at a bike race.” A fitting comment as the rain lashes outside the coffee shop where he's being interviewed. “I'd rather take pictures on a cloudy, deep powder day than on a bluebird day,” Mike grins. “Of course, I'd rather be skiing those days as well.” In the spring of 2007 while skiing with friends in the backcountry, Mike shattered his right tibial plateau after colliding with a tree. It was during his long recuperation Mike decided to turn his photography hobby into a business. “It was a little bit of a backup plan in case I couldn't work and a little bit of a distraction as I couldn't be as active as I'm used to.” At the time of his accident Mike was, and still is, the area manager for the Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) lodge, Galena, outside of Trout Lake, and is a qualified Mountain Guide in the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG).
wedding was cancelled. The bride had run off. That's when I thought to myself, nah.” Mike's work has been well-received. Recently his photos have been published in CMH calendars and his photos can be seen in several magazines including Ski Press, Cathay Pacific Inflight Magazine, Ski Magazine, as well as a TECH/ Cominco advertisement for the junior ski racing group the company sponsors. Mike's goal is to show that sports action photos can carry a large emotional punch. “There are images I've seen from other people’s work that will stay with me forever,” Mike explains. “One was a sports photograph from a Vancouver newspaper. It was a biker on a boardwalk in a forest. The way it incorporated technical skill alongside the environment, subject and ambiance just impressed me.” Mike believes capturing sports can be powerful because they visually render the human condition as athletes
It isn’t surprising Mike’s passion for cross-country biking, skiing and his full-time job as a guide and manager led him to focus primarily on sports action and candid athlete shots. “I have huge admiration for people with the patience and skill in other areas of photography, it's just not for me,” Mike elaborates, though his portfolio does boast some incredible nature photography from a trip to the Galapagos Islands. “It's an amazing place,” he enthuses, “but it's not hard to get nature shots. The creatures are literally just basking on the beach, unafraid.” Though he likes taking pictures of people, it was early in his business that Mike realized wedding photography would not play a prominent role in his work. “I had done a couple weddings and was set up to do one in Golden. In fact the wedding was two days away when the groom called me to let me know the
enact their passions through physicality. These images can show pain, frustration, excitement, elation and defeat. They encourage the viewer to feel and admire the pain of the subject. “Taking a picture at the end of a bike race of someone who has finally managed to finish the race for the first time and seeing that elation, then shooting that same individual five minutes later physically wasted on the ground after; it's pretty incredible,” Mike says. These candid sport pictures are Mike's favourite kind. Since his leg injury, Mike started cross-country bike racing. “My leg likes it,” he laughs. “It keeps it in shape when I'm not skiing.” His own personal goal is to finish both laps of Revelstoke's local Stoked To Get Spanked race in June. When he is not competing in a race, Mike is usually shooting it. He is scheduled to photograph several races this summer and is excited about an opportunity he has to cover an entire event rather than just a race. “I'm working with the Salty Dog race organizers to capture the vibe of the event; the ambiance and volunteers and racers. I want to get a cohesive picture of the event and what it entails, rather than just getting shots of individual racers.” Eager to shoot and always working to better his shots, Mike will keep taking photographs that capture athletes triumphs and failures for the long haul. All photos provided courtesy of Mike Welch.
A Rocky Life by Heather Lea
Around the World
t the end of April this year I spent three days at a conference put on by Hollyhock, Canada’s Lifelong Learning Centre, based in a serene and beautiful part of the world on Cortes Island, B.C. This conference, however, was held in Vancouver through Hollyhock’s Social Venture Institute (SVI) and Simon Fraser University. It contained an all-female cast of CEO’s, small business owners and non-profit organizations – a myriad of bright-eyed, inspiring and inspired women committed to social change through existing business and those simply wanting to be part of it all. The workshop was scheduled during a pretty busy time in my life. I’d just finished a design contract for a new employer I was hoping to wow and was next diving head-first into this summer issue of Reved with an earlier deadline than normal. Already stretching it, I was reluctant to add the conference to my scrambled brain and busy days. The thought crossed my mind to cancel or reschedule but in the end I didn’t and was glad as there really is no time like the present. What I gained from the conference – confidence, imagination, vision and understanding – are key additions to my business, which can only be a good thing. Somehow it seems there is always time for the important things. At the conference there was one particular workshop where the presenter used one of my favourite analogies to describe how we can make room in our lives for darn near everything. Although you may have heard it before it never hurts to revisit wisdom. It goes a little something like this: A mason jar is placed on the table in front of an audience and filled with rocks. The presenter asks his audience, “Is this jar full?” They reply, “Yes!” The presenter reaches under the table and pulls out a bucket of gravel, pouring it over the rocks. The gravel settles in between the rocks. “Is this jar full?” “Yes!” He reaches again under the table and produces a bucket of sand, which he pours over the rocks and gravel. The sand nestles into nooks and crannies. “Is this jar full?” “Yes!” “Are you sure?” “Yes!” A bucket of water comes next. Once it is poured over the rock, gravel and sand mixture, the presenter pauses before asking his audience, “What is the point of this illustration?” Someone answers that no matter how full your schedule appears to be you can always fit something more. “No,” says the presenter. “The point is if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never fit them in at all.” So what are the big rocks in your life? Starting a new business or project? Spending more time with family and friends? More education? Working on debt? Whatever your big rocks are, isn’t it good to know there’s always room for the other stuff once you prioritize? I was happy to re-learn this at SVI and also grateful for the advice received from some one-on-one business counselling with a woman who had a great suggestion for the future of my business. The SVI workshops, case studies, consultants and business leaders generously shared a wealth of information during this three-day conference. To anyone with inquiries as to how to face the “dayto-day challenges and rewards of running a socially conscious enterprise,” I’d strongly recommend attending SVI at Hollyhock. There are two SVI Conferences each year – one is the three-day Women Conference in Vancouver, which I attended. The other is a five-day conference held on Cortes Island at Hollyhock itself and is for both men and women. If you’re reading this, male or female, and you have an idea about something you’d like to start that gets you excited and motivated, get on it! There are even scholarships available to help cover course costs. The best place for more info is at hollyhock.ca/cms. And if you do go, send me an e-mail; I’d love to hear about what fills your mason jar.
Publisher/editor Heather Lea firstname.lastname@example.org
Ad sales/marketing Heather Lea
r e v e d . n e t
Attempted kidnapping in Calgary, AB at Comic Con? Photo: John Devitt
Design/layout Heather Lea
There and Back Again; a Journey to Nerdville by John Devitt
Copy Editor Lea Storry
or any self-appreciating nerd, a pilgrimage to Comic Con is a rite of passage – a voyage to the cultural Mecca of fandom. It is an opportunity to surround one’s self with creative people, to share in entertainment phenomenon and, for a few long days, be safe from bullies constantly trying to steal your lunch money. In recent years, the growth and acceptance of ‘nerd culture’ into the mainstream has led to an explosion of Comic conventions north of the border. A journey to the proverbial ‘Nerdville’ is easily within everyone’s grasp now as all major cities have an annual gathering celebrating geeks, nerds, dorks and Harry Potter fans. Assemblies once relegated to dim hotel ballrooms have expanded to 250,000 square foot exhibit centres, like the Calgary Stampede Grounds, welcoming almost 100,000 people over the course of the four-day convention. However, little of these events have much to do with comic books anymore. Gone are the days when a new X-men or Superman comic would sell 5 million copies. Nowadays it’s all about box office revenues. This is revealed by observing thousands of nerds in corrals spending $135 each to have an 8x10 inch glossy signed by that guy from the TV show with memes you see posted all over Pinterest. It takes a day or two to get over the outright monetizing of every aspect of Comic Con. The system is designed to separate you from your money as quickly and efficiently as possible. Want a photo with the cast of Aliens? That will be $450.00. Want them to sign it? That will be $40 to $150 per person. While making friends with fellow nerds throughout the Con, we often hear stories of people continually being hung out to dry. Their money disappears; they wait in line for hours, only to be told the celebrity refuses to sign a specific item. More frequently, the poor nerd with the now empty wallet has spent the weekend running from one end of the Stampede Grounds to the other and back, having been given contradicting information from Con staff at every occasion, only to finally have their turn to wait in line and be denied because the celebrity’s time slot has expired. Sorry nerd. Your dreams have been dashed and you get no refund. At least you still have your amateur Quidditch league. It is easy to become jaded when presented with such a blatant industrial, entertainment cash shakedown. The customer service desks are stocked with copious t-shirts, hats and other ‘free’ paraphernalia to offer as an apologetic gesture to the legions of disgruntled, walking dollar signs. It can be hard to see past this part of the Con because it is so rampant. But lurking under the surface, as an afterthought in the corners of the giant halls, are the true reasons for attending this type of show: the creators, which come in all kinds. The young, holistic artist from the Southern Interior of B.C. is advancing collective consciousness and creating higher vibration art. We had a long discussion about the nature of conflict in narrative; how bombastic and militaristic so many stories are these days. There is a sculptor showcasing nostalgia-inducing pieces of Calvin and Hobbes. I geek out with her over our mutual love for the old comic strip and chat about Bill Watterson’s artistic integrity and aloofness. I meet a young married couple creating and publishing an ongoing graphic poem; she writes, he draws. This is the highlight of the Con. It is inspiring to meet people interested in creating art and telling stories. From the small, selfpublisher of a comic you’ve never heard of to the superstar Batman artist; all are genuinely eager to share a conversation about art and creativity. Yet all express regret that art, the reason we are all there in the first place, has been pushed to the fringes so more money can be channeled to struggling B-roll actors from cancelled TV shows. It is happening to comic conventions everywhere. Regardless, we are still inspired by everyone we have met. To have entered a locus of creative energy and emerge knowing there are creators of art everywhere around us, pushing boundaries, telling stories and giving us the gift of their visions. And honestly, it is gratifying to know; that as big of a nerd as you might think you are, somewhere, there is always a bigger nerd playing Quidditch, hoping for endorsements and a shot at the majors.
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Staff Writers/Columnists Alison Lapshinoff Giles Shearing Imogen Whale John Devitt Katie Marti Rory Luxmoore Contributors Barb Little Taryn Walker
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Artist in Profile Editorial; Around the World From the Streets What's your Biz'ness The Scene Health and You Out There Music Notes What Matters Emerging Heritage Moments Know Your Neighbour Sleeps, Eats n' Sips, Health and Wellness Directory
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Louis-Marc Simard, owner of the The Cube, stands outside his colourful hostel on Campbell Avenue. Photo: Alison Lapshinoff.
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he old machine shop at 311 Campbell Avenue has been recycled into a bright new building. The Cube Hotel and Hostel adds a splash of colour to Revelstoke’s downtown core while offering a unique hospitality experience to budget-minded travellers. “It was a building with good bones,” owner Louis-Marc Simard relates of the old relic. Indeed, only the original concrete shell and some hefty interior steel beams remain. Originally from Saguenay, Quebec, Louis relocated to the Rockies when he was 20 and in 1992 built the Kicking Horse Lodge in Field. The small, historic town in the heart of Yoho National Park was his home for 20 years while he managed the lodge. Before relocating to Revelstoke he attended Emily Carr University in Vancouver as a visual arts student then moved to Salmon Arm where he built his own studio. “I came to Revelstoke to build this,” Louis says, gesturing around the building’s interior. “It is built based on the idea of a hostel because it’s convivial,” he explains. “I wanted something with a meeting area so people can mingle.” The Cube’s simple design stems from the building’s basic, rectangular shape.
Tidy, functional rooms have been constructed around the perimeter, the second floor hallway looking down upon the common room in the centre. Natural light floods in from two giant skylights creating a bright, airy space where guests can have meals or curl up on the comfy sectional couch with a good book. Supporting the high ceiling above, exposed steel beams add character while leaving a mark of the old building, something Louis values. Hostels can be noisy, boisterous places with perhaps a few private rooms as an afterthought. The Cube has 17 private rooms with washrooms and TVs, four dorm rooms, a full kitchen and a drying room with a heater and fan for all that wet gear. It is a less rambunctious sort of place that offers all the services of a hostel without the loud, sleepless nights. Louis hopes to attract the thirty-plus crowd; those who “at one time enjoyed the conviviality of youth hostels but now are expecting more comfortable surroundings.” Construction was not without its challenges despite having an existing building in place. The concrete interior had to be dismantled and 25 window openings had to be cut out of solid, concrete blocks. The Cube has a new floor and roof as well as fresh insulation, electrical and plumbing. The result is a colourful, eclectic new
building sided with large concrete panel boards painted in bright primary colours. Reaction of the locals to the somewhat unorthodox new block is mostly positive. “I like it,” says one. “It’s funky. Nice to have something different.” “Very modern,” says another. “Colour is fun. I’d stay there.” The building’s unique appearance was inspired by the early 20th century Dutch painter, Piet Mondrian, whose work was known for its geometric shapes, primary colours and grid-based abstracts. Inside, pale green walls are adorned with colourful original paintings by various artists. “The artwork cost more than the televisions,” Louis points out proudly. Hotels can be major guzzlers of our natural resources and using less is important to Louis. “Philosophically, [I like the idea of] recycling the building, small rooms, sustainability, smaller footprint, less water, showers instead of baths…,” he muses. Indeed we could probably all consume a little less. A holiday needn’t mean an extravagant expenditure of money and resources. In fact, sometimes the ones where we spend less end up meaning more.
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Au Pair-fect by Rory Luxmoore
ikipedia defines ‘mutualism’ as a way two different organisms exist in a relationship in which each individual benefits. There are many examples of mutualism in our natural environment. Those small birds that eat bugs off the back of cows come to mind. There is a local manifestation of mutualism in our cultural environment, one that seems to be spreading and bringing much joy to those involved. While calling a young man or woman from France an organism may not be appropriate, the Au Pair trend in Revelstoke is proving to be a mutually beneficial relationship. What is an Au Pair? The French term means “at par” or “equal to,” referring to the intended relationship between a host family and a domestic assistant, who becomes a temporary member of the family. Most Au Pairs are young, between the ages of 18-28, and come from foreign countries hungry to learn English and experience life in another culture. Their primary role is to provide childcare and to do some light housework. Host families are to provide a welcoming home, a warm bed, food, a weekly allowance and a rich cultural experience. Several years ago Sarah Newton found it stressful trying to balance raising two young children, working full-time and salvaging some time for herself. Four years later her family is hosting their fourth Au Pair – a testament to the value of this alternative childcare arrangement. Sarah notes, “I can come home from work and lay in the hammock to talk with my less-stressed children. The kids are well looked after in their own home, are happy to see me and I am not rushing to prepare supper or do housework.” Sylvia Wood, from Revelstoke, tells a similar story of balancing work, parenting and her own life. With an Au Pair on board her children were well-cared for in the afternoon and when she came back from work everyone was happy. Not only had the children been organized but a meal was also on the table. Being a single mom, Sally Carmichael appreciated the companionship and loving care her Au Pair provided to her daughter. Remi Coupier had just finished his Bachelor’s Degree in France and needed a break from his studies. He wanted to find a way to improve his English skills and meet new people in another country and so he became an Au Pair in Revelstoke. Mailys Formaggio, another
Mailys Formaggio, left, enjoying time with her Au Pair family at Adams Lake Sockeye Salmon Festival. Photo: Rory Luxmoore
Au Pair, also calls France home. She states, “I wanted a big change in my life and being an Au Pair was the best solution. To travel in another country, speak English (I wanted to improve it), discover another culture and way of life in another way than a tourist was my desire.” For Remi, Mailys and many Au Pairs calling Revelstoke their temporary home, the greatest benefit this relationship brings is also their biggest challenge. Many arrive in Revelstoke with limited English skills hoping to become better English speakers (and often better skiers). This proves to be a steep learning curve for both sides. While Remi wanted to do his best caring for the children and the household, he found the language to be a challenge. Reading a recipe, answering the phone, writing a message or trying to talk with the children proved to be difficult at first. Yet time and practice brings change not only on the ski hill but most importantly in conversing and reading English. When Remi reflects on the highlights of his year in Revelstoke, he speaks of a special moment when both host children felt comfortable to jump up on his lap while he read them a book. At that point he realized he had been accepted as a friend and a valued member of the household. Mailys comments on her most memorable experiences here. “The walks, the games, teaching French songs, choir, cooking, Halloween, the maple syrup (yummy!), meals on the beach, camping in nature with the most beautiful night sky… but I especially treasure the time I spent with the kids!” When two cultures come together good things happen, Sarah remarks. She adds, “Opening up your house to a youth from another country and sharing your life with them is a valuable and instructive experience for everyone involved.” Does this prospect entice you? If so, there are several ways of going about this. The website aupairworld.net is a good place to start. Here host families and prospective Au Pairs provide online profiles and then court each other until a match is made. With over 10,000 young people in Europe to choose from there are many opportunities to find a mutually beneficial relationship. You may want to start by talking to one of the many host families in Revelstoke. They are easy to spot. They are usually the ones who can be seen around town looking less frazzled and enjoying quality time with family and friends.
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Canâ€™t Get Enough Yoga by Imogen Whale
Revelstoke local rides her townie bike downtown, yoga mat slung with straps across her back, slip-on sandals cradling her feet. Her destination? One of the several studios throughout Revelstoke catering to the booming yoga demographic. It encompasses all ages and both sexes. If you're alive, you can do yoga. If you're in Revelstoke, you probably do or have done yoga. In the spirit of a town with 8,000 residents who support this much yoga, this writer (who loves yoga herself) conceptualized a fun photo shoot with photographer Stephanie Ells celebrating (and lightly teasing) Revelstokians, who bring Yoga into their everyday lives. Balu Yoga and Wellness offers classes for children as young as three, teen classes and their regular classes. Their Glow Yoga has been exceedingly popular. It takes place at the Traverse nightclub in black light with glow bands (hence the name) followed by a DJ dance party. Welwinds Therapeutic Spa offers yoga teacher training periodically throughout the year in addition to classes. Beau's Hot Yoga, though currently looking for a new studio location, has a loyal Bikram following. Stoked Yoga at Revelstoke Mountain Resort ensures out of town adventurers have a place to practice all winter long and have released a yoga DVD so folks can stay tuned up year round. The Monashee Mandala, a beautiful yurt on the Begbie Bench in Revelstoke, has yoga and meditation classes. The Revelstoke Community Centre has long held yoga classes, offering a variety of styles and classes over the year. Overall, private instructors offer their services throughout town. As well, yoga retreats, like Beth Purserâ€™s Hike and Yoga, are quickly gaining popularity. Accommodations are also jumping on board; places like Revelstoke's Smokey Cedars offer classes, a yoga lounge for guests and yoga getaways. So go get yourself some yoga!
Photos from top, left to right: Courthouse - Ana Pollo and Felicia van Leur. Mowing/gardening - Hailey Christie-Hoyle. Bears - Ana Pollo and Felicia van Leur. Grocery shopping - Candice Blayney. Getting gas - Ana Pollo and Felicia van Leur. Salon - Imogen Whale and Candice Blayney. Piano - Hailey Christie-Hoyle. Special thanks to Mane Attraction Hair Salon, Coopers Foods, Twisted Annies Cafe, Esso Gas and Convenience and all the yoga models. Photos: Stephanie Ells
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All Hung Up by John Devitt
h ropes. We get tied up in them and untie ourselves, we tie up others, we hang from them and they pull things around... what a metaphor for life. Combine ropes with heights, a common human fear, and you have a recipe for comfort zone challenges, along with team bonding and fun. The Reved crew decided it was time to test our own courage and headed out to SkyTrek Adventure Park on opening day this spring. It seemed our editor felt her staff needed to confront some psychosocial issues in order to improve the quality of this very publication. Using ropes for problem solving and physical training goes as far back as the ancient Greeks. Throughout history, ropes courses have been used to train soldiers by simulating obstacles they may find in the field. It has only been since the 1980s that ropes courses increased in verticality and evolved significantly. Modern belay systems, harness and other safety management protocols have aided the recreational approach of today’s ropes courses. Popularity of high ropes courses have soared, with estimates of 200 to 400 new courses being built
The Reved crew testing their mettle at SkyTrek Adventure Park. Inset: Reved writers Alison Lapshinoff, Rory Luxmoore and John Devitt. Photos: John Devitt
each year in the United States alone. While the challenge of a high ropes course lays with the individual, the fun had climbing around in trees cannot be disputed. As an adult, playing and climbing at a school playground just isn’t the same as it used to be. Everything seems shorter, smaller and specifically designed to be harmless. Gone are the days where you would burn your legs in the middle of July sliding down a metal slide or get a sliver from a jungle gym made of wood. The only way to recapture those glory days of youth and test your courage is to climb 50 feet up into the trees and hang from a wire. Like many in Revelstoke, some of our crew had never been to SkyTrek. Even though the park is a short drive from town and a great way to spend half a day, regardless of your age, many in Revy have never gone and played in the trees. Lucky for Alison Lapshinoff, Rory Luxmoore and I, we were treated on opening day to being the first group through and could check off the adventure park from the local bucket list. Straight to the point, you need to go and have yourself a lot of fun. Spending the day at SkyTrek is a great way to test yourself and spend time with
friends or family. The elements of the high ropes course ascend in difficulty and in height allowing for a gradual expansion of your comfort zone. You will find yourself challenged at some point, whether by verticality, balance or strength. Regardless, the environment is safe, the staff friendly and helpful and you never truly feel you are in danger. Nevertheless, there will be nerveshaking moments when your teammate challenges you to a Sky Swing at the Adventure Tower and despite your better judgment, you accept. Or, no matter how graceful you think you are, you will find yourself stretched to breaking with a foot tangled in a rope while you reach for the next element. Perhaps you will simply be amazed with how far safety technology has come in recent years. All of the above alternately describes each of the three Reved staffers’ experience at SkyTrek. Whatever your experience ends up being at SkyTrek, it is certainly one you should stop procrastinating. Every year the park evolves and continues to provide something for everyone. Make this summer the moment to do the thing you’ve been telling yourself you would for years; go play in the trees!
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M usic N otes The Reason For The Season
by Katie Marti
Photos provided by motionnotion.com Collage design: Heather Lea
lowers are blooming, birds are chirping and the sun is shining, which can mean only one thing: festival season has begun! Otherwise known as summer, it’s time to sweep out the camper, load up the cooler and hit the road in celebration of music across B.C. and beyond. And with something going on just about every weekend between June and September, there’s a festival for every taste and budget. The Tiny Lights Festival in Ymir, B.C. kicks things off June 13-15 with a weekend of music, art, theatre and general shenanigans. Pugs and Crows, Good Ol’ Goats and David Newberry are some names to look for but it’s always the new finds and surprise talents that make these smaller venues so exciting.
The big festivals, of course, are rooted on the coast in larger centres, like Vancouver’s Folk Festival (July 18-20), featuring familiar names like Wintersleep and Hayden, and Squamish Valley Music Festival (August 8-10), with giants like Eminem and Arcade Fire headlining the scene. Venues are massive with price tags to match but for some it’s just not summer without a mega-festival road trip adventure. Closer to home are a few gems on a notably smaller scale, which offer the chance for everyone involved a more intimate experience without the expense and hassle of a full day’s drive. Motion Notion, for example, is an eclectic weekend fiesta near Golden with a focus on electronic music, running from August 24-28. Festival organizer, James Kata-
lyst, says the event is transformational with activities that include yoga, a fire garden, live painting, a sauna and sanctuary all set against the idyllic Rocky Mountain backdrop at Bearfoot Lodge, 40 kms east of Golden. “These types of festivals are becoming more and more popular as people search for interactive and meaningful events,” he explains. “Motion Notion bridges the gap between typical EDM (Electronic Dance Music) festivals and modern hippy culture, celebrating the diversity of people and of music. Art is also very important to the culture of Motion Notion and electronic music festivals in general.” More information regarding performers, camping and tickets can be found online at motionnotion.com
Even closer still is the ever-popular Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival, August 15-17, with an impressive line-up and over 20 years of experience bringing top shelf music to the Shuswap. This year’s headliners include Juno Award winner Rose Cousins and American folk artist Josh Ritter. Tickets and camping permits can be purchased online at rootsandblues.ca Whatever your preference, be it something small and close to home or a big bash with 30,000 of your closest friends, don’t let summer slip away without spending at least one weekend camping in a field and rocking out to your new favourite band at one of the many fantastic music festivals around the province. ‘Tis the season!
Rowland Bell March 6, 1984 - May 12, 2014
Water Warriors by Barbara J. Little Photos from top, left to right: Rowland and Kerstin, chinbalancing a ski, in the Shuswap River, inspecting a gummy bear. Photos: Rowland Bell, Dougal Pow, Giles Shearing, Taryn Ipenburg.
Edited by Giles Shearing Magical Moonlight Paddle with glow sticks and flashlights. Photo: Kip Wiley. "Paddles Up" high-five leaving Shelter Bay. Photo: Lake Revelstoke Dragon Boat Society.
evelstoke’s dragon boat is a hidden dragon. You may have glimpsed the long, yellow boat slipping through town or riding in the Canada Day parade but mostly the dragon is spotted flying across Lake Revelstoke at Martha Creek cheered on by a handful of campers. I’m addicted to dragonboating, such a quirky, endorphin-laced sport. Our Dam Survivors team is an eclectic group of guys and gals ranging in age from 16 to 74. Ask them why they paddle: “For fun; to meet people; for the exercise and the challenge of competing.” For me it’s the camaraderie and being on the lake. Ours is often the only boat on the reservoir – a quiet, magical place we share with beavers, loons and otters. The stresses of the work day fall away. When dragon boats race they look like huge centipedes scooting across the water to the pounding of drums. The technical stroke is tricky, moving through five stages in under a second. It’s a Zen thing demanding absolute focus and synchronicity. Twenty paddlers become one as they pull hard. It takes a lot to pop an 800 lb boat up from a dead stop. “Winning is all about focus and the timing of the stroke,” veteran coach Ginger Shoji explains. “We’ve beaten boats carrying as many as ten beefy men because we were paddling in time and they were not.”
Our first race times were around two minutes and 50 seconds on 500 metre courses. Since then we’ve shaved off seconds finally taking first at the 2012 Penticton Festival in a time of two minutes and six seconds. It’s not about winning but showing up and doing your best. We have a blast. The competitions are like Renaissance Fairs: colourful tents, banners flying, artisans and food vendors selling their wares. Up to 90 teams will crowd the shoreline at Skaha Park in Penticton at the final festival. Dragonboating exploded in the nineties when oncologists discovered that the position of an arm high above the body during the paddle stroke helped reduce lymph oedema. Oedema is common in breast cancer patients who've had underarm lymph glands removed. At most festivals breast cancer survivors all dolled up in pink tutu’s, hats, feather boas, even pink life jackets and paddles have their own race. The traditional carnation ceremony is a poignant, tearful acknowledgement of those women who did not survive and the thousands more who have. After a moment of silence the pink paddlers in their boats and the spectators toss hundreds of carnations into the lake. “I started paddling with a breast cancer survivors’ team in Salmon Arm,” Ginger said. “I paddled to prove there is life after cancer.” Fellow breast cancer survivor,
Joan Eley, along with Ginger, fundraised like mad in 2005 to raise $11,000 to bring a boat to Revelstoke. “You don’t have to be a cancer survivor to paddle in our boat,” Ginger clarified. Promoting cancer awareness is a tenet of the Lake Revelstoke Dragon Boat Society. Every June we help kick off the Relay for Life. Escorted by bagpipes, cancer survivors walk the first lap together after passing under an arch of paddles held high by Dam Survivors, a much appreciated tradition. Like many volunteer groups we fundraise. Part of our proceeds go quietly to help the Revelstoke Cancer Support Group. They in turn provide financial relief to cancer patients needing to travel out of town overnight for appointments or treatments. To continue the fight against cancer Ginger and Joan Eley are paddling with the Kamloops Spirit Warriors at the Global Breast Cancer Survivors Festival in Sarasota, Florida in August. Wanna be a water warrior? We’re recruiting! The first few paddles are free. Meet at 6:15 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays at the Uhaul parking lot beside the Frontier Restaurant to carpool. Our season runs from late May to mid-September. Paddles and PFDs are provided. For more information visit revelstokedragonboats.org or call Ginger at 250-837-4129 or Barbara at 250-837-2445.
One of Revelstoke's finest gentlemen. A ski god amongst mere men. A true gentleman of the highest degree. You're a king among kings, the sweetest, coolest guy I've ever met. Sharing nothing but love, bringing heaps of goodness, It's been years since we went our separate ways, months since we spoke but we always knew we'd "go back to being friends." We laughed about "being men." You took me under your wing and showed me the magic that was Revelstoke. Your gentle manner and cheerful demeanour, a magnet of good energy, genuine positivity and fun adventure. The intense goggle tan sported with the biggest smile, You asked for a briefcase for your birthday! The shores near Bella Coola. A passionate environmentalist, I will fondly remember our time scheming on ways to save the planet. I cherish him sitting in front of me, without him there, my life would not be as rich as it is today. I still can't believe you're gone Ro Ro. I consider myself one of the lucky few on this earth to have met you. One of the best hugs in the game, thanks for showing me amazing music, laughing at my stupid jokes and dancing when everyone was watching. I have about a thousand inside jokes… You’re the man who dropped everything to help a friend out in a jam, the man with the greatest smile, laugh, beard and passion for life that I have ever known! You let me win when we raced down the hill. Your contagious laugh lit up the room. You put people at ease. Your awesomeness will be long-lived. I'm sure your son will follow in your footsteps. All of us will think of you when we hit the slopes, Ski in peace my friend. I admired the love you two shared, Never was there a time I didn't see the two of you smiling together. You will forever be everything to me. This poem is a compilation of excerpts from condolence messages.
Revelstoke's ONLY full-service digital photo department. Picture books published by local authors: Radar the Rescue Dog, illustrated by Zuzana Driediger. Chic Sharp in cartoon and in real life. Two of Meike Blommestein's four published books. Photos provided courtesy of the authors.
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Creative Writing 101 in Revelstoke by Imogen Whale
ieke Blommestein, Chic Sharp and Zuzana Driediger have something in common: picture books. Their works are all appealing with their differences in style, illustration and content and are representative of the creative writers and illustrators in Revelstoke. Mieke Blommestein has published four picture books so far (storiesfrommysoul.com). Each book embraces a different theme, from listening to one’s kind side and recognizing inner light to encouraging self-esteem, learning to be unafraid of change and reminding readers they are beautiful no matter what they physically look like. Mieke, a contemporary spiritual teacher and healer not aligned with any particular religion, had the stories channelled to her when she was deep in meditation. “A monk appeared and he told me the stories,” she explained. “After four or five stories, I talked with my husband and we felt we had to do something. So we looked into publishing Miss Spider,” Mieke said. Mieke's illustrator, Diane Perruzi, uses soft and detailed watercolours. Mieke has always appreciated the art Diane produces so Mieke found it easy to call upon Diane when thinking of whom to use as an illustrator. Chic Sharp is the author of the My Twelve Brothers and Me series (mytwelvebrotherandme.com). His goal is to spark imagination and fun in children. Each book in the series tells the story of a gifted brother and how he disappeared. The idea came to him many years ago when his three daughters were small.
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“I just made up a story one night about a fictional brother and they loved it,” Chic explained. Originally Chic's stories included 24 brothers but overwhelmed by the prospect of publishing such a long series Chic pared it down to include his favourite 12 brothers, resulting in a 13 book series. Chic's middle daughter Kara has collaborated with him to illustrate his stories. “It just made sense,” Chic said. “She's a gifted artist and working with her, well, it isn't like work.” The two have had a near-perfect record of artistic agreement. Chic himself is a character in the series, his visage recognizable in the artwork. book four, Ned The Noodle, will be coming out this year. Zuzana Driediger is a local illustrator, who spent two years at the prestigious Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver. While working full-time for Parks Canada, she is also a dog handler for the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA). Zuzana's book Radar The Rescue Dog was Zuzana's first experience illustrating for a book. Radar The Rescue Dog is educational in nature, teaching readers about ski hill and avalanche safety and is one of the reasons Zuzana was drawn to the project. Both Mieke and Chic opted out of the traditional publication route. Mieke is self-published and her books are available online at Amazon.com and other sites through her Canadian distributor at Red Toque Books. You can also find them at local farmer’s markets, Grizzly Book Store and Banyen Books and Sound in Vancouver. Chic also self-published but with the support of an investor. Chic's books are
also available online through his website, at farmer's markets and local book stores in town. Radar the Rescue Dog was self-published by the author, Janet Love Morrison (janetlovemorrison.com). For Zuzana illustrating Radar “was a positive experience. And I'm donating my share of the proceeds back to CARDA.” Mieke and Chic are both thrilled to hear there are students at Revelstoke Secondary School (RSS) with a keen interest in the world of creative writing and publishing. Clayton Mollica, an English grades 8/10 and 11 teacher at RSS, recently rebooted an extra curriculum creative writing group (mollicaeducation. wordpress.com). “I wasn't sure of the interest when I debated starting a group. Then I was talking to a student and discovered she had already written a novel she was thinking of trying to publish.” The student, Danielle Foisy, completed her first young adult horror novel in grade eight. Now in grade 10 Danielle is in the process of editing her first novel. She plans on self-publishing later this year. Danielle is currently working on her second novel. Clayton wanted to offer students like Danielle the chance to experiment with their writing. He said, “writing can be a lonely process. I wanted to offer students a place where they can get feedback, support and improve.” In the world of creative writing, age isn't relevant when it comes to being published. So Revelstoke – already home to talented picture book authors and illustrators – looks soon to be home to youth novelists as well.
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Giant Cedars boardwalk (left) and Miller Lake in Mount Revelstoke National Park. Photos: Rob Buchanan/Parks Canada
Mount Revelstoke National Park – 100 Years in the Making
n August, 1906 a nature-loving school principal in Revelstoke named A.E. Miller wrote an enthusiastic letter to the town’s newspaper hoping to draw attention to what he described as, “…a splendid natural park of nearly two thousand acres in extent…within a few hours walk from the city.” Miller was so enamoured by the close-to-home and unaffected beauty of this undiscovered area that he frequently brought visitors with him to hike, swim and picnic among the peaks, lakes and wildflowers. Despite his enthusiasm, it was another eight years before Miller’s golden find got the attention it deserved after much trumpeting from locals – the first of very few national parks at that time instigated by civilians. In February 1914, the area was inaugurated into the National Parks Act of Canada, wrapping its “flora, soil, waters, fossils, natural features, air quality and cultural, historical and archaeological resources,” in a protective Governor of Council hug. Within this safe boundary is a herd of threatened mountain caribou that cohabitate freely alongside mountain goats and grizzly bears. It also contains part of the world’s only temperate inland rainforest, where stands of old-growth cedar and hemlock forests, otherwise declining outside of protected areas, continue their 500-year
old existence and provide homes to rare, threatened and endangered species. At only 260 km2, Mount Revelstoke National Park may be small for national park status but that doesn’t stop it from attracting a large audience of over 600,000 visitors per year. Celebrating its 100th birthday this year, there are several reasons to head into the park on a day off. Steeped in rich history, the base of the mountain holds the Nels Nelson ski jump. Before you get excited, you can’t put your kids on this decommissioned ‘slide’ but the area is still celebrated and active with installments like the Tournament of Champions “Winner’s Circle.” This gateway starts behind the Railway Museum and celebrates the movers and shakers who made Revelstoke world famous in the sport of ski-jumping. Formerly named “Suicide Hill,” the newly-coined Nels Nelson ski jump made record-breaking heros out of local male and female jumpers while it deterred and intimidated international competitors. During the 1920s Revelstoke’s Isabel Coursier broke a world record jumping 84 ft when she was only 16 years old. Nels Nelson, also a Revelstokian and for whom the jump is named, won four world records there in 1920, 1921, 1923, and 1925. Mount Revelstoke National Park will always be a place where visitors and locals alike can connect with nature and
by Heather Lea
history. A 2010 survey from Parks Canada shows those who visit the area hold dear the peace and quiet, scenic drive and access to a mountain summit only steps from their vehicle. Parks Canada has created an Area Plan for the national park that will ensure its legacy is kept active through improvement projects that will enhance the experience even more. Programs like Art in the Park, where artists are invited to participate in a week-long residency in the area, create inspiration through opportunity. Local installment projects, like the Winner’s Circle, educate on history and ensure a sense of pride and future projects keep everyone coming back for more. Parks Canada is proposing a number of opportunities down the line that include facility and service enhancing, like new trails and viewpoints and upgraded exhibits along with adventures like guided tree-climbing and dog-sledding, a cross-country mountain bike trail and rock bouldering area. Perhaps most advantageous are these changes will allow more people to visit the area during spring and fall, when there is normally limited access due to snow. Stop in at Parks Canada while in the area and find out what new gifts this 100-year old park has received.
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Chic Sharp at home. Photo: Giles Shearing.
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Chic Sharp: Pagan, Renaissance Man, Karate Instructor, Author by Giles Shearing
n the woods, somewhere between Chetwynd and Hudson’s Hope, there used to be a cabin. To get there one would travel over 11 kms down a dirt road, then six kms on foot, cross a river by boat and then wade through a creek. For eight years from 1974 to 1981, this is where you would have found Chic Sharp. Six weeks away from starting a Masters at Washington State (Chic’s undergrad is a double major in physiological psychology and philosophy), he submitted a letter to his university rescinding his enrollment and headed north, to Canada. At the cabin in the woods, along with his horses and first wife, Chic lived completely off the grid for eight years, building by hand the first of four houses he’s built in his 63 years. Every year during that time Chic would head increasingly outward into the woods and beyond the confines of his paradigm. Chic explains, “I’d pack up every year without telling anyone, travel 20 plus km a day, with no hope of rescue, no hope of any human contact, to shed the exoskeleton.” Shedding the exoskeleton, Chic explains, is getting to what we are underneath our perceptions and biases. Chic was born in Bellingham, Washington but grew up on nearby Whidbey Island. His father, “a big strong man” who taught Chic to stand up for what he believes in was a fisherman. His mom, the most influential person in his life, taught him to be astounded with life and believe in the magic of the world. She cared for Chic and his two brothers and worked as a teacher. Chic’s family wasn’t wealthy growing up. Chic was 11 when he got his
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first job picking strawberries. Alongside migrant workers, Chic laboured for eight to 10 hours a day for around $5 in pay. The work wasn’t easy, he said, on your knees all day but in that day he explains, “no kid had an easy job, whether it was bucking hay or peeling logs. You didn’t think about whether you liked it or not.” Many other jobs followed between then and now, including teaching at an alternate school, work as a probation officer, a logger, a carpenter, an outdoor educator, publishing three books and teaching karate. Chic considers himself a renaissance man of sorts, believing that each different experience has broadened his perspective of the world and people. He also doesn’t like having to answer to someone else, preferring to choose his own adventures, for both self and spiritual growth. Chic moved to Revelstoke in 1981 to run an outdoor education program, which lasted seven years. At the time Chic explains, a revolution in outdoor education occurred, realizing the untapped potential of our natural beauty in B.C. as a learning environment. Chic has a deep connection to the earth. Something he feels makes for more compassionate beings. In general, Chic only consumes what he’s grown, foraged or hunted. In the summer he tends to a large garden and fishes most evenings. Throughout the rest of the year herbs and native plants are picked for food, medicine and sickness prevention. Chic pulls out bags of yarrow and clover for me to see. This “connectedness diet” keeps Chic strong, who’s only gotten sick once in the past 16 years, an event that humorously still baffles him.
I ask Chic what advice he would give people born in the 21 century. “When I look at younger people, every young person has some kind of electronic device. What I would like to see is that people don’t lose their connectedness to the planet. If you’re not connected to the earth, it’s hard to connect to people." Chic doesn’t own a cell phone. And his internet is dial-up. Chic and I spoke a lot about his love of martial arts. After training for over 30 years under different masters, Chic summarizes its essence, “Martial arts is about achieving perfection of character, maintaining physical fitness and having the ability to turn away from something harmful, without having to prove yourself. Violence is an inherent part of our make up but not an inevitable part of our behaviour, a true martial artist recognizes this.” Sitting in Chic’s log house south of town, that he built, drinking some of his (very delicious) homemade beer, I ask him what’s left on his bucket list. He explains to me it’s not a concept he really subscribes to. Chic notes that if he did, a lot would already be crossed off. “I feel complete daily,” he says with confidence. “I won’t be lying on my death bed upset that a list wasn’t complete.” Chic has three daughters, of which he described to me as easily being at the top of any of his life’s experiences. I ask Chic if there is a mantra he lives by. He tells me he meditates frequently, which includes stating his intentions of leading a life of joy, peace, happiness, safety, respecting the earth, keeping a healthy body and being a multidimensional being.
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