ABOUT ME

I am a writer, public speaker, photographer and outdoor adventurer living in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I’ve published three books celebrating the people, places, and unique culture of western Canada’s mountain environment, all with Rocky Mountain Books.

Every­thing about my writ­ing and my life is shaped by the beau­ty, the won­ders, and the lessons I’ve learned from explor­ing the rugged wilder­ness and nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment, espe­cial­ly Banff and its neigh­bour­ing wild, pro­tect­ed areas of west­ern North Amer­i­ca.

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.

Pho­to: Isabel Bud­ke

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.

Pho­to: Amy Liu

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.

Pho­to: Pam Jenks

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…