The rock faces of the Valhalla mountain range catch the sun’s light as it works through its daily rotation, reflecting their namesake’s godly description. If you’re not familiar with Norse pagan beliefs, Valhalla is the fortress of Odin — one of the primary Scandinavian gods from ancient times — where the souls of brave warriors live on...
This is the story of a Kootenay family’s hand-built labour of love and the injection of Norse mythology that lives on in their ski adventures.
What’s hot this winter?
If you consider yourself to be a trend-follower, you already have a good idea of what’s in for the upcoming winter season. If not, let’s get you clued in.
Here are three ways to keep up with the times, Kootenay style.
Crowded slopes and man-made snow aren’t what you’re after — let the tourists have at ‘em. You’re hungry for sky-born snowfall, mother nature’s terrain, and somewhere that you can have both seemingly to yourself.
Welcome to The Powder Highway.
In the same way that we humans have to prepare for winter adventure in the outdoors, dogs benefit from cold-weather preparations. Without proper care, paws can crack, dehydration can set in, or the cold could overcome your little buddy.
Here's how to keep them happy on the winter trails.
There are stories to tell in every region — stories of explorers or founders or characters that helped shape the landscape of current culture. Though these legends occasionally grow to fame beyond their respective regions, more often than not, their stories are held in local knowledge, kept alive through the generations using storytelling.
The Kootenay region — in its own right a present-day wilderness frontier — is still being shaped by mascots and legends in the making. From time immemorial to as recent as the 20th century, these are a few of the legends that shaped our culture.
The sun isn’t up yet, but you are. With all the vistas and adventures you want to see and do while on this Kootenay BC road trip, you aren’t willing to let even a few minutes escape unused by sleeping in. As the giant star in the sky finally sheds a tinge of light on the morning hours, you put your keys in the ignition; you’re ahead of schedule and ready to start your adventure.
“But first,” as they say, “coffee.”
Here's where to get it.
Alpine. Forests. Or even that ever-popular “deserted island”: Whatever the territory, you just passed through the unimaginable — a multi-day backcountry emergency — unscathed. You can chalk it up to one primary reason: your survival pack.
Here's what's in it.
People are drawn to the Kootenays because of the beauty, but they return (time and time) again because of the culture.
I’m not talking about culture as in dining, museums, art galleries and theatre — though for the population size of the Kootenays, there aren’t many regions in Canada that can compete.
The culture I’m referring to is directly tied to the people: a laid-back, make-yourself-at-home, never-take-ourselves-too-seriously culture.
You dream of those perfect campfires you see on Instagram. You know the kind: Campmates gathered ‘round a bright blaze, cradling hipster tin mugs filled with cider and cocoa, heads thrown back in laughter. The fire’s warm glow lights the scene.
You must recreate this setting. It’s your social media duty.
So, with blazing expectations of greatness, out to the fire ring you go, armed with a full box of matches and tinder. But strike after strike, each match fizzles.
Make room in your pack for these household items and turn your legacy as a fire disaster into fire master.
Water holds mystery. It’s not a terrain feature humans can easily explore and, being that humans are curious by nature, we want to get closer and understand it. But unless you’re a long-distance swimmer or enjoy getting sucked into rapids, to get into the midst of this element and navigate it for any extended period of time, you need a vessel.
Luckily, our ancestors paved the way for us. We’ve turned their utilitarian need for paddling into a modern-day recreational passion. Here in the Kootenays, we’ve got plenty of places to satisfy — or spark — that passion.
The open road is calling to you and, being the adventure-lover you are, you’re all set to lay down tracks in British Columbia. You might be traversing the province from Calgary to Vancouver or focusing on the Kootenays; either way, you’re headed into big country and you’ll need a place (or 25, in this case) to stretch the legs.
In addition to our wineries, hot springs, and breweries, the Kootenays have plenty to pull over for.
The early winter sun casts a warm hue over the Selkirks in front of me. I sit, thermos of hot apple cider resting on my knee, watching as the snow-ladened scene transitions from gold to rose to a purple-blue tinge. The last is a signal that it’s time to step back into my skis and make the short trek to my car, pulled off the side of Giveout Creek Forest Service Road.
It’s just that in this solo moment, I’m finding it hard to rip myself away.
You can chalk it all up to Instagram.
I was on a road trip with my Florida mother; it was her second visit to British Columbia and her first to its Pacific coast. Traveling across the province, I couldn’t contain my excitement for the beauty of what she was about to see, especially when it came to the Coast Range.
"I made it on the ferry and put my car in park, rolled down the windows and ticked down the minutes of the crossing: 35 to go. I felt guilty for not thinking to bring my computer so I could get a head start on writing or work on photos that were sitting untouched on my hard drive.
Pressed to be productive, my fingers flipped through notifications on my phone. When a fading cell signal kept me from replying, I gave up.
That’s when I noticed the breeze coming off Kootenay Lake. I observed the difference in temperature from the sun—just warm enough—and the wind that bordered on being chilled. A few degrees cooler, I thought, and I’d need a jacket.
This last thought surprised me: When was the last time I noticed something so minute as the perfect balance of temperatures?"
This is a piece about coming face-to-face with being un-busy.
Everyone knows where to get a rush during our Kootenay winters; our mountains are famous for skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. But our region doesn’t slow-down in the summer. Snowy skies turn to sun, frozen water melts into rapids, and white pow turns to “brown pow”. This all comes together into a playground for off-roading, water sports, and taking flight through the skies.