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FREE! Fall 2011

arts eats outdoors alive

Inside: - What’s new at RMR? - Early winter rides - New day spa Wildflower Wellness - Scratching around for Backyard Chickens - Hot springs road trip - The Aura of artist Bruce Thomas

View down the Halfway River from the secondary pools of the Halfway hot springs.

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Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review

- Fall events listings







With the lower mountain re-graded, a tube park created and the third building of Nelsen Lodge almost done, the base area of Revelstoke Mountain Resort will be substantially transformed this ski season. Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review


amilies and new skiers are the focus at Revelstoke Mountain Resort this year, with new developments underway that will the base area of the mountain substantially transformed when it opens for its fifth season of operations on Dec 3. The biggest news is the creation of the Turtle Creek beginner area and tube park right next to the Revelation Gondola. Crews have been at work all summer grading a 177 metre slope that will feature a new magic carpet ride and low angle terrain for

new skiers to learn on right at the base of the mountain. The plan, said resort vice-president and chief operating officer Rod Kessler, is to create a multilevel program for new skiers. The first level will consist of lessons on the new beginner terrain. The second level will let them take the gondola to the mid-station and ski down from there. The third level will see skiers take the gondola to the top and ski down from there. “The progression works a lot better with this concept and it al-

lows us to broaden the age group and have a better oversight of younger skiers,” Kessler said. During a tour of the new terrain this summer, Dan Sculnick, the head of the Revelstoke Outdoor Centre, said the area is the best teaching area he has seen in 21 years in the industry. Another change is that some of the slopes below the day lodge are being widened and re-graded to make them friendlier for beginners. Also included in the new development is a tube park that will

feature three lanes and be lit up at night for some apres-ski fun. As well, keeping with the focus on youth, Kids ROC will open up, featuring a climbing wall, ball pit and other activities for children. The resort will be hosting various activities like movie nights, tubing and other theme nights at Kids ROC throughout the ski season. There will also be child care for children 18 months to 6. “It’s going to be a lot of fun to have a space for young skiers,” said Kessler. The beginner area and tube park

will be serviced by snowmaking to ensure there is ample snow when temperatures warm up. On the real estate side, the third building of Nelsen Lodge is set to open at the start of the ski season. The building will feature an outdoor pool, two in-ground hot tubs and a fitness facility. The opening will almost double the number of beds at the resort’s base. Lastly, WINO: The Wine Bar will be open to provide another place for apres-ski drinks and dining at the resort.

This fall in Revelstoke October 7 to November 4 LAYERS OF LOVE by the Mt. Revelstoke Quilters at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre. Also features BC Parks 100 Celebration: Blanket Creek Provincial Park Environmental Art Photographic Project. Opens Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. October 8 AFKO FRENCH ASSOCIATION PLAY & DINNER Celebrate the West Kootenay Francophone Association’s 25th Anniversary at this bilingual evening extravaganze. At the community centre. Contact Elaine at 250-352-3516 for more information. October 14 LAYING THE CHILDREN’S GHOSTS TO REST: HONOURING CANADA’S CHILD IMMIGRANTS A presentation by historian and author Art Joyce about the 100,000 poor children who were

emigrated from Britain to Canada to work on the farms or as domestic servants. At the Revelstoke Museum & Archives. 7 p.m. October 15 LAST FARMERS’ MARKET OF THE SUMMER Enjoy one last morning of shopping in Grizzly Plaza before the farmers’ market moves indoors for the winter. 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. October 31 FOURTH ANNUAL HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR Dance party with costume competition and more. Hosted by Team Gloria. Proceeds go to the Canadian Cancer Society. At the community centre. November 3 WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET Buy food and other products at the winter market. At the community centre. Every second Thursday

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from 2-5 p.m. November 5 ST. PETER’S CHRISTMAS TEA & BAKE SALE At St. Peters Church. November 6 REVELSTOKE SKI SWAP Buy and sell used ski equipment. Hosted by the Revelstoke Ski Club. At the community centre. November 12 to December 2 ART IN THE PARK: 125TH ANNIVERSARY OF GLACIER AND YOHO NATIONAL PARKS at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre. Also features the Best of Banff Photographic Exhibition. Open Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. November 17-19, 24-26 REVELSTOKE THEATRE COMPANY PRODUCTION The theatre company will be presenting two one-act plays. Details TBA. At the United

Church. November 26-27 HANDMADE PARADE & CRAFT EXTRAVAGANZA Christmas craft fair hosted by the Revelstoke Arts Council. At the community centre. December 3 DOG SLED MAIL RUN A re-enactment of the historic dog sled mail run through Rogers Pass. December 9-18 GIFTS FROM THE GALLERY at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre. Opens Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. December 17 REVELSTOKE CHRISTMAS FARM & CRAFT MARKET A great opportunity to get some great gifts. At the community centre.

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Heritage is Sorel

EARLY WINTER Alex Cooper photo

It’s raining in town, so it’s probably snowing somewhere

Cate the Great


ogging roads just might be the logging industry’s greatest contribution to society (aside from paper, wood and all that other practical stuff). Sure, those cut blocks look ugly but they’re a sure sign that there is a road that will give you easy access to stunning alpine areas that would be out of reach to most people. And in fall, it means you can experience the joy of winter when it’s still dreary and rainy in town. The most popular spot for fall skiing is Mt. McCrae. When conditions are good and word starts to spread, dozens of people flock here every day to get some turns in on the small glacier by the summit and the meadows below. Located south of Revelstoke, McCrae is accessed by driving down Airport Way and then following the Alkokolex and McCrae Forest Service Roads for 35 kilometres until you reach the McCrae trailhead. The window for getting up on McCrae is pretty narrow unless you have a snowmobile. The snow level has to be high enough to Brent Veideman/Photo House get up the road but low enough that you don’t have to walk. If you catch it right or have a really good car, you can ski right down to the parking lot. Though I must say on Halloween last year the ski out along the summer trail was the scariest experience I have ever had on two planks. The Malakwa Gorge is another good spot to get to. Located down the Gorge Forest Service Road near Malakwa, there’s great skiing right out of the car. Like McCrae, you have to time it right or hope the road is being plowed by a benevolent logging company. Closer to town, Sale Mountain and Laforme Forest Service Roads can also take you a long way up until you hit the snowline. From there, it’s a matter of busting out your toys of choice and getting a move on. Rogers Pass usually gets good at some point in November. It’s skiable before that (you could probably ski it today if you’re willling to put in the effort, don’t mind suffering and don’t care too much about your skis) but conditions are Of course, conditions are highly variable in the fall. Snow cover is thin, meaning there are lots of sharks and routes lurking underneath. Sometimes, like in 2009, it starts snowing early and there’s ample powder in October. Last fall was the opposite, with hardly any snow falling until December and early season travel Rob Stokes photo hazardous at best. The other thing to consider is avalanche hazard. Once the snow Top: Nearing the summit of Mt. McCrae, Halloween 2010.; Middle: flies, avalanches can slide. While the first snowfall might not be Snowmobiling action.; Bottom: On top of Mt. Sale, November so bad, the layers build up quickly. 2009.

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New Revelstoke day spa business takes the high mountain pass, utilizing local trades and designers to create a unique new spa experience in Grizzly Plaza. By Aaron Orlando


he bright, clean, open space inside newlyopened day spa Wildflower Wellness hides attention to detail in its simplicity and a distinctly Revelstoke design aesthetic. Although Ikea makes serviceable shelving at prices attractive to new business owners on a budget, owner Marissa Moore opted to use local contractor Kyle Buhler Cabinetry to create and install cedar shelving and other cabinet work in her new spa at 120 Mackenzie Avenue in Grizzly Plaza. The Asian-influenced showpiece display cabinet in the lobby was created on spec by Jordan Eadie of Revelstoke-based furniture-maker Alpine Rustics. Moore explains the bamboo flooring comes from from sustainable private lands. The design work was done by Revelstoke-based designer Jonathon Vinet of JDesign Studio ( and the main contractor was Straight Up Construction. The overall package is completed with other eco-conscious details, like low-energy LED lighting and low-VOC paints. This emphasis on local businesses helping local businesses achieve world-class results is the hallmark of an increasingly entrenched new philosophy expressed most prominently in Revelstoke’s new retail wave. Moore previously operated her studio in the old Taproot Yoga studio, and has been establishing her new location since that business closed. Behind the lobby, a candle-lit main treatment studio leads to the back bathroom that includes a full shower, enabling full-body treatments that require a rinse.

New day spa Wildflower Wellness Owner Marissa Moore at her Grizzly Plaza spa. Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Times Review

Wildflower Wellness’ tagline is ‘Revelstoke’s other natural beauty.’ Moore explains the old saying that beauty is more than skin deep is true. She combines a variety of treatments to find the right mix for her clients, offering services such as bodywork, facials, wraps, exfoliation, reflexology, beauty therapy, massage, waxing, jadestone massage, hand and foot care, scrubs, remineralizations and more. When I met with Moore in her studio, she was heading off to Vancouver for a training conference with Canadian skin

care company ‘beauty through balance’, the product line that anchors her studio. The company brings indigenous ingredients from around the world to create “scientifically balanced home care products and therapeutic spa treatments.” From our region, Canadian Glacial Clay is a key ingredient, as is West Coast kelp. Moore shows me a list of ‘off the mountain revival’ packages, designed to get aching muscles and wind-burned faces healed before another day on the slopes. She’s been low-key since opening a couple of

weeks ago and is still completing a few details inside her studio, but things have been going great, she says. Word of mouth has been her biggest asset so far and she hopes her prominent storefront location will also help. Wildflower Wellness is located right next to local jewellery designer Spisani Designs, making Grizzly Plaza a great stop for romantic gift ideas. By appointment only. 250-814-9520.


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BACKYARD CHICKENS Raising chickens is becoming more common in Revelstoke – even though it’s not exactly legal By Alex Cooper

Backyard chickens are more than just egg-layers. They are also viewed as pets by some. Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review


ocal food. Food security. The 100 mile diet. However you call it, it is one of the biggest trends in food culture right now and now people are moving beyond gardens and raising chickens in their backyard. I know several people who raise chickens in their backyards and from what I could gather, there’s several dozen people in town who do so. The problem is that it’s not exactly legal, according to city bylaws, so most of the people I spoke to preferred to remain anonymous. I went and visited one family at their home in downtown Revelstoke. Three chickens were clucking around a coop in the backyard. “They’re the most efficient organism I’ve ever seen,” said the wife. “They eat kitchen waste, they produce protein and their own waste is amazing for the garden.” She let the chickens out of the coop to run around in the backyard. They set about scampering around the yard, picking away at the grass and other detritus. I couldn’t tell if there was any discernible pattern to their wanderings. I’ve heard the expression, ‘Running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off’ but I don’t think you have to cut off a chicken’s head to have it run around like crazy. I asked what they liked about having chickens. “I think the key is we know where the food is coming from,” said the husband. “We know the quality of the eggs because we look after these chickens and I think it’s a good example for our children but also for people who live in the neighbourhood.” They got the chickens from a factory farm in Edmonton. They were less than a week old, came immunized and sexed and cost $1.50 each. “They’re so beautiful and they’re so cute. We treat them

as pets,” said the wife. “To me they’re just the most efficient thing I’ve ever seen. They’re a pet, they take up very little room, they’re beautiful and they produce not just food, but protein.” The one person who could speak on the record was Bob Melnyk. He’s been raising his chickens on his property in Southside since the 1970s, when his family farm was still outside of city limits. When the city expanded in the early1980s, his chickens were grandfathered in and permitted. Melnyk lives on a quiet corner of Southside next to the Illecillewaet Greenbelt. His family operated a farm on the land for close to 50 years until it was inundated by BC Hydro. I met him in front of his house and asked if he could show me his chicken coop. “Coop?” he replied. “I have a barn. I don’t mess around.” Melnyk has a lot to say about chickens, knowledge discerned from 35 years raising them in his backyard. He’s regarded as the chicken guru in Revelstoke. He doesn’t think much of their intelligence (“They have three brain cells and function with two,” he quipped.) but is amazed at their efficiency and ability to keep his yard clean. “You will be amazed about how much compostable material they will eat,” he said. Chickens will lay one egg a day but they need about 14 hours of light to do so. In winter it’s suggested you leave a light in their coop so they get the light they need, otherwise they won’t lay. Chickens only lay eggs for the first few years of their life and many people kill them once they stop producing. Melnyk, however, keeps his around until they die. “It’s a retirement home for old hens here,” he said. “They’re groundskeepers. They earn their keep.” Fortunately for backyard chicken raisers, the City of

Revelstoke is looking at making chickens legal as part of the upcoming land use bylaw. “It would probably be in single-family, urbanized areas so they’re easier to manage,” said John Guenther, the director of planning. I learned of one person who got ratted out for their backyard chickens. She got her chickens from Melnyk about two years ago. “I think when I was out of town the yard got a little messy and I imagine the neighbours were just concerned,” the woman told me. She wasn’t fined but after a few months during which she gave her chickens to a neighbour, she brought them back and didn’t receive any more complaints. Melnyk thinks backyard chickens are not a problem as long as people are sensible about it. “Like anything people get involved in, I don’t care what it is, with a bit of common sense and respect for your neighbours, most things are not problems.” As for the bear issue, everyone I spoke to said bears haven’t been an issue. Melnyk told me he’d had bears come into his yard but they never went after the chickens. ”I’ve lost more chickens to damn dogs and I’ve never lost a bird to a bear, ever.” I asked Melnyk what advice he had for prospective chicken farmers. He said people just need to realize it’s small daily commitment and chickens need a little care every day. While I was visiting the family downtown, one of the neighbours dropped by. She was asked what she thought about chickens as neighbours. “I like them way better than cats or dogs as neighbours,” she said. “You get to look after them and get eggs when people go away.”

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HOT SPRINGS ROAD TRIP Down Highway 23 south, across the ferry lies a collection of natural and developed hot springs. I took a drive to check them out. By Alex Cooper


t’s a beautiful late-September afternoon. Whisps of clouds float across the clear blue sky as I gaze in awe at the surrounding Columbia Mountains. The ferry chugs along slowly and a crisp breeze hums across Upper Arrow Lake. I’m on my way to check out the hot springs along the stretch of Highway 23 South on the other side of the Galena Bay-Shelter Bay ferry. I’ve been in Revelstoke for two years and I haven’t ventured beyond Halcyon. I’m alone on the trip, armed with my Backcountry Road mapbook and vague descriptions of the hot springs that I plucked from the Internet. My first stop is St. Leon’s hot springs. To get there you drive south down Highway 23 past the Halfway River. The turn off for the St. Leon Forest Service Road is a few kilometres later, just after the end of a long passing lane. I’m first off the ferry and I zip quickly down the highway and right past the turn off. I turn around at a rest stop a few kilometres down the highway and a few minutes later I’m jostling down a bumpy forest road, looking for a sign –any sign – of a trail. Well, I don’t see a trail but the series of fire pits alongside the road sure gives things away. I get out and make my way down the steep slope, not on a trail but pretty sure that somewhere below I’ll find the hot springs. St. Leon’s hot springs have a long history. At the turn of the 20th century there was a hotel nearby and the springs were visited by people from all over the Kootenays. The hotel stayed open until the 1950s when the SS Minto was taken out of service and reaching the site became too difficult. Today the springs are located 3.5 kilometres down a forestry road, on private land, and maintained by volunteers. Like all wilderness spots, it’s imperative to leave them in better shape than you found them in. In my case, that meant carrying around a few water bottles. Walking down the hillside, I spot the springs from above, the blue tarp of a make-shift shelter visible from up high. St. Leon’s hot springs consists of three pools. The largest one is made of concrete and water is piped in through a long tube from the springs source just above. The water is nice and warm but not overly hot – almost bath like. With no one else around, the only sound is the creek running down the hillside and the occasional bird chirping. My next stop is Halfway hot springs. The turn off is a few kilometres north of St. Leon’s off Hwy. 23, but the drive down the forestry road is three times as long (10.5 kilometres to be exact, according to the directions I have). The road to the hot springs is bumpy and full of pot holes but not too much trouble for my low-clearance minivan. There’s a car parked at the top of the path down to the springs. If

you have good clearance you can drive down even farther but I’m not taking any chances. The directions I have to the hot springs are pretty vague. I walk down the road a bit until I spot some camp sites. After a bit of circling I spot a trail that leads to a lower camp site. A bit more wandering and I see another trail heading to the banks of the Halfway River. When I get there, I spot a few small pools separated from the river by rocks and sand. It looks much smaller and not nearly as developed as what I’d imagined but the pool is warm and inviting. I sit down in it, with the sun shining down the river, slowly dipping behind the trees. The water was cooler than St. Leon’s – still warm but not exactly hot. As I found out later, I was at the wrong spot. A few hundred metres farther along the road and I would have arrived at the bigger, hotter springs, where people have created several box pools and created an elaborate hose system to manage the water temperature. Still, with the sun setting and a water fall roaring, I was still in a pretty amazing place. Eventually I pried myself out of the water. I still had Halcyon to hit up and I wanted to get there for sunset. I jolted and caromed back Highway 23 South, where I turned north. Nine kilometres later I came to the turn off for Halcyon Hot Springs. Halcyon is the grand dame of hot springs in the area. The resort is perched just above the Upper Arrow Lake and has been around in various incarnations since 1894. The resort was a party place full of drinking, dancing and gambling until it came under new ownership in 1924 and turned into a health spa. Unlike St. Leon’s and Halway, Halcyon is a full on resort. There are four pools available – one normal swimming pool, one hot water pool, one warm water pool and, finally, a cold dip pool. There’s a day spa and cottages and campsites available, and the high-end Kingfisher Restaurant. I didn’t go swimming at Halcyon on this trip. I’d been there twice before so this was simply a photo stop. I stepped out onto the deck above the pool. The sun had already descended below the Monashee Mountains but the sky was still glowing and people were relaxing in the pools below. I set off to catch the 7:30 p.m. ferry for the dark ride back to Shelter Bay and onwards to Revelstoke feeling relaxed.

Above: The author relaxes at St. Leon’s hot springs.; Middle: Halfway hot springs.; Bottom: Halcyon Hot Springs, just after sunset. Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review





Canvases and soundscapes, videos and booklets; the whole family packed into a trailer for a cross-Canada art journey. Artist Bruce Thomas is all in and all out.

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TIMESReview VIEW brought to you by The Revelstoke Times Review If you would like to advertise in the Winter edition of VIEW please contact Mavis at 250.837.4667

VIEW Winter is due out at the beginning of January, 2012 The advertising deadline is Thursday, December 22nd.

By Aaron Orlando


tried and I failed.

What the heck is new Revelstoke-based artist Bruce Thomas? It’s kinda hard to put into words, despite this writer being one class short of a minor in art history. A multi-media explosion? A passionate guy who does a million things all at once? An artist infused with energy? Thomas has been in town for a year or so after uprooting his family from Ontario for a cross-Canada multimedia exploration called the Canadian Pulse Project. It explores the personalities and landscapes that define this country. He did the multimedia series while living in a small trailer he hauled behind his car. Eventually, he landed in Revelstoke and fell in love.

His children romp around the backyard as we talk on his back deck in the Big Eddy for over an hour. ‘How am I going to summarize this?’ I keep thinking of his dialogue, which is interspersed with expressions of excitement imparted by his natural surroundings. He brings big-city art market savoir-faire to the game. His latest project, Pulse Project 2011:NXT Passage Out, features 16 largescale works he interprets as “Mtn. Aura’s” featuring a three-part audio soundscape narrative to accompany the works. He’s got a show lined up in Los Angeles for the works in late 2011. A Canadian and European tour is planned for 2012. The works feature scenery from the Revelstoke area. “Over the past year, I travelled to various mountain locations by foot, bike and ski and have employed vari-

ous artistic medias to capture the essence or “Aura” of these ancient sentinels that stand as monuments to the earths movements over time,” he writes. “In this series I choose to focus on my own personal interpretations as opposed to the many I examined in the last Canadian Pulse Project.” Thomas is aiming to, “convey the mysterious nature of mountains and the infinite and contemplative perspective they can provide.” What the curly-haired ball of energy is, I decide, is an artist full of energy not best encapsulated in words. His multi-media works are truly that; a unique combination of digital and actual combined into his unique synthesis. Check him out directly here:

Upcoming Events October 9th & 10th Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner and all the trimmings while quantities last. October 11th Cat Jahnke. Canadian Folk Artist. Dinner and Show. Call for details. October 16th Womens Show and Brunch

These large-format graphite, pastel spray, acrylic and oil, pigmented resin images with stencils are from the new ‘Aura’s” series by Revelstoke-based artist Bruce Thomas. Images below are details. Bruce Thomas images

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View 04 Autumn 2011