Shifting winds shake coloured leaves from their summer homes and scatter them across the ground. A changing of the guard; an ushering in of a new season begins again. A time for exploration, happiness, and shared passions. The mountains are calling, and through their distinct song they reach out to every person with the right kind of ears to listen and move toward them. Winter is on our doorstep, and it’s time to return to the cold smoke mountains. The winds get colder and bite at your nose a little more each day; the feeling of the air tightens and heeds signs of beauty in the changing seasons. Winter in the Kootenays is a truly beautiful thing.
I have called Nelson my home for eight years, and am still in awe of the changing seasons and the surrounding landscape. Adventure brought me here, and it is adventure that keeps me here. Adventure in the mountains. An escape to refill your mind and body with an unknown, but very real, the energy that unites those that share it and challenges those who seek its bounty. The thrill of the climb, the ascent, the descent. Every human-powered stride on the snowy surface is a stroke on the canvas; every high speed carves a stroke of the pen in a storybook being constantly written, day after day and year after year. The mountains offer gifts to those who can make these stories and craft these paintings. Gifts unlike any other gift that could be physically given, but gifts that are crafted inside the seeker themselves. There is a calling, a calling not heard by everyone, which echos through the mountain valleys from peak to creek and lures those who truly wish to ignite their passions and share their gifts with the mountains themselves. Winter is coming, are you ready?
Only our senses can truly define the shift in time and winter preparation. The cold air, the shuffling of morning jackets and snow pants, the clicking of Tupperware lids containing the days mountaintop feast, the sweet smell of fruity smoke coming from the wax-room, the two-stroke heating up at the base of an endless possibility of trails, the high fives in lift lines, the first sip of thermos coffee in the Whitewater Parking lot, the first carve of the season, the first cliff drop, the beep of the season's pass. All our senses come together to create the things we love, and allow us to truly love the things we create.
The world's only constant changes and that change is something that has affected everyone in the last 8-9 months. While the struggle continues, the need for outdoor exploration is a welcome feeling, along with it a yearning to feel the winter winds of adventure. Coming together as a community to face a shared challenge is more important now than ever, and the feeling of that positive battle is felt in every person doing their part. Knowing what has to be done and doing it for the betterment of everyone is as noble as comes. We will all be dealing with changes that affect all these things we love. Necessary choices, that are a pain to make, exist only for the health and happiness of all of us. We are getting through this, we have each other and have never been alone even in the most solo of moments.
So I hereby ring the bells of change and beckon the annual changing of the guard. Away with the bikes and bring out the boards, the skis, the toques, and jackets. Bring on the early morning ascents through knee-deep cold smoke, the first chairs, and the last calls, and may the peaks and valleys offer you the gifts you seek.
Winter is coming, can you feel it?
- Nick “Solid” Christian