Dawn Green – Writer

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The backcountry beckons

Photo creditTucker Sherman

Photo credit: Tucker Sherman, Flickr

I am at a loss for words. This is how I feel, faced with the daunting task of attempting to describe what lies before me, as I peer out from the top of Whistler Mountain into the vast backcountry of Fitzsimmons Valley and beyond. The backcountry has this effect on people. It’s almost mystic in its strength, enticing you to explore, yet keeping its secrets close to its heart.

And so I turn to an expert for help with unravelling its spell. Keith Reid, a professional mountain guide with Extremely Canadian Backcountry Adventures and a twenty-year veteran of the mountains, describes how its aloneness is so appealing.

“The terrain here is big, breathtaking and world-class,” he explains. “On a given day of backcountry skiing, we might traverse half a dozen glaciers and numerous high alpine peaks without crossing the path of another skier.”

Guided tours are recommended in this out-of-bounds play area— and for good reason— whether your passion is ski touring, ice climbing, heli-skiing or splitboarding. Local guiding companies, such as Whistler Alpine Guides and Extremely Canadian, can show you secret stashes of powder and most importantly, safety. The backcountry is also avalanche country and it’s reassuring to have safety experts by your side while you explore.

And what’s the best thing of all? That it’s possible to spend epic days in the backcountry then snuggle up warm and cozy in a chalet in Whistler each night.

“What differentiates the Whistler backcountry is the ability to get on a lift from the Village in the morning, backcountry ski all day, then ski back into the resort at the end of the day,” says Reid. “There is nowhere else in North America where you can access this level of terrain on a daily basis without a helicopter.”

The backcountry changes people, he adds, and maybe this is its secret, revealed.

“We introduce them to an environment which, for many, is a ski of a lifetime. Seldom does a day go by that we don’t see that twinkle in our guests’ eyes that says they have been to a magic place and accomplished something very special.”

Find out more at www.whistler.com/activities/backcountry/

By Dawn Green

~This article was published in The Vancouver Sun and The Province on 3 May 2016:


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Ocean pollution – the monster that never sleeps

This guest post comes courtesy of Andrew Dilevics of Divein.com and reminds us of the worldwide problem of ocean pollution and how changes to our everyday lifestyle can indeed make an impact:

The ocean is one of the largest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet. It provides over 70% of the oxygen we breathe and covers 72% of the world’s surface. Without the ocean we would not be here today, it’s that simple.

However, everyday our oceans are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans, which is causing untold devastation. Not only is pollution affecting marine life and habitats, it is also affecting man.

There are a number of ways in which we can help lower the amount of pollution entering our oceans and bring them back from the brink of disaster. Reducing your carbon footprint is a good start; you can do this by reducing the amount of energy you use in your household. Turn off the lights when you are not in the room and leave your car at home and ride a bike to work.

Avoid buying plastics; plastics are one of the biggest factors in the pollution of our oceans and once you have finished with your plastic products, their end destination is usually the ocean. Use reusable bags when going to the supermarket and reusable water bottles. If you have to buy plastic products then make sure you recycle them.

Help to take care of the beach. If you enjoy swimming, surfing or just relaxing on the sand, make sure that you clean up after yourself. If you see others littering try to encourage them to protect our oceans and its wildlife.

If you would like to learn more about the oceans and how pollution can affect mankind, then take a look at the fascinating infographic below, created by the team at divein.com


How ocean pollution affects humans How ocean pollution affects humans – Graphic by the team at DIVE.in