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Giving Voice to Mountain Culture

The most tangible souvenir of the season might be a gift that's completely invisible - a story

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In Storm Cycle, California-based ski-gear designer, Ron Shevock pedals his way though knee reconstruction rehab and nurses a broken heart.

This morning's rain falls like fists.

Lefts. Rights.

Jabs.

Liquid hammers beating a drunken march on my eardrums.

Uppercuts.

Hooks.

I duck and weave, back into a bruised corner, and dive under the sheets.

Aspect is not just creating a forum for writers to expose their work, but a place to dig deeper into the essence of mountain culture.

One-time Whistler lad, Mitchell Scott, Editor-at-Large to Powder and Bike magazines, edits what may be B.C.’s sacred text of the mountain vibe, Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine. Scott was an early contributor to Aspect. "Any venue for people expressing themselves is positive. What Kris is trying to do and what we’re trying to do with KMC is to articulate the voice of mountain culture."

Scott sees that voice right now as confused, as the culture evolves into something more than just lifestyle, more than just a season of ski-bumming before returning to the real world, more than just a second home and a fantasy to dabble in.

"There’s a whole massive spiritual side of things," says Scott, citing Ptor Spriceniks as emblematic of someone who understands the essence of being a mountain person. "A lot of people are looking for that and it could take them a lifetime to see it."

Scott, who grew up skiing Blackcomb, took a long time to come to terms with his own spiritual self. "I called myself an atheist at school. It was really about being anti-establishment, but it took me a while to realize I do believe in something. Being outside with my friends. Watching the weather patterns. If I’d been able to read some of this sort of stuff earlier, I might have worked it out more quickly."

In a recent piece in Adbusters, David Nicholson-Lord writes of the newly coined "nature-deficit disorder." Up to 93 per cent of Westerners’ lives are now lived indoors. 99 per cent of Americans spend less than one day in a lifetime in conscious sensory contact with nature. As a species, our disconnect with the natural world is getting wider and wider.

No wonder coming to the mountains blows people’s minds.

Nicholson-Lord argues, "We need to reconnect with nature before it connects, terminally, with us. Get a relationship going with a tree. Watch a pile of leaves when the winter wind hits it. Drink fresh snow."

Our reaction when we experience something deep, that moves us, that gives us those glimpses and flashes of insight into something bigger, is to hold on to those moments. To make them tangible in some way. For the tourist, watching the hours of their holiday tick away, this desire turns into shopping sprees for everything from souvenir T-shirts to time-share.