I learned to ski up and over the next col when I was bone-weary tired, to keep hiking when my pack weighed like a load of bricks, to keep climbing when I was trembling scared, and most importantly, to stop once in a while and notice the tiniest wildflower or vole surviving in the highest windswept places. I learned every single thing in nature is connected and dependent on the next, including us humans.
I’ve also learned to laugh with my friends when our boots were so wet they squooshed audibly!
I grew up in Montreal where I studied creative writing at Concordia University while I pursued adventures in fashion and dance music. I first visited Banff, Alberta, in Canada’s Rocky Mountains, in the early 1980s and fell completely in love with the mountains and mountain life. There, I felt truly and deeply alive. I’ve lived in the Canadian Rockies ever since.
Mountain life, I recognized, has its own rhythms, its own unique culture. Our work, our recreation and our social lives are shaped by the seasons — exploring wild natural landscapes by skis in winter, and in summer by hiking, cycling and paddling lakes and rivers, by rock climbing up steep cliffs and mountaineering on giant glaciated peaks, and camping many, many kilometres from the nearest road, motors or wifi. I take my camera everywhere with me to try and capture the exquisite magic of the natural mountain world. After three decades exploring these valleys and peaks, glaciers and waterfalls and flower-filled meadows, I’m constantly blown away by that magic.
For 25 years I’ve written about the deep value of time spent in wilderness, learning from elite adventurers, world-class scientists and fellow creatives. Stories of Ice, coming in fall 2020, is my third book celebrating western Canada’s magnificent mountain landscapes and the accomplished, vibrant people who make their homes and lives amidst those peaks and forests and icefields and glorious turquoise lakes.
I’ve also written 10 biographical booklets detailing the lives of individuals who have made significant contributions to the history and culture of western Canada’s mountain community. And I’m published in a range of magazines and journals about mountain adventure, history, culture, science and people, including Explore, Gripped, Canadian Geographic, Canadian Rockies Annual, Crowfoot Media, Rocky Mountain Outlook, Whistler Pique Newsmagazine and others. For 13 years I edited the Alpine Club of Canada’s thrice-annual Gazette newsmagazine. In 2017 I participated in the acclaimed Banff Mountain and Wilderness Writing residency at the Banff Centre. In 2018 I participated in the Banff Centre’s Mountain Photography Residency.
I shared my first public presentation as guest speaker for the launch of my book Expedition to the Edge: Stories of Worldwide Adventure at the 2008 Banff Mountain Book Festival. Since then I’ve presented for audiences in theatres and halls across Canada. I truly enjoy the opportunity to engage with audiences by sharing what I’ve learned about the places, people and their exploits that make Canada’s mountain community so unique and valued and worth sharing.
When I’m not working at my keyboard, I’m outside skiing up and down valleys, over cols and across glaciers, rock climbing, sleeping in a tent deep in the backcountry and capturing photos of Canada’s precious mountain world. And I’m always working on the next great story…