I am captivated by color; the way it shifts and shimmers, changing based on time, temperature and light. No great surprise then that when the latest issue of Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine, aptly dubbed The Colour Issue arrived, I was drawn like a moth to the flame. Leafing through it’s weighty, matte finish pages, I was pleasantly surprised to find a six-pack of pages detailing authentic Cascadian love.
Written by Washington based mountain man and freelance writer Dan Kostrewski, a talented, passionate individual who holds a strong connection with the Cascades and its unique mountain culture, An Evergreen State of Mind resonates the heartstrings of mountain folk across our diverse state. His quiet, humorous, and thoughtful demeanor and writing style underscore the respect he takes to both his work and the subjects.
In An Evergreen State of Mind, Dan has captured common colors, those threads of similarity that draw Greenwater, Glacier, and Der-Town (our affectionate local name for Leavenworth) together, while preserving the disparate unique elements that define each microculture. As with the Cascades themselves, each of these cultures have their own cast and characters. After absorbing the pages of this winter’s KMC Mag, I’m sure the Canadian Rockies are no different.
The sibling-like relationship of Kootenay, Selkirk, and Tangier ranges must each possess their disparate yet similar sense of community- passing through, storms, seasons, snowfalls; each with their own components of experience that in the aggregate, create a portrait of the range itself. Similarly, the Cascades are a patchwork of history, geographic separation, and natural significance.
Separated generally in to North, Central and South, their geologic presence has rent the social, cultural, and economic fabric of WA State in two. Our identity as Washingtonians is vastly different east to west, and flowing north to south the Cascade’s mélange of indelible granite and Swauk sandstone, propagated and pockmarked by volcanic intrusion serve to preserve and erode these senses of geographic self.
Much like the cover of this month issue, stories by region in WA State can each be broken in to their component pieces, extrapolated upon different lines, and mashed together upon common and dissimilar themes to create an ending image that is greater than the sum of its component parts. No matter how great our effort to tell that story, the deceptively simple but infinitely more complex nature of our mountains themselves dictate that we must invariably focus our energies on upon elements bookmarked at a point in time.
To me, what KMC has accomplished and what has been nailed in other recent projects from the Kootenays, namely the recently released Lifecycles (http://www.lifecyclesfilm.com), is the importance of that overarching X Factor – Time.
By bookmarking culture in different places, moments, and communities along this relentless march forward, the members of this uniquely creative community are manifest the mountain equivalent of a mathematical derivative- an instantaneous course and speed of our culture. Its up to us as the consumers to internalize this, to ask ourselves the question “are we proud of what we are and what we’re becoming?”
I personally take heart in the direction portions of our industry are heading. In an ideal circumstance, we would leave those days of “get the latest and greatest” behind and focusing on the underlying connections. Publications like KMC, articles like Matt Hansen’s “The Death of McSkiing” and the incontrovertible “All. I. Can” are setting a new heading, opening eyes and raising valuable questions.
I’ve read every page of the Colour Issue. Beyond praise for Dan’s “An Evergreen State of Mind,” I thoroughly enjoyed the respect and perspective in “Silver Surfers,” the questions posed in Malcom Sangster’s piece, and rounded reporting in “Retallack Rush.” Each individually merits a pause of thought, and when taken together serves as a thought provoking body of work, worthy of any mountain enthusiasts time, resources, and subscription.
What’s more, if you’re lucky enough to live in the Kootenay region, this beautiful piece of literature is free. Because Mitchell Scott, Editor of KMC Mag is absolutely right- at the end of the day, its not about who’s paying the bill, it’s about these monuments to geologic time, our lives and experiences flowing around and through them. In his closing of “Retallack Rush” Mitch nails the ever elusive “why” in the context of the Red Bull Cold Rush:
“Sure, at the end of the day it might just be the super-savvy marketing and money of a massive energy drink company. But the actual execution is much more than that. Because money, my friends, doesn’t buy Karl the Gnarl. He only deals in shredding unification radness. And that shit aint cheap.”
KMC hits this nail on the head. To find where you can get a copy, check out their site: http://www.kmcmag.com/
Director of Marketing Service at Stevens Pass, Cascadian Creature, and purveyor of respect for work well done.