Yu Sasaki profile. p. 28. Powder Broker: Doug Sproule. p. 18.
Revelstoke Report. p. 14. RMR By the Numbers. p. 26.
A gin so unique, no one's had anything like it since prohibition
The Winter Permit System Permis d’accès hivernal Planning to ski Rogers Pass?
Vous comptez skier au col Rogers?
The Winter Permit System is in effect between November and March annually. Learn it. Get your permit.
Le Permis d’accès hivernal est en vigueur entre novembre et mars de chaque année. Apprenez-en le fonctionnement. Obtenez votre permis.
In Rogers Pass, artillery is used to fire explosives and trigger avalanches for the highway avalanche control program. Before you go:
Dans le col Rogers, le programme de déclenchement préventif d’avalanches pour la Transcanadienne est axé sur des tirs d’artillerie. Avant de partir :
• Learn how the system works at pc.gc.ca/skirogerspass. • Check daily to know what areas are open or closed before you park, ski or ride. • Get your winter permit and national park pass at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre. • Look after your own safety. Have the skills and equipment to travel in avalanche terrain.
• Apprenez le fonctionnement du système : pc.gc.ca/skicolrogers. • Chaque jour, tenez-vous au courant d’où vous pouvez vous stationner et faire du ski ou de la planche à neige. • Obtenez votre permis d’accès hivernal et votre laissez-passer de parc national au Centre de la découverte du Col-Rogers. • Possédez les compétences et l’équipement nécessaire pour voyager dans le terrain avalancheux.
Learn more at pc.gc.ca/skirogerspass
Pour en savoir plus, consultez pc.gc.ca/skicolrogers
Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine is a free monthly publication featuring the best of Revelstoke outdoor life, food, style, visitor experiences, lifestyles, entertainment, home style and healthy living. We are an independent, locally owned publication dedicated to showcasing our amazing mountain town and the great people who create the stoke. Each month we distribute over 3,000 free copies to over 200 public venues across Revelstoke, including hotel rooms, shops, restaurants, cafes, community centres — everywhere people meet. For all enquiries, including details on our surprisingly affordable advertising rates, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org For Revelstoke daily news online, please see our sister publication www.revelstokemountaineer.com · 250 814 8710 email@example.com 606 Railway Avenue. Revelstoke, B.C. P.O. BOX 112 · V0E 2S0
COVER PHOTO: Christina Lustenberger leads Mark Hartley and Jay Welz up the Swiss Glacier towards the pyramid-shaped peaks that bears the same name. Photo: Bruno Long.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Aaron Orlando firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR Aaron Orlando email@example.com
STAFF JOURNALIST Melissa Jameson firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITORIAL DESIGN/ADVERTISING DESIGN Sonia García email@example.com
WEBSITE Chris Payne firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alex Cooper, Amaris Bourdeau, Bryce Borlick, Cara Smith, Charlotte Sit, David Suzuki, Emily Beaumont, Heather Hood, Louise Stanway, Matt Timmins, Peter Worden, Shannon MacLean, Vilja Arnsteinsdatter
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Andrew Chad, Bruno Long, Daniel Stewart, Jessica Milaney, John Baldwin, Keiji Tajima, Keri Knapp, Laura Szanto, Lee Lau, Louis Bockner, Louise Stanway, Lyndsay Esson, Matt Timmins, Mattias Fredeiksson, Noel Rogers, Peter Worden, Robert Sim, Ryan Creary
CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS Benji Lowclass
Re-imagining community journalism As part of our drive to re-imagine what a journalism-based community news source can be in 2020, this issue we're revealing plans in the works to create a new non-profit journalism sector in Revelstoke. As you know, the business models that once supported community journalism have largely disappeared, already diminishing the quality of local journalism products, including ours — we operate on a shoestring budget. We live in a time when misinformation and disinformation are rampant, and our shared factual basis for the world around us is increasingly fragmented. Conspiracy theories that used to skulk in the murky corners of minds or the Internet are now peddled by corporate-controlled media houses, by active propagandists, and mainstream politicians. The situation is deteriorating, and it highlights the community's need to take control of its information environment by taking ownership or control of the local news media. In my Last Word column in this issue, I introduce some of the concepts and initiatives we will be pursuing, including exploring non-profit status, handing control of editorial direction to the readers, introducing new crowd-funding and tech-based models,
introducing a new "community journalist" position, and starting new, parallel non-profit journalism structures. Key to all of this is community participation and partnership — it simply will not happen unless we get buy-in from community leaders, members and readers of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine. Last month, we lost Reved, after a 15-year run for the arts and culture quarterly. One of the great successes of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine and revelstokemountaineer.com is our youth readership. 61% of our online readers are 34 and under, 76% are 44 or under. People said that couldn't be done in the local news market, but we did it. I'm approaching this initiative with the same can-do attitude. It's not about lamenting what has been lost or pining for the past, but rather forging ahead with new ideas and models that will lead to new, innovative and better forms of multimedia journalism in the future. If you want to get involved. please drop me a line at email@example.com. —Aaron Orlando, BA, MJ; Creative Director, Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine, revelstokemountaineer.com
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NEWS BRIEFS Our news roundup from the month of January.
CALENDAR: FEBRUARY EVENTS There's lots going on in February! Don't forget to get your event included in our print calendar by adding it online at revelstokemountaineer.com.
REVELSTOKE REPORT Our new Revelstoke Report looks inside some of the inner workings of Revelstoke. Look for a lot of variety and behind-the-scenes profiles in this new recurring section.
REVED RETIRED Revelstoke arts and culture quarterly Reved has published its last issue. We spoke with editor, publisher and writer Peter Worden about its 15-year run.
POWDER BROKER Rogers Pass map guidebook publisher Douglas Sproule talks about his latest edition and a life devoted to touring in Rogers Pass.
THE G WORD It's time to acknowledge the profound pain and family disruption that gentrification is causing Revelstoke residents. The answer is coming together to find solutions that put people first.
BUDGET BACKGROUNDER Crumbling infrastructure like the Forum roof, a council pay raise and long-term planning are some of the big issues this year.
BY THE NUMBERS: RMR Our monthly graphic feature explores the numbers behind Revelstoke.
GOING YU-GE! Revelstoke-based pro skier Yu Sasaki has put his sights on the Freeride World Tour finals in Verbier, Switzerland.
STOKED AF! New bus tour company taps into the mobile ski market on the Powder Highway.
SYNC ACCOUNTING New Revelstoke accounting firm offers the latest in digital services to clients. (sponsored)
CUSTOM CR AFT A growing number of Revelstoke craftspeople are creating custom interior finishings and decorations for Revy builds. Here are some of the leaders.
COUNTING CALORIES DOESN'T ADD UP Revelstoke holistic nutritionist Shannon MacLean explains why putting the focus on nutrition value adds up.
SHREK THE MUSICAL Revy was once known for its big community musical theatre productions, now Flying Arrow is working to bring them back this month.
U.S.E.D. Revelstoke recycled clothes and accessories manufacturer U.S.E.D. shares its secrets to success.
ARTS & CULTURE BRIEFS Revelstoke Arts & Culture briefs: Alchemy Studio, DJ Spanda and pioneer helicopter rescue pilot Jim Davies. THE STOKED PALATE Lodge meals have come a long way from the one-pot wonders of yesteryear. Charlotte Sit explores trends in regional lodge fare.
NON-PROFIT JOURNALISM INITIATIVE Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine announces initiatives designed to build the non-profit journalism sector in Revelstoke and put residents in control of the news media.
CONTRIBUTORS Melissa Jameson JOURNALIST Melissa came to Revelstoke in 2007 to work as a journalist at the Revelstoke Review, planning to stay for maybe a year or two. More than 10 years later, and sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still here. Melissa took a bit of a detour from journalism in 2009 to spend a number of years to work as a front-line worker in the local non-profit sector, but continued writing for both the Revelstoke Review and Revelstoke Mountaineer as a freelance journalist during that time. More recently, Melissa has refocused on her love of writing and is currently the staff journalist for Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine and Revelstoke Mountaineer online. Prior to Revelstoke, Melissa worked as a journalist and section editor for newspapers in B.C. and Alberta, covering everything from provincial politics to arts and entertainment. She is passionate about writing stories that go beyond just the facts and focus on finding the connection between people and community. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local. Vital. Get in the magazine: email@example.com
By Melissa Jameson
A city snow removal crew clears a windrow on Second Street East. Photo: Aaron Orlando/ Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine
Revelstoke residential property assessments are up by 10% this year. Photo: Aaron Orlando/ Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine
Higher than average snowfall increases highway closures
Residential property assessments up
MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION, AVALANCHE TECHNICIANS USE SNOW SCIENCE, WEATHER DATA TO DETERMINE NEED FOR AVALANCHE CONTROL
REVELSTOKE HAS FOURTH HIGHEST VALUED RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IN THE KOOTENAY COLUMBIA REGION.
Across the province higher than average snowfalls have led to an increased number of road closures due to avalanche risk or avalanche control. Closer to home, Three Valley Gap, just west of Revelstoke, saw 287 centimetres of snowfall during the month of December. That’s 171 per cent more than the 10-year monthly average. Road closures during the winter months are common for Revelstoke and generally take place for three reasons: planned avalanche control, high avalanche risk, or due to a vehicle incident. A spokesperson with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said the process for road closures for planned avalanche control and high risk of avalanche are the same. In both cases the decision to close the highway is made by a team of ministry avalanche technicians who continually assess the conditions of the existing snow pack and evaluate incoming weather systems. Snow science data, along with along with real-time data collected from remote weather stations are used to decide the need for, and length of, a highway closure. In the case of an accident on the highway, road closures are often necessary due to the dynamic of the situation. Revelstoke RCMP Staff/Sgt Kurt Grabinsky said when a vehicle incident occurs police work with the Ministry of Transportation and advise the local contractor if they require flaggers and assistance. The actual road closure is done by the MOT and the contractor (Emcon). The length of the road closure in these cases depends on number of factors. If a fatality has occurred, RCMP have to start at the highest level of a criminal investigation and work there way down from there, said Grabinksy. The road can only be re-opened once all of the evidence is gathered and any debris is removed. Data available from the Ministry of Transportation shows there have been seven road closures for avalanche control between Sicamous and Revelstoke in 2020 as of January. There were 18 closures for the winter 2019 season.
Revelstoke is home to the fourth highest valued residential property in the Kootenay Columbia region for 2019. According to BC Assessment, the assessed value of single family residential property in Revelstoke has increased 10% since last year. BC Assessment valuates properties across the province in July each year, and releases its assessment report in January. For 2020, the average assessed value of a single-family residential home was $509,000 — a 10% increase from 2019. In Revelstoke, the highest valued property is unit 27, 2080 Mackenzie Court in Arrow Heights. That property is valued at $4,762,000, and is the fourth highest in the Kootenay Columbia region. Other assessed categories for Revelstoke also saw increases for 2020. Properties categorized as business/other increased by 7.3%, while light industry saw an increase of 8.5%. Neighbourhood values also saw increases with Big Eddy residential property values increasing by 15.6%, Central Revelstoke up 11.4% and Arrow Heights rising by 8.6%. Single-family residential values increased throughout the Kootenay Columbia Region, with Creston, Salmo and Warfield all seeing larger increases than Revelstoke. The 10% jump in the average assessed value for single family residential properties comes on the heels of 2019’s 21.1% increase. In a statement released by BC Assessment, deputy assessor Ramaish Shah said, “the changes in home values are moderating in many cases as compared to the past several years. Some communities, however, are seeing higher demand than in previous years and that is reflected in this year’s assessments.” While the value of properties in Revelstoke may have increased overall, it is important to note this doesn’t necessarily correlate an increase in property taxes for home owners. How much more, or less, you’ll pay in property taxes is dependent on a number of factors including whether the assessed value increased or decreased based on the 10% average and the value of the property in comparison to other properties in the city.
UPCOMING EVENTS AT REVELSTOKE MOUNTAIN RESORT FREE WEDDINGS & VOW RENEWALS FEB 14
KING OF THE MOUNTAIN MAR 7-8
BANKED SLALOM MAR 28 & 29
The Revelstoke United Church, at left, was the planned location for a new temporary winter shelter. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine
An early morning crowd on a pow day at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Photo: Aaron Orlando/ Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.
Temporary winter shelter put on hold
Northland Properties acquires Grouse Mountain ski resort
CITY, UNITED CHURCH SAY THEY’LL CONTINUE TO WORK ON THE PROJECT, WHICH WOULD HOUSE REVELSTOKE’S HOMELESS DURING THE COLDEST MONTHS
OWNERS OF REVELSTOKE MOUNTAIN RESORT ANNOUNCE PURCHASE OF VANCOUVER’S GROUSE MOUNTAIN RESORT.
Plans for a temporary winter overnight shelter for Revelstoke have been put on hold. The shelter would have provided temporary respite for homeless individuals with its doors opening in the evening and individuals leaving in the morning. The shelter would also provide food and other amenities. Set to run out of the basement of the United Church on Mackenzie Avenue, the initiative ran into a number of problems including premature community outreach and an outdated city bylaw. A communication error early in the process saw proponents distribute notices to neighbouring properties before consultation was approved by city council. This led to a backlash from neighbours as they attempted to find more information about the project. Also at issue is the city’s outdated temporary use permit bylaw, which at the time of publication was still in the process of being updated. The shelter planned to operate under a temporary use permit. City of Revelstoke Director of Development Services Marianne Wade said there are also a number of issues with the building that require addressing prior to the shelter opening. These include fire access and egress problems. Despite the current hold on the winter shelter, Wade said the city still plans to work on the project. This time a number of extra steps would be added, including a community consultation plan, and hiring a consultant to complete research on needs and demands, as well as prepare a report for council. Funding for the shelter would come from BC Housing, but the organization requires all of the necessary approvals from the city prior to opening its purse strings. Originally the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society was slated to carryout management duties. However, in a story published in the Mountaineer online in early January, a spokesperson from RWSS said the society is no longer involved in the project. Currently the church is exploring holding the management contract itself.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort owner Northland Properties is adding a second ski resort to its list of properties. Northland announced it had entered into a plan to purchase Grouse Mountain Resort from CM (Canada) in early January 2020. A joint statement issued by Northland, Grouse Mountain Resort and CM (Canada) notes the year-round resort sees approximately 1.3 million visitors each year and is “the premiere year-round destination in the Lower Mainland offering a variety of thrilling outdoor adventures, exceptional cultural and educational experiences and the best in local snow sports.” Northland president and CEO Tom Gaglardi said the corporation is excited about the acquisition and “look forward to working closely with the existing team and leadership group, as well as the community to ensure we maintain and evolve the iconic Grouse Mountain experience for all of our visitors.” Micheal Cameron, Grouse Mountain Resort president, said he welcomes the opportunity to work with Northland, calling them a leader in the hotel and restaurant industry who have shown “tremendous growth and innovation across their diversified group of companies.” Cameron said he looks forward to working with Northland to continue building on the success of Grouse Mountain Resort. CM (Canada) managing director Kenny Zou said the acquisition by Northland will benefit Grouse Mountain’s guests, employees and partners. He noted that since 2017 Grouse Mountain has “made significant strategic investments in management, sales and marketing, facilities and infrastructure, adventure offerings, and technology capabilities to bolster its value-add for guests.” Privately owned by the Gaglardi Family, Northland Properties is the parent company of Sandman Hotel Group, The Sutton Place Hotels, Moxie’s Grill & Bar, Denny’s Restaurants, Chop Steakhouses, Shark Club Sports Bar Grill, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing and the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League.
CALENDAR FEBRUARY 2020 WEEKLY EVENTS WEDNESDAY FREE MEDITATION
Give curling a try in a non-competitive environment. Instruction, grippers, brushes and sliders provided. Just bring clean running shoes to wear on the ice. Cost is $5.
@ Balu Yoga · 7:30 a.m. - 8 a.m. An easy and accessible meditation practice for all levels. No experience required.
REVELSTOKE WOMEN’S DROP-IN HOCKEY
@ Revelstoke Forum · 8 p.m. - 9 p.m. The Kodiaks are a non-competitive drop-in team, welcoming all skill levels. Drop-in fee is $10. For more info search Revelstoke Women’s Hockey on Facebook.
OPEN STAGE & LIVE BAND KARAOKE
@ The Last Drop Pub · 9 p.m. Open mic with super hosts Catnado & The Subaneers featuring the all new Catnado karaoke.
@ The Cabin · 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Every Wednesday is Locals’ Night. Enjoy $4 bowling.
THURSDAY REVELSTOKE WINTER MARKET
@ Revelstoke Community Centre · 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. Find farm and craft vendors from Revelstoke and beyond at the winter market, held every second Thursday.
@ Eternal Riders Hall Active games for young adults (16 and over) like dodgeball, spikeball, ping pong, skateboarding and more. The hall is located at 622 Second Street West.
FRIDAY DROP-IN CURLING
@ Revelstoke Forum · 7 p.m.
@ Revelstoke Legion · 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Sing your favourite songs every Friday at the Legion.
@ River City Pub · 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. Join host Jesse Booth and other invited local musicians for a night of music at River City Pub.
FEBRUARY EVENTS SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1 REVELSTOKE GRIZZLIES
@ Revelstoke Forum · 7 p.m. The Revelstoke Grizzlies take on the Chase Heat in Junior B hockey action. Tickets are $12 adults, $9 students & seniors, $6 for children.
MYTHM W/JELLYNOTE & SHYLOW
@Traverse · 9 p.m. - 2 a.m. Mythm produce contemporary bass music characterized by a style that reaches the masses. Joining MYTHM are some of B.C.'s finest: Jellynote & local producer, Shylow.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2 DANCE CHURCH
@ Alchemy Studio · 7:30 p.m. - 8:45 p.m. A community gathering for people who love to dance in a safe space without talking, drinking and the nightclub vibe. For details visit the Alchemy. Studio.
9 - 11:30AM
EYE OPENER SHOTS CAESARS
3 - 6PM
ADD A SHOT OF JAMESON TO ANY BEER
Photo: Lyndsay Esson.
9PM - CLOSE
OLD FASHIONED NEGRONI RUSTY NAILS
VISIT REVELSTOKEMOUNTAINEER.COM/CALENDAR TO SUBMIT YOUR EVENT FOR FREE. WE INCLUDE A SELECTION OF THOSE EVENTS HERE IN OUR MONTHLY PRINT CALENDAR. *Please check the event online on the day of the event as details may change*
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4
SHREK THE MUSICAL
CHILI & BUNS & SKI HISTORY
@ Revelstoke Museum & Archives · 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Enjoy delicious chili and learn about Revelstoke’s amazing history of skiing as curator Cathy English presents a talk and slide-show. $10 per person, available at the museum. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your tickets.
@ Revelstoke Forum · 7 p.m. The Revelstoke Grizzlies take on the Kamloops Storm in Junior B hockey action. Tickets are $12 adults, $9 students & seniors, $6 for children.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6 CRED TALK: PIT THE ANALYST: DESIGNING CAMERA TRAP SOFTWARE FOR EFFICIENT IMAGE INSPECTION @ Revelstoke Community Centre · 12 p.m. Saul Greenberg from the University of Calgary explains design patterns for software that supports how analysts can efficiently inspect camera trap images and encode its data. Part of the Columbia Regional Ecological Discussions series.
@ The Last Drop · 10 p.m. Indie pop folk rock husband-and-wife duo Sly Boston and Violet Clarke, combine innovative instrumentation and haunting vocals. Sly Violet also perform at the Rockford Grill, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 7 Flying Arrow Productions presents Shrek the Musical Feb. 7, 8 and 13-15. For times and ticket purchase visit flyingarrowproductions.ca.
@ Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre · 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. RVAC’s annual silent auction fundraiser featuring unique pieces from local artists. Tickets $20 available at Art First and RVAC.
@ Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre · 7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Flying Arrow Productions presents Shrek the Musical, starring 51 Revelstokians Tickets @ Art First, Revelstoke Family Pharmacy and online. Additional performances Feb. 8, 13, 14 & 15. For times and online tickets visit flyingarrowproductions.ca.
@ Traverse · 10 p.m. Moontricks duo, Nathan Gurley and Sean Rodman, combine their love of folk, blues and electronic music. Tickets $19.99 plus online fee, at ticketweb.ca.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8 REVELSTOKE GRIZZLIES
@ Revelstoke Forum · 7 p.m. The Revelstoke Grizzlies take on the North Okanagan Knights in Junior B hockey action. Tickets are $12 adults, $9 students & seniors, $6 for children.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11 BANFF MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL WORLD TOUR @ Roxy Theatre · 6 p.m. Explore the edge believable with some of the best films from the 2019/20 Banff Mountain Film Festival. Runs Feb 11, 12 &13. Tickets @ Revelstoke Visitor Information Centre. Visit www.banffcentre.ca/banffmountainfestival/ tour for more info.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14 FREE WEDDING VOWS
@Revelstoke Mountain Resort · 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Renew your vows or get married at RMR on Valentine’s Day. A marriage commissioner will be set up at Mackenzie Outpost. Don’t forget to grab your marriage license from the courthouse first. For more details visit revelstokemountainresort.com.
R E V E L S T O K E
Royal LePage Realtor
Helping you “Home” in Revelstoke, BC
RESID E NTI A L | R E SO RT | D E V E LO P M E NT View Listings www.royallepagerevelstoke.ca
@ Revelstoke Forum · 7 p.m. The Revelstoke Grizzlies take on 100 Mile House Wranglers in Junior B hockey action. Tickets are $12 adults, $9 students & seniors, $6 for children.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15 REVELSTOKE GRIZZLIES
@ Revelstoke Forum · 7 p.m. The Revelstoke Grizzlies take on the Kelowna Chiefs in Junior B hockey action. Tickets are $12 adults, $9 students & seniors, $6 for children.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17 RAINBOW CALCULUS
@ RMR Begbie Lounge · 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Come bear witness to the sites and sounds of Lucas Mackenzie and Patrick Spencer, playing an eclectic mix or original tunes and banger covers.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20 LUCAS MACKENZIE
@ The Rockford · 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Toronto singer/songwriter Lucas Mackenzie performs at The Rockford.
Moontricks perform at Traverse on Feb. 7. Photo: Louis Bockner
Sly Violet: Husband and wife duo Sly Violet perform at the Last Drop Pub on Feb. 6 and at the Rockford Grill on Feb. 7. Photo: Sly Violet.
VIRGINA ROSE & GUEST DJ
@Traverse · 10 p.m. Virginia Rose is a veteran singer-songwriter who plays a wide mix of up-tempo classics.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22 REVELSTOKE GRIZZLIES
@ Revelstoke Forum · 7 p.m. The Revelstoke Grizzlies take on 100 Mile House Wranglers in Junior B hockey action. Tickets are $12 adults, $9 students & seniors, $6 for children.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26 MOVIES IN THE MOUNTAINS – PARASITE @ Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre · 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Parasite is a vertical story of class struggle, observing the life of two families of different social backgrounds. Korean w/English subtitles. Tickets $11 at revelstokeartscouncil.com or at the door.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28 68TH ANNUAL CASHSPIEL
@ Revelstoke Forum · 4 p.m. Drop-in and catch some great curling during the annual Cashspiel. The event draws many out of town teams. The tournament runs until March 1 @ 3 p.m.
Banff World Tour: Catch Revelstoke’s own Greg Hill during the screening of the Banff Film World Tour at the Roxy Theatre Feb. 11-13. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson.
Get in the magazine: email@example.com
A BROKEN SYSTEM GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES, SUCH AS THE CITY OF REVELSTOKE, ARE NOT KEEPING UP WITH THE CONTEMPORARY INFORMATION ENVIRONMENT. IT'S HURTING US ALL. By Aaron Orlando
Youth climate strike protestors rally in front of Revelstoke City Hall during the summer of 2019. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine
A biweekly ritual came with the job when I first started as editor at the Revelstoke Review in 2008. Every other Friday, I'd walk over to city hall to pick up the agenda package for the next Tuesday's meeting. Sometimes it was short, but often it was a few hundred pages of reports on city business. (One of the first ones I remember reading was a housing report that warned the new ski resort meant Revelstoke was heading towards a housing crisis, just like virtually every other mountain resort town.) I had a few days to read up before the council meeting. After the meeting, I had the rest of the week to follow up with questions and contacts before filing any council stories, usually by Sunday for the Monday press time. Other than whatever came from word of mouth, most people didn't have access to what happened in the council chambers, so taking over a week to slow things down for important stories wasn't an issue. After a while, the phone-book-sized agenda packages started to pile up in my office. I started urging city contacts to get with the times and go digital. I was relieved when the city finally opted to publish the agenda in PDF on its website and, many years later, opted to stream meetings on YouTube — two small steps in the direction of transparency and open information. It changed the nature of my work, often for the better. Before the many reports generated by the city were available to the public online, doing a story about whatever report was on the agenda — often complex, data-heavy technical documents — meant having to summarize them in depth, something that's not as necessary now that you can link to them for the small percentage of readers interested in the details of, say, the state of the storm sewers. It allowed people unmediated access to the source information.
It also changed things for the worse. For better or worse, we're in the 24-hour news cycle now, as in the story comes and goes within 24 hours. Almost invariably, those stories are about controversies and hot-button issues, particularly ones that strike an emotional chord. On January 21, I was following a budget meeting online when Coun. Steven Cross unexpectedly handed in his resignation after he lost a vote to stop a plan that was tabled by Coun. Cody Younker in November 2019. Younker's plan would raise council salaries from $15,300 to $25,000 and the mayor's pay from $30,600 to $70,000. I hadn't been paying much attention to the council raise issue. It was a verbal discussion and there was no report posted to the meeting agenda (why staff didn't suggest Younker provide a written report for the public is beyond me.) I thought the raise idea was so off base there was no way it was going to survive the budget process and make it onto the draft budget, and if it did, we could take a look at the proposed numbers once they were in ink. (In fact, as part of a new direction for 2020, I had hoped to cover a lot less city stuff, especially minor items and small-potatoes controversies. It was part of an assessment of Revelstoke Mountaineer's role in our information environment, asking if we're doing good or harm with the information we present.) Turns out I was right it wouldn't survive the budget process, just not in the way I thought. A couple hours after Cross announced his resignation, I had published a story, which included a video link to a video interview with Coun. Steven Cross. The Revelstoke Review published its story at about the same time. (I won't rehash the details here -- everyone already got the story in the first 24 hours. Find the story online at revelstokemountaineer.com.)
"The city doesn't publish any meaningful statistics on performance indicators. There's nothing anyone can point to to quantify whether the department is performing well or not, leaving it open for interpretation."
Over the next 24 hours, the story got splashed across regional and provincial news, and the town got whipped up into a social media mob frenzy — one person encouraged people to spit on the mayor and council, literally, and there were calls to boycott councillors' businesses — everyone who wanted got his or her pound of flesh got it. Then CUPE 363 sent out a media release citing the council self-pay raise as a justification for their strike notice, which puts the union in a position to strike after 72-hours' notice. And then, it pretty much died down. Through it all, there has been no public external communication from city staff. I'm writing this six days after Coun. Cross's resignation, and still no statement from city administration on the implications, such as the by-election. Same goes for the strike vote: Is a strike likely? What are the issues? What's on the table? Who knows — we have tried to track down the info, such as the union's allegation that senior staff have received big raises, further justifying the union's pay raise request, but have been told the details of senior staff raises are "confidential." +++ The old social hierarchy has been declining since the 1970s, starting with the erosion of trust in political structures, the media, government and various authorities. This erosion of trust, good or bad, has progressed in parallel with stagnant middle class wage growth and rising inequality in Western societies. We once assumed that people supported the Western democratic model because it was the best system going, but there's a strong argument that people supported democracy because it coincided with economic growth and better lives for most. I feel like the flap over the council pay raise is a Wil-E-Coyote-running-in-mid-air moment for city hall communications. He's still moving his legs, but the basis for this action, the firm ground below, is long gone. Although Revelstoke taxes are right in the middle of the bell curve when compared with other B.C. municipalities, there's a common perception that we have the highest property taxes in B.C. I can't recall any initiative by the city to set the record straight. The visible infrastructure issues in the city, such as deteriorating roadways, are always a topic of conversation. So is the tax rate at budget time, yet there has been little effort to connect the two: the infrastructure deficit is driving tax increases, yet people revert to complaining about art sculptures or city flower beds as examples of tax waste, when
these things truly are not the source of the problem. Is the city's planning department doing well these days? Again, who knows? The city doesn't publish any meaningful statistics on performance indicators. There's next to nothing anyone can point to quantify whether the department is performing well or not, leaving it open for interpretation — good or bad. These days, you can't set up a kombucha stand at the farmers market without branding, communications and a social media marketing and communications strategy, yet it seems like many in government institutions haven't fully realized their new place in the social hierarchy: they no longer sit atop the pyramid, but rather are just another vertical silo in the information environment, left to thrive or survive based on their own ability to communicate. Stonewalling a journalist who is seeking basic information is not a success, it's a failure to have an open communications plan. Yet, many local and regional "authorities" have little in the way of communications plans. Some seem to solely rely on the news media for their external communications, and even then it is often disjointed and highly unpredictable. And when these organization do, often the main thrust of their communications is, in my opinion, defending their handling of things, as opposed to informing and interacting with constituents, drawing on their strengths, building partnerships, showing how the organization delivers great value to those who are forced to pay for the services (as the harsher critics of those services would put it). Last year, I submitted a request to the ColumbiaShuswap Regional District (CSRD) to broadcast their board meetings to the public. CSRD staff did a big report on why they couldn't do that and the board agreed. The CSRD has hired a communications director who, among other more standard communications steps, sometimes sends us community-newspaper-y toned good news stories about what a great job the CSRD is doing, which we don't print: running PR copy for the government is not our job. I feel strongly that improved communication from the city, starting with a contemporary, realistic plan that acknowledges the current information environment is key. Council rejected a proposal for a communications coordinator during last year's budget cycle, then the city advertised for a parttime contract coordinator several months ago. I am not sure where that's at now — there's been no communications on it. The current information environment in Revelstoke is a barrier to good governance, scaring many who would serve away, regardless of how much you pay them. The system is broken, and
it's just going to keep being broken until someone stewards it into a new space. An open-governmentinspired communications plan would be a start. Without it, we have a situation that opens the door for people who prioritize self over community to walk in and take a seat at the table, leading to a whole other downward spiralling cycle. If your entire mission is being disrupted by a handful of people intent on upsetting the apple cart, you know you've got a problem that requires a response.
Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw Plans to redo the Official Community Plan (OCP) and the zoning bylaw are still in the budget. Fixing the city's very dated zoning bylaw has been a city goal since I first arrived a dozen years ago; there have been several attempts, but none have been successful so far. Redoing the zoning bylaw (which requires an OCP update first) is the best route to solving most of our big issues. Rezoning the city to allow for more density in the right places will spark an investment boom and the construction of much-needed denser forms of housing, such as condos. This will create jobs, housing, economic activity, broaden the tax base, and with the right measures in place, more energy efficient homes. If done right, redoing the OCP and zoning bylaw will also allow the community to arrive at some kind of shared understanding of where we're going. The alternative, piecemeal development that kicks up controversy and depletes city resources, is slow, divisive, expensive and just bad planning. That's our status quo. When I heard Coun. Cross start to read his resignation letter, one of my first thoughts was what the impact would be on these planning processes, which will get underway this year. The pay raise issue will create cynicism. Hopefully residents can see past this latest debacle and continue to participate in the process. Revelstoke's current municipal governance system is a meat grinder that chews up the peoples' representatives in government and spits them out. It's not just rough-and-tumble politics, it's a broken system that doesn't serve residents. Unless someone steps in to fix it, particularly the communication environment, expect diminishing returns from Revelstoke municipal democracy in the years to come.
EDITOR RETIRES REVED AFTER 15-YEAR RUN REVELSTOKE QUARTERLY ARTS PUBLICATION REVED WAS AN ALTERNATIVE VENUE FOR ARTS, CULTURE, MUSINGS, AND THE CATSIFIEDS, REVY'S HOMEPAGE FOR PAW-LICKERS. By Aaron Orlando.
Revelstoke Mountaineer/Aaron Orlando: What is the backstory of Reved? Peter Worden: Reved began many moons ago in 2000-aught-five – 15 years this winter to be exact. It was a very different world then. Back then, it was still a good time to be a newspaper; the Internet and Facebook hadn’t blown the industry up yet. Big city dailies were losing their subscribers and cash flow online. Newsrooms struggled to stay afloat. By contrast, small-town papers were comparatively immune with their low overhead and lack of competition. In 2010, I decided to get off the sinking ship of mainstream newspapers. I liked Revelstoke and needed was an excuse to live here. Reved came up for sale, so I bought it. But the back-backstory of Reved, I can’t take any credit. Its founder Heather Lea saw Revelstoke’s appetite for a seasonal publication. She saw a bottomless pool of talent to draw from and to
A selection of covers from Reved's 15-year history. Photos: Reved
When I moved to town a dozen years ago, Reved was in its third year and still a black and white publication. RMR was new and the town was getting its first taste of the implications for Revy. The arts and culture magazine, which was usually in the 20– 28-page range, was published by Heather Lea and featured a variety of local writers and contributors sharing food, arts, and lifestyles stories. Several years later, Lea moved away from Revelstoke, but kept publishing the quarterly while she attended graphic design school. The magazine went colour and the graphic design improved quickly. Eventually, after it was clear Lea wasn't returning, Reved went up for sale, attracting a buyer journalist Peter Worden, who was jumping ship from the sinking journalism industry in Alberta. Worden, a bit of an oddball, quickly put his stamp on the magazine by introducing new elements like the Catsifieds, home to advertisements about all things cats, and the Quarterly, an actual quarterpage folio magazine that required you to pull out some pages, fold them into quarters, then read from back to front. Kind of like Mad Magazine's Fold-in, except squared. Yes, weird, but in a good way — Reved was a permanent expression of the emotion you feel at the moment you ask someone to hold your beer. Well, as I found out, a lot of it was in fact written in a bar. I'm sad to see it go. I chatted with Peter about Reved and its passing:
"How could anyone not love a classifieds section just for cats?"
Illustration: Sonia García/ Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine
cover. Reved was a humble, primitive thing – more of a newsletter to start. It was never intended win Pulitzer Prizes in journalism, but it was designed with a healthy homegrown “for us, by us” feel, which is true to this day. My main addition has been re-designing and re-invigorating that same product. RM: What was the most challenging part? PW: Deadlines. Or maybe graphic design. I don’t know. (Everything?) It’s hard to choose because it was challenging for a guy who professionallyspeaking only ever reported news. I’d never sold ads or done layout. Devising a theme, finding advertisers, building ads, doing social media, and so on, was a running challenge for this one-man show. At the same time, it never seemed that onerous because, well, (a) nobody actually cared when it came out, and (b) most of my work was done at the pub, and so I was usually a bit buzzed. That takes the edge off. Reved may not have been the most deadline-driven local newspaper, but it was without a doubt the drunkest – as documented by the number of typos. One challenge was the final layout as Reved’s unique format and foldable mini newspaper inside meant I had to send the paper to press upside-down and back-to-front. That … that was a challenge, especially after a few … RM: What stories or elements of the magazine are you most proud of? PW: The Catsifieds, for one. How could anyone not love a classifieds section just for cats? I’m fond of the “quarterly-quarterly” – the mini foldable newspaper/post card inside Reved. I liked puns and misplaced modifiers, but I can’t say I’m proud of those – more a pathological affliction. Looking back, I even appreciate the many typos because to err is human, and it’s a good lesson: You just poured a ton of time into the newspaper, sent it to press, then it arrives and right there on page one is a typo you can’t take back. Of stories, I’m proudest of the Sex, Drugs & Rock n’ Roll issue, with its historic retake on Revy’s brothels, opium dens and community band. One of the articles: “Five Bars Where You Seriously Would Have Died” continues to receive feedback from people who remember our town’s more rough and tumble days. If it isn’t already abundantly obvious, I get most my news at the bar. RM: What was the most rewarding part of publishing Reved?
PW: Like any writer, I’m not immune to flattery. It was always rewarding to hear from readers who enjoyed the paper. One of the finest compliments was seeing it in someone’s bathroom or an article cut out and displayed on the fridge. (Truly the pinnacle of local news.) Watching confused tourists in the coffee shop wrestle frustratingly with the unorthodox paper, flipping it around and reading it upside-down, was also quite a treat. Revelstoke being Revelstoke, it was fun to include Revelstokians in Reved without their knowledge or consent. I know this type of unethical journalism would never fly in a reputable publication such as the Mountaineer, but it was rewarding to include as many locals as possible in every issue, with or without their permission. Having carte blanche as a publisher to say what you want (loosely within the bounds of copyright and libel laws) was incredibly freeing. The most rewarding part had to be my paper route. I liked delivering to hotels in the morning, which always smell like continental breakfast, and if lucky, I would be rewarded with a cinnamon waffle. I delivered to restaurants and bars in the evening, when my paper route invariably turned into a pub crawl. RM: Your background is as a journalist, including time working at the CBC and other outlets. With the closing of Reved, we're losing another local journalist to the public relations field. It's getting lonely out here. Your thoughts vis-à-vis Reved? PW: I have loved newspapers from a young age, but I’m not sure newspapers love me. Maybe I should have been born a decade or century earlier. In my media career, I have never worked for a company that wasn’t fighting an existential crisis of some sort, threatening layoffs, or closing altogether. That said, I’ll always be a journalist. Journalism is something you’re born to do. Public relations is something you do because you need money to eat. I’ll always support young reporters, admire seasoned newshounds, and subscribe to credible media sources because we need them all now more than ever. I’ll always defend news media, in particular, Canada’s public broadcaster. When I hear people talk about scrapping CBC, I get my back up. We’re lucky as hell in Canada to have a quality, consistent news outlet. CBC, unlike NPR in the US, doesn’t
spend five minutes every 20 minutes begging for donations. Canadians pay a tiny amount for this credible, objective, and accountable news service that standardizes coverage across a huge, remote area like clockwork. We’d all be far dumber without it. I don’t know what Reved’s contribution was to the greater good of the fifth estate, exactly. Most articles were admittedly opinionated and editorialized. While it injected much needed quirk, novelty, gimmickry and colour commentary into town, I think Revelstoke has a healthy coterie of actual journalists and writers. Plus, we have a goodly number of news outlets covering the region. The Mountaineer is a big part of that. RM: What is the most valuable lesson you learned about Revelstoke and its people through your experience publishing Reved? PW: The joy of newspapermanship for me has always been getting to know a little about a lot of things. Journalism is an excellent excuse to talk to anyone and learn about anything. As a newcomer to Revelstoke, publishing Reved instantly got me into the community in ways I couldn’t have otherwise. In five short years, it has led to business ideas, political involvement, social events, volunteering, and more boards and committees than I can count. I guess the lesson here is to take in an interest in the lives of others, from children to seniors. People have great lessons to share. That to me has always been the most valuable thing. Reved publisher Peter Worden recovers after getting the last issue out. Photo: Peter Worden
Photos: Doug Sproule gets turns in at Rogers Pass. Photos: John Baldwin
POWDER BROKER LOCAL AUTHOR DOUG SPROULE RELEASES A NEW ROGERS PASS SKI MAP. By Bryce Borlick.
It was June of 1994 when everything became clear to Doug Sproule. He unzipped his tent door one morning and stepped out into a dream world of glaciers and vertical rock towering over the Columbia Valley. Having arrived late the previous night, he knew only that he was somewhere between Whistler and Banff, and that it was exactly where he wanted to be. When a passing Twelve Mile local by the name of Hank de Groot pointed skyward and said "it snows 50 feet a year in those mountains," he planted a seed in Dougâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mind that would grow into a lifetime of ski exploration and pioneering in Rogers Pass. "We drove up to Rogers Pass that day and got our asses handed to us," laughs Doug. "But it changed my life, man. I started spending winters in Canada. One in Rossland, four in Nelson, four in Golden, and the rest of them here." Standing several inches shy of six feet with a slim build, a five day shadow, and long hair tucked under an old toque that very well could've been on that inaugural tour, Doug casts a warm and modest presence that invites you to pull up a chair and ask him how the skiing has been. And when you do, the fire dances in his eyes as he describes his latest adventure. A typical lazy ski bum? Far from it. In the last quarter century, he's probably skied more days than anyone you know. If you can name a run in Rogers Pass, he may have named it. In fact, he may have skied it in all four seasons, twice on his birthday, and once in his birthday suit. His decades of journals, photos, and hand-drawn maps recount weather, snow conditions, itineraries, and even diet but more importantly they represent a lifetime of expertise and knowledge gained incrementally, through success and failure. And he shared all this with the world when he
released his Rogers Pass guide book just a few years ago. “The whole thing is a work in progress, always evolving,” muses Doug. “Researching Beaver Valley in the pissing rain, I do stuff like that. It goes with being the guide book author, ya know?” If you ski tour or splitboard locally you probably have a copy of Rogers Pass Uptracks, Bootpacks & Bushwhacks sitting on your shelf scuffed and dog-eared, possibly with an autograph in the front cover. Released in 2015 after a successful Kickstarter campaign, it's a backcountry bible. It's thorough, it's well organized, and it's an entertaining read. But it's also a bit cumbersome to bring on a tour so in 2020, following another successful kickstarter campaign, Doug is releasing the quintessential Rogers Pass map. Four years in the making, the rugged double-sided map provides route information, clear imagery, and even details like avalanche gun locations. Clearly it’s going to sell like tie-dye at a Dead show. Summers are quiet for Doug, spent in the solitude of our inland rainforests, but they’re not spend idly. The man with the plan spends hundreds of hours scouting and developing outdoor climbing spots, all on his own time and dime. Raptor Wall, Owl Wall, the Big Eddy Boulders - these are just a few of the spots he’s turned his hand to. He’s even hauled in picnic tables and boats, free for anyone to use. Time spent in nature is a huge payoff for Doug, but there’s more to it than that. “Personally I think the whole world should be skiing and surfing and climbing and riding their bikes. That’s why I do it,” Doug explains when I ask him about his generosity. “It makes people happy.” It’s unlikely that Doug will ever be unlucky enough to be a millionaire, wasting his life in pursuit of yet another dollar while more important things fall by the wayside. Like good health. Or a sense of purpose. The love and respect of family and community. The time to pursue passions. Doug is rich in these intangibles and the result is an infectious energy and enthusiasm that has made him one of Revelstoke’s living legends. “It’s a dream, man,” Doug says earnestly. “I just want to build a better world, one day at a time.”
“Doug’s appreciation and wonder about the endless terrain in Rogers Pass made him one keen partner back in the early 2000's. Thankfully he took this inspiration and created the ‘Bible’ for adventure seekers in the pass, as his way of giving back and passing the torch on to the next generations. Thanks Doug.” - Greg Hill
“Douglas's guidebook and maps fill the need not just for a general informational tool but also to spread awareness on how to access backcountry at Rogers Pass with respect. Very few other people had the knowledge and persistence to bring such superior quality products into the world.” - Lee Lau
“I just hope Doug is celebrated as more than just a ski mountaineer and author of a few guide books. Don't get me wrong - he's legendary on both of those fronts, but he's also an amazing person who dedicates so much of his time to helping others.” - Joe Lammers
Rogers Pass Uptracks, Bootpacks & Bushwhacks guidebook author Doug Sproule. Photo: Lee Lau
IT’S TIME TO SET ASIDE BLAME AND FOCUS ON FINDING COLLABORATIVE SOLUTIONS. By Melissa Jameson.
I Revelstoke is never going to solve its livability issue if we can’t get past blame. For more than a decade now, the city has been shifting from a resource-based economy to one more reliant on tourism dollars and the growing contingent of professionals who work online. The move towards a tourism and lifestyle-based economy was and is intended to see the community so many of us love grow and thrive, but it hasn’t been without problems. Of these problems, perhaps the most pressing is the gentrification that has taken place, most notably within the rental housing market. No one really likes to talk about gentrification. It’s a politically charged word with a multitude of definitions that conjures an “us versus them” mentality. The process of gentrification leads to involuntary displacement of existing low-income residents in a neighbourhood while simultaneously preventing future low income households from being able to move in. This exact process took place in Revelstoke’s housing market not only in the years leading up to the opening of Revelstoke Mountain Resort in 2007, but afterwards as well. The cost of living has risen dramatically over the years and it doesn’t appear that will change anytime soon. While the shift to becoming a resort town is in many ways largely responsible for the increased cost of living here in Revelstoke, there are also a number of other contributing factors. As the Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine reported in its January 2020 issue, the cost of food, fuel and utilities are expected to rise across the province. Minimum wage will increase to $14.60 an hour as of June 2020 — often the amount many service industry workers make. That’s still far below the $18.90 per hour living wage for Revelstoke. From a blame perspective, it’s easy to lay fault. It’s easy to blame the resort, city staff and council, developers, business owners, landlords and absentee home owners for the high cost of living that has resulted in pushing out many of the community’s poorest residents, who could no longer afford to stay. But what if, instead of continuously focusing on who to blame, we shift towards a narrative based on implementing workable solutions?
Coming up with workable solutions will take a whole community approach Adrian Giacca is probably best known around Revelstoke as the guy working on the micro-home project. For him, gentrification is something that happens when the needs and desires of existing residents aren’t taken into consideration. Solutions to gentrification, said Giacca, need to use holistic approaches that include everyone at the exact same time. He also points out awareness is key to understanding both the problem and the solution. Rather than create an us-versus-them mentality when it comes to development, there is a need to create a framework so that developers understand the needs and vision of the community as a whole. “Gentrification tends to highlight a specific minority and drive them out. It’s a cycle that snowballs on top of itself,” he said. “We are the problem and we are the solution; it’s the same thing.” If we’re talking about finding solutions from a holistic standpoint, then it’s only fair that we consider the views of those who are often on the receiving end of blame. Rev. David Cooke says in speaking to people who own property, he has heard various reasons for their
decision to transition their property to a short-term rather than long-term rental, the biggest of those reasons being that a vacation rental is often more economically viable. It becomes difficult to blame homeowners charging huge amounts for a rental suite when the price of a mortgage excludes many from traditional ownership. In 2019, the average price for a single-family home rose to $567,000 and residential property assessments increased by 10 per cent. “You hear these reasons and it’s always sort of the people who we might blame for the problem, and they also recognize there’s a problem, but they also feel trapped,” said Cooke. “So to a certain degree I empathize with them, but as I look to solutions this isn’t just a problem with Revelstoke. This is a problem with western society in general. We value economic costs over human costs […] When people get renovicted, when they lose and it’s a question of where do those people go? Economically it doesn’t matter, but humanly it does.” The bigger question, said Cooke, is how do we get ourselves to stop caring so much about the economics of the situation and start looking at the human cost.
Have the courage to truly listen when the most marginalized populations speak up In June 2019, some of Revelstoke’s most marginalized populations had a chance for their voices to be heard. Collective Impact Revelstoke hosted an event that saw broad cross-sections of the community come together in an effort to begin collaborating on ways to reduce issues around affordability. The result of the initial Collective Impact event was the creation of a number of action teams, including a shelter action team. Giacca, who is co-chair of the shelter action team, said people looking to find solutions to gentrification should look to actively participate in community. Currently, the Collective Impact group is taking time to understand what the problems actually are before getting into solutions. Giacca admits that while it’s painstaking at times, it’s inspiring to see different members of the community truly listening to each other, rather than making decisions that don’t take everyone into account. “That’s really unique and inspiring to Revelstoke. That’s a hopeful note,” he said. Revelstoke’s new found approach to understanding its affordability issues by engaging all members of the community came too late for some, however. John Todds and his partner Angelina Desgagnes made their way west from Ontario in 2005 after Todds’ brother, Greg, a prosnowboarder and an early pioneer of the Noboard, was killed in an avalanche in Trout Lake. Wanting a better understanding of the life his brother had carved out for himself, Todds immersed himself in the Revelstoke culture, joining search and rescue, working for heliski companies, spending considerable amounts of time in the backcountry and volunteering as a coach for the Revelstoke DeRailers roller derby team. Being in the backcountry, said Todds, was terrifying because he was always aware of what had brought him there in the first place. “If you’ve spent time in the backcountry or lost friends in the
Illustration: Sonia García/ Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine
ADDRESSING REVELSTOKEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S LIVABILITY CRISIS
“Solutions abound when it comes to solving gentrification. The problem is that, no matter which solutions we choose, someone is going to feel as though they’re taking the brunt of the burden.”
“the current lack of available housing has led to renters paying nearly all of their net wages to keep a roof over their heads.”
backcountry, it’s really something else. It’s hard to put into words,” said Todds. While working jobs that allowed him access to the backcountry helped Todds process the death of his brother, he discovered carpentry jobs paid a lot better. So that’s what he ended up doing, and along with it provided employment for others in the community. He and Angelina eventually settled into a mobile home in Arrow Heights where they lived until 2019. In 2018 the owner of Crescent Heights Mobile Home Park issued eviction notices to all mobile home owners in the park, stating he planned to close the park and convert it back to bare land. A number of the park’s tenant, including Todds, disputed the end of their tenancy agreements, even going so far as taking the case to an arbitrator through the BC Residential Tenancy Branch. Those efforts were unsuccessful. Unable to find another place to live within their budget, Todds and his partner found themselves heading back to Ontario. When I speak with Todds on the phone for this story I can hear him softly crying as we speak about the impact of losing his home, and the community he had come to love so much. “That’s something that’s really been on my mind lately, the impacts of what we went through with the landlord and the Residential Tenancy Act. We’re told everyone’s equal. Everybody is not fucking equal. It’s really harsh to find out just how unequal we are,” said Todds. “Not only did we get pushed out of Revelstoke, we got completely decimated with no means of fighting back.” With nothing more to be done for themselves, in early 2019 the evicted tenants of Crescent Heights asked the City of Revelstoke to consider adopting policies and bylaws that could address redevelopment of mobile home parks at the municipal level. Todds appeared at a Revelstoke city council meeting on behalf of the evicted mobile home residents, providing council with a number of potential solutions already being used by other B.C. municipalities. I ask Todds which of the already-in-use solutions he thought Revelstoke could have made. “All of them,” he said. “With the delegation I was trying to focus on solutions. The takeaway is they’re not really looking for solutions. There’s something else driving and it’s not the common man. The people we elected all promised to tackle this and they’re not. Developers shouldn’t be able to swoop into town and devastate whole families. I didn’t find the cost of living in Revelstoke to be horrible […] it didn’t become unreasonable until we had to look at starting over with nothing.”
The solutions already exist, we just need to have the courage to do something Solutions abound when it comes to solving gentrification. The problem is that, no matter which solutions we choose, someone is going to feel as though they’re taking the brunt of the
burden. Perhaps the solution to that is to look at the bigger picture and consider the benefits to the community as a whole. Giacca’s micro-home initiative is one possible solution for Revelstoke. Through the initiative, Giacca says he’s looking at creating affordable home ownership. While he admits this is an altruistic vision and doesn’t have complete answers on what this will look like, the intention is when someone purchases one of the micro-homes they view it as a lifestyle improvement, rather than an investment. The money invested would rise with interested inflation and grow at a reasonable pace that would allow the micro-homes to remain affordable for the next 10 to 15 years. Doing this would mean micro-home owners wouldn’t see significant jumps in their annual property assessments, which often correlate to an increase in the amount of city taxes paid. “It pushes people out when they can no longer afford the taxes connected to their home. Seniors have nowhere to downsize. They’re cashing out and making money on their property, but they have nowhere to move into so they have to leave,” said Giacca. Increasing development overall is also a way to solve gentrification. Cooke said while he personally thinks there is a need for more highdensity development, but he’s also aware there is often a lot of backlash to that approach. “People think [higher density development] will lower property values or impact the perception of the town, but I would also say what’s needed, what we need to be talking about, are communal solutions like housing co-ops,” he said. Implementing a housing authority with an inventory of rent restricted housing intended for long-term residents, similar to the already existing one in Whistler, could also help combat gentrification. And for those of you asking, affordable housing is unlikely to impact the resale value of your home. A 2017 blog post on the University of North Carolina’s School of Government site noted that a study done by online residential real-estate site Trulia conducted a study of properties near a low-income housing project and found that there was no significant effect on nearby home values over a 10-year period. As for the cost of rent, no one is asking or expecting landlords to be altruistic. It does seem fair, however to ask landlords to look at considering the financial impact increasing rent may have on long-term tenants. This year the rent increase set out by the Residential Tenancy Branch is capped at 2.6 per cent, but that only applies to existing rental agreements. There’s nothing to stop landlords from raising the price of rent in between tenants. It’s a small ask, but perhaps landlords could keep the rent they charge consistent, rather than increasing it because the current lack of available housing has led to renters paying nearly all of their net wages to keep a roof over their heads. Developers too, should consider ways they can help alleviate housing affordability with outside-the-box approaches that don’t rely heavily on approvals from the city. At the end of the day, there is a need to focus on pro-active grassroots solutions. It’s up to us, as individuals to keep advocating for actual changes that will address the rising costs of living in our community without pushing out poor people.
ENVIRONMENT A helicopter above the Columbia River at Revelstoke during the 2017 summer wildfire season. Photo: Aaron Orlando/RMM
ECOLOGICAL CRISES DESERVE BETTER MEDIA COVERAGE IT’S SAID THAT NERO FIDDLED WHILE ROME BURNED. WHAT ARE WE DOING WHILE THE PLANET IS BURNING? SO BLINDED BY OUR SUCCESS AS A SPECIES, WE’RE PREOCCUPIED BY OUR OWN AMUSEMENT, COMFORT, HYPER-CONSUMPTION, BUSINESSES AND POLITICS. By David Suzuki.
I was 14 when North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. As an adolescent, I was more preoccupied with puberty-related personal issues than politics. But when Canada sent military personnel as part of a UN effort, I religiously followed the battle lines. Every day the local paper’s front page reported how troops were doing, with a map showing enemy and allied movements. Now we face an even greater challenge, but it’s not always reflected in headlines. In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a terrifying report on humanity’s impact on the chemistry of the atmosphere — the source of air, weather, climate and seasons. Our emissions have increased average global temperatures by at least 1 C since pre-industrial times, causing ice sheets and glaciers to melt, and wildfires, hurricanes, floods and droughts to become more widespread and intense. At the 2015 Paris climate conference, all nations committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so temperatures wouldn’t rise by more than 2 C by 2100. The IPCC report concluded a rise above 1.5 C will cause climate chaos. We’re on a trajectory to reach 3 C or more! The report gave a glimmer of hope that we could escape catastrophic climatic consequences by reducing emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and completely by 2050. The IPCC study didn’t garner the same kinds of headlines or urgent stories as the Korean War. Soon after its release, Canada legalized cannabis, which pushed everything else to the media sidelines. The IPCC target of cutting emissions in half within a decade and completely in three decades is a narrow window, with enormous ecological, economic and political repercussions, yet the urgent call to action was a one-day, lowkey media event. Last May, the UN released a major global biodiversity study showing humanity has caused species loss comparable to megaextinctions in which up to 90 per cent of plants and animals disappeared. It’s not just whales, tigers and penguins that are endangered; insects, the most abundant, diverse and important animals, have been devastated by decades of poisons pumped into air, water and soil.
Now, up to a million plant and animal species are in imminent danger of vanishing! As Earth’s top predator, we depend on nature’s productivity and services — exchanging carbon dioxide with oxygen, filtering water in the hydrologic cycle, creating soil, capturing sunlight, renewing protoplasm, etc. Climate change and large-scale extinction are intimately related consequences of human activity with enormous repercussions for us, yet when Prince Harry and Meghan had a baby in May, media coverage of species extinction disappeared. Our great evolutionary advantage — intelligence — has served us well. But we’ve become such a powerful presence that our collective impact is driving changes in the physical, chemical and biological properties of the planet on a geological scale — leading some to call this the Anthropocene epoch. Confronting climate and extinction challenges with the urgency they deserve must dominate our thoughts and priorities. Every day, media report on Dow Jones averages, the S&P index, the value of the loonie, the price of a barrel of oil, the current status of companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, Exxon and Toyota, and celebrity and sports news. But what about the real things that matter to us? How many tonnes of pesticides were spread around the globe or plastic into the ocean? How many species have vanished? How many plastic microbeads, hormone mimics and carcinogens have we consumed? How many hectares of land have become desert? How much carbon dioxide have we added to the air? How many tonnes must be reduced to keep temperature from rising above 1.5 C? So many numbers are of far greater importance for our species’ future than stock market values, yet media often ignore them. We’ve frittered away two of the 12 years we have to halve our greenhouse gas emissions. Where is the daily discussion about concrete ways to reduce them? What about job opportunities acting on ecological crises will create? It’s said that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. What are we doing while the planet is burning? So blinded by our success as a species, we’re preoccupied by our own amusement, comfort, hyper-consumption, businesses and politics. We proceed down this path at our peril.
REVELSTOKE CITY BUDGET BACKGROUNDER AND COUNCIL UPDATE Revelstoke city council is scheduled to unveil its draft budget plan in February. Here’s a look ahead at the upcoming public phase of the budget process.
Budget process Council has held a series of budget meetings at the committee level since late 2019, but the various documents presented in those sessions have not yet been compiled into a final proposed budget. As usual, the city’s infrastructure deficit is the real underlying story, with many pressing fixes and repairs racking up the bills. One informal engineering department estimate from a couple years back put the dollar value of existing city infrastructure at $800–$900 million dollars, and it always seems like it's all falling apart at once. The draft budget will be revealed in February, and more deliberations will follow, leading to proposed budget that will go out to community for comment. The Mountaineer has been keeping an eye on the budget meetings and will update once the budget proposal is published and numbers are available. Be sure to check online at revelstokemountaineer.com. However, there are several major issues for discussion during this cycle.
Forum roof repairs An issue that has long-term financial implications for all taxpayers is a plan to start roof repairs on the Revelstoke Forum at a cost of $2.75 million. Staff has called for immediate repairs, and the city has not yet heard back about a $12.3-million grant city staff applied for in early 2019. Will the repairs go ahead? Will the city commit to renovating the existing facility instead of building a new one? What are the financial implications for taxpayers? It’s a fluid situation that all depends on whether the city is successful with its grant application, but without it almost any path forward requires the city to take on significant debt, triggering the “alternative approval process” whereby residents can write in to oppose borrowing for a project, essentially forcing a referendum. The tax implications for the estimated $13.64-million project can easily run into several hundred dollars annually per household, setting up a ballot-box battle. The city’s parks and recreation department had planned on a public consultation process on long-term plans for the Forum, including exploring options such as a new facility, but due to a tight deadline on the 2019 grant application, that didn’t happen. Will it now?
In a response to our question, city parks director Laurie Donato said the city hadn’t heard back about the grant application, but hoped to very soon. It all hinges on the grant application, but will spending $2.75 million on a Forum roof commit the city to renovating the existing facility? What will the new debt be on the roof repair? Will the public have the opportunity to provide input on plans and options?
Mayor and council raise In November 2019, council discussed voting a significant raise to mayor and council salaries. The plan, tabled by Coun. Cody Younker, was to increase the mayor's pay from $30,600 to $70,000 per year and council salaries from $15,300 to $25,000 annually. The increases would be phased in over this council, and come into full effect for the next council. The issue came to a head at the Jan. 21 council meeting, when in a surprise move, Coun. Steven Cross resigned from council over the pay raise issue after his motion to divert the raise into an infrastructure fund was defeated. He cited ethical concerns with the raise, saying council should seek third-party review. He said that voting for a raise that would be phased in during the existing council's amounted to council "feathering its own nest." Currently, council’s raises are indexed to union staff wage increases, but the system requires staff to bring the increase forward during the budget process. The surprise resignation led to a public outcry over the council raise, and many provincial media outlets ran the story. Soon after, Coun. Cody Younker issued a statement backpedaling on the plan, which now appears done, although it may yet show up on the draft budget due to procedure rules.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort reassessment Another big issue is a hole in the city budget created by Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s successful classification appeal, which was revealed by the Mountaineer in June 2019. How will council deal with the new permanent revenue decrease? A key issue will be how it will affect the balance between commercial and residential taxation. The reassessment, which knocked about $550,000 annually out of the city budget, also resulted in the reclassification of condos from commercial to residential, shifting the balance between the two categories significantly. The division of tax burden between various assessment categories is essentially the final step in the budget
A NEW PLAN TO PATCH THE FORUM ROOF, A SIGNIFICANT COUNCIL PAY RAISE PROPOSAL, AND A LARGE BUDGET HOLE LEFT BY TAX REASSESSMENTS AT RMR ARE SOME OF THE BIGGER ISSUES. By Aaron Orlando.
“The draft budget will be revealed in February, and more deliberations will follow, leading to proposed budget that will go out to the community for comment.”
process. Without an adjustment in the ratio between commercial and residential rates, commercial taxation will increase significantly. About a decade ago, the Revelstoke Chamber led a tax revolt against what they felt was an unfair distribution between the two classes. It’s unclear how this key issue will play out, but the implications of a significant policy on taxation ratios will have many downstream effects on property taxation.
Long-term planning Early staff reports budgeted $392,000 for the city’s Official Community Plan update and $185,000 for the zoning bylaw update. Will the update to these two key documents survive the budget process at full funding? The city’s zoning bylaw dates from the early 1980s, is wildly behind the times, and is the root cause of most development-related controversies in the community, as larger developers are forced to use the comprehensive development zone process to advance large projects, and smaller builders revert to variances and workarounds to cobble together projects. The antiquated zoning bylaw, adopted when Dallas ruled TV screens, a four-car driveway was part of the Canadian dream, and climate change wasn’t yet a thing, also significantly restricts investment in denser housing forms and kills many initiatives before they see the light of day.
Reserve spending The reassessment, on top of the usual infrastructure deficit woes, will create a temptation for council to raid reserve funds to lessen the tax shock. However, having reserve funds allows the city to leverage provincial and federal funding opportunities when they arise. The budget document should shed light on the plan.
Revelstoke City Hall. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine
BY THE NUMBERS
Photos: Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Illustration: Sonia GarcĂa/ Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine
MEET YU SASAKI: THE REVELSTOKE-BASED ATHLETE THAT IS TAKING FREERIDE SKIING TO THE NEXT LEVEL. By Louise Stanway
You might know Yu as one of the 2020 Freeride World Tour (FWT) top competitors. Perhaps you recognize him as a member of the RMR pro team (Yu never misses a storm surely you saw that video of him launching into a monumental backflip off High Dive, Gracias Ridge?). Or maybe you’ve just seen him around town, since he moved here from Whistler three years ago. But what you might not know, is that aside from going “yu-ge” (as social media has coined it) in all aspects of his personal skiing career, Yu also plans to grow the freeriding sport – in, unsurprisingly, a big way. We caught up with Yu to discuss his personal goals, his assimilation into the Revelstoke community and his experience with ski culture in B.C. versus in Japan. ---Revelstoke Mountaineer: You’re active in the competition circuit right now. Were you competing back in Japan or have you picked up the pace since moving to B.C.? Yu Sasaki: I started taking skiing seriously at around 19 years
old. I’ve been living in B.C. for over eight years so most of my ski career has been in Canada. Since the Freeride World Tour (FWT) came to Japan, I’ve been making more frequent trips back there. The freeriding scene is just beginning to take off and I want to be on the front line. RM: What strikes you as the biggest difference between the ski profession in Japan vs. Canada? YS: There is a big difference between Canadian and Japanese ski culture. Snowsports in Canada is ingrained in the culture; people enjoy the snow here and accept it as part of their lives. That’s also the reason why Canada produces so many great riders and there is a big market for freeride competitions. The professional rider here builds a career for himself/herself through enjoying the powder and spending as much time out in mountains as possible. In Japan, it’s extremely difficult to become a professional skier because the interest (and therefore the market) is so much smaller – even though there’s so much snow! One reason is that demonstration “demo” skiing makes up a large percentage
of Japanese skiers, so the freeriding side of the sport is super niche and very few succeed as pro skiers. My mission is to change this and spread freeriding culture in Japan. RM: So, how do you plan to grow the freeride discipline in Japan? YS: Freeride culture is new. People still don’t know what it is, nor do they have access to information about it. I've been busy planning ideas, visiting schools and showing movies that give an insight into what freeride skiing really is. Many schools in Japan have ski classes where I can visit, talk, and ski with the kids. I’ve also just started a YouTube channel called “Freeride Adventure” which provides insight into my lifestyle, the FWT, tips on how to freeride etc. It’s still early days but I am confident I can use this platform to influence the direction of Japanese snow culture. RM: As well as being a sponsored athlete, you also own your own take-out food truck in Revelstoke: Far East Bistro. What has been your experience starting a business here? Have you been met with many hurdles?
YS: It’s hard to make a living just through skiing. I’ve owned and operated an Asian food truck business for the past seven years. I wanted to open my food truck in town because I felt there is nothing that compares in terms of convenience, taste and fair price. It was tricky obtaining a license from the city, but that’s been the only real challenge so far. RM: Juggling family time, skiing and your food truck business must be difficult. How do you find a balance and give equal love to each? YS: Yes, it is a struggle. My wife is understanding of my job and lifestyle, so that helps a lot. I work hard through the high seasons; I’m mostly travelling during the winter and then in the summer my time is consumed by running the business. But in shoulder seasons I spend every minute with my family – whether it’s camping, vacations abroad or just playing outside, I realize the importance of finding balance between work and play! RM: Does this mean Revelstoke is truly “home” for you
now? Are you feeling settled here or do you have plans to travel? YS: Revelstoke is certainly home! I represent Revelstoke as a freeride athlete and I don’t have any plans to leave unless my life undergoes any big changes. My wife and I also have a second baby on the way – due in the next few days! We love the strong sense of community here in Revy. It feels like the perfect place to raise our kids. RM: 2019 was a strong year for you; your online presence in the skiing world ramped up significantly. What does 2020 hold in store for you? Do you have your sights set on achieving a certain goal(s)? YS: 2019 has been spent preparing for 2020. My goal this year is to reach the grand final stage of the FWT in Verbier, Switzerland. Only the top thirteen skiers will make it (ranking is deduced by adding together athlete scores from all 4 FWT stops). This season will be the crucial moment in my skiing career.
Yu Sasaki heads into the Revy backcountry. Photo: Keiji Tajima
GET STOKED AF! A NEW TOUR COMPANY, STOKED ADVENTURE FACILITATORS, GETS ROLLING IN REVY. By Bryce Borlick.
If it weren’t so cliché, I’d say that I like to think small. I’ve always been fascinated by tiny houses and custom-built campers and how their ultraefficient use of space allows for so many posh amenities. So when I first met Dan Kennedy in a shop in the Big Eddy and saw his retired Greyhound bus being converted into a stylish and wellappointed RV, I was intrigued to say the least. And when he explained that he planned on running commercial tours with it, I knew he was thinking a bit bigger. Dan’s company, Stoked Adventure Facilitators, or Stoked AF for short, acquired the bus roughly a year ago and spent the first six months tearing it down and rebuilding all the mechanical systems to suit it’s new purpose. With the interior gutted, Dan then re-outfitted the space to comfortably accommodate six guests. Edith was born! With eight configurable seats up front, six bunks, a dining area, a three-piece kitchen and a toilet, she’s got all the basics covered. In addition, there are reading lights, an audio/video system, USB chargers, ample storage, and bedding to rival top hotels. Not to be overlooked, the robust heating and ventilation system keeps the space comfortable and fresh, and dries gear in the undercarriage. Forget glamping — Edith is fully equipped for some five star road-tripping. “I love driving her. She drives really nicely and handles well,” says Dan. “But driving through towns is another thing.” Stoked AF currently offers a half dozen tours that range from three to seven days, roughly following B.C.’s Powder Highway. However, custom packages are possible, with starting points in Kelowna or Revelstoke. A ski or bike trip with hot springs thrown in? Sure! A weekend wedding mixed with spas and wine tours? Absolutely. How about additional accommodation to give the visiting inlaws their own space? Edith can do that too. The real luxury of travelling like this isn’t in the nuts and bolts, it's in the experience. You can wake up virtually anywhere roads will take you — like right at the bottom of Whitewater’s venerable Summit Chair on a powder day. You also have a mobile home base that you can return to at any point in the day, for a barbecue lunch or even just to warm up. At the end of a big day, you don’t need to hit the highway tired and hungry to get to your next destination, you can lounge with friends and let your driver take care of the rest. And not once do you ever have to pack up and change hotels. “I was fortunate enough to have a lot of support with this,” points out Dan, acknowledging Earthwright Shelter Company, Alan Norrish, Work BC, and Community Futures as project backers. “If I were trying to do this all myself, I’d still be working at it.” www.stokedadventurefacilitators.com
Photo by John Doe, maybe you can put some text here with the picture.
Photos by Anthony Cassell. From top to bottom: Steven Klinger, Assurance Partner. Christina Chong, Tax Partner. Marie Connell, Accounting Technician.
SYNC ACCOUNTING IS KEEPING THINGS CLOSE TO HOME THESE NEW BUSINESS OWNERS ARE SHAKING THINGS UP WITH TECH, OPENING A NEW STOREFRONT DOWNTOWN AND SHOWING US WHY THEY RUN A BUSINESS YOU CAN COUNT ON. By Rebecca Field. Walk down Second Street in our beautiful mountain town and you won’t find many big chain stores. That’s thanks to the great effort of those who live here and think local when it comes to supporting businesses. That’s where Revelstoke business newcomers, Sync Accounting, find some of their strengths in how they help their clients and neighbours. Run by Steven Klinger, Assurance Partner and Christina Chong, Tax Partner along with one other staff, Marie Connell, the three person operation is opening a storefront this March just off of Orton at 113, Second St East, Unit A. Just up the street from the Craft Bierhaus and kitty-corner from Edward Jones. We sat down with them to find out how their accounting-style and unique technological solutions can help local businesses in Revelstoke. Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your business? Christina: Sure! We are CPA’s who provide personal and corporate tax services and we also do bookkeeping for some of our existing clients. We also offer assurance services such as audits and reviews. We’re looking to help new businesses in town, just like us, as well as existing, established businesses in the neighbourhood and beyond. Q: How does living local help you to help your clients? Steven: Because we’re local, we have a feel for the town, and we’re the ones calling the shots for our firm instead of hearing it from a higher-up four provinces away. We understand that it’s a small town and people do things the small-town way. Q: I understand that, along with being local, you guys are using technology to help your clients manage their business taxes as well. Can you tell me about that? Christina: We’re leveraging primarily cloud based technology to make everyone’s
life easier. It helps us keep things as paperless as possible and to be more efficient with our time and our clients’ time. We use Quickbooks Online for our accounting system and have optional apps that integrate with Quickbooks to help with expense tracking, invoicing and more. Our clients get real-time data on their business throughout the year instead of having to wait for their results at the year-end meeting. Q: How do your clients respond to these types of tech solutions? Steven: We understand that not everyone is used to using that kind of tech, which is why we’re here to ease people into Quickbooks Online and to recommend additional apps if that’s what they’re interested in. Those that do embrace the tech are like “this is amazing, how come no one told us about this earlier?” Q: How does this help with efficiency and cost savings in the end? Steven: Some of our clients are hesitant to go in the tech direction because it costs some money each month for the software, but if you compare the value of the time saved against the cost of the software, usually you save more in time than you spend in fees. Christina: In Revelstoke, tech is also helpful to the large number of remote workers that we have here. It’s perfect for individuals who are based in Revelstoke and travel a lot for work or pleasure. You don’t have to be located in Revelstoke 100 per cent of the time in order to work with us. Because a lot of the software we use is cloud based, you can access your information from anywhere. Steven: The goal is to be ahead of the game by the end of the day. Because we’re young professionals who’ve grown up leveraging tech, we’re familiar with it and open to experimenting with new software that’s available instead of just being the typical green visor, pencil pushing stereotype of an accountant. So when we open our office in March, drop by and chat with us!
Ariel Hill is an extensively trained and accomplished Indigenous artist hailing from the Six Nations and Wikwemikong First Nations. By her description, Hill works with hot glass to create unique works that reflect elements of the natural world. She says sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interested in the intersection between elements of the natural world and how it relates to human experience.
Tomi Supinen is bringing the style and expertise of Finland to woodworking here in Revelstoke. Specializing in custom-made, authentic Finnish saunas, Supinenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business TnT Saunahouse has handcrafted countless saunas across Europe and Canada. The saunas can be built to suit any space in an existing building or in a custom freestanding building.
Her pieces can be found in homes across B.C. and Alberta and in galleries in Nanaimo, Canmore, Ontario, Banff and our very own Art First! Gallery in Revelstoke.
Supinen also designs and crafts fine or rustic woodwork and furniture to suit customer needs. His creations are inspired by the Revelstoke landscape and made with materials sourced as locally as possible.
AS REVELSTOKE GROWS AND NEW BUILDS POP UP ON EVERY CORNER, HOMEOWNERS ARE SEARCHING FOR WAYS TO MAKE THEIR LIVING SPACES FEEL A LITTLE MORE LIKE THEIR OWN. MANY ARE TURNING TO THE MULTITUDE OF IMMENSELY TALENTED LOCAL CRAFTSPEOPLE AND ARTISANS TO FILL THEIR HOMES WITH CUSTOM WOOD FURNITURE, ARTWORK OR ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS. WE CHECKED IN WITH A FEW OF THESE TALENTED CRAFTSPEOPLE TO FIND OUT WHAT THEY HAVE TO OFFER. By Cara Smith
Callum McLeary’s work is incredibly diverse. From live edge slab furniture to contemporary or period home components such as mantles, staircases, and tables, McLeary can be found working away at many projects at once. He also specializes in historic recreations using traditional woodworking techniques.
Many in Revelstoke will recognize the distinct work of Kyle Thornley. Under the name Metal Mind Forge, Thornley specializes in contemporary fine architectural metalwork, sculpture, and unique home decor for home and business owners, contractors and designers throughout the interior.
McLeary’s background is in residential construction and remodelling, but he now focuses his business, Birch Lodge Woodworks, around creating one-of-a-kind, commissioned furnishings either for private residences or public installations, often using salvaged materials.
Leah Allison. Leah Allison has certainly made a name for herself as a highlyskilled glassblower in Revelstoke and beyond. A vibrant part of her community, Allison, specializes in functional glassware as well as sculpture. She is beginning to create larger, more high-end pieces for homes, starting with chandeliers made in partnership with metalworker Cajsa Fredin of Matsdotter Metals.
This chandelier was a collaboration between Allison and Fredin and was featured at Luna Fest. It now hangs in a Revelstoke home. Leah Allison operates Big Eddy Glassworks, a glass workshop and retail space in the Big Eddy.
John Townley. Specializing in cabinets and custom furniture for homes, John Townley’s projects come to him primarily by word of mouth. He’s also completed live-edge tables, shelving installations and desks for clients like the Craft Bierhaus, The Village Idiot, Parks Canada and more.
Townley is most fascinated by the imperfections in wood. When opening up a log, he’s always excited to discover grains and colour that will enhance a project, often keeping pieces around the shop in anticipation of their perfect use. He says he spends time mixing and matching imperfections in the wood to produce something with cohesion and beauty.
Robert Whitehead. With over 35 years of experience, Robert Whitehead’s talents as an artist really shine through in his high-end woodworking. His business, Whitehead Carvings, offers custom-designed relief carvings in doors, mantle pieces, posts and furniture, in addition to large-scale sculptures and chainsaw carvings. Whitehead Carvings designs are intricate, focusing on the beauty of BC’s wildlife and nature. While he’s based in Salmon Arm, he’s done a number of pieces for Revelstoke locals, including this carved door on a house off Airport Way.
One of the things that visitors notice when they come to Revelstoke is the vibrance and authenticity of our community. We constantly hear feedback that our visitors are impressed with how friendly, accommodating, and passionate Revelstoke locals are. To that end, it’s important to Tourism Revelstoke that we engage with our residents. We value your input, and there are a number of ways for you to have your say in tourism in our town. 1. Join the RTAC The RTAC is an advisory body to Revelstoke’s Destination Marketing Organization (Tourism Revelstoke). The RTAC is a diverse group of representatives from the local tourism industry, whose purpose is to make recommendations and provide feedback to the DMO on tourism initiatives, issues, development, and marketing. The goal of this committee is to broaden input from the tourism sector. The RTAC is currently looking for 3 additional members - one representing the arts sector, one representing a tourism stakeholder, and one from the public at large. If you are interested in a seat on this committee, or know someone who would be a great addition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a nomination form. Nominations close February 29, 2020. 2. Provide input on our Short List There are places we promote to visitors and places we don’t. We’ve developed a shortlist for the visitor centre and for our social media that outlines which places we will promote to visitors and tag on social media. Of course, visitors may discover some of our hidden gems on their own, but they’ll have to delve a little deeper than our social media feeds. Please take a look at our Short List and let us know if you have any concerns about the specific places that we’ll tag or promote. We’ve selected the locations based on their capacity, prominence, and accessibility. Check out our Short List at: http://bit.ly/TourismShortList. 3. Engage with us at Farmers Markets and Local Events If you have an opinion, an idea, or some constructive feedback for us, we’d love to hear it. To find out what we’re up to, follow us on social media, check out our website, come to the Visitor Information Centre, and read this column every month. Provide us with direct feedback at one of our pop ups - we’ll be at some Farmers Markets this summer, at various Tourism events, and of course, we’re always happy to chat. 4. Fill out our upcoming Tourism Engagement Survey Look for our Tourism Engagement Survey coming up later this year. We want to make it easy for you to let us know what you think, so we’ll be putting out an online survey. The economic impact of tourism is far reaching; it doesn’t just benefit our retailers, accommodators, and restaurants. Tourism dollars help to boost our tax base through the MRDT and fund infrastructure projects through the Resort Municipality Initiative. Let us know what you think about tourism in our town!
WANT FREE SWAG? BRING THIS ARTICLE TO THE VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE AND WE’LL HOOK YOU UP! To read previous Tourism Talks columns, check out https://seerevelstoke.com/tourism-talks/
COUNTING CALORIES DOESN’T ADD UP WHEN IT COMES TO REACHING YOUR HEALTH GOALS, IT TURNS OUT QUALITY MATTERS MORE THAN QUANTITY. By Shannon MacLean, RHN, CHNC, BA-IR
Calories, the first listing on nutrition labels, are defined as the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1°C . We’ve all heard the maxim: burn more calories than you consume if you want to lose weight. Certainly, calories burned in a lab (a closed system without variables) are consistent in the heat they release. Yet your body is not a closed system, nor an empty woodstove. Your body is a complex biochemical, hormonal interplay controlled primarily by what you eat. The quality of food you eat matters more than the quantity. And thankfully, it’s a lot easier to control. Science shows that food is much more than another log on the fire - it’s information that regulates almost every function of our body, including immune function, gut flora, brain chemistry, muscle mass, hormonal regulation, metabolism, and gene expression. Food is no less than the cipher that programs your biology.
the liver, while glucose can be metabolized by every cell in the body; this makes fructose more likely to be stored as fat. Certain macronutrients also contribute more to building muscle and, in turn, increase resting metabolism.
Insulin the influencer It’s hormones that tell our bodies what to do, not calories. Insulin is the main hormonal driver of weight gain. The foods we eat determine our sensitivity to insulin, and foods that don’t trigger insulin are more favourable for fat loss. Drastically fluctuating insulin levels contribute to anxiety, mood swings, and further hormone imbalance.
The Cortisol Cushion
A survival mechanism, cortisol spikes when insulin crashes, in order to keep us alert. Another survival mechanism? Depositing fat around the abdomen when we’re stressed, because winter is coming and our body wants to help us make it through. Balancing blood sugar, sleeping well, and managing stress, therefore, are much worthier goals than calorie counting when it comes to weight loss and disease prevention.
In order to metabolize what we eat, the body requires vitamin and minerals. When we consume foods that are void of nutrients, we end up at a nutrient deficit. This negatively affects all aspects of health.
Can’t get no satiation
To live and diet
Low-calorie, processed foods are not going to trigger satiety nor burn calories the way a highcalorie food containing healthy fat and protein would. Fibre and water content found in whole foods are also integral to satiation, effective function of the digestive system, and even calories burned through digestion. This lack of satiation triggers food cravings, and can lead to intake of high-sugar foods, overeating, fat storage, and an unwanted ride on the blood sugar rollercoaster.
Counting calories takes time and effort that could be spent getting to the bottom of your health concerns, discovering what foods work for your unique body, preparing delicious meals, and enjoying life. Rather than focusing on something you’re depriving yourself of (calories), focus on how you can nourish yourself, with nutrient-dense, antiinflammatory food that makes you feel good. When we focus on counting numbers outside of ourselves, we outsource our own intelligence. You’re the expert on your body; connect and listen. Notice how what you eat makes you feel, and adjust accordingly. Take a trip to the farmers market and stock up on a wide variety of local, organic, seasonal whole foods. Don’t delay loving and accepting yourself where you’re at. These radical acts can shift eating from a place of punishment and confusion to one of celebration, healing, and progress.
The metabolic maze Foods are metabolized through different pathways. Some pathways initiate fat storage, while others are more likely to initiate fat burning. The carbohydrate fructose, for example, can only be metabolized by Food isn’t just calories, its information.
Shannon MacLean, of Spruce Tip Holistic Nutrition, is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with a BA in International Relations. She is passionate about empowered , root-cause healthcare, wild foraging, recipe creation, and all things health and wellness. She is currently offering one-on-one wellness consulting as well as menu plans. Visit her website www.sprucetipholistic.com for online booking, send her a message at email@example.com, and follow her on instagram @sprucetipnutrition.
ARTS FEATURE Photo credit: Lyndsay Esson Piggie: Sydney Day · Duloc Dancers: Gabrielle Castio-Zimonyl, Nicola Thompson, Stacey Sanchez · Donkey: Iannick Cyr Michaud
SHREK THE MUSICAL BRINGS BROADWAY BACK TO REVELSTOKE Over a decade since the last full-length largerscale musical production, Revelstoke is again getting a taste of Broadway. This month, Flying Arrow Productions is bringing Shrek The Musical to the Performing Arts Centre. The musical productions that were once so beloved by the Revelstoke community haven’t been feasible since the Revelstoke Theatre Company produced Chicago 11 years ago. Struggles to find enough volunteers and a space that could accommodate it has made putting on a production like Mary Poppins or Mamma Mia a near impossibility until now. The Flying Arrow production of Shrek has been in the works for quite some time and the company’s artistic director Anita Hallewas has had to come up
with some creative ways to address the shortage of volunteers and theatre professionals. As is often the case for any sort of volunteer-run enterprise, a small number of volunteers do the bulk of the work. Hallewas says this production was no exception. But the greater issue for the production was the question of who would take on the stage manager role. As far as they knew, there was no one in Revelstoke willing or able to do so. To solve this, Hallewas started from the ground up. She had a professional come in from out of town to host a stage management training course. One of the course attendees, Brendan MacIntosh, then took on the position.
Hallewas says she joked to MacIntosh that Shrek is likely to be the biggest show he will ever manage, but she’s likely not far off. Not only is this production the first larger-scale musical in a decade, it’s also the most ambitious production ever attempted by the company. It’s their longest production to date and with 50 members, has the largest cast of any previous production. “We have such a strong creative team. We have several people working on vocals, several people working on choreography,” she says. “We have such a strong team of local performing artists working with our cast and mentoring them all. We just keep pushing that level.” “Through projects like this, we’re building up our
THE MUSICAL, BASED ON THE OSCAR-WINNING DREAMWORKS ANIMATED FILM, HAD A RUN ON BROADWAY AND TOURED AROUND THE US, UK AND IRELAND. NOW, A LOCAL THEATRE COMPANY IS REVIVING IT FOR REVELSTOKE. By Cara Smith. membership and our support network.” Because of the fantastical nature of Shrek, the costumes were also a huge undertaking. Costumes for characters like Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and the three little pigs had to be made by hand. “The costumes aren't regular human costumes. We have 91 costumes in the show and they're all being made from scratch because it's not like you can go and buy a suit in the thrift store,” she says. Hallewas says the decision to put on Shrek, in particular, was one made by the community last January during the best-attended meeting in the theatre company’s history. The company’s mandate to support children, youth and seniors also played into the decision-making process.
“[It] totally surprised me because the room was full of a lot of older people and I felt sure they’d go with something more traditional,” she says. “But [they] wanted Shrek the most.” Shrek was seen as fresh and fun and not overdone so the choice was settled and the work began to put the production together. The sheer scale and quality of the musical is likely to be beyond any production put on here since Chicago. Hallewas describes the musical as light, especially compared to the theatre company’s previous productions, but says it still contains a positive message by having a strong and independent female lead character and plot-lines that celebrate being unique.
“I think what will come across is that it’s fun and entertaining and heartwarming too,” she says. “Audiences are going to be seeing a high-quality musical that makes them laugh. I think people will be impressed by the quality… The skill of the cast is mind-blowing. The calibre of the actors and the singers is just amazing.” The musical runs at 7 p.m. on February 7, 8, 13, 14, and 15 with 2:30 p.m. matinées on the 8th and 15th and a gala the evening of the 8th. Tickets are available at ArtFirst! Gallery, the Revelstoke Family Pharmacy and online at flyingarrowproductions.ca.
U.S.E.D. creator Trevor Kehler in his Revelstoke studio where he creates repurposed bags and accessories and sells them worldwide. Photos: Cara Smith/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.
Before Greta Thunberg started Friday climate strikes, before carbon taxes were a conversation in Canada and before plastic straws were being widely banned, Trevor Kehler was thinking about how to divert waste from landfills. When Kehler first began his business of salvaging and making goods with seatbelts from cars at the end of their lives, the concept of recycling and reusing wasn’t at the forefront of social consciousness at quite the same level as it is today. But doing meaningful work that somehow contributed to reducing waste was important for Kehler. After much soul searching and a few less promising ideas, Kehler came up with the concept that he’s continued to build on since 2004, when he founded U.S.E.D. (Unlimited Supplies from Everyone’s Discards). Kehler now has a handy setup on his property in the Southside of Revelstoke. Near his house, he’s built a workshop made completely of discarded and recycled closed-cell foam and tin he got from a former neighbour. Reusing materials from junked cars just made sense for Kehler. He discovered that many of the seatbelts were in great shape and built on his idea from there, learning to sew and developing a manufacturing process. Kehler was so committed to the idea and learning as much as
he could about the recycling process for cars that he worked in a Calgary junkyard for a summer dismantling cars. His process for making U.S.E.D. bags is relatively straightforward, but took years to hone. Being made from such rugged and durable material as seatbelts, U.S.E.D. bags last a long time. Kehler tells the story of a woman who needed one replaced and tracked him down last year. After a decade of carrying the bag in front of her, she wore a hole through the bag from it rubbing on her belt buckle. Durability is an important part of this mission to divert waste from landfills. U.S.E.D. began in Revelstoke but Kehler temporarily took the business to Manitoba so his mother and a group of women they hired could help out with the manufacturing. Now, Kehler is back to his roots in Revelstoke and hoping to grow the business even more this year by focusing on social media marketing and once again becoming an active part of the community. Kehler has certainly fostered brand recognition over the years and is often in search of new markets. Through his website, he sells his product not only across Canada but in Asia and Europe as well. He has a significant following in Switzerland and Germany specifically and a number of businesses emulating Kehler’s concept have
U.S.E.D CREATOR TREVOR KEHLER MAKES DIVERTING WASTE A BUSINESS AND A LIFESTYLE SIXTEEN YEARS INTO HIS BUSINESS, TREVOR KEHLER REMAINS JUST AS PASSIONATE ABOUT DIVERTING WASTE FROM LANDFILLS WHILE ADAPTING TO THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. Words and photos by Cara Smith
popped up across Canada. Kehler talks about not only his triumphs but his struggles to keep the business successful. As many entrepreneurs and craftspeople could predict, the road hasn’t been a simple one for him. He’s faced countless hurdles along the way, from sourcing enough raw materials to creating fresh designs. Kehler now finds that the most challenging aspect of the business is keeping himself motivated to continue as the face of the business and putting the necessary effort into social media marketing. “My biggest problem is consistent effort. I know that every time I put in a little bit of effort, it pays for itself,” he says. “Any picture that I post or any new design or anybody that I talk to, I sell something. My biggest challenge is coming out of my shell, not being a recluse, talking to people, getting back out in public.” “[Over] the last few years, I was kind of burnt out. I’ve been doing it a long time and I wasn’t making much headway. This year, I’m more inspired. I’m excited about it and it’s showing.” Times have changed since Kehler first started the business 16 years ago. Having a social media presence and being able to market yourself well online is only becoming
more important in the digital age. As a mostly one-man operation, the business depends not only on him making the product, but selling the product. It’s certainly a more rare occasion to speak with an entrepreneur and artisan like Kehler who has been able to keep his business going for this long. His dedication to the concept of U.S.E.D. and the values behind it is easy to admire. And for Kehler, the concept is more than just a business, it’s a lifestyle. Kehler is committed to reusing in nearly every aspect of his life and process in the business. Even the machinery he uses to create the bags has had previous lives, including an embroidery machine that’s programmed using floppy discs. There’s no doubt that he’s dedicated to the idea that we need to be more environmentally conscious and significantly cut back on what we’re throwing into junkyards and landfills. “I always figured I could do better than chaining myself to a tree,” he says. “[I felt] angry about the way things worked. The way our system works, it looks like it can’t get better unless it hits rock bottom” [I] didn’t know what to do with myself, so [U.S.E.D] kind of came naturally from disgust and idealism. If I’m going to be part of the system, I’ve got to feel good about it.”
ARTS & CULTURE
By Cara Smith
Revelstoke's DJ Spanda, AKA Allie Bruni. Photo: contributed
The Alchemy Studio is based in a converted building supply centre in Lower Town. Photo: contributed
The Alchemy Studio Revelstoke
Allie Bruni, also known as DJ Spanda, discovered her love for spinning during a tumultuous time of her life. Faced with the possibility of losing her sight on two separate occasions, the multi-talented disc jockey and yoga instructor found that as her eyesight weakened, her already keen sense of hearing became even stronger. A well-documented scientific phenomenon, the brain can compensate for a lost sense by rewiring itself. In some cases, the visual cortex can receive information from other senses. Bruni took this opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade, as she says. She picked up some DJ gear and focused on learning the skill by sound alone. In a way, the brain rewiring that Bruni used to start developing her skills as a DJ mirrors the rewiring she aims to trigger in her yoga students and in audiences at her sets. Her main goal in both settings is to serve as a guide as they experience transformation. “When you're in a room with other people and they're all inhaling together and exhaling together and moving together, that creates stimulation, it creates confidence, new neural pathways,” she says. While some may find the combination of DJing and yoga instruction to be a strange one, Bruni says this format is growing in popularity and was a natural choice for her. “To me, it's one and the same. It's taking people on a journey. Spanda means vibration and pulse. It's a Sanskrit word and that's where it came from so it definitely relates to yoga and it relates to music.” Bruni has become a familiar face in the local music scene and in local yoga studios over the past couple of years, but her work goes beyond her home here in BC. She’s started playing sets outside Canada and has been invited to teach at a number of yoga conferences and festivals internationally this year. She also has a weekly radio show airing out of Toronto called House Nation Radio, with listeners across Europe and North America. Bruni continues to spread the popularity of yoga classes with live DJing here in Revelstoke and in addition to her regular classes at The Alchemy Studio, also hosts a monthly “Dance Church,” an opportunity for dance lovers to let loose in a safe space.
If you’ve been in Revelstoke for some time, you have walked past the historic S. Needham & Sons building on the corner of Douglas and King Streets. Built in 1897, it originally served as a building supply centre. It now serves as a centre of wellness: The Alchemy Studio. Locals may be more familiar with the studio’s former name, Revelution. But after running the studio, which offers yoga, pilates and a variety of other types of fitness classes, under the Revelution name for three years, owner Rebecca Marchildon felt it was time for a change. Marchildon bought the historic building and got to work renovating the space into the perfect haven for yogis and fitness enthusiasts. She now has room to not only expand her programming but rent out space to like-minded wellness practitioners. Alchemy now shares space with a physiotherapist and massage therapist. The studio room itself was the most significant aspect of the renovation process for Marchildon and her team. They wanted to create something customized to the needs of their membership while maintaining the aesthetically appealing elements of a historic building. The result is a large, but still warm, open space with in-floor heating, high ceilings, and huge windows letting in tons of natural light. While her core vision and mission for the studio have remained largely unchanged, Marchildon has shifted gears in the type of clientele she’s looking to reach. Compared to Revelution, Alchemy is less directed specifically towards women and aims to include all genders and a broader group of people. “We want to be a fun place to come and move your body and not [have] it be about trying to lose weight. It’s more about moving your body joyfully,” she says. “We wanted to have a variety of things that are good for your mind, body and soul.” With the new space, they’ve also been able to open a cafe and simply have more room for visitors to relax before and after classes. Marchildon dreams of continuing to expand their variety of fitness classes and maybe one day making additions to the building itself.
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Mountain helicopter rescue pilot Jim Davies. Photo: handout
Vertical Reference: The Life of Legendary Mountain Helicopter Rescue Pilot Jim Davies by Kathy Calvert We’re no strangers to heli-skiing in this part of the world. To say that Jim Davies, one of the pioneer pilots of the industry, isn’t either would be a massive understatement. In fact, fans of the activity have Davies to thank for many of the piloting techniques still used today. Born and raised in Banff, Davies grew up skiing on Mount Norquay but found his true passion as a fixed-wing and helicopter pilot. He learned to fly in 1959 and spent years developing his skills in the Rockies and flying for legendary Austrian-born mountaineer and filmmaker Hans Gmoser. In the sixties, Gmoser founded the first commercial heliski operation and Davies was by his side. Davies went on to pilot for the Canadian National Parks system, becoming the very first mountain rescue pilot to do so. Over his career as a rescue pilot, Davies became well-known for his groundbreaking work and received several awards, including the Helicopter Association International - Pilot Safety Award of Excellence, the Alberta Achievement Award for excellence in helicopter flying, the Summit of Excellence Awards at the Banff Film and Book Festival and the Robert E. Trimble Memorial Award. Vertical Reference: The Life of Legendary Mountain Helicopter Rescue Pilot Jim Davies by Kathy Calvert is an exciting look at Davies’s life and adventures in the mountains. A mountain pioneer herself, the author was one of the first female national park wardens in Canada, a member of the first all-women expedition to Mount Logan and the first all-women ski traverse of the Columbia Mountains from the Bugaboos to Rogers Pass. Vertical Reference should be a fascinating read for those passionate about heliskiing or simply interested in learning more about a living legend of the Canadian Rockies. The book is published by Rocky Mountain Books and is set to be on shelves in May.
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THE STOKED PALATE Katie Mitzel making dinner for a crowd at Skoki Lodge. Photo: Noel Rogers.
HUNGRY FOR MORE THAN JUST POWDER LIFE AS A BACKCOUNTRY LODGE CHEF AND THE UNEXPECTED GOURMET CREATIONS THEY’RE SERVING UP By Charlotte Sit
Picture yourself heading back to a cozy alpine cabin at the end of long day of backcountry skiing in a remote mountain range where the only way in and out is by helicopter. Opening the door of the cabin, you are greeted by a crackling woodstove, a cold beer, and the mouth-watering aromas of dinner that the lodge chef is in the midst of preparing. But first, there are the appetizers - a steaming bowl of homemade soup accompanied by a cheese and charcuterie board, a Mediterranean mezze platter, or perhaps a fully loaded tray of nachos. A couple of hours later and it’s time for the main show - golden roasted crispy-skinned chicken breast with a sundried tomato and preserved lemon pan jus, tomato and saffron rice pilaf, Parmesan crusted broccoli and a fresh green salad on the side. But before you load up your plate, be sure to save room for dessert, which could be anything from a toasted hazelnut brownie, to a strawberry rhubarb crisp, or even an Earl Grey crème brûlée. The culinary experience at backcountry lodges nowadays has come a long way from the one pot wonder cuisine of days past. At the Blanket Glacier Chalet, lodge chef and culinary school graduate Heidi Schaffer, whose parents operated the chalet throughout her childhood, describes modern
backcountry lodge cuisine as “surprise luxury." According to Schaffer, food is no longer simply about sustenance but is instead a “huge part of the [lodge] experience”. Katie Mitzel, celebrated chef and author of the bestselling Skoki Cookbook, who has over 20 years of experience as a backcountry chef, agrees that “a plate of meat and potatoes won’t cut it, especially if [guests] are ... on what could be a once in a lifetime adventure." While cooking at backcountry lodges allows access to spectacular places, the kitchens aren’t always the most straightforward work environments. Chefs are often at the mercy of weather conditions for groceries that are delivered via helicopter. Mitzel describes how “the backcountry doesn’t allow for a do-over so you need to be confident and familiar with your ingredients and able to roll with the weather because there are times when what you planned for [doesn’t work out]." Indoor plumbing is a luxury, with many lodges requiring water to be hauled by hand from a nearby creek or lake, electricity is nearly nonexistent, and food storage can be a tricky setup. Add to that the constant threat of ravenous, wily pine martens just waiting for the chance to leap upon an unlocked cooler or open window.
Charlotte Sit is a backcountry chef with a boundless enthusiasm for sharing the joy of eating well. She has cooked for hundreds of hungry adventurers at over a dozen backcountry lodges throughout B.C. and Alberta and is the owner of Mountain Standard Catering.
Heidi Schaffer of Blanket Glacier Chalet with a big batch of cinnamon buns. Photo: Andrew Chad
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Life as a backcountry chef is full of long days, and knowing how to make the most of every minute is crucial. They are the first ones up in the morning, making sure the coffee is ready when the early birds are out of bed. Then it’s time to serve up breakfast which might include freshly baked muffins, scones, or even eggs Benedict. After breakfast it’s a round of dishes, then out the door to catch up with the group before they drop into their first run of the day. After several hours of ski touring it’s a frenzied jaunt back to the lodge to get that night’s appies, dinner, and dessert prepped in time for the group’s return. Dinner is a convivial affair where guests, guides, chefs, and other staff gather to enjoy their meal, share wine, and chat about the day. After dinner it’s dessert, followed by all hands on deck to do the dinner clean up. Finally after a non-stop day it’s time to hit the hay and repeat it all over again the next day. My own appetite for adventure and backcountry skiing led me to a career as a lodge chef. However, it is the deeply satisfying experience of connecting with others over food and providing guests with memorable meals that keeps me going back for more. As Mitzel puts it, “I wouldn’t want any other job."
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REVELSTOKE MOUNTAINEER ANNOUNCES NON-PROFIT JOURNALISM DRIVE IT'S TIME FOR THE COMMUNITY OF REVELSTOKE TO TAKE CONTROL OF ITS OWN NEWS MEDIA. By Aaron Orlando.
In late 2019, local journalists and community members gathered for a non-profit journalism workshop led by Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine Creative Director Aaron Orlando, pictured standing. Photo: Louise Stanway/ Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine
It's been five years since Revelstoke Mountaineer published its first story, bringing our independent local voice to the Revelstoke media scene. When I started out, I knew it would be an extreme financial challenge â&#x20AC;&#x201D; kind of like opening up a video rental store in 2010. We've done our best to be smart, lean and creative with our resources, and, despite my perfectionist streak, I am happy with our magazine and sister news publication revelstokemountaineer.com. We haven't published the perfect issue yet, but we're generally getting better with each one. Importantly to me, we've had modest success as a business. Journalists want to be self-sufficient, earning their keep without subsidies from the government, whom we are tasked to monitor. So far, we've done it. However, our business model isn't without challenges. All of our revenue is from advertising and a lot of that advertising comes from the tourism sector. Obviously, a private media outlet that derives most of its income from one market sector is a problematic situation. And there are other challenges. I have other full-time employment and contract work outside of the Mountaineer, and we have no staff, only contractors, all of whom work very part time for the Mountaineer. Simply put, it's not really sustainable over the long term. Over the past year, I have been working on several non-profit journalism initiatives. Late last year, I got most of the working journalists in town together for a workshop on non-profit journalism. It was a great session that generated lots of good ideas, and showed that there is a hunger to do better and create new, innovative work. The problem, as always, is how to fund it. From a business perspective, I feel the way forward is in the non-profit model. From the perspective of the community's need for timely, unbiased information, even more so. This isn't an unveiling, but the start of a longer conversation with the community about our information environment, part of several workshops, meetings, communications and other initiatives we'll be working on over the next six months.
Revelstoke Mountaineer non-profit journalism initiatives The Revelstoke Mountaineer will be reaching out to community stakeholders in the coming months, part of a drive to reimagine our business a nonprofit model that will allow us to expand and do more. Our plan is to generate subscription revenue, build partnerships with cornerstone community organizations, and generate a new, sustainable business model that puts journalistic excellence first. The focus will be on partnerships that build and organization that the community trusts, and that has the resources to be responsive to community demands. It will also put the community in control of the news mix. Our plan is to replace the top-down model with a bottom-up model, where subscribers decide the current information mix across our platforms. A second initiative is to create a new "community journalist" position, possibly inside, possibly outside of the Revelstoke Mountaineer organization (and perhaps under an entirely different new non-profit organization). If successful, I believe will be a first in Canada: a professional journalist not tied to a particular newspaper, radio station or website, whose sole job is to respond to the diverse needs of the community, creating and disseminating work through existing platforms and new formats. Our third initiative is to work directly with existing community organizations, especially underrepresented ones, to find ways to better partner on issues that are no longer receiving media attention due to the collapse in journalism business models, but should.
We'll need your help This announcement is the start of a process that will require a lot of community partnership to make it work. Nothing is set in stone; this is the start of a conversation, one that should happen soon, before local media organizations, already stripped to the bone, finally close. It's an opportunity to turn what has been a generally depressing situation into an opportunity to start new with fresh thinking, exciting initiatives and renewed enthusiasm â&#x20AC;&#x201D; something Revelstoke is known for. If you're interested in participating, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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