CMC 17 - The Future Issue

Imagine 20 years in the future: flying cars, holographic communication, miracle drugs, and a healthy diet in pill form probably come to mind. For the most part, our idea of what’s coming over the horizon is remarkably similar to The Jetsons, a cartoon that premiered in 1962. Most innovations strive to make our lives more efficient. In Silicon Valley, brilliant minds work to create the next wonder apps: Apps that schedule time. Apps that record time. Apps that consume time. The ticking of the clock fascinates us.

For a species that claims to never have enough time, humans sure waste a lot of it. We accrue value by checking items off an ever-lengthening list. We feel more accomplished when our day is full. The many ways we organize — using apps like Asana, Slack, G Suite, Monday, and Trello — have become more burdensome than the actual tasks we tackle. We sit in meetings to discuss meetings. We scroll social media to stave off boredom, watching others showcase their greatest hits, propping up the long con that we can have it all. Time drifts, accelerates, and then violently spins away in a vortex of dreaming for moments that may never come.

What's the future really going to look like? Read this issue to find out.

CMC #17 Editor's Intro: Here's How To Take Back The Future

From the latest Coast Mountain Culture issue, which delves into all things futuristic, we present the editor's intro titled "Take Back The Future."

IMAGINE 20 YEARS in the future: flying cars, holographic communication, miracle drugs, and a healthy diet in pill form probably come to mind. For the most part, our idea of what’s coming over the horizon is remarkably similar to The Jetsons, a cartoon that premiered in 1962. Most innovations strive to make our lives more efficient. In Silicon Valley, brilliant minds work to create the next wonder apps: Apps that schedule time. Apps that record time. Apps that consume time. The ticking of the clock fascinates us.

For a species that claims to never have enough time, humans sure waste a lot of it. We accrue value by checking items off an ever-lengthening list. We feel more accomplished when our day is full. The many ways we organize — using apps like Asana, Slack, G Suite, Monday, and Trello — have become more burdensome than the actual tasks we tackle. We sit in meetings to discuss meetings. We scroll social media to stave off boredom, watching others showcase their greatest hits, propping up the long con that we can have it all. Time drifts, accelerates, and then violently spins away in a vortex of dreaming for moments that may never come. When the weekend arrives, we avoid being “lazy.” We cut grass and join clubs and wash cars and go to faraway music fests and wait in lines and visit the next big thing.

Delete those apps; you know the ones. Say no to that party invitation you’re on the fence about. Don’t wash your car, ever. Take a deep breath in all that extra space. Let the lawn grow long and wheelie by your neighbour’s judgemental face with glee.

My intuition tells me the future will be about people taking back their time and, in the process, freedom. Not just on social media or in the workplace, but in their homes. Working closer to where we live. Driving less. Sleeping more. Owning one modest vehicle, or no vehicle at all. Living in a smaller house. And in exchange for this sparser lifestyle, we will gain a reward of leisure mostly reserved for wealthy people. Without luxury items like iPads, watches, espresso machines, and foreign vacations, time becomes plentiful and space increases. Space in our lives for love and leisure and laziness. Mind space. Delete those apps; you know the ones. Say no to that party invitation you’re on the fence about. Don’t wash your car, ever. Take a deep breath in all that extra space. Let the lawn grow long and wheelie by your neighbour’s judgemental face with glee. Nap when you want to. Take a staycation. With the right set-up, wilderness camping beats most three-star hotels. The richest moments most of us experience probably occur without cell service. Liberate your time.

Now, imagine the future a second time. Ask yourself what you can do to make time equal space in this short life, and create a per-sonal time machine that makes the next 20 years feel like 20 years. No app can do that.

Virtual-Reality Tour Coming To Nelson, BC, November 30

Take a virtual-reality trip to the glaciers of Iceland, the remote fishing villages of Indonesia and more on November 30 in Nelson, British Columbia.

On November 30, Nelson, British Columbia, will be the site of a next-level experience that combines National Geographic Explorers, virtual reality, and the award-winning talents of the Sherpas Cinema. The special viewing will take place between 7-10pm at the new MCG Headquarters at 91 Baker Street, the ground floor of the Nelson Visitor Centre. VR headsets will be on hand and the experience is free and open to people of all ages.

Produced and co-directed by our very own editor-in-chief Mitchell Scott, the "Into Water" virtual-reality film documents the adventures of four female National Geographic Explorers who have dedicated their careers to water-related issues. Attendees of the November 30 event can don VR headsets and travel to the glaciers of Iceland, the remote fishing tribes of central Indonesia, the intricate and spectacular watersheds of rural Quebec, and the deep oceans of Monterey Bay, California, where new creatures are being discovered every day.

Feature photo by Jake Dyson of Sherpas Cinema.

In the first "Into Water” series, we tag along with geographer and glaciologist Dr. M Jackson who has spent the last decade documenting the incredible physical and cultural changes of the Iceland as it experiences an unprecedented melting of its iconic ice. In his Backside column in the latest Coast Mountain Culture magazine, Mitchell Scott writes about his interactions with Dr. Jackson and how she remains so positive in the face of unprecedented change. Below is that column.

Follow the Leader – A CMC Backside Column By Mitchell Scott

DR. M JACKSON has dedicated her life to understanding and protecting ice. She is a geographer, a glaciologist, an explorer with the National Geographic Society, a TED Fellow, and the writer of many books, including my favourite, The Secret Lives of Glaciers. She’s 36 years old, and when she’s not travelling the world studying glaciers, she lives in Eugene, Oregon.

I met Dr. Jackson in Iceland while producing a documentary project for Sherpas Cinema and National Geographic. It’s a place where she has spent a lot of time over the last 10 years. Glaciers in Iceland are melting at an unprecedented rate, faster than at any other time in human history. Locals, guides, and scientists are seeing noticeable changes in weeks and months, as opposed to years. The rate of melt has spawned a boom in visitors to the island nation, much of it driven by what many scientists are calling “last-chance tourism.” According to Dr. Jackson, 25 to 35 per cent of Iceland’s ice will be gone in the next 50 years. If you’ve been there or have seen pictures, it is a hard concept to grasp. Along the country’s southeastern highway, some 30 spectacular outlet glaciers practically burst through your car window. It’s a gorgeous place to visit, even with the rush of people, but in the background there’s a foreboding, pit-of-your-stomach despair knowing an improbable amount of this natural wonder will soon be gone.

Perhaps the most interesting thing Dr. Jackson reveals lies in her perspective. “Glaciers will grow back one day,” she says. “Definitely not in my lifetime, nor my children’s, but hopefully the work I’m doing now will contribute positively to a hundred or so years from now, when glaciers will start to grow again.”

As I follow Dr. Jackson onto the toe of one of these glaciers, I can’t help but be struck by her enthusiasm. She keeps talking about glacier mice, which are these funky moss balls created by incessant wind and tiny bits of dirt. I’m confused. Here’s a woman who has dedicated her life to what feels like the doomed, never-to-return, canary-in-the-coal-mine of climate change. I learn that her life is also interwoven with sorrow: she’s lost both her parents, her brother, and her mentor and boss at the National Geographic Society. But regardless of all that, she has this vibrancy, this fire, rooted by a hope for a better future. “There are 400,000 glaciers and glacierets in the world,” she gushes. “If I can get someone caring about each one of them, I’ve done my job.” But perhaps the most interesting thing Dr. Jackson reveals lies in her perspective. “Glaciers will grow back one day,” she says. “Definitely not in my lifetime, nor my children’s, but hopefully the work I’m doing now will contribute positively to a hundred or so years from now, when glaciers will start to grow again.”

We can be culturally arrogant, often forgetting we are creatures of geologic time. The future is not until we die or until our children do. Dr. Jackson knows this implicitly. It is what keeps her hustling, researching, writing, educating, trying to get people passionate about the marvel of glaciers. To her, they are reflections of ourselves, teaching us to understand nature on its terms, not ours. A place where, as you can see in her cobalt-blue eyes, hope lives eternal.

The "Into Water" virtual-reality experience in Nelson, BC, on November 30 is a part of the Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism's Winter Kickoff from November 21 to December 7. Visit for more information.

Nebula: An Interview with Reuben Krabbe About The Photo That Inspired His Latest Film

The latest cover of Coast Mountain Culture magazine features an other-worldly ski photograph by Reuben Krabbe. Here we interview him about how it all came together and the movie that details it's creation.

My favourite line from Reuben Krabbe’s new 12-minute film Nebula dropping this week, is uttered by skier Nick McNutt. His facial hair and toque are caked in ice and his breath escapes in visible puffs of vapour as he looks at the display on the back of Krabbe’s camera and says, “Woah...skiing in space!” Yes. Exactly. That’s totally what it looks like.

For those who have seen the latest Coast Mountain Culture magazine cover, you may be forgiven in thinking the picture is a photoshop composite. It’s not. That image is the result of two years of planning by Krabbe, a professional shooter based in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, along with some specialized equipment. It’s a double exposure that features the Orion Nebula, an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases, and skier McNutt hurtling down a backcountry slope near Pemberton. This is the third in a series of astro ski images by Krabbe that have included an athlete shredding a line under the aurora borealis and another perfectly framed by a solar eclipse. This latest image required a lot more planning and luck though, which is why Krabbe made a movie about the entire experience and it will launch November 6th at We caught up with Krabbe to ask him about the image and the film.

Hey Reuben, congrats again on such a sick image. There were so many challenges involved with this shoot. What was the biggest for you?

Honestly, motivation was the hardest part. After trying the get the shot the first time and failing so epically, it was really defeating. Looking at going back at it and doing the shoot again was hard. Especially because we burned through our sponsorship funding from MEC in the first year so our crew would have to pay for the rest and I was like, “Is this just going to be another grand ridiculous adventure?” I could screw up so easily and that’s what you see in the film – I’m screwing up throughout the night when we actually created the shot. If my placement was a little bit wrong, if I was 30 feet to the left, the whole thing would have failed again. The other thing that was challenging was the fact people didn’t exactly understand what the concept was leading up to it. Like, the athletes didn’t really get what we were trying to do. And I couldn’t really help them understand because the whole thing was so ridiculous and technical.

Reuben Krabbe during the Nebula shoot. Photo by Seth Gillis.

And everything was made that much more difficult because of the weather. What temperatures were you battling the night of the shoot?

I think it was around -20°C to -25°C out. It was one of the coldest nights of the year and unfortunately you don’t get clear skies on the coast unless you’re getting a northern outflow so that’s the only way it was going to happen.

Still, you managed to get the shot. At one point did you celebrate?

The moment in the movie where you see me say, “We got it guys,” that’s when I knew that we had it. It might not have been exactly what I dreamt of, but it was the best image we could create given the conditions and circumstances. But still, it was ridiculously cold and we were in the middle of nowhere and our toes were getting scary cold so the celebration wasn’t much, it was more of like, “OK, good we’re done. Let’s get out of here.” I think the celebration will come when we see that the effort was worth it and this film and the photo resonates with people. Until then, it’s just layers of relief interspersed with lots of work still.

This photo was taken by Krabbe of an unknown skier in Svalbard, Norway during the solar eclipse on March 20, 2015.

Where did this entire idea come from? Why did you want to shoot the Nebula?

This was definitely an evolution from the original Aurora photo I did followed by the eclipse shot. And those were inspired by the Grant Gunderson shot of the skier and the star trails in the sky. After the eclipse shot, I started having ideas of what this could be but I wasn’t sure I wanted to be pigeon-holed as the guy who keeps doing the same trick. But I do a bunch of other stuff so it’s not like a feel like I’m only doing one thing ever. I didn’t know at the beginning how it was going to be possible but I started by looking into whether I could hire one of those huge mountain-top telescopes to shoot an action photo. But that was like $10,000 an hour to use the thing and then you couldn’t shoot anything that’s below you. So then I figured out what’s going on in astro-photography and there’s a whole group of people who do this kind of stuff all the time – just shooting the stars I mean, with these long lenses and specialized equipment. I cobbled together the equipment and started trying to figure out how you can shoot an action photo and a star photo simultaneously.

What specific equipment was required for this?

The main thing is called an equatorial mount. It goes on top of the tripod and that thing counteracts the spinning of the earth. It makes your telescope lens for your camera point to the same point in the stars the whole time – it’s just ever-so-slightly in motion the entire time you’re using it in order to keep the stars in the centre of your camera’s frame. It’s a decently expensive thing but they’re also standardized. It’s not like I had to do all the tough work; you can just buy it off the shelf. The first time I tried using a cheaper version of that mount but there were a few logistical issues so I upgraded to a bigger and smarter version. Otherwise it’s a regular camera set up: it’s a 400mm lens on a DSLR that I use any day I’m on a shoot.

Tobin Seagel, arm of Mount monolith in background, Tombstone Park, Yukon

Are astro-photographers impressed by this capture?

I’m on the baby steps of astro-photography. Like, the first thing thing they tell you in astro-photography is to shoot the Orion Nebula. For ski bums, it may seem like I’m a photographer for NASA but among astro-photographers, I’m on the bunny hill. The Orion Nebula is roughly the size of the moon in the sky but it’s slightly darker for human eyes to see. To find it, look for Orion’s Belt then look just below it and there’s this little chain of three stars which looks sort of fuzzy, like it’s out of focus. That’s because you’re seeing a little bit of the background light that’s there but you can’t tell what you’re looking at because your eyes aren’t good enough.

Tell me a bit about your photo background?

I picked up a camera as a teenager in Calgary and then that turned into an expensive hobby. I decided that rather than go to school for some other education and thenchase my dream, I should try to chase it right away. So I went to photography school around 2008 and then moved into a van and spent some time moving around BC. I’ve been on the coast for eight years now.

My final question for you is what’s next?

[Laughs.] Yeah, that one’s going to be coming all the time. The two guys who made the movie with me, we’ve launched a production company called Sky Island Pictures in the wake of this film because we worked well together. We’ve been pitching different concepts for production. But on the non-work side of things, I’ve been trying to learn how to surf and I’ve come to appreciate that it’s fun to be super terrible at things.

A Behind-The-Scenes Interview With The Creators Of Over Time – A Film Featuring Sammy Carlson

In less than a week CK9 Studios will drop its Over Time short film featuring skiing phenom Sammy Carlson. Here's a sneak peak of its sickness plus an interview with the creators.

While CK9 might sound like the name of the Navy Seals' elite and ferocious bomb-sniffing canine crew, it's in fact a small Nelson, British Columbia-based studio house made up of long-time buds Clay Mitchell and Simon Shave. Their latest project, a seven-minute film that features Sammy Carlson, will drop on October 22 but already the world's taking note. It's just been nominated for "Best Short Film" at both the High Five festival in France and the iF3 festival in Montreal.

Sammy C needs no introduction but for those who've been living in a quinzee for the past decade, here's a quick rundown. Originally from Hood River, Oregon, Sammy now divides his time between his winter home in Revelstoke, B.C. and various surf beaches along the Oregon Coast. He's considered one of the top X Games freeskiers of all time but is best known for his flowy, effortless style in the backcountry. Every filmmaker wants a chance to work with this guy so how did a small outfit out of Nelson get the gig? We caught up with them to ask.

How long have you guys known each other and how long have you known Sammy C?

We've been friends since junior high, probably to our mother's dismay. We've known Sammy personally a few years, but we've been impressed by his style for a decade.

How'd you get into the film biz?

We dropped our debut ski film, appropriately titled Passion, in grade 10 (back in 2001). There is only one known copy on VHS. We've been trying to get the old team back together ever since. Thankfully, Clay went to film school and dedicated ten years to the industry, including big Hollywood productions and an integral stint working with the masters at Sherpas Cinema. When Simon got the call to start CK9 Studios it was an easy answer. Dare to dream.

All photos: Skier=Sammy Carlson; Filmer=Clay Mitchell. This photo was taken by Bryan Ralph.

What's the inspiration for Over Time?

Our goal with this film was to stay true to the roots and keep it about the skiing. To let beautiful visuals and cinematography highlight Sammy's distinct style. Our motivation for the title Over Time and our sub-theme about time is really about inspiring people to make the most of every day.

There's a quote at the beginning of the trailer. Where's it from?

The quote, "What you are, and what you become, depends on how you use your time" points to a universal human truth. We wanted to remind anyone, skier or not, that your actions dictate who you are. We used sparse narration on time throughout the piece to add some introspection. The narration comes from a preacher in the Bahamas, Dr. Myles Munroe.

Photo by Darcy Bacha.

A full winter of filming disseminated into 7 minutes. Impressive! How long did it take you to create it?

We're not actually sure how much footage we captured between two cameras and a drone, but it was substantial. It was a pretty thin year for pow in B.C., but we made the effort to get out and film everyday we could. Everyday was sandwiched between sled rides in the dark. Needless to say the editing took a long time to distill down.

What was one of the most fun moments from filming?

We had lots of highlights. Great hospitality with Stellar Heliskiing, Eagle Pass Heliski, and Mustang Powder. Not to mention epic sled days.

What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was the unseasonably low snowfall. It wasn't the best year for our breakaway ski film, but on the plus side we had a lot of bluebird days.

You were nominated for best short at the High Five festival in France. Describe your reactions when you got that call.

High Five was our world debut and to get nominated for best short was a great honour. You get so close to a project that you can't tell if its good or not anymore, so that nomination was validating.

What does CK9 stand for?

CK9 pays homage to our inland surf gang, the Seadawgs, a landlocked crew who would make an annual pilgrimage to find knee-slapping waves. To the dismay of our wives, the dream still lives on.

Patagonia Announces all its Waterproof Shells are now Made with Recycled Materials

Patagonia has announced all 61 of its waterproof shells are now made with recycled materials in Fair Trade Certified factories.

This month Patagonia has announced a first for the textile industry. One hundred percent of the company's waterproof shells, which include 61 styles ranging from alpine and snow to lifestyle and kids, are now made with recycled materials and sewn in Fair Trade Certified factories.

According to a company press release, the journey to this point started in 1993 when it made its first fleece jacket from recycled soda bottles. Yet converting the entire collection of shells over to be made with recycled materials wasn’t easy. Each shell is a multi-stage, multi-national endeavour. A jacket begins its life as a recycled plastic chip in Italy and Slovenia. Yarn spun from these chips is woven and finished in Japan with the final garment cut and sewn in Vietnam. The conversion to using recycled materials in each and every shell was slow and gradual, then sudden. Patagonia has now reached a point where it can draw a line in the sand that every shell uses recycled fabrics and is Fair Trade Certified sewn.

Here's an interesting fact: You might think that shipping its products all over the world is the leading source of the company's greenhouse gas pollution, but it’s not. In fact, most of Patagonia's carbon emissions – 97 percent – come from its supply chain. And creating virgin synthetic fibres accounts for 86 percent of those emissions. The more recycled fabrics the company makes, the closer it'll get to carbon neutrality across its entire business by 2025. This collection of recycled shells is a step in that direction.

The planet is drowning in plastic – 8.3 billion tons to be exact, a statistic that is nearly impossible to comprehend. It's a devastating quantity, made worse if you consider that 91 percent of all plastic waste has never been recycled. But with this recycled shell collection, which the company is calling Shell Yeah!, a step is being made in the right direction.

BC's Old Growth – What Should Be Cut and What Should Be Left? Various Voices Weigh In.

As the Pacific Northwest clings to much of the planet’s remaining old-growth timber, what should be left to stand and what needs to fall? CMC Senior Writer Malcolm Johnson reports on the paradox plaguing our last greatest forests with a chorus of voices from every corner of the clear-cut.

A few decades ago, old-growth forests were a tale that stood taller than most. You couldn’t open a newspaper without a reminder of the pitched battles being played out in the backwoods between loggers and environmentalists, some of them complete with arson and sabotage. Today, however, forestry seems to have faded from the public consciousness, only occasionally trending at the top of newsfeeds. But the basic business template that’s been in place since the 80s is still trucking: timber companies are still chopping, protestors are still protesting, and politicians are still issuing carefully worded statements about their firm commitment to jobs, sustainability, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. All the while, irreplaceable old-growth forests keep getting converted into cut blocks, and working towns and families keep struggling to get by.

It’s no easy thing to manage a landscape in a way that balances the environment and the economy; once you start digging in, it doesn’t take long to see that few involved are satisfied with the status quo: one side wants more forest protections and the other wants more land available to log. There’s not much space for compromise, and the dialogue often devolves into mud-slinging that pits some version of “You’re a bunch of rednecks who don’t care about the planet or the future” against “You’re a bunch of spoiled, ignorant NIMBY yuppies trying to take our jobs.” Meanwhile, the companies make the money and keep the lobby pressure up to advance their own interests. It’s not an atmosphere that fosters cooperation, innovative thinking, or courageous stewardship.

Mina Laudan of the BC Council of Forest Industries. Click to enlarge.

On the largest scale, logging and development have converted what was once an unbroken swathe of ancient forest stretching from northern California to Alaska into a patchwork of cities, roads, infrastructure, and second- or third-growth forest, with intact old growth remaining mostly in small and scattered parcels. In total, over 70 per cent of old-growth conifer forests have been lost throughout the Pacific Northwest, and that number increases every year. Forestry’s economic contribution, however, is essential. Over the past decade, British Columbia’s annual timber harvest has been 74 million cubic metres, enough to fill two million shipping containers. The industry contributed $12.9 billion to the province’s gross domestic product in 2016, and the forest industry directly generated 140,000 jobs in British Columbia. These large numbers tell us a lot of families depend on logging, and you’d have to be a real eco-asshole to want those people to go broke.

Here are some other interesting numbers: Currently, old growth makes up 50 per cent of the total timber harvest on the mainland coast and Vancouver Island. Of the remaining forests on Vancouver Island, 21 per cent are old growth, of which only six per cent is protected. Another crucial number to note about an industry often framed as sustainable or renewable is that, according to researchers at Sierra Club BC, not one square metre of the province’s logged forest is capable of returning to its original state because of the planet’s unstable climate. And the costs of forestry aren’t just ecological: one of the most sobering facts out there is that 97 workers have been killed while harvesting British Columbia’s trees in the last 10 years.

TJ Watt from the Ancient Forest Alliance. Click to enlarge.

The basic dilemma, economically speaking, is that we have a limited supply of high-value old-growth forest, but we keep subtracting from a shrinking balance without immediately adding back. Environmentally, the loss of old-growth forests is a major problem, since they are strongholds of biodiversity that provide critical ecosystem services, like clean air and water. Old trees also store more carbon than young ones, and recent research suggests almost 70 per cent of the carbon they store is pulled from the atmosphere in the second half of their life. Though it’s harder to quantify, the cultural and spiritual importance of unspoiled old-growth forests is hard to overemphasize, especially for Indigenous Peoples, as is the value of old growth to the province’s tourism sector, which now generates almost twice as much revenue as logging.

Forest Ecologist Andy MacKinnon. Click to enlarge.

For the forestry industry, losing old growth is a big problem too. Old-growth forests tend to generate more money per hectare than second or third growth — if a blanket ban on old-growth logging was put in place, as some conservationists call for, there would be a lot of people suddenly missing their rent. Secondary industries that rely on old-growth wood, which is often far superior in quality to second-growth lumber, would also be affected, from custom homebuilders to backyard snowboard shapers. On the provincial scale, British Columbians also benefit from the forest sector in the form of tax payments, funding for community projects, and networks of roads that access some of the province’s most beautiful places. If the money all grows on trees, where does the money come from once the trees are all cut down?

Jens Wieting of the Sierra Club BC and tree faller Brendan Flanagan. Click to enlarge.

It’s a complex problem, but many feel new ways forward can be found. And despite the often-acrimonious debate around old-growth logging, there are already examples of opposing sides coming together to find collaborative solutions. In 2016, the unprecedented Great Bear Rainforest agreement was signed, with forestry companies, environmental groups, the provincial government, and Indigenous governments agreeing to a management framework that protected cultural heritage sites and 3.1 million acres of rainforest from industrial logging, while allowing appropriate industry access. There are also steps on which almost all reasonable people agree, like maximizing the productivity of second-and third-growth stands, investing in value-added processing that turns timber into beautiful and useful products, and remembering that a healthy future economy will depend on an equally healthy environment.

None of these are simple tasks, but they’re not impossible, and how to take the best care of our forests is something everyone in the Pacific Northwest — and the world — should keep in mind.

Malcolm Johnson is an outdoor and environment writer from Vancouver Island now living and working in northern British Columbia.

Note: Two other industry groups, the Truck Loggers Association and the BC First Nations Forestry Council, declined to comment for this story. 

What're your thoughts about the British Columbia forestry and its remaining old growth? Please leave your comments below.


Surf Canada Now Ranked Top 10 In The World

Thanks to an historic showing at the World Surfing Games in Japan, the Surf Canada team is now ranked 10th overall in the rankings.

At last month’s ISA World Surfing Games in Miyazaki, the Canadian men placed 5th and the women 12th overall in the world rankings. This brings Surf Canada to a 10th place overall ahead of next year’s Olympic Games.

Above: Peter Devries. Top: Mathea Olin.

This year’s Surf Canada team was comprised of Peter Devries, Shane Campbell and Cody Young, while the women’s trio featured Mathea Olin, Bethany Zelasko and Paige Alms. Tofino’s Devries rose to the occasion in his round two heat, facing off against World Surfing League (WSL) heavyweights Felipe Toledo and Jordy Smith, ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively in 2019. Devries’ finished atop the heat with a 14.83 scoreline, beating out Toledo’s 14.60 and sending Smith to the repechage rounds.

“Canada’s Olympic Pathway Team responded in force against the World’s best,” says Surf Canada Executive Director Dom Domic, “With our men’s team beating four WSL Tour surfers in three heats...Canada is a serious force and other teams have taken note.”

Team Brazil earned Gold—their first in 19 years. In addition to Italio Ferreira’s Gold, Brazil finished with two other individual medals. Gabriel Medina took the Bronze in the Men’s Division and Silvana Lima took Silver in the Women’s Division. The Team Silver Medal went to USA, led by an individual Silver Medal performance from Kolohe Andino and a Copper Medal from Carissa Moore. The 2018 Gold Medalist Team Japan earned the Bronze, while the Copper Medal went to Team Peru.

Next up, Surf Canada will head south to Huntington Beach, Calif. to compete against the world’s top upcoming surfing talent at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, October 26 - November 3. More information can be found on

Honest Review: Eqpd Gear LastBag

Is this the last bag you'll ever need? Our online editor and his one-year-old try to destroy the latest offering from Eqpd Gear and learn it's aptly named.

It’s amazing something as mundane as a bag can be completely redesigned and turned into a lifelong tool. Yet that’s exactly what product engineer Jonathan Baker did when he launched his company Eqpd Gear in Twisp, Washington, five years ago. Back then the negative impacts of disposable plastic bags on marine life and ultimately our food chain were being studied. Now scientists, such as those with the UK Environment Agency, are claiming the carbon footprint of cheap, reusable bags make them just as bad for the planet. Baker’s solution is a simple, sturdy bag made from one piece of vinyl plastic, four stitches, six rivets and it’s guaranteed forever. Appropriately it’s called the LastBag.

“The best design does the most good for the most people,” says Baker, who has worked in the outdoor equipment industry for 20 years and has a ski helmet named after him. “Who doesn’t have a closet full of shitty reusable bags? By replacing them with one solution that’s manufactured in North America means we all win.” The LastBag features a waterproof exterior made from the same fabric as whitewater rafts and is used by everyone from diaper-carrying moms to masons who mix cement in it. It’s now available in a variety of sizes, styles and colours and is sold in all forms of retailers from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, to rural gas stations.

Snapshot: Eqpd Gear LastBag

    1. Pros: We can't break this thing. It's the most durable, simple, and versatile bag we've ever taken to the grocery store, beach and crag.
    2. Cons: There's an initial sticker shock (the 21" solid hand version is US$55) but when you consider you'll never have to get another bag again, you get over it.
    3. Price: Starts at US$30 for the 13" version of the LastBag
    4. Who Should Buy: Environmentalists as well as recreationalists, hobbyists, grocery buyers...everyone.
    5. Who Shouldn't Buy: Nobody. Even Donald Trump would buy this bag because although it's pro-environment, it's also hand-made in America.
    6. Helpful Hack: These bags are made out of the same vinyl as whitewater rafts – if anything is spilled on or in them, all you have to do is hose it out.
    7. Author's overall rating: 9/10

The Test

We were given multiple styles and sizes of the Eqpd Gear LastBag to run through the ringer. Below are three reviews, one written by our online editor Vince Hempsall and two by geologist, mom and athlete Jen Sabean who is an artist and environmentalist in her own right, repurposing bike tires into jewellery.

Test #1 – Eqpd Gear LastBag Mesh Hand Bag Reviewed by Jenn

This bag was made by people who understand what it is to be on the move. The size of the bag is amazing for so many things! It perfectly fits a pair of bike shoes with helmet and clothes, or two six packs and two bottles of wine, or everything you need for a beach day including space for a fedora that won’t get crunched. All that but it doesn't feel like I'm carting around luggage. The felt base holds the bags’ shape, the mesh fabric allows for damp gear to breathe, and the sturdy handles are easy to grab and are built to last. I get so many compliments on it as I use it everywhere (it doesn’t hurt that the colours make it stylish) and it will long outlast any other reusable bags I have.

Test #2 – Eqpd Gear 365 Shoulder Bag Review by Jenn

This bag is built to last! The shape holds its own thanks to the sturdy felt base and tough fabric, but it's still lightweight and folds up nice and small. It has been a constant go-to for our busy family for groceries, beach stuff, kids gear, etc. And with the choice of an adjustable shoulder strap or sturdy handles, as well as the waterproof fabric, it will continue to serve multiple purposes. For the amazing price (US$25) this bag is an easy choice – better than any other reusable bag I’ve owned. The only thing I'd like to see from the company is sourcing used materials from such as punctured boats from rafting companies for example, instead of using new.

Test #3 – Eqpd Gear LastBag Shoulder Bag Reviewed by Vince

I set out to try and trash this thing. I dumped a bunch of climbing gear into it and then hurled it around the base of some cliffs. I hauled it to the beach and dragged it across sand and rocks. I set my one-year-old on it. And I can honestly say it's still in the same pristine shape it was when it first arrived. It's hauled innumerable loads of groceries, 30 pounds worth of KMC magazines and used diapers. There's been baby vomit all over and through this bag and I've simply given it one swipe with a Kleenex to clean it. The LastBag now sits by our front door always and is used almost every day.

The Verdict

Buy this bag. That's all I really want to say about the Eqpd Gear LastBag. If you care at all about the environment or about supporting local business or you just want a kick-ass, indestructible bag that's as useful hauling groceries as it is lugging tools, gear, dirt, school supplies and more, then this is the bag for you. Maybe the only thing the LastBag can't carry is hydrofluoric acid. Our one criticism about the Eqpd Gear LastBag is we'd like to see it built with repurposed materials. However, after a conversation with company owner Jonathan Baker, I understand why that's difficult given the unreliable quality of reused materials. But if that issue could ever be solved, the LastBag would be an easy 10/10 for quality, design, utility, environmentalism and awesomeness.

Eqpd Gear LastBag - The Deets

    • MSRP: Starts at around US$30
    • Made from vinyl plastic, four stitches, six rivets and it’s guaranteed forever.
    • There are six versions of the LastBag including Solid Hand, Solid Shoulder, Mesh Hand, Mesh Shoulder, Leather and Heavy Duty.
    • There are a myriad of colour options from orange to burgundy and there's also a clear version.
    • Sizes vary from 13" to 21"
    • For more info:


The Great Bear Rainforest Goes IMAX

Twenty years ago, this film could not have been made. But with new technology, an $8-million budget, and friends from Hollywood to Capitol Hill, one of the Pacific Northwest’s greatest modern-day conservationists is screening his natural-history tale at over 60 of the world’s biggest theatres. By Anthony Bonello.

Glowing tendrils of heavy West Coast mist shape-shift in the warming September morning, as filmmaker and conservationist Ian McAllister loads a Zodiac with camera packs and tripods. For the past 25 years, McAllister has used glorious days like this to showcase the formidable beauty of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest and its charismatic fauna. McAllister fires off a few frames with his camera to acknowledge the beauty, but otherwise he is in a terse mood.

McAllister, executive director of the conservation non-profit Pacific Wild and director of the Great Bear Rainforest Imax film, is as warm as he is abrupt. That he is able to work from a satellite connection aboard his 14-metre catamaran and floating production base, named the Habitat, while anchored in the remote inlets of the Great Bear is as much a testament to his force of will as it is to technology. McAllister has taken on the biggest project of his life with this Imax film. With a budget of $8 million, it will be the largest natural-history film to come out of Canada.

McAllister takes me to visit the spot of one of the most intimate and cinematic scenes of his film. In it, a grizzly enters the frame and walks a well-worn trail; the camera follows along an elaborate cable system through the adjacent trees. The bear stops, rubs against a tree, and then exits stage right. It’s as if the entire scene was choreographed. What you don’t see is the camera crew scrambling to get the shot, caught off guard while they were preparing another scene with a team of Kitasoo scientists. It is the type of serendipity you cannot plan for in nature and an example of the film’s unique view into the Great Bear. “It’s a one in a million really,” McAllister says of the shot. When he first ventured into this river valley over 20 years ago, he spent weeks at a time sleeping in a hammock high in the trees hoping to get a glimpse of a grizzly bear.

Born in West Vancouver, McAllister was thrust into the conservation frontline in 1988 when he was 19 years old. His activist father, Peter McAllister, volunteered him to lead a blockade at Sulphur Pass in Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island. When they arrived, everyone had been arrested, so he was hoisted in a wicker basket above the blasting site for a logging road that would lead into a disputed wilderness area. “The contractor was shooting at me in the basket with a pellet gun, and all I had to read was the Margaret Atwood novel Bodily Harm.”

"Great Bear Rainforest" Director Ian McAllister getting personal with the film's cast. All photos courtesy of Pacific Wild.

After Clayoquot Sound, McAllister began exploring the Mid Coast Timber Supply Area, the industrial name given to the chunk of wilderness we are currently in. He and his wife, Karen, spent seven years documenting and charting the more than 100 pristine river valleys that would become known as the Great Bear Rainforest. In 1996, they made a home in the heart of the Great Bear on Denny Island, where they started a family. They launched Pacific Wild in 2008 and have continued to work alongside First Nations and other conservation groups to raise awareness about the ongoing issues facing the coast—the recently approved liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline, tanker routes, open-net salmon fish farming, and trophy hunting, to name a few.

Since it’s harder to chain oneself to a grizzly bear than a tree, McAllister has focused his conservation efforts here on inspiring the public through imagery and storytelling. “You can only get arrested so many times. Maybe it’s a bit of a cop out, but when I would do speaking tours, once I put a photo up on the screen, people got it.”

Sea otters were almost hunted to extinction from the BC coast but are back due to a hunting ban.

A prolific photographer, he has won awards and been published internationally, he has published six books and collaborated on a slew of children’s books. For someone who spends weeks at a time out in the field, often alone observing nature, McAllister can be charismatic and eloquent. He has built relationships with influential cultural figures ranging from politician Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who penned the foreword to one of his books, to singer Miley Cyrus, who did a social-media trip aboard the Habitat in 2015 to raise awareness of the wolf cull. Yet for all he has accomplished, he is not resting on his laurels with this massive Imax project.

“Imax is a format that is as close to being here as you can get, and I thought it would be the best way to capture this place,” explains McAllister. One of the main incentives, however, is the fact that students and school groups make up 35 to 40 per cent of Imax audiences. “Education is a huge part of the Imax model, and we really want to educate young people on the Great Bear,” he adds. With more than a thousand Imax theatres in over 66 countries around the globe, it is clear why this project was important for McAllister to get off the ground. He may have spent over 400 days in the field during the last three years, but the film has been taking shape in McAllister’s mind for over 20 years. “I brought an Imax producer up to the Great Bear in the 90s, and it was immediately apparent that the hurdles were too large.”

At the time, Imax films used large cameras powered by noisy, heavy generators, not especially conducive to capturing truly wild animals in exceptionally remote locations. It wasn’t until the advent of digital cameras with larger sensors that it seemed possible to match the oversized 70mm celluloid film that Imax developed for its theatres, though no one had yet produced an Imax in digital. “The Imax fraternity said that it wouldn’t work, that a digital image wouldn’t be sharp enough or have the resolution for the big Imax screens,” recounts McAllister. After working closely with the innovative camera company RED Digital Cinema testing its then-unreleased 8K sensor, McAllister and his team won over the Imax community and continued to forge ahead.

Beyond the technical requirements, there were other hurdles to overcome. The Imax screen is designed to dominate the audience’s field of view, thus the camera movement needs to be especially slow so as to not make the audience feel sick. “Shooting Imax is not like shooting for television or regular film, so I had to totally relearn how to shoot,” explains McAllister. With Imax screens ranging from 16 to 30 metres high, shots need to be composed a lot wider. “The screen is so large that it can be overwhelming and sometimes even scare the audience. It’s really hard to resist wanting to zoom in tight on the detail of a bear tearing a salmon apart, but when projected four storeys high, it is just too much.”

Camera operator Andy Maser spent over 130 days in the field with McAllister. “He was feeling the pressure. He had all the pieces in place: the funding, the people, the equipment. And then we would be waiting for nature to do its thing. That has to be stressful.” Maser recalls spending full days spent in the field and returning to the Habitat exhausted, where McAllister would pull up anchor. “We would do this crazy run all night on the boat to chase a scene.” As I learned first-hand, a night run does not entail being rocked gently to sleep in your bunk, but rather standing alert on deck keeping a lookout while McAllister is busy at his computer dealing with administrative duties and watching footage from the day, critiquing the smallest flaws in composition or animal behaviour. Sometimes it worked out and sometimes it didn’t," Maser adds. "He was all in, and you have to support that.”

A lone wolf, demanding and unrelenting in style, McAllister has found himself the leader of an organization that has helped effect real change, like British Columbia’s grizzly bear hunting ban, which was instituted in 2018. As a director, he has brought together a creative team that includes names like Hans Zimmer, who scored the film, and Ryan Reynolds, the Canadian actor and Hollywood heartthrob who narrates it. Significantly, he has earned the trust of the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo, and Gitga’at to represent the land and their people. Doug Neasloss, an elected chief and resource stewardship director for the Kitasoo, says, “You can tell McAllister is deeply connected to this area. He lives in the heart of the GBR [Great Bear Rainforest]. He has raised his family here. He has been in the trenches working with us.”

“I really wanted the culture of the people that have lived in the Great Bear for thousands of years to be an important part of the film,” explains McAllister, “and that comes through in the young First Nations characters that we have in the film.” Neasloss seconds this sentiment, “To have youth involved is important. They are the people that will inherit this area, and the more they are involved, the stronger they will be in the future.”

Ian McAllister interviews Mercedes Robinson-Neasloss of the Kisasoo/Xai'xais Nation. The filmmakers worked closely with several different Indigenous groups who call the Great Bear Rainforest home.

Aboard the Habitat, Deirdre Leowinata, McAllister’s camera assistant, loads some behind-the-scenes Imax footage. In one clip, McAllister is lying in a rushing stream, placing a camera barely half a metre from a black bear fishing for salmon. The bear is comfortable with his proximity and pays him no heed, continuing to fish. It is an abrupt reminder of the power behind the animal’s docile persona. It is fearless stuff, yet as McAllister offers me a preview of the Imax film, he asks, “Just let me know if you think it is any good?” The prospect of completing the film after so much hard work is clearly as intimidating as it is relieving.

Click to enlarge.

Like any artist, and especially one with a cause, McAllister has found the film all-consuming. “He misses his kids terribly, and maybe even me too!” laments Karen, who now lives on Vancouver Island, where the children go to school. “We see him on breaks between shoots and editing stints, which are in Vancouver, and the kids and I go up to Bella Bella for the summers and school breaks.”

I press McAllister on how he has remained committed to protecting the Great Bear in the face of issues like diminishing salmon returns and the imminent LNG terminal in Kitimat that will see tanker traffic travelling the waters of Douglas Channel. "I’ve never, ever felt like not doing it, but you do get overcome by the sense of futility," he says. "It’s definitely a roller coaster of emotions. Unfortunately the threats get more complex and they get more severe. So much connects to climate change and the timeline to change is that much shorter. But the way that we inspire people hasn’t changed.” He goes on to describe a sequence of whales breaching. The footage didn’t make the final cut, but it shows how progress has been made. “One of the great successes on the coast has been the return of the whales. Twenty years ago, seeing a whale was rare. Before 20 years ago it was unheard of. Today whales are back in numbers that we couldn’t have conceived of then. I thought the return of the whales would be a bigger story, but there was no room for it.”

There are multiple scenes that McAllister and his team put days and weeks into that won’t make the film. At 42 minutes long, the film couldn’t fit all the footage. Yet, before this film has even gone to print, McAllister is already gathering footage for a potential follow-up. “After the initial learning curve, it’s hard to go back to something else,” he says

Back aboard the Habitat, Leowinata plays back footage captured during the expedition. McAllister stops at a scene he shot of a mother grizzly nursing her three cubs. “Play it again,” he insists. “That’s so cool.”

He has an almost childlike wonder. Whatever pressures exist from investors and donors, or the constant threats facing the place that he has dedicated his life to, his sense of serendipity and wonder is not yet lost. And when the Imax hits the big screen, it will not be lost on audiences.

Filmmaker and writer Anthony Bonello has saved much of the world onto hard drives over his career, with ski films like Snowman and Azadi:Freedom. His 2013 film, Stand, took him to the Great Bear Rainforest. He keeps coming back.

Reinhold Messner to Present at 2019 Banff Festival

Reinhold Messner is one of the world's greatest mountaineers and he'll be presenting at the 2019 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival.

The Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival has announced that mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner will be attending the 2019 Festival. The Great Peak: 150 Years Climbing History, is his latest film and will screen as part of the Festival evening program on Thursday, October 31. Along with the Book Awards and a presentation by Canadian climber Sharon Wood, the evening will include an on-stage interview with Messner following the screening of his film.

Photos of Reinhold Messner:

Messner is one of the most prolific mountaineers of his generation. He was the first person to climb Mount Everest solo, and along with Peter Habeler was the first to summit without the use of supplemental oxygen. He was the first mountaineer to complete ascents of all fourteen 8,000-metre peaks without supplemental oxygen, a feat that took him 16 years to complete. He is also known for the first ascent of the difficult Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat where tragically his brother died during the descent. In 1989, he completed a 2,800-kilometre overland crossing of Antarctica on skis, and 15 years later succeeded on a 2,000-kilometre journey across the Gobi Desert on foot.

He has written more than 75 books, and in 2006 he established a museum committed entirely to mountains and mountain culture. More recently, Messner has turned his hand to filmmaking. Still Alive, a documentary about an extraordinary rescue on Mount Kenya, was screened at the 2017 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have Reinhold Messner attending this year’s Festival," says Festival Director Joanna Croston. "Messner is truly an icon of the global climbing community and he is a pioneer of mountaineering ethics. It is wonderful that we are able to have him join us as a last minute addition to our already inspiring program."

The 44th Annual Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival takes place from October 26 – November 3, 2019 at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. Over nine days, the Festival showcases tales of remote journeys, groundbreaking expeditions, and remarkable achievements, told by adventurers, photographers, authors, and filmmakers from around the world. Over 100 films will be presented with North American and World Premieres. Film finalists will be announced by October 4.

Highlights include personal appearances by: Polish mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel, US climber Sasha DiGiulian, Swiss adventurer/explorer Sarah Marquis, US mountaineer/writer Mark Twight, Canadian climber Sharon Wood, and mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner.

For more information visit

Who's The Best Band in the Pacific Northwest Heavy-Metal Scene?

Born from record bins, basements and Cascadia’s blue-collared past, the Pacific Northwest heavy-metal scene has torn a path all of its own since the 1980s. It’s fun. Ferocious. And even outright evil. It is music to your fears. By Jason Schreurs.

“You don’t want to go into that pit.”

I remember those words as vividly as if they were spoken to me today, and not in early 1991. My older, slightly wiser metalhead friend was warning me against entering a violent mosh at a downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, dive bar where Seattle’s “splatter-core” kings, The Accüsed, were ripping the room a new orifice. Standing back and fighting the urge to plunge my body into the extreme metal danger zone, I noticed someone stumbling out of the pit, hand at his face, bleeding profusely from his eye socket.

Above: Vancouver-based band Tyrant’s Blood. Top: Wizard Rifle.

A few months later, my same metal mentor was leading me down the sketchy hallways of an abandoned warehouse in the worst part of Vancouver to see a death-metal band called Tumult, who had links to the infamous, self-proclaimed “satanic skinheads,” Blasphemy. Scared shitless and only 19, I was convinced I was getting injured that night. But instead of bodily harm, what I got was a true introduction to the extreme, underground Pacific Northwest heavy-metal scene that has stuck with me for more than 20 years.

This region shelters a heavy-metal community as tight knit as it is diverse in styles, such as death, thrash, stoner, doom, sludge and black. Born out of geographical isolation, the region’s scene is arguably more genuine and artistic than heavy-metal scenes around the globe.

Heavy-metal lifers Adem Tepedelen and Greg Pratt have been part of the Pacific Northwest metal scene for as long as they can remember. Tepedelen grew up in Oregon, Pratt in British Columbia, and both have been huge fans of the coast’s metal scene since the 80s. Over the years they’ve also promoted gigs, hosted radio shows, played in bands, such as Hollow Instinct (Tepedelen) and Let’s Put the X in Sex (Pratt), and wrote for magazines such as Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, Decibel and Metal Maniacs.

Metal has remained a huge part of their lives to this day; both Tepedelen and Pratt are now esteemed heavy-metal journalists. “The metal scene in the Pacific Northwest has always been self-supporting,” explains Tepedelen. “Local fans love their local bands, and bands tend to support each other. There isn’t a sound, but more an aesthetic. This is a scene that, for the most part, has embraced the role of underdog and has evolved accordingly.”

Pratt says what stands out about the region’s metal scene is “a twisted party vibe” that combines danger and fun. “Be it tales of Blasphemy getting up to no good in [Victoria, BC’s] Ross Bay Cemetery, or witnessing Goatsblood play a psychotic, self-destructive concert, even those things had an element of fun to them,” notes Pratt. “I guess we’re kind of damaged over here.

“When I think of the metal scene around here, I think laid-back, happy, fun, but serious about the tunes. That’s modern day, like Bison BC or Six Brew Bantha,” continues Pratt. “But historically, the Northwest was super-important in the development of really raw black metal, bordering on war metal, and really grim bestial black stuff. And that’s thanks to Blasphemy. They played a super-important role in truly scary, intense black metal and are recognized globally for it, for good reason.”

WHEN BLASPHEMY'S Blood Upon the Altar demo showed up in my childhood mailbox, I couldn’t believe what came out of my speakers. The Vancouver band recorded pure evil that sounded like it was recorded in a sarcophagus. My teenaged ears barely comprehended what they were hearing, but they loved it.

As scary as Blasphemy’s music was, the rumours of what was transpiring in real life were even scarier. There was talk of grave desecrations, cop murders, Satanism, drugs, sexual depravity; whatever the truth—and members of the band are keeping hush-hush about it—Blasphemy became the first Pacific Northwest metal band to cause a global reaction within the underground.

Marco Banco played guitar in Blasphemy between 1989 and 1993, a time when the band was the most frightening entity in Northwestern metal. Banco, who used the pseudonym Traditional Sodomizer of the Goddess of Perversity at the time, believes today’s Northwest metal scene has been saturated. Although strong in numbers, which includes his own Vancouver-based band Tyrant’s Blood, he says it’s hard to be original.

“The [Vancouver] scene started with three or four bands in the early 80s, then the second wave blew up to about two dozen groups up until now, where there are metal bands flooded throughout the city,” Banco explains. “I’ve been here since the beginning, so for me all the original energy is long gone. But hopefully somebody takes that blade and cuts a new path somewhere without simply ripping off old, tired ideals.”

While Pacific Northwest metal does have some of the stylistic trappings of scenes in metal hotbeds like New York and Sweden, it still benefits from the coastal solitude and adventurism of the west coast. In fact, there’s a whole movement coined “Cascadian metal” that takes the satanic black metal model but removes the Satan and adds in Mother Nature as the symbol of worship and lyrical inspiration. Led by Olympia, Washington’s Wolves in the Throne Room, although completely indulgent, the style is something different and very specific to the Northwest. And if the metal scene in the region started with the benefits of individualism, there’s no reason why bands can’t take advantage of them again.

“Like everything from the Northwest, before the region became what it is today, bands were more likely to do their own thing, more or less uninfluenced in a major way by whatever was going on in the rest of the musical world,” says Tepedelen. “The isolation of this region at the time was a good thing. Sure, these bands were fans of and influenced by the bigger hard-rock and metal bands of the day, but they all seemed to put their own unique Northwest spin on things. There wasn’t a Northwest metal sound, per se, but it tended to be less flashy and darker than its contemporaries. Before Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks, this area was blue collar and the music reflected those roots.”

This region shelters a heavy-metal community as tight knit as it is diverse in styles, such as death, thrash, stoner, doom, sludge and black.

IN THE BACKYARD of Victoria grindcore band Six Brew Bantha, a collection of metalheads has gathered. Guzzling beers and chatting about their love of metal, adorned in black T-shirts with nearly indecipherable logos, they are anticipating a sweaty basement set from Portland’s crusty grinders Transient. There’s a badminton net that’s been set up in the yard and a couple of dudes are banging a birdie back and forth. This is a far cry from the dingy shows that got me into Pacific Northwest metal two decades ago, but the spirit is still the same. Everyone seems chill, but as soon as the basement lights are dimmed, the amps are cranked up and Transient unleash their metal-grind fury, that we’re-not-getting-out-of-here-alive feeling comes flooding back.

Pacific Northwest Metal still feels just as dangerous as it did when bands like The Accüsed and Blasphemy were wreaking havoc in sketchy warehouses and dive bars. But the difference is I’m not scared shitless anymore. I’m home.

Jason Schreurs is a Powell River, BC-based music and culture journalist. His greatest fear is permanent hearing loss.

Surf Canada Set to Compete at Historic Competition In Japan This Month

Surf Canada is among 55 nations and 240 athletes that have gathered in Miyazaki, Japan to celebrate the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games and compete for placements for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

This month is a historic edition of the International Surf Assocation's World Surfing Games because it will be the first to directly qualify athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. And team Surf Canada is there to represent.

The men’s side of Surf Canada’s team consists of Peter Devries, Cody Young and Shane Campbell, while the women’s trio is made up of Mathea Olin, Bethany Zelasko and Paige Alms.

Above: Opening ceremony at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games in Japan. Top: Surf Canada member Bethany Zelasko. Photos by Ben Reed

Canada is up against 55 other participating nations at the event and team member Shane Campbell, who has competed on the WSL Qualifying Series (Pro Circuit) for the past five years and has four finals and two wins to his credit, says “I didn't know what to expect as this doesn't happen on the Pro Tour, and being a part of this Olympic-like celebration amongst these exceptional athletes, all with the same dream to compete at Tokyo 2020, has got me even more fired up to take my surfing to that necessary level."

"As the first edition of the World Surfing Games to qualify athletes for the Olympics, this is an incredible, historic time for the sport," says ISA President Fernando Aguerre. "Twenty-four years ago Olympic Surfing was a crazy dream. But everything starts with a crazy, impossible idea to make a dream become a reality. We've now brought surfing to the greatest sporting stage, the Olympic Games. Miyazaki is a tropical surfing paradise and I would like to thank the governor and the people of Miyazaki for once again receiving us with open arms."

USA's Caroline Marks, an ISA Junior Gold Medalist, shared her thoughts on returning to the ISA format: "Surfing is such an individual sport, so to compete as a team and feel all the support is incredible," said Marks. "I am looking forward to competing against so many people and countries that I don't usually surf against."

The schedule for the competition is as follows:

September 8/9
Open Women

September 10
Aloha Cup (TBC)
Open Women
Start to Open Men

September 11
Finals Open Women
Open Men competition continues

September 15
Finals Open Men
Closing Ceremony

To see live coverage of the event as well as rankings, visit

Whitecap Alpine Has Revealed its New Sauna and its Awesome

Whitecap Alpine has just revealed one of the coolest backcountry saunas in the entire province. Check it out.

Hidden in the depths of the South Chilcotin Mountains, just north of Whistler, British Columbia, Whitecap Alpine is a backcountry skiing and hiking lodge that has just unveiled it's new alpine sauna. And it's awesome!

It took years of dreaming and logistical planning, according to lodge owner Lars Andrews not least of all because the sauna sits at 1,800 metres (6,000 feet) above sea level and is perched on a boulder platform, overlooking a crystal clear glacial lake. It will now be used as a regular rest stop during Whitecap’s guided hiking trips, which are based out of the nearby McGillivray Pass Lodge. According to Andrews the idea arose from “wanting to add a focal point and purpose to the experience of traveling through the mountains. A place that gives a reason to pause and take in the surroundings and immerse oneself in the environment.”

The design was the collaborative effort of Andrews, Squamish-based carpenter Ryan Standerwick, hiking guide Hayden Robbins and Stefan Shier, the lodge's operations manager. Inspiration was derived from the alpine lakeside location as well as the stunning vistas of nearby peaks and valleys. Cedar was used on both the exterior and interior, both for durability and as a nod to the cedar trees that are prevalent in the nearby forests. The design also aimed to minimize the structure’s impact on the surrounding environment: it sits on four small footings that attach to the boulder ensuring there was no need for digging or surface disturbance during the build.

Lead hiking guide Hayden Robbins says because it's located just 2.6 kilometres from the lodge, the alpine sauna is ideally situated for a mid-hike plunge. “It is the perfect way to revive heavy hiking legs," he says. "After sitting in the sauna, we encourage guests to take a plunge in the lake. The hot/cold therapy does wonders to rejuvenate tired muscles.” Operations Manager Shier agrees saying, “The new sauna allows people to have a truly one of a kind experience in a one of a kind place.”

Whitecap’s summer hiking trips will run until September 29 this year. Trips include round-trip travel up to the lodge from Pemberton, ACMG hiking guides, meals catered for by a private chef, overnight accommodations, and of course, a unique sauna experience.

For another unique sauna business located in BC, read our story about the Sauna on Wheels.



Shred Hard Summer Camp Coming To Sun Peaks Aug 26-30

The Shred Hard Camp is just one of many events happening at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, British Columbia in August and September.

Dylan Sherrard is a professional mountain biker who grew up in the Yukon and now bases himself near Kamloops, British Columbia. He's a writer, photographer, tour guide and he's also responsible for teaching the next generation of shredders at the bike park at Sun Peaks Resort, which was just upgraded with a $350,000 investment.

This month Sherrard is again hosting the Shred Hard Summer Camp, which introduces riders aged 10-17 years to all aspects of mountain bike freeriding. From August 26-30, Sherrard will join other coaches to teach riding with style and how it is that bicycles are having a positive impact on the world.

The Shred Hard Summer Camp is only one of many happenings at Sun Peaks Resort in August and September. Another popular and long-standing event is the Dirty Feet Race on September 8. Since 2012, over 100 participants each year have explored the mountain by foot at the North Face Dirty Feet Mountain Run and partaken in one of four distances: 42km, 21km, 10km and 5km.

Aside from those two events, below is a month-by-month guide of what's going on at Sun Peaks for the rest of the summer.

Above: Retro Concert weekend at Sun Peaks. Kelly Funk photo. Top: Blake Jorgenson photo.

August at Sun Peaks Resort

August is the hottest month of the year in Sun Peaks and there are lots of activities for the entire family to enjoy from the Twilight Market to the Shred Hard Camp. If things get a bit too sizzling, be sure to cool off at the nearby McGillivray and Heffley lakes. Here are the month's events by date:

Aug 1-9, Weekdays: Family Weeks
Aug 10: Sun Peaks Twilight Market
Aug 17: West Coast Camaro Rally Show and Shine
Aug 23-25: The 10th Annual Retro Concert Weekend
Aug 26-30: Shred Hard Back to School
Aug 31-Sept 2: Peaks Pedal Fest

Kelly Funk photo.

September at Sun Peaks Resort

The fun in Sun Peaks continues into September and this year Sun Peaks has bonus weekends throughout the month, meaning the chairs will keep spinning for lift-access hiking and mountain biking every weekend. Here are the month's events by date:

Sept 2: Lift and a Lager
Sept 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-29: Bonus chairlift weekends
Sept 8: The North Face Dirty Feet Mountain Run
Sept 28: Fall Festival
Sept 28: Sun Peaks Cider Fest

For more information, visit



The North Face Introduces "Walls Are Meant For Climbing" Campaign

The North Face has teamed up with global gyms to celebrate Global Climbing Day on August 24 as part of "Walls Are Meant For Climbing."

California-based outdoor recreation product company The North Face has partnered with climbing gyms around the world to celebrate Global Climbing Day on August 24. In a recent statement the company said, "Since 1966, we have viewed walls not as obstacles, but as opportunities. From the big walls of Yosemite to the high peaks of the Himalayas, we were searching for a personal kind of freedom. In this pursuit, we found a community – strengthened by different stories, experiences and perspectives. This community has shown us that the only way forward is together. We believe in a world that is united by difference, bound by empathy and strengthened by understanding." The overall intent of the day's campaign is to provide inclusive climbing opportunities and lower barriers to entry.

Every affiliated gyms will offer a unique experience to climbers on that day, from barbecues and DJs to competitions and prizes. In Canada there are 15 gyms participating including Project Climbing Centre in Vancouver and the Calgary Climbing Centre in Alberta.

Other gyms in the Pacific Northwest that are participating include:

Washington State

Everrett Summit
Bainbridge Island Rock Gym
Lacey Cirque Climbing
Seattle Momentum Indoor Climbing
Spokane Wild Walls Climbing Gym


Bend Rock Gym
Planet Granite in Portland
Portland Rock Gym
The Circuit Bouldering Gym in Portland


Garden City Asana Climbing Gym


Great Falls The Hi-Line Climbing Center

For more about Global Climbing Day and to sign up for events at particpiating gyms, visit:

Where Does The Word "Dirtbag" Come From Anyway?

In an ode to the unkempt and disdained, writer Steve Threndyle dives into one of the most commonly used descriptives in mountain circles. We suggest you read this, dirtbags.

“Threndyle, you ol’ dirtbag, how ya doing?” This is the standard greeting Ean Jackson regales me with when he pops up in my caller ID. Jackson, the nefarious North Vancouver ultrarunner behind the wildly anarchistic Bagger Challenge peak-bagging event, is a good dude. Doesn’t take things seriously. So, why am I rankled when he calls me a dirtbag, a term he’s more than happy to be labelled with?

Perhaps it’s the Google definition of, “A very unkempt or unpleasant person.” Unkempt, maybe. But unpleasant? In mountain culture, dirtbags—while not always contenders to date your sister—are always worthy of the same respect as anyone else. One of the toughest skiers I know of on the Coast Range camped in the bush at UBC while completing a doctorate. Some dirtbags I’ve met are rather tiresome, especially once they drone on about obscure land-use access issues.

More recently, climber, podcaster, and parent Fitz Cahall has given voice to the itinerant iconoclasts of the climbing world through his Dirtbag Diaries podcast. He says, “In the beginning, dirtbags were definitely on the fringe and likely had some unsavoury habits, like stealing food off tourist’s plates or dumpster diving. But as I’ve seen the outdoor community grow, I feel like there’s a lot more room, more space, for what it means to people. Which to me is about setting my life’s priorities and do[ing] things that I really care about. And of course, the world is so much smaller thanks to inexpensive travel and social media that, like many things, its meaning has mutated over time.”

The first media reference to the word dirtbag is from the mid-1970s, when actress Claudine Longet was on trial for the murder of Spider Sabich in Aspen, Colorado. A handsome (definitely not unkempt) professional ski racer, Sabich was a big star on the fledgling world professional skiing circuit. He pulled in over $200,000 a year and hung around with Aspen’s beautiful ruling class. As reported in the Mansfield News-Journal, Sabich frequently told friends, “I’m just a dirtbag. Who am I trying to fool?” Longet abhorred the term.

One day, Sabich was showering at Longet’s opulent mansion—dirtbags need showers too—when a gun went off in the bathroom, killing him instantly. A distraught Longet called the Aspen cops. She maintained it was an accident. I have my own theory: they got into an argument and Sabich called her a dirtbag, so she shot him.

In Valley Uprising, a documentary about the early days of Yosemite rock climbing, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard gleefully says, “of course, we were all dirtbags,” referring to a band of pioneering rock climbers in the Yosemite Valley in the early 1960s. Yet there’s scant evidence that they used the actual term. “There’s a guy named Mikey Schaefer,” says Chouinard, “a climber who has been in the valley for so long that he’s known as the unofficial mayor of Yosemite. He would never refer to himself as a dirtbag.”

The death knell for a phrase or slogan (think extreme in the 1990s) takes place when someone tries to make money from it. Last summer, I spied a sweet Prana organic cotton T-shirt in khaki green at Mountain Equipment Coop in North Vancouver. The first shock came when I flipped it around to find the slogan, “Embrace your inner dirtbag.” The second shock was that it cost $45. I reflexively flinched, as if I’d just found a mouldy sandwich in the bottom of my backpack.

The first media reference to the word dirtbag is from the mid-1970s, when actress Claudine Longet was on trial for the murder of Spider Sabich in Aspen, Colorado

A couple of months later, I attended a nicely catered fundraiser in Whistler, British Columbia, for the Spearhead Huts project. A friend asked me if I was staying in town for the night, and I said, “Naw, I’m heading back to the city.” He glanced over at the buffet table, where slabs of perfectly sliced roast beef lay uneaten. “You should grab a snack for the ride home or for lunch tomorrow,” he said. “What,” I laughed. “Do I look like some kind of dirtbag?”

I sidled over and chatted briefly with the chef who had carved the meat. “Go ahead, take whatever you want. Here, I can get you a container.”

My friend was grinning as I returned. I had to think fast. “Don’t worry,” I told him. “True dirtbags don’t ask. They just take.” And it definitely doesn’t count if Jackson didn’t see it.

Winterland Film Trailer by Teton Gravity Research Drops Today

The trailer drops today for the new ski movie Winterland by Teton Gravity Research, which celebrates ski and snowboard culture around the world.

Teton Gravity Research has dropped the trailer to its annual ski and snowboard film today. Called "Winterland," the movie is the 24th film by the award-winning production company and it will make its world premiere on September 14 in Teton Village, Wyoming, followed by an international tour.

At its core, "Winterland" is a celebration of ski and snowboard culture and TGR filmmakers collaborated with 23 of the world’s most accomplished freeskiers and snowboarders to make the film, showcasing some of the most thrilling and extreme footage captured by the company in its 22 years of production.

The film also celebrates the athletes’ connection to the roots of skiing and snowboarding, while showcasing the pure joy and adventure associated with these sports. By exploring the history, places, and people in the world of skiing and snowboarding, filmgoers will learn how intimately connected the athletes are with those who came before.

In the above photo we see skier Griffin Post at Jackson Hole and in the top photo is Kai Jones. Both pics by Nic Alegre.

“I think everyone can relate to 'Winterland' because even though it’s not one specific place, it’s more of a state of mind,” said Jon Klaczkiewicz, the head of production at TGR. “Beyond showcasing the incredible action our athletes continue to astound us with, "Winterland" really embodies the magic that all skiers and snowboarders feel when they find themselves in the right place at the right time when everything comes together. The experience is shaped by the lore and legends of a place, fleeting moments of epic conditions, and the unique style of the individual. Really excited to share this one!”

The TGR production crew filmed athletes in seven different international locations during the making of "Winterland" including segments on the remote Lofoten Islands in Norway as well as deep in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska. The film also visits some of the world’s most breathtaking and challenging terrain in Austria, British Columbia and Jackson Hole, Wyo., showcasing elite athletes as they leave their own mark on these fabled locations and chase the ghosts of the greats who came before them.

Fjällräven & the ACC Vancouver Present the Crown Mountain Tour

Fjällräven has teamed with with the Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver to present the Crown Mountain Tour hiking event.

Fjällräven has teamed up with the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) to bring you the Crown Mountain Tour, a one-day hike that makes the most of the surrounding landscape overlooking Vancouver, British Columbia. Participants will learn about trail navigation, day-hike packing essentials, "Leave No Trace" principles and practices, and mountain safety.

A chain over some steep rock, used to climb down into Crown Pass. Vancouver Trails photo.

The Crown Mountain Tour is 7-8 hour hike round-trip with an elevation gain of 385 meters. Hikers will start from Grouse Mountain and work up the mountain passing Thunder Bird Ridge, Goat Mountain and finally arriving at Crown Mountain to soak up the views. Route descriptions can be found on the Vancouver Trails website.

The Hike

The Crown Mountain Tour is 9.8-kilometres long with an altitude gain of approximately 385 metres. The trail is well maintained and well marked, however there will be sections of loose rock, some scrambling and using chains and holds to ascend. All participants must be confident in their abilities to handle this type of terrain. Participants are strongly encouraged to have recently done a hike of 5-8 hours and consider themselves an intermediate level hiker. This hike demands a high level of fitness, endurance, and a strong mindset. Something to note: participants will not be "guided" – all hikers will make decisions together and share their knowledge with the group. Hike duration will be around 6-8 hours.

The Details

In correlation with the hiking event Fjällräven will also be hosting an information night in the Vancouver store on Thursday August 15, which is mandatory if you are attending the hike. This will be an info session to introduce participants and staff, as well as go over the trip route, timeline, and food as well as mountain safety and and "Leave No Trace" principles. You must be available to attend the info session in order to participate in the hike. There will also be some guest speakers from the ACC and Restore Human. And once all the talking is done and dusted there will be a free entry raffle with some prizes to be won along with food and refreshments throughout the evening.

Saturday August 24th (Hike Day):

  • 7:30am - 8:00am: Meeting at Fjällräven for fresh roasted coffee supplied by @Modus (147 West Boradway)
  • 8:00am – 8:30am: Transportation will arrive and take us to Grouse Mountain
  • 8:30 – 9:00am: We take the gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain, this is where we start our Hike
  • 5:00pm – 6:00pm: All going smooth we will have completed the hike by 5:00/6:00pm and be transported back to the morning meeting location (Fjällräven 147 West Broadway)

Transportation will be provided to and from the hike on Saturday, leaving from Fjällräven on Broadway at 8:00am. Gondola cost included in the ticket price!

Recommended Gear

Hiking boots, wool or polyester-blend shirt, rain jacket, insulating layer, headlamp, compass, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, knife, first aid kit, fire starter (matches or lighter), extra layers (toque, gloves etc if it's going to be cold), 20-30L backpack, a packed lunch and plenty of water. Also to consider: electrolyte salts, hiking poles, sugary snacks for extra energy.

With advice and guidance from our ACC alpine experts, hikers will leave the day with a full toolbox of backcountry skills to help them on their next adventure. Hikers will also have access to an exclusive in-store discount on Fjällräven gear and apparel to prepare for the day on the trail.

To register for this event, visit the Eventbrite page.

How To Become a Fly-Fishing Influencer: April Vokey

Empowerment and steelhead on the Bulkley River. Fly-fishing guide April Vokey casts away. By Amanda Follett Hosgood.

April Vokey is knee-deep in the Bulkley River. She casts her rod effortlessly as the late-day sun casts its sepia tones down the river. Her daughter, 10-month-old Adelaide, naps in her backpack, oblivious to the fishing line as it encircles them. We’re a few hundred metres upstream of what Vokey fondly refers to as “camp.” It’s 20 acres of off-grid riverfront property 15 minutes from Smithers, British Columbia, that boasts a 300-square-foot sleeping cabin, a shipping-container-turned-bathhouse, and an outdoor kitchen where Vokey cooks over an open fire. “I don’t want to feel trapped,” she says. “That’s kind of my thing.”

Above: An avid fly tyer, Vokey puts the final touch on a tube fly destined for Skeena River steelhead. Top: April on the Bulkley River. Both photos by Jeremy Koreski.

Vokey has successfully built a career around her aversion to confinement. She escaped her urban upbringing to fish the rivers of the Lower Mainland, and by 19, she was teaching herself the fine art of fly fishing while working for gear at a local tackle shop. She began guiding at 21 and started her business, Fly Gal Inc., in 2007 as an umbrella organization that also included repping gear, teaching, working as a sponsored fisher, and giving talks.

It was the dawn of social media, and Vokey, as a young, female fly-fishing guide, was building a substantial online fan base. At the time, she was a rare species: one of the few females fishing in the Fraser Valley. When she started guiding in 2005, you could count on one hand the number of female fishing guides across the province. While attitudes toward women on the river have improved over the past decade, she remembers it as “a confusing time,” as she struggled to find her footing in the male-dominated sport.

But in her early 20s, she connected with a posse of women fishing the rivers of northern British Columbia and then moved to the north in pursuit of her true love: the catch-and-release steelhead that haunt these waters. “That was one of the most empowering times in my life,” she says.

After nearly two decades in the industry, Vokey has amassed vast experience. Her enthusiasm for life and the outdoors is as contagious as it is magnetic. In 2015, she launched her podcast, Anchored with April Vokey. It was a game changer. “I was no longer being seen. I was being heard,” she says. The platform gave her a voice to bring awareness to the social issues that matter to her, the most important of which is conserving these sparkling waters for her daughter to enjoy.

On Anchored, she commiserates with fellow female fishers about being ignored in fishing shops in favour of men, but she can also denude Donald Trump Jr. of his edginess. In an interview with America’s first son, she coaxes out a giddy schoolboy anxious to talk about his love of fishing. “If someone could’ve told me I would end up where I am today, I would’ve thought I was dreaming,” she says.

But her visibility also made her vulnerable. Unknown men could discover her on social media and then hire her to guide them on remote rivers. “People knew who I was, they wanted to hang out with me, and I’m not going to background check everyone,” she says, remembering some sketchy situations with clients. “In my head, it was just a matter of time.” She officially gave up her guiding licence after meeting her Australian husband, Charles, at a fishing lodge in Norway five years ago. British Columbia’s regulations prevent guides from fishing recreationally with non-residents, and it was putting a crimp in their blossoming romance. She continued teaching workshops and developing her online presence until last year, when, just before her daughter was born, she landed a full-time job producing web content for MeatEater, Inc., a Montana-based outdoor lifestyle company.

Vokey and famous rod maker Bob Clay during Vokey's Anchored podcast. Photo by Tracy Moore.

Today, Vokey describes herself as a “summer chaser,” splitting her time between the posh Sydney suburb of Manly Beach, Australia, and her camp in northern British Columbia. She returns to Canada in June and leaves in the fall, when the fishing slows down in the Skeena Watershed. She spent much of this summer alone with Adelaide, fishing the river and hunting for grouse on the property. Working for MeatEater has simplified life and, with posts like “What I’ve Learned Fly Fishing with a Baby,” allowed her to blend her work with parenting. Vokey says little has changed with motherhood. While her adventures have become more constrained and she now works them around naptimes, she’s teaching her daughter to love the outdoors. It sparks in her a renewed drive to fight for the environment. “I feel even more responsible now to keep it so that she has fisheries waiting for her when she gets older,” she says. “I’m terrified that I’m going to raise this girl to love and appreciate the outdoors and she’s going to turn 25 and it won’t be there.”

With anything involving parenting, there will always be differences of opinion. Online trolls, seeing photos of her fishing with Adelaide on her back, have suggested child services take her daughter away. “People love to mommy shame that I take my baby fishing,” she says. “But she loves it. I am more comfortable up to here,” she karate chops her shin just below the knee, “in water than I am driving in a city. I trip on curbs more than I trip on rocks.”

Back in the Bulkley, a tributary of the Skeena, impressive, hard-fighting steelhead continue to beckon Vokey. Yesterday, Charles caught five at this fishing hole near their home. Today, Vokey says she’s happy to head home after catching one. The river levels are at an all-time historic low, and “it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.”

Vokey’s fishing career has taken her all over the world. She could work from anywhere. Why does she choose to call this remote river home? As if in answer to the question, her reel begins a high-pitched whine. “Because of this!” she laughs as she fights the fish on the end of her line. The impressive bull trout flashes gold in the late-day sun, and she asks me to shoot video as she gently removes the barbless hook.

Amanda Follett Hosgood writes from her straw-bale home in Smithers, British Columbia. Her current save-the-world project is raising a strong-willed four-year-old to love the earth and fight the patriarchy.