Women of the Mountains

The idea of transitioning out of one area – especially one that has brought success – and into another can be a scary thing, but it is clear Meghann O’Brien has been graceful in doing so.

Growing up on a family farm in Alberta to being a part of an exciting and unusual Winter Olympic sport.

Sharon Wood reached the peak of Mount Everest on May 6, 1986, as part of a team of dedicated mountaineers. As she reached the peak she became the first North American woman to do so, and the team she was part of was also the first one to travel successfully up the west ridge and north face of Everest.

Hailing from a small fishing village in Nova Scotia, having spent years travelling the world hitting massive half pipes, Alex decided earlier this year to resign from the National Team and is deciding what life will bring next.

Taking a leap of faith in 2010 by quitting her job working in the environmental non-profit sector to become a freelance videographer.

As we head into mountain-bike season and Fernie trails fill with riders, many people are feeling excited about the sport, whether longtime riders or brand new. Whistler-based mountain biker Claire Buchar is a great example of someone with pure love and inextinguishable passion for mountain biking.

Alpine guide Sarah Hueniken has had an impressive career in the mountains, but this past January she accomplished something especially exciting: completing the first ever successful ice climb up Niagara Falls, along with Will Gadd. On January 27, the two adventurers climbed up a 9-metre-wide strip of frozen spray up the left side of Horseshoe Falls, the biggest and most powerful section of Niagara Falls. Getting permission for this feat took the team many months of planning and efforts with the NY Parks Service, and the result was a historic and visually stunning first ascent.

Documentary work engages us on specific topics, often propelled by a compelling and true story. The ability for documentary film and photography to create empathy in the viewer is one of the most powerful things about these forms of visual storytelling. Viewing documentary work can create empathy about the lives of others and the issues that they are experiencing, even if the viewer was previously completely uninformed about them.

It’s easy to care about the environment when you feel connected to it on a daily basis. Spending time in the mountains or even just appreciating their immensity can create huge respect for them, especially when they are in your backyard. Environmental activist David Suzuki taps into this in the recently released, The Little Things Movie, saying that, “you only fight to protect something you love.”

Living at the feet of big mountains means that skiing, snowboarding, and biking are unquestionably part of Fernie life. Lots of people here couldn’t imagine what it would be like without those activities that represent a major part of mountain culture. A lot of family bonding time and friendships form through going for a ride or a killer powder day. Being told you were no longer allowed to strap your skis on or go for a bike ride would probably result in some pretty angry Fernie folks.