ABOUT ME

Every­thing we need to know in life I learned from self-pro­pelled moun­tain adven­tures.

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.

 

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…