6 New Pledges this week!

From stopping Nestle from using our fresh water to climbing sustainably and cleaning the forests, this week's pledges are awesome!
MAKE YOURS

 
ZOE LONGEWAY-LEWIS

ZOE LONGEWAY-LEWIS

FOREST FLOOR SWEEPER
Pledge: Pick up any garbage I see on the trails when hiking, biking, or snowshoeing and to pack it out so that I can recycle or dispose of it. 
Why?: It's crazy how many granola bar wrappers, ziploc bags, and beer cans you'll find left in the forest. Let's keep those outdoor spaces natural and free of our junk!

 
STEPH LAND

STEPH LAND

SAY NO TO NESTLE
Pledge: Stop buying Nestle water bottles and let people know about what they’re doing with our water!
Why?: The BC environment needs our help! By just taking 1 minute out of your day you can sign this petition to help stop Nestle from extracting millions of fresh water from our backyard for free. We need to keep our waters as clean and pure as possible without it being extracted into plastic which in turn creates pollution.  TOGETHER we can help make this happen and make a difference.
Link: action.sumofus.org/a/nestle-freeloading-off-BC/2/4/?sub=fb

 
CHELSEA WADDELL

CHELSEA WADDELL

LET'S GET THERE TOGETHER
Pledge: To carpool as much as possible, especially to the mountain and back. I will go out of my way to make sure that I have at least one other person in my car with me when I head up, or that I am in someone else's car with multiple people. I also pledge to start taking the bus to school and back and around town as much as possible. Public transportation is free for me as a student, so I might as well use it!
Why?: Because this is something I should have been doing for a long time now. It's fairly easy, and it just makes sense. If I can help the environment and have more fun on my drive by carpooling, why wouldn't I?

 
DALE COULOMBE

DALE COULOMBE

DECOMPOSITION, FILL EVERY POSITION!
Pledge: I pledge to put all un-eaten food and peelings in our compost pile in our farms garden to be used as fertilizer this coming spring. (Got the other 3 roommates involved as well!) And to also try to pack my vehicle with riders, filling every seat, every time I go to the local hill.
Why: The reason for this pledge is to try and reduce my carbon/waste foot print, and to inspire others to try and do some good for this planet we live on and enjoy so much every day!

 
KAZ YAMAMURA

KAZ YAMAMURA

REUSE MY CUP
Pledge: I pledge to bring my own cup/mug to coffee shop and have my drink poured in it, to reduce the use of paper cups.
Why?: Every day, millions of people flock to coffee shops in the morning, afternoon, and evening. By using our own reusable cup, we can drastically reduce the amount of cups that are used once, then thrown out to either be partially recycled or dumped at landfills. By taking small steps together, we can all make a big step and change the environment.

 
HEATHER LIGHTFOOT

HEATHER LIGHTFOOT

CLEANER CLIMBING
Pledge:  1. stay on trails 2. bike or bus to climbing gym 3. carpool when going on climbing trip 4. pack food in reusable containers 5. re-soul old climbing shoes over throwing them out  6. Re-use old climbing gear in other aspects of life, like camping  7. Invest in quality gear that will last longer  8. Attempt to buy climbing clothing and shoes second hand  9. Avoid anchors set up on trees or other vegetation  10.Chill out with the chalk
Why?: I love rock climbing and I love the planet. It's important to find a sustainable balance in the things you do!

7 more Pledges made this week!

From hiking mountains,visual art displays to changing banks, this weeks pledges are awesome!

Our Pledges and efforts will make a difference. CHECK THEM OUT

Please share these Pledges with your friends and families, and encourage them to make a Pledge for the change they want to see in the world.

 
HANNAH CAMPBELL

HANNAH CAMPBELL

ART AND ACTIVISM
Pledge: I pledge to use art as a form of activism. I will be making public art to share  humanitarian, social, and environmental subject.
Why: I am making this pledge to bring a visual reminder of important issues in to the public. I hope that by using public art the issues I will work with will reach people who might not usually be exposed to these issues. 

 
MARIE-FRANCE ROY

MARIE-FRANCE ROY

GREEN INVESTING
Pledge: To change where my funds were invested
Why: I started a small RRSP account many years ago after being told it was the smart thing to do for your future. It wasn't until a few years ago when I started wondering where my money was actually invested. They told me that most of my savings went into TransCanada Corp. as well as Enbridge Inc. and similar companies. I I had been supporting something I am totally against for so many years! I made sure to change where my funds were invested.

 
ERIC BEHN

ERIC BEHN

EARN MY TURNS
Pledge: Access 100% of any snowboarding beyond the chairlift by splitboard. Heli's, snowcats, and snowmobiles are contributing to climate change that is melting our snow. Lets all earn our turns and enjoy the beauty beyond the deep pow.
Why: There is enough carbon emissions being pushed out of our cars, planes and trains. I want to inspire more people to snowboard and to get out and enjoy nature.

 
SUZANNE FISHER

SUZANNE FISHER

SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVES
Pledge:
Share my research and educate others through Forever Shred, a personal blog on the use and alternatives of sustainable and low environmental impact processes in the snowboarding community.
Why: To bring awareness to environmentally friendly alternatives, highlight stewardship efforts, and encourage consumer education.

 
STEFAN GAGNIER RUCKERT

STEFAN GAGNIER RUCKERT

GREEN INVESTING
Pledge: To change where my funds were invested
Why: I started a small RRSP account many years ago after being told it was the smart thing to do for your future. It wasn't until a few years ago when I started wondering where my money was actually invested. They told me that most of my savings went into TransCanada Corp. as well as Enbridge Inc. and similar companies. I I had been supporting something I am totally against for so many years! I made sure to change where my funds were invested. 

 
ANDREW MATTHEWS

ANDREW MATTHEWS

BUYING ORGANIC AND LOCAL
Pledge: to buy organic and local vegetables as much as possible!
Why: By supporting organic food I will be eliminating pesticides that typically go into vegetables. These can toxic chemicals can affect the whole food chain and our water supply. Buying local reduces the carbon emissions used to transport food. That, and it just tastes better!

 
JEN MCGOLDRICK

JEN MCGOLDRICK

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
Pledge: I pledge to live by the Three "R's" and find ways to reduce my waste by refusing to buy things that I do not really need or that have excessive packaging. Instead opting to find sources that can be reused and recycled.
Why: Small Changes can make big impacts. By focusing on the little things we are really impacting a bigger pictures.

9 New Pledges this week! Up to 32 in total.

We have 9 new Pledge submissions this week bringing our grand total to 32 Pledges made since launching our new site a few weeks ago. The response and commitment from the community has been overwhelming.

Our Pledges and efforts will make a difference. CHECK THEM OUT

Please share these Pledges with your friends and families, and encourage them to make a Pledge for the change they want to see in the world.

 

New Pledges:

LANDON YEREX

LANDON YEREX

GETTING THRIFTY
Pledge: only buy used clothing
Why: with trends going in and out like a male porn star the amounts of perfectly good clothing getting tossed everyday is ridiculous. So take some time and sift through the rows, your bound to find a gem, and even if you don't, and the jeans fit a little baggy then you're just doing your part in the fight against vanity.

 
MIDORI CAMPOS

MIDORI CAMPOS

COMPOSTING TIME
Pledge: Our new landlords haven’t explicitly said no to a compost, so we say it’s time to go ahead and put one in!
Why: Composting diverts waste and avoids the production of methane and leachate formulation in landfills. It can also prevent pollutants in storm water from reaching surface water resources, reduce erosion and help regenerate poor soils. Ultimately, composting is just awesome!

 
LESLIE BROWN

LESLIE BROWN

ORGANIC, HIGH QUALITY MEAT
Pledge: I pledge to only eat meat produced in a sustainable way by consuming organic, high quality, hormone-free meat.
Why: The intensive animal farming industry is cruel to animals and it also produces low-quality, unethical meat on massive scales. I hope to contribute to proper treatment of animals and make a difference to the lives of organic meat farmers by making their practices more economically sustainable.

 
ERIK BECKS

ERIK BECKS

EDUCATE
Pledge: Why are lights on when I don't need them. What is a kilowatt/hour and how much do I pay for one. When does oil become gasoline. How does a fork go from being liquid magma to stainless steel on my dinner table. Where did that mango come from. If I respect how various forms of energy are consumed in my life, I will be able to educate those around me and make our world better for the generations to come.
Why: I want to be an educator.

 
BILL HAWLEY

BILL HAWLEY

ENVIRONMENTAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Pledge: bring a more carbon neutral approach to my photography work and do two photo projects per year to showcase the beauty that BC has to offer..
Why: I've always wanted to work in a way that sustains the environment. It's time for me to start bringing greater meaning to my art and using it for a greater cause.

 
JOEY MOORE

JOEY MOORE

E IS FOR.......
Pledge:  E is for Energy wherever i may be. I am pledging now to better my self, through exercise, meditation, self-expression, eating healthy and locally grown foods ....Sustainable future, now.
Why: we are at a exciting point in human existence, we literally have the reigns on our own future, if we decide to have one at all..it's up to us.. because; E is most definitely not for the Enbridge pipeline...

 
PAT KING

PAT KING

PUBLIC TRANSIT
Pledge: To use the subway/bus system/MTA as much as possible instead of opting for cabs
Why: I'm making this pledge to try and do my part for the climate. Not only do I love the winters but I know that the sea ice in the north is melting at an alarming rate and diminishing the polar bear's feeding window hugely each year.

 
DESIREE WALLACE

DESIREE WALLACE

TRASH TO TREASURE, BABY
Pledge: I'm going to embark on a zero waste lifestyle: a consumer free, waste free year.
Why: I want to go one step further and use common trash I'm surrounded by to make works of art - up cycling creativity. I see the possibility in the things we throw away everyday. "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

 
JOHN MUIRHEAD

JOHN MUIRHEAD

LEARN MORE FROM THE FIRST NATIONS
Pledge: Spend more time around First Nations communities, and try and learn more about how they lived sustainably in BC for tens of thousands of years before we were here.
Why: They have such a strong connection to the land, and realize how vital it is to our very existence. If our gov't respected momma earth like they do, dirty harmful projects wouldn't even be an option.

FRACKED TEA

This past Sunday started nice and early for some of the Beyond Boarding crew. Out of bed by 6:30, kettle on the stove by 7:00, serving free “Fracked Tea” by 7:30. First stop, the sea wall in West Vancouver to catch the early risers, then across the bridge en route for Downtown Vancouver to catch the daytime foot traffic.

“Fracked Tea? That sounds political” was the first reaction of the day. “Well, yes it is” we responded. The purpose of serving this tea was to start raising awareness about the BC provincial governments plans to fast track expansion of the LNG industry. This expansion is to create an export market, not to meet domestic energy needs.

Beyond Boarding just spent 8 months travelling around BC and Northern Alberta and saw first hand some of the negative affects fracking can have on land, air, water and communities. Now is the time to stand up and protect our planet, not to build an infrastructure that will drastically increase our provinces contribution to its destruction.

Filmers; Hannah Campbell & Tamo Campos
Organizers; Scott Knowles, Meggan Jacobson, Gillian Johnstone, Hannah Campbell, Tamo Campos
Contributors; Kindie Wolfe, John Muirhead, Jasper Snow Rosen and Carrisa Winter

“A road trip of different sorts”

Words By Tamo Campos

After two months of summer work to get out of Beyond Boarding debt, we’re back in Northern BC. 

Free from the grasps of summer jobs (tree planting and ice cream making), the boys make it to the Sacred

The first stop, Iskut, a town in which we didn’t meet a soul in the winter, has become a buzz. We’ve coincidentally timed being here with the Sacred Headwaters Music Festival and the one-year anniversary of Royal Dutch Shell pulling out of the Sacred Headwaters.

The Sacred headwater lies in Tahltan First Nation’s territory in North Western BC. It’s an area of vast wilderness and encompasses three of the largest undammed salmon bearing rivers in North America. 

Our grease bus got a lot of attention while the country music went steady for three days. All the dancing was merely a build up for what was to follow. We left the music festival to six and a half weeks in the heart of the Sacred Headwaters, camped out at the Tahltan protest camp named Beauty Camp.  A completely unplanned detour to the Northern BC project, yet one that had me reflecting on it as six of the most incredible weeks of my life.

The shred bus or ugh protest bus

The shred bus or ugh protest bus

The threat of Shell’s coal-bed-methane project left the headwaters last year and the BC government set up an oil and gas moratorium for the area, yet it was far from being protected. In fact, while our Liberal government used this moratorium as part of their green credentials during the spring election, they simultaneously fast tracked an open pit coal-mining project by Fortune Minerals. In the exact same area! The project would level the sacred mountain of Klappan and have an impact of roughly 40 square kilometres.

"Sacred Headwaters -  Site of Fortune Minerals Klappan Project"

"Sacred Headwaters -  Site of Fortune Minerals Klappan Project"

Frustrated by the inaction of our government and the company’s refusal to leave, the Tahltan set up a protest camp which ranged from 15 to 60 people at Beauty Camp. 

Fortune Mineral's Helicopter taking workers out from the first drill takeover

Fortune Mineral's Helicopter taking workers out from the first drill takeover

The six week protest, included giving the mining company an eviction notice, drumming every second day down at camp, taking over two of Fortune Minerals environmental assessment drills (that were leaking cuttings into fish bearing steams) and occupying the main camp to prevent their employees from working. 

The entire event was not without it’s share of controversial moments. For starters the town of Iskut has asked for a police detachment for over a decade with no results. Within 24 hours of the protest camp being set up, far from any detachments, a police force of 10 cops, helicopters and quads had set up camp.  For six weeks. Without a crime being committed, the cops escorted Fortune Minerals around, helicoptered in bottled water and build a log sauna during their (taxpayer) paid 6 week holiday. 

The famous Klappan Detachment

The famous Klappan Detachment

In the end, Fortune Minerals pulled out of Klappan Mountain before they had done their summer’s work.  A huge part of the victory coming from the company’s unwillingness to take the matter to court because of the aboriginal rights and titles the Tahltan have on their unceeded land. 

What struck me throughout the experience was the intergenerational dynamics of the camp. The camp consisted of all ages and people; kids, teachers, elders, drillers and band council members. Everyone understood what was at stake if the coal mine were to go through..

With huge short-term economic benefits offered at their doorstep the Tahltan refused to step down from protecting what they valued most; their traditions, their land and their water. It was a powerful message. To see first hand, people losing their jobs standing up to save the very ecology that support us on this planet. To have such warriors in our province, standing up for a sacred area was a lesson we can all learn from. 

As our time in the headwaters came to an end and we began to head into oil and gas country of Eastern BC, I’ve had a lot of time reflecting on my time in the headwaters. 

It’s hard not to see the common trends in the solutions we’ve come across this trip. Whether it’s off the grid-farms in Hazelton, local snowboarders foraging their own foods in Prince Rupert, a teacher taking their kids out on garbage clean ups in Kitimat or protests camps in the Sacred Headwaters, they all have a similarity.
They all consist of people who have broken away from the mainstream cultural habits that glorify greed and have become driven instead by compassion and a willingness to protect our water, air and land. They’re breaking the cultural norms and living in harmony with the natural world rather than exploiting it. 

As we cruise through Fort Nelson knowing the natural gas industry alone uses 11B L’s of fresh water a year I can’t help but smile, knowing that this isn’t the only way we have to be in BC

Tahltan standing tall for all of us

Tahltan standing tall for all of us

Fortune Mineral's Helicopter taking workers out from the first drill takeover

Fortune Mineral's Helicopter taking workers out from the first drill takeover

For our crew, taking over drills was a summer time rush that rivaled winter cliff jumps in the mountains. Yet that rush was such a small part of the experience at Beauty Camp. The hospitality the Tahltan showed us was like nothing I’d ever been a part of. From day one we were treated like family and fed like kings. Our only gift back was to film all the meetings and keep their website updated with photos, while the gifts they gave us were so much bigger. During the day, Tahltan locals Wayne and Peter would show us how to hunt and skin caribou, moose, groundhog and porcupine. They taught us how to respect the animal while skinning it and to share all the meat with everyone at camp. During the evenings everyone at camp would tell us stories by the fire and in the daytime we even got to play their traditional game of stick gambling. (A game that has been played for thousands of years)

 

Rhoda, Bertha and Caden, talking to CEO of Fortune Minerals Robin Goad at Klappan

Rhoda, Bertha and Caden, talking to CEO of Fortune Minerals Robin Goad at Klappan

Free from the grasps of summer jobs (tree planting and ice cream making), the boys make it to the Sacred

Free from the grasps of summer jobs (tree planting and ice cream making), the boys make it to the Sacred

Saving the Sacred

March 26th to April 25th
Words By Tamo Campos

 

Transient

For the first time this trip, the bus has been running without “major” problems.
We arrived in Ningunsaw Provincial Park (Just north of Bell II on highway 37 to the Yukon) and scored some of the best turns of the season. 4 straight days of face shots, backside attacks and blisters!

Transient


Our bus wasn’t alone at the parking lot; we toured daily with our new Quebec friends Mick and Katherine. They’re on a one-year sabbatical, living in a VW bus and riding over 70 days this past winter. They’re rad and we definitely had a great time kicking it. They told us about how public pressure created the moratorium on Fracking(extraction method of natural gas) in Quebec until further studies could be done on water use and contamination.

In BC we seem to be moving in the opposite direction with there being a huge push to create a natural gas export industry. This natural gas push seems to be met with open arms even though it would mean exponential growth of frack sites in Fort St. John and Fort Nelson and like Enbridge, would change our economy to one driven by exporting fossil fuels.

 

Transient

We wondered if the reason Enbridge has become so talked about here on the west coast is our ability to imagine what an oil spill would look like in our backyards; yet we receive this natural gas push without the same strong emotions because we can’t really connect to what it is like in Fort Nelson where rivers and lakes are being sucked dry.

A line we keep sticking too is “let’s use Northern Gateway as a gateway to talk about all this other crap!!!”

From Ningunsaw, we sent it up to Telegraph Creek(East of Dease Lake). It’s a breathtaking drive along the Stikine Canyon. Telegraph boomed as an entry point towards the Yukon Gold Rush. It’s now a ghost town filled with empty houses, tool sheds and churches. It gives you shivers thinking about how it would have been buzzing 100 years ago.

Transient


We then headed North towards the Sacred Headwaters. It’s the headwaters of the Stikine, Skeena and Naas, which are three of the largest non-dammed Salmon bearing rivers in North America.

As we split boarded through the snow towards the Spatzizzi plateau and my grandpa’s cabin on Ealue Lake, we passed all sorts of animal tracks– bear, moose and mountain goat, yet as beautiful as this area was we were saddened for what lies ahead for this area.

 

Transient

On our drive up to the Sacred we passed large burn piles that filled entire valleys with smoke. The fires were made up of giant piles of second and old growth trees being burnt to make way for the North West Transmission Line.

Transient

The transmission line was sold to Northern communities and BC taxpayers as a way of getting them off diesel yet this couldn’t be further from the truth. We talked to workers on the transmission line and they told us it’s purely for an onslaught of mines that are proposed in the headwaters and only made possibly by being subsidized by BC Hydro with the help of 1.8 million dollars from BC taxpayers.

 

Transient

One of those projects we saw first hand being prepared was the Red Chris Copper Mine on Todagin Mountain. As we toured across Ealue Lake, the views were breathtaking. We passed wolf tracks, mountain goat turds and grizzly markings on the trees, yet across from this Serengeti of wilderness the sights and sounds of this destructive project are being put in place. The plateau is called Todagin. It is home to the highest population of stone sheep in the world. It’s also where Imperial Metals has planned to put in an open pit copper mine. The project involves creating a tailing pond with over 1.8 million tonnes of toxic waste with no long term clean up plan!!! This is truly the most beautiful place I have been in Canada; to know that we are subsidizing its destruction through these transmission lines is heart breaking!

 

Transient

A local initiative (www.cleanmining.ca) has shown that an underground mining option could be profitable and possible for Mount Todagin. With most of the population in BC living in Vancouver, we need to realize how important it is to elect a government that will put in regulations and restrictions on the type of mining we do in BC.

 

Camping across from Imperial Metals Red Chris Mine.

Camping across from Imperial Metals Red Chris Mine.

On our way out of the Headwaters we learnt of the Thaltan elders blockades, which lasted over a year. It lead to the original moratorium on Fracking in the Sacred Headwaters. This story is remarkable, because at the ages of 60 to 70, they were willing to stand up for the future. We are always fed the line that the younger generation will be the ones who change this world. I am beginning to question that notion. The younger generation can bring the energy and imagination but it’s the older generations that are currently in positions of power to create change.

To hear of how the older generation played such a pivotal role in protecting the Headwaters from Fracking has many lessons for us. It showed us that without all ages getting involved, nothing will change.

 

As we’ve learnt this trip, the solutions are achievable. So like we said before let’s use Enbridge to talk about the roots of this environmental mess and create a plan to make positive changes.

Transient

Northern BC Journal Entry - Oyster harvesting to beach clean ups!

Before reading our newest Journal Entry take a look at a Fundraising Campaign we recently launched. In three days we’ve raised over $2000. Anythings helps and we would love if you could donate.. there is prizes..
Check it out here!

“Oyster harvesting, bus breakdowns, empty surf breaks, icy shred shoots and beach clean ups!”

March 3rd to March 13th
Words By Tamo Campos

The Northern BC Project is hitting full gear in the past few weeks. Our time in Quadra was gorgeous. We spent it skating at the local park while the bus was getting worked on. We harvested local oysters from right in front of the cabin. It was quite the feast and was followed by a breakfast of giant local free-range eggs! Our meals really had us thinking about how we live at a time where people go to the grocery store to buy food based on price and taste when knowing where and whom your food comes from is as important. Among other pledges our riders are partaking on this trip we decided to make a point to eat local wherever possible.

 

“Finding the local goods..Quadra Island”

“Finding the local goods..Quadra Island”

After cruising out of Quadra we went to Mount Cain. Guess we shouldn’t be spreading too much word about this spot. It’s a gem and make sure to tell anyone you know it doesn’t exist. It’s closed mid week, so we had the parking lot and the entire mountain to ourselves for three nights. Rode some epic shoots down West Bowl the first day but unfortunately the ice faces of a recent rain and freeze had us backing away half way up the Coffin Nail Shoot.

 

“Beautiful..Yes…Powder…no”

“Beautiful..Yes…Powder…no”

After Cain we made our way to the Northern Tip of Vancouver Island trying to catch the peak of a West swell hitting the beaches. Hiking in to raft cove is gorgeous, with a swampy trail surrounded in old growth. Hiking with wetsuit, surfboard and overnight camping gear is a struggle but well worth it. In three nights we hung out around fires, surfed and collected mussels.

 

“Jazzy letting loose”

“Jazzy letting loose”

On our way out from Raft Cove a line from Andy, Founder of The Urgent Sea and whom we met on Quadra Island, stuck in my head.

“If we can send Rovers to Mars, we sure as hell can clean up our F*@king Oceans”

Looking at this secluded beach miles from the nearest human settlement you could understand why he choose such fierce words. The impact our plastic wrappings and Styrofoam has had on the ocean can be found everywhere. It’s never on our minds when buying anything wrapped in plastic. Although you may get joy out of the item, the plastic will never decompose…ever. It’s a concept we’ve all been reminding each other of this trip. It’s pushed us to bringing reusable bags into grocery stores, using coffee mugs, water bottles and re-using bulk food bags. It’s hard at times to always remember to bring a re-usable coffee mug, grocery bags and glass Tupperware but at the end of the day; it’s going to be even harder to have to clean up the mess that plastics have left us with. In Raft Cove, we collected as much garbage as we could possibly carry off the beach and headed on the hour and a half hike out. We’re four guys going plastic free, and we hope that everyone can start doing the same. We really do feel things can change and the main reason is it feels good to be a part of leaving our planet cleaner than we left it. A quote from an Alert Bay elder rings in my head.

“Walk lightly on this earth, with every step we walk on our children’s lives”

 

“Carry out what you carried in…and a little more”

“Carry out what you carried in…and a little more”

Now being back in town it’s time to work on the damn ol’ breakdown Betsie school bus. In Port McNeil, the bad news stuck. A tow from Port McNeil to Port Hardy and an assessment had us learning that our tranny had decided to die. A $6000 dollar new transmission was not in our budget and we found ourselves asking around town for any advice. Unwilling to scrap our veggie bus which we have put so much time into, we settled for becoming mechanics. (Beyond Mechanics)

 

“Rice, Beans and Mechanic Grease”

“Rice, Beans and Mechanic Grease”

We spent four days camped out at a junkyard in Port Hardy that had the feel of an old scary movie setting. Unfortunately it turned out that the new transmission had an adapter that wouldn’t fit on the bus. So it looks like we’ll be hunting for another Diesel vehicle to convert to Veggie grease to keep the trip going…

 

“Jasper outside the Namgis Big House”

“Jasper outside the Namgis Big House”

In our next update we’ll be talking about heading over to Alert Bay, where Jasper and Tamo presented to an entire elementary school about following your passions while living a lifestyle that creates positive impacts on the environment and others. In addition we’ll let you know what happened with the bus.

Till next time,
The Beyond Boarding Crew

The Beyond Boarding team is in the middle of fundraising for the completion of the Northern BC Project -

Click Here to learn more and donate.

Northern BC Journal Entry - Island Cruising

Words by Tamo Campos

 

Lewis loading up the grease

Lewis loading up the grease

Rolling out from Vancouver was almost more relief than excitement. After having worked on the bus through rain and shine for over two months it’s finally ready to take on the 5000 km trip north.

 

Lewis and Jazzy frothing; the bus is on veg!!!

Lewis and Jazzy frothing; the bus is on veg!!!

Our First stop was Salt Spring to pick up Jasper Snow Rosen, a good friend of ours, who decided to come on this trip only a month or two ago. Jasper’s been a high level surfer for years, makes locally made & printed hemp T-shirts and plays in an epic rock band called the Barefoot Thieves. His property is picturesque and we dialed up and fixed our sketchy bus door with Jasper’s screen prints on driftwood panels.

 

Do your part; stop the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

Do your part; stop the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

Before heading out from Salt Spring we stopped in to pay a visit to Jack Rosen, Jasper’s Dad. He’s kayaked from Salty all the way Alaska twice and gave us great insight into what is at stake with the Northern Gateway Pipeline. He showed us charts of where the proposed Supertankers would enter into the water channels up to Kitimat. Jack said the channels were dangerous and sketchy due to high winds in a Kayak during his summer trip; our Government plans on putting tankers the size of three football fields through them during winter storms. Looking at the depth charts you start to really understand why people  say “It’s not IF it spills it’s WHEN”.

 

Jack showing Jazzy the deph charts around Otter Channel

Jack showing Jazzy the deph charts around Otter Channel

Jack then went into a story that really stuck with me hard. He told us about how not even 300 years ago our Coast Flourished with Sea Otters. The fur trade began and from demand of Fur hats and coats over 98% of Sea Otters were killed on our coast. Jack explained it’s not only the death of the otter population but also the consequences of putting an ecosystem out of balance, which had the biggest effect. With no sea otters, sea urchins flourished and ate the roots of kelp, destroying the kelp beds lining the Pacific West Coast. These kelp beds acted as a safety spot for migrating fish and mammals such as whales, rockfish and seals.  Not only that, if you’ve ever surfed on the west coast you notice how kelp beds swallow and mellow out the swell. Without these kelp beds our coast became rugged and more prone to erosion. These kelp beds that used to stretch for miles out to sea now are few and far between because we were blind about the consequences of putting an ecosystem out of balance.

This story has me thinking about the future consequences of projects such as Northern Gateway, The Tar Sands or LNG plants. Although demand (profits) may be high right now, what are the long-term consequences of these extraction processes? Is shipping oil and natural gas to Asia really more valuable then our last Salmon stocks or our fresh drinking water?

From Salt Spring we cruised into Cumberland. A week that’s been a combination of headaches of visa bills at local mechanic shops (new tires, transmission sensors, pumps & suspension) evened out by the good times in the backcountry of Mount Washington and Strathcona Park with our local Cumberland guide/bro Brady. Our first tour of the trip included a 10 hour split-board/blister/shin rashing tour into Strathcona Park to visit a cabin that was built in the 1970’s(coming out at 11 at night). Splitboarding is using snowboards that turn into skies to climb uphill then coming together to ride down. This is us actively lowering our carbon footprint on this trip while still getting rad; “two feet and a heart beat brah”

 

Brady and Tamo taking a breather

Brady and Tamo taking a breather

We then followed it up with some rad riding around the East side of Washington where we found a couple pillow zones and steeps. Even in the backcountry at Washington, we heard stories of boomtowns and environmental degradation in the area. As John’s been calling it “short term gain, long term pain in the…” The area we were touring in had a copper mine put in during the late 60’s. Since then the river that runs down from Washington has not had Salmon. When the company went under due to lack of Copper returns they simply laid down meshing on the tailing pond and let the town clean up the rest. To this day you can see a glowing orange nuclear blob of the tailing pond from space. Hard to imagine the consequences of the loss of Salmon to the Sacred Headwaters if the proposed Red Chris Mine goes through. An area that still depends on the Salmon runs as their food source and where we will be stopping in on in April.  As for now it’s off to Northern Vancouver Island where we’ll be talking to workers behind the Knob Hill wind turbines project that will create 99MW of energy without the loss of Salmon or sea otters. Oh and we’ll be harvesting our own meals in Quadra, surfing Cape Scott and shredding Cain on the way..till the next time

 

Tamo and John touring into Strathcona

Tamo and John touring into Strathcona

NORTHERN BC PROJECT

Tamo Campos and the Veggie School Bus!

Tamo Campos and the Veggie School Bus!

Beyond Boarding has grounded it`s foundations in community development, social justice, and raising the awareness of high profile issues facing many communities today. Successful international work through the recent Peru Project has inspired Beyond Boarding members to take note of shifting corporate-environmental changes, which may threaten the livelihood of communities in British Columbia and create irreversible changes to the diverse natural environment, which makes up the west coast of Canada.

The Northern BC Project will raise the profile and awareness of harmful industrial projects and the impacts, which accompany them. From February 21st 2013 – August 28st 2013, Beyond Boarding members will film and document a carbon neutral vegetable oil-powered bus trip 5,211km across the province in an effort to showcase the destructive nature of the various industrial projects which B.C. and First Nations communities are currently facing. Along the way the risks these projects present to BC’s waters, wilderness, First Nations cultures, agricultural land, and tourism industries will reveal themselves and lead the project into its central theme: that these large-scale industrial projects are symptoms of a much larger disease. Contemporary culture views the natural world as a product, feeding current lifestyle trends and needs. We are dismantling the very ecosystems that sustain us, one industrial project at a time.

Snowboarders, surfers, skiers, and hikers are the greatest ambassadors for the power and importance of the natural world. The Northern BC Project aims to educate and empower the outdoor community to take a stand, speak out, and create positive change on behalf of the diversity of our beautiful province and its people against these large industrial projects, and all in a carbon neutral, no impact, and community based approach.

This Project is Unique!

                   Environmental justice is not a new issue; so what makes this project different? The Northern BC film is grounded in the beauty, diversity, and sense of community which B.C.’s natural environments are privy to. Beyond Boarding believes that these natural environments are of paramount importance in creating the same sense of community that many outdoor enthusiasts and athletes experience through various sports and adventures.  In addition to the film featuring the members of the Beyond Boarding outdoor community personally connecting with these issues of environmental and social justice the film will also showcase these members as they explore natural environments built for high level snowboarding and surfing throughout the province. This entertainment hook will reach new demographics (teens, young adults, surfers, snowboarders, film fest viewers, etc.) that many other eco-documentaries have overlooked. In support of this awareness, the film will inspire audiences to act as they see these athletes actively working on solutions, and taking leadership to effect change. The riders will feature a lifestyle that includes carbon neutral travel, eating sustainable food, signing petitions, writing letters to MPs, voting, and participating in local activist communities. Audiences will experience the adventure and beauty of BC’s northern winter backcountry, and the surf of the west coast all the while connecting with communities through the screen as the Beyond Boarding members enjoy their passion for the outdoors, identify the issues facing these environments, and the engage with local communities to make change. The film will showcase talent and entertainment, while promoting leadership and action on the issues at hand.

Beyond Boarding is a team of passionate, committed and socially conscious individuals engaged in taking action for social environmental justice issues and protect the natural world we live in. The Northern B.C. Project will continue this work by providing entertainment, education, and leadership in the search for alternatives and solutions to our resource dependent world. This project will connect audiences, outdoor enthusiasts, students, filmmakers, and athletes to the beauty of the outdoor world and the opportunities communities across B.C. now have to fight for its protection. This is a truly unique endeavor and the Beyond Boarding team is pleased to invite you to support us in making this positive change happen.

If you are interested in holding a high school presentation, donating or giving helpful advice feel free to shoot us an email at campostamo@gmail.com or beyondboarding@gmail.com.

Belén Journal - TAMO CAMPOS

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How do you sum up a trip that gives you more food for thought in a morning then you’ll have in an entire month at home?

How do you combine the headaches of development in one of the worst slums in South America with the lightheadedness of climbing tall volcanoes in Patagonia?

This trip was certainly not one journal entry and could never be described in that way. Instead I’ll share a few moments that really have me rethinking about the way I’ll be living my life moving forward.

The first days in Belen were exhausting. The heat seemed relentless. Waking up in a pool of sweat is not the most pleasant alarm clock. That line from the Wizard In Oz kept ringing in my head. “(Tamo) we’re not in Kansas anymore”. It wasn’t that I’d never left Vancouver before. In fact I had just taken a 5 day boat ride into Iquitos predated by a month long trip in Ecuador. The trip included hitch hiking up the coast, sleeping in a hammock and living off fish given by local fishermen. This, however, was different. Belen was a new world to me. The best way to put it was; it wasn’t hard traveling but it was exhausting for my head and my senses. Belen was an entire community living on the garbage outflow of the town of Iquitos. Open sewage lined the houses. Flies carried disease from stagnant waste piles onto everything, including every meal of the day. The smell filled the air and even after a month I never really adjusted to the choking sensation of entering Belen. Yet with all these sights, sounds and smells there were moments that surpassed them in intensity. In thirty-degree heat we would all bring water bottles down to the raft. What followed was something I will never forget. Kids and adolescents lined up begging for a sip of our water. Kids desperate for a sip of clean water.

How many times do we appreciate turning on our taps at home? How many times do we realize that when we shower we are washing ourselves with clean drinking water? Is it fair that in my own life of 22 years I have never had to beg for water? Their innocence and desperation will stick with me forever. This is what clean water can mean to a community, to a person, and to a child.

After spending the rest of the month in Peru having new perspectives slapped in our face, it was time to move on to Chile where we toured the backcountry of Patagonia. I am thankful for that time as the long days touring up the volcanoes allowed my mind to process the Peruvian experience. I wore a bracelet that one of the Belen girls had given me. We’d had a talk the day before I left Peru. She had given me the bracelet so that a part of her could travel to distant lands. She was only twelve years old yet she had come to the realization that she would never leave the slum of La Belen. As I toured up these mountains, I realized that although my perspective had changed profoundly from the trip, that little girl and her community would continue unchanged; lives without clean drinking water, without proper waste sanitation, without a fair chance at a high school diploma.

The small rays of hope are the local organizations we worked with. They are chipping away at the giant mountains of inequality we see in this world. Like everyone else they are affected by the economic crisis, which has devastated their programs. These are people who live their lives, day in day out, attempting to make the world a better place. They put perspective and humility into action. These are the programs that are going to change this world and we all need to honor and support them.

Belén Journal - AJA PAPP

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Though I went to Peru with very limited development experience, I did have a few expectations. I expected to work hard, create relationships, acquire a better understanding of the hardships faced by the Global South, and have amazing cultural experiences. Though all were absolutely fulfilled, what I walked away with greatly surpassed these expectations. In addition, I had anticipated a crazy culture shock upon my arrival in Belen but it was a much slower and gradual process than I expected. It was during the situations that intimately displayed their day to day lives that I was most affected.

Throughout everything that I experienced during my time in Peru, I gained so much information and insight- some of which I’m still trying to process. Working with an amazing organization like La Restinga, and seeing some of the struggles that they endured, was extremely beneficial for my understanding of development work. I learned more about how difficult it can be to work with grants and other external funds, and how greatly it can impact progress when those sources are cut off. I was also given a closer look at how difficult successful development can be to achieve. Working with the communities is such a delicate process, and maintaining feelings of equality and respect requires a humble and careful approach. Spending time with the youth of Belen was also very enlightening and seeing some of the obstacles that they must overcome made their optimism and determination that much more inspiring. Their capacity and willingness for love was so touching and made us feel extremely comfortable and welcome. I intended on establishing close relationships with the people I met, but I could never have anticipated how much I would end up loving them. My desire to make connections would only have gotten me so far; it was their warmth, acceptance and openness that allowed me to care for them so tremendously. Such openness also extended to their excitement to learn. They didn’t take education for granted in any way, no matter how it was delivered. Whether they were practicing words in English, asking for help with math equations, or learning a bit about our culture, their enthusiasm was genuine and refreshing. The kids of Belen truly taught me how to love and learn in a way I had not previously experienced.

When I left Belen, the idea that I was not going to be returning in the foreseeable future had not settled. But recently that fact has set in, and I have focused more on how I can continue my involvement from Canada. We established such strong emotional ties to the area, and now we have the opportunity to continue supporting our southern community and family.

Belén Journal - MARSHAL CHUPA

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When I heard that the group of snowboarders known as Beyond Boarding was looking for a photographer/videographer to head to South America with them, there was no doubt in mind I was their guy.  The purpose of the trip was the combination of humanitarian work and snowboarding. After a few weekends of fund raising, sending mass-emails and making phone calls, I found my self on a plane headed South, destination: Peru. I couldn’t have done it without some help from my friends and family.



I went down to South America with the intention of being involved in Hope International’s Development Agency's Sustainable Work Project in the slums of Iquitos, Peru. My role would be to shoot photos and bits of video for the Beyond Boarding media outlets. I filmed 50 out of the 65 days on the road for the feature documentary on the trip. I built some personal relationships that I know will last a lifetime, experiencing development work and the struggles and wins within it. In addition, I had the chance to ride some of the best powder in my life in the Chilean Alpine. I flew back to Canada with a lot more than I had ever expected.



The trip felt like two separate chapters. It started with working with locals in Belen to build a floating garden raft. The temperature was usually 40 degrees Celsius and always humid. From there, I took a 65 hour bus ride into Chile, followed by a ride back of a truck. We drove up 50 plus switchbacks to arrive in the mountains where there were three feet of snow on ground. It was a trip filled with adversities.


While working with the local youth in Belen I learned about the complexities in creating sustainable and successful development. This opened my mind and made me respect everyone involved with La Restinga, a local organization that works with people and problems within the Belen community. While I spent a month’s time in the Amazon on a project put in place to help the community and youth, I can’t say it was without its struggles. Working alongside people that live their lives in such harsh conditions, so different from my world back home, I found myself grappling with the question of whether or not I was really making any sort of a difference here. Walking away from it all, I have learned that development is not something that you can show up and do, rather it is created through lasting, sustainable impact you can make by building strong personal relationships and learning together. We need to find creative ways of improving people’s lives, from their perspective, rather then changing the people. 



In the second chapter of my travels, after taking a circular saw to my snowboard and cutting it in half to create a splitboard, I found myself knee deep in fresh powder in the Chilean Andes, touring, photographing and riding with nine other riders. During our two week road trip south of Chile’s capitol city, Santiago, we were in search of fresh lines and snow-covered volcanoes. We travelled by the van that we nicknamed “The Toaster." Things get interesting when you travel with nine snowboarders in a three person cargo van, full of board bags and camera gear, for up to 14 hours a day. Needless to say, it was a good time. Touring and riding down two of Chile’s many volcanoes with epic mountaintop views and snow-covered peaks, made for some surreal feelings of gratitude. I felt a true appreciation for the life and the privileges I have been given as a North American. By Canadian standards we were roughing it, spending nights sleeping in the van to cut costs on occasion. But compared to the people of Belen, we were living a life most would not even dream of.



Having such a wide range of experiences packed back to back this summer, left me flying back to Canada with renewed appreciation. I am thankful when I turn on the tap and get clean, cold, drinking water. It makes me remember the children in Peru begging for a sip from my water bottle. Water was something they struggled to find daily as we worked on the raft project together in the Amazonian heat. I feel appreciation for the clean air in Canada. In Iquitos, more days than not, I was plagued with headaches caused by the mass amounts of exhaust fumes from the moto-taxis. I appreciate our health care. In Iquitos, I spent a good portion of my days on the road pushing through sickness, because I had no other choice. I appreciate my friends. Together we have had a life altering experience. Their passion for helping others is inspiring.


I want to send out a huge thanks to my friends and family who helped support my becoming a part of such an amazing trip this summer. A big thanks to Rainbow with the Hope International Development Agency, for letting me become a part of this project with so little notice, to Tamo Campos, the founder of Beyond Boarding for bringing me on as their photographer/videographer and to Eliel Hindert for connecting me with Tamo and the project. A BIG thanks to my "Peru family," who allowed me to share experiences in a world so different from my own, and to my "Chile family," with whom I shredded and road tripped through some amazing alpine. Thank you to everyone else I met in my travels for leaving a lasting impression. I am excited to be able to bring back a documentary to share the amazing experience we had.



Stay in touch and watch what Beyond Boarding is up to as we hope to release a few smaller movies this winter and our feature film in 2013-2014.

Belén Journal - SAM WESTON

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To have the opportunity to make it down to Chile to link up the Beyond Boarding crew was something I had been thinking about for 3 month, since the BB Sitka Fundraiser party. After summer riding at Camp of Champions wrapped up, I just knew I had to pull the trigger, because this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. When the plane rolled into to Santiago I knew I was in for a life changing month.

The experiences I went through were totally different then anything I had ever experienced before. Right away Chile was a big time culture shock for me. I knew not knowing any Spanish would be hard, but I didn’t think it would be almost impossible to get by. I was having major communication problems on the simplest things we do in our every day life– it was so funny. Everyone was friendly and inviting, and I met a lot of amazing people a long the way. The stories from travelling around in a mini van for 15 days with 9 people are endless, and ones I will never forget. From all the funny times, to the times we got in trouble, every time we stepped in the “toaster” (the car’s name) it was an adventure and we were all along for the ride. From the mountains all the way to the coast, Chile had a lot to offer that was incredible. To all the small towns we went through, to all of the earthquake affected areas we saw. It was really heart warming to hear the stories and to see first hand what the locals went through. It was inspirational and made me really appreciate my everyday life. From all the amazing views and sites I saw to one of the best surf sessions I have ever had, Chile was an amazing experience and the memories will last a lifetime.

Snowboarding in the Andes of Chile was unreal. All the mountains have so much to offer and there is so much terrain to explore. To be able to explore all the backcountry zones, I made a split-board at a local workshop in downtown Santiago to be able to go touring. This was my first time touring and it was so much fun. It was a lot of work but the rewards are worth the pay off to be riding fresh lines. To be able to experience climbing up a volcano, touring and using an ice axe, was one of the coolest days of my life, then the ride down made it even better. I got the opportunity to ride things that I didn’t think I would ever get a chance to experience.

This project meant a lot to me because it was an opportunity to try and give back to the snowboard community. Snowboarding has given me so much and I feel so privileged to do it whenever I want. I wanted to be part of a life changing experience that I would be able to share with others, to see the world from another point of view. This trip has put a new perspective on snowboarding and in my everyday life and I feel so special to have taken part.

There are a lot of people I want to thank for this amazing opportunity. First and foremost Tamo Campos for inviting me down to Chile to get involved with this project. Thanks to my parents for lending me money! Thank you mum and dad so much, I promise I will pay you back as soon as possible!!! Thanks to all my sponsors for my snowboard gear and your ongoing support. Thanks Myrosha Daley and Nick Walters from Ripcurl, John Minns from Saxx Underwear, Ryan Patey from Endeavor snowboards and Mike Strato from Vans. I can’t thank everyone enough for everything and everyone else that has helped me a long the way.

Belén Journal - HANNAH CAMPBELL

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Within the first few days of arriving in Iquitos we went for a walk through the Belen market and the community of Belen. We shuffled through the narrow pathways passing stands selling exotic fruits, medicine from the amazon, and all different types of meat, it was unlike any other place. Unfamiliar smells lined our walk as we eventually left the market behind and entered the community of Belen.

We walked through some of the different districts of Belen and saw the connection that La Restinga had to the people in the community. We learned about the different districts and the problems that Belen faces. We walked with Carmen, a young woman who works for La Restinga and used to live in Belen. She told us different personal stories about people she has worked with in Belen. They were difficult to hear as they depicted the unforgiving conditions that many people within Belen have to live in. As in many parts of the world poverty means living in difficult conditions, being exposed to health risks such as dirty water and unsanitary sewage systems, disease, and unsafe food as well as domestic violence and sexual abuse. However, with each story she told us she then shared with us how La Restinga has stepped in to better the situation by creating after school art programs to engage children in school and educate them through art and drama about sanitation and health issues. As well, programs had been set up to target domestic violence. It was clear that La Restinga is an organization that people trust to go to for help and support.

As our time continued in Iquitos we began working with La Restinga and some of the youth and children in the community. Each morning we would arrive in Belen and a group of teenagers would be waiting there to work to help build the floating garden raft. They were an amazing collection of people who we all grew connections to. As well, there were always many children around eager to help us paint or carry wood.

On Our last night working in Belen they threw us a going away party in the new community centre. They decorated the inside with balloons and cards. They had music and pop and a slideshow they had made to depict their work with La Restinga. It was an emotional goodbye and a really special experience. I think we all felt such gratitude for how the community had accepted us and allowed us in for the time we were there.

This trip to Iquitos has changed my perspective and brought more awareness into my life about the living conditions of others around the world. It is through the generosity of the people of Belen teaching us about their lives that we all have benefited. It was an amazing time to share with some very special people and one I will never forget.

Belén Journal - LEWIS MUIRHEAD

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When the prospect of heading to South America first came to my attention at an informal meeting held at the family home of Tamo Campos I committed to helping the cause, but was unsure if I could make the trip happen for myself. As the year progressed with more fundraisers and meetings discussing how we would make the greatest impact in the community of Belen, where we would be working, I built up the resolve that this was a trip I could not pass by. Beyond Boarding become the name of our group and our group became a force. We raised several thousand dollars and built awareness through our fundraisers. Our hope was that people would follow our journey along with us through a live blog. Prior to leaving I was working 12 hours a day, sometimes 16, on a project for the Ministry of Forests in the mountains outside of Chilliwack. I spent a lot of time alone in thought of my upcoming adventure. I made the goal of taking it all in and doing the best I could to bring the story of our trip back through photography and video.

Upon arrival to Lima the familiar hustle and madness of a Latin American city hit me right away. Smog filled air, insane drivers and urban sprawl as far as you can see. We toured the next day and saw the breadth of what Lima has to offer from the somewhat sketchy area around the church we were bunked at, to the ritzy, Miraflores where skyscrapers and movie theatres abound. I was excited to get out to the jungle and the next day we took flight to Iquitos where we would be spending the next three and a half weeks.

Right away I could tell this was a place unlike any I had visited. The moto-taxis were relentless, the heat was extreme and the smells hit like a wet burlap sack. This trip was my first time volunteering in a third world country and I was excited to be able to give back. I have travelled to 28 countries in my life, many of those in Latin America where extreme poverty is hard to ignore. I saw this as an excellent chance to go beyond the barrier of just being a shocked tourist to being an active, albeit small, part of the solution. Descending into Belen from the main part of Iquitos a stark change was instantly noticeable. The houses went from concrete to almost exclusively wooden, many more children were out in the streets, and the streets themselves were more earthen pathways. The sewage system consisted of stagnant ditches with wooden outhouses perched with stilts overtop. It was not a pretty sight. This all being said, I quickly developed a strong like for Belen. There was a sense of community brought about by the constant presence of kids and people in the streets, and the fact that the homes were all built by the residents themselves.

Over the next 3 and half weeks we journeyed to Belen via moto-taxi almost everyday. Through HOPE International, the aid group Beyond Boarding partners with in Canada, we were working with La Restinga, Iquitos’ community development group. We found out that the people behind La Restinga all took on quite different projects in an effort to stay cover the wide range of issues affecting Iquitos. Our guy was Carlos. He had raised money from the Spanish government for a large-scale project including multiple floating garden rafts for the flood season in Belen. This money having fallen through with the economic downturn, we, along with HOPE came in with the money for one raft and the rebuilding of their community centre.

To start off we helped the local kids rebuild the raft from last year. It had been fairly badly damaged from last year’s rainy season. I was excited to get into it and was taken under the tutelage of one of the teenagers. He showed my proper machete and hammering technique for installing the fence around the perimeter of the raft. I was having a great time, Jorge was a character, he wanted things just in the right way and would let me know with no mincing of words. When we finished Sileny, one of the older members of the community, had a great lunch prepared with fish, rice and plantains. They made sure the gringos were eating well. A lot of the time was spent hanging out in the shade finding relief from the sun and heat. I don’t think it was possible to work more than 30 minutes out fully exposed before taking a water break and Sileny’s juice mixes were always appreciated.

By the end of the second week we had gathered all the material for the new raft and began construction on that project. We had Carlos there on occasion but more often a man affectionately known, as ‘the Master’ was our guide to constructing the raft. The team working hard, carrying hardwood beams across a soccer field is not the easiest task in 35° degree heat. But the kids showed us how it was done. They provided cardboard for our shoulders and led the way with energy. Most of them wore only flip-flops while doing the same work as guys 5-8 years older than them. As the days and weeks went by we connected with these kids more and more. One of them, a boy named Jean-Pierre, took to my camera and I ended up lending it to him on the daily. We learned that his parents couldn’t afford to put him in school and that really shook us because he seemed so clever and eager to learn. Stories of the inequalities and hardships were told and learned of on a daily basis. Sileny shook our idealized view of Belen being such a tight community. She told of instances during the floods where people rob each other, charge exorbitant rates for using the essential services of a boat and just the circumstances that come along with having your floor underwater for 2 months a year.

Throughout my time in Iquitos and Belen I came to know the group of people I was travelling with on a deeper level. We saw each other struggling with the heat, the different food and really just being completely out of our elements. The support of the group was essential for the success of the trip. We all had our strengths and pulled through for each other.

Our time in Belen came to an end and we said our goodbyes. The kids threw us heart-warming and tear-inducing goodbye party in the new community centre complete with music, dancing and cheezies. We exchanged emails, drawing and kind words of returning sometime soon. I will never forget their faces and hope I can make good on my wishes to return. To see Belen in the rainy season would be amazing. We finished the raft to state where it was ready to go into service but to see it floating with a full garden would really be the completion of the mission. It was hard to leave Belen but looking forward to the next section of the trip I couldn’t help but be filled with child-like excitement. I was going to CHILE to ride POWDER in AUGUST!

I opted to take the bus down. I figured Lake Titicaca was on the way so 26 hours later I arrived and was quickly slapped in the face with a case of altitude sickness. I was okay most of the time but was hit with waves of dizziness and headaches. I quickly decided to depart the next morning and after a less than enjoyable sleep I was onto my next stretch of 48 hours of bussing.

I arrived in Santiago with a grin on my face. It was raining. That means snow. The rising sun revealed that, yes indeed, this was a cool place. A glistening city surrounded by snow-capped mountains. I felt at home. Sure people were speaking Spanish but so do a lot of people at the Cambie bar on any given weeknight.

Within 2 days I was riding a fresh dump of 40 cm at El Colorado, just an hour and a half out of Santiago. We spent and couple nights before heading back down and rounding up the crew for our real mission, Volcanoes in the south and Patagonia. We made splitboards for the crew and rented a Toyota diesel van, outfitted with chains we were ready for the storm approaching Chillan. We packed it up and headed for it. Ended up spending 4 days riding some of the best snow I’ve ever felt. Got amazing shots, ate superb BBQ, and just got into the Chile vibes. We rode Valle Hermosa 2 days and Valle Tres Marias. It was all such new terrain that I was awestruck pretty much every moment. Having the splitboards was essential. We were able to get up early enough to get to the top before the resort opened so we could get through the resort out into the backcountry before the patrol was around. Everyone rode so hard. Tamo, Tomas, Matias, Jurgen, Dave, Jen, and Sam all got some banger shots expertly filmed by Marshall, Ian and myself.

It was hard to leave but the weather turned and helped make our decision for us. It was like spring when we left for Pucon. The drive was stunning. Handbuilt cabins surrounding by lush forests. It felt like a piece of Canada but with a Latin twist. We arrived in Pucon and found accommodations at El Refugio, a little hostel run by a friendly Kiwi. The next day we got right on it. The weather was good and we had the summit of Volcan Villarica in our sights. We were able to make it about halfway with just the splitboards but after three and half hours the crampons came into play. I felt like a true mountaineer. Toehold after toehold we crunched our way up. It felt dangerous and I loved it. For two hours my thighs burned and I pushed on with the summit just over the horizon I split off from Dave, who I had been side-by-side with most of the last pitch. I pushed off the left on a little ridge and peeked over to see Matias resting on the edge of an active Volcano. It was unreal. It was spectacular. I gave Maty a huge hug and he warned me of the toxic gas seeping from the crater. I approached the crater casually, eating a sandwich I was hit in the lungs by sulfuric smog causing me to eject the half-chewed cheese and bread from my mouth while my lungs struggled to clear themselves of the toxic gas. I quickly dubbed the crater, mother earth’s ass.

The ride down was something else, for a good 10 minutes we made our way down an icy pitch. Sam commented it felt like being in a plane because looking out all you could see was clouds and sky. It was wild. Once the snow softened up it the terrain was just a playground, perfect transitions and cliffs everywhere. We all had a blast, not making it out until past dark we were elated that we had climbed a live volcano and lived to tell the tale.

Next we checked out Volcano Lonquimay and managed to ride into a crater that time. With ~100 km/hour winds the climb was dramatic with a few close calls on the way up. Almost getting blown off a mountain is not the best feeling in the world. The wind and clouds at the top made me feel alive that’s for sure. I could have hung out up there for a couple of days and appreciated the beauty of that view.

It was time to head back to Santiago so we packed the Van, 9 people deep, and headed for the coast. Along the way waves were surfed, seafood was eaten and it was a good wind down for the crew. We got some true Chilean parties in, the ones that don’t end until 8 in the morning when you’re wobbly off Piscolas! The adventure came to an end in a hurry; I returned the van and the next thing I knew I was on a plane back to Vancouver. Of course, I get home and within a couple days I see pictures on Facebook of the crew in 80s gear still shredding snow! Ah well, the next season is around the corner, and I’ve had the shortest off-season of my life!

Belén Journal - DESIREE WALLACE

Transient

Throughout my life I have harnessed an uncontested passion in my heart, mind, body and soul to contribute to making the world a better place for every sentient being.

Having been fortunate enough to travel down to Iquitos, Peru this summer, my spirit was greatly rehabilitated. As I lay my head down on the old wood floor of an abandoned cabana hidden in the jungle, I was granted a profound moment. Looking over the river, there were vast silhouettes of towering trees accompanied by the most immaculate night sky – full of the brightest stars I have ever seen. I breathed in and a symphony of foreign animals singing a beautiful lullaby rang through my ears. At this moment I felt so utterly connected to earth and the people surrounding me that I literally had a tangible feeling resonating in my chest for days. This feeling was reinforced by the subsequent experiences I had in an urban slum community called La Belen. However, what is interesting is how the time I spent in this community brought me to a revelation that I hadn’t anticipated.

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” –- Miriam Beard...

Welcomed back to my home, I feel the need to appreciate everything I am so fortunate to have in my life, especially those aspects with no monetary value: mother earth, family, friends, art, music, love and laughter. Peru has awakened my spirit with its alluring physicality, but more so with the incredible compassion and reverence that is present within the people who live off of less than what we would consider necessities... There is this overwhelming stigma around developing countries – we sympathize for them because they may have an unfortunate health care system, unruly sanitation issues, poor infrastructure or lack of food security, but what we don’t realize is how much more richly they LIVE their lives. We are the ones who truly have so much to learn from these communities and cultures, which is why I come back to Vancouver with the sheer motivation and aspiration to put my energy towards community building to re-instill the nation we once were.

Living life in harmony with the Earth and realizing that we are all interconnected, affecting each other everyday, will reignite the soul of our planet that over the years has been dimmed by a confined consumerist culture. I believe that this paradigm shift is crucial to the wellbeing of the present and future generations. So live - but truly live - fulfill your deepest most honest desires and never leave someone without loving them first.

Belén Journal - JENNIFER MCOLMRICH

Transient

Heavy rain falling on the streets of Santiago awoke me early the first morning of our trip in Chile. Excitement and relief swept over me, as precipitation in the city would translate to snow at the higher elevations. The rain was a welcome sight for those of us in search of new lines in the mountains, since this was one of the driest winters on record in Chile.

With the first snow in two months falling the morning after we landed, saying we “got lucky” is an understatement. The new snow overnight allowed us to access some incredible terrain at El Colorado. I was happy to have Tamo Campos to guide us though an area known as Santa Teresa. This dreamy “slackcountry” zone is on the edge of the resort. While it is easily accessed by the chairlift, it has very real consequences, with massive cliffs, rocky chutes and deep, wind-loaded aspects. Blissfully unaware of where a wrong turn would have taken me, I followed Tamo’s tracks down a narrow, rock filled chute and had one of the best runs of my life. When we looked at our lines from the bottom I had a new respect for this zone and was wishing for another run, but we had a storm to chase and headed south the next morning.

After organizing nine people, newly made split boards and a slew of camera equipment into a cargo van we left Santiago eager to get to the next spot. After collectively deciding that we didn’t need chains it was not a huge surprise when we got stuck in the snow close to our destination of Nevados de Chillán. A little bit of teamwork got the van out as huge snowflakes, the size of our smiles, puked down around us. This has to be one of the few times that we were all happy to get stuck in the snow.

With the forecast calling for a continued storm cycle we were pleasantly surprised to awake to blue skies. After an amazing morning sharing deep lines and slashes with the boys we retreated to the lodge to warm up as the snow began to fall again. Looking around the nicely appointed lodge it was easy to see that this was a place for the wealthy and was reminded of how lucky we were to be snowboarding in South America.

Although Chile is a developed country with a healthy economy and growing middle class, snowboarding is still far beyond most peoples reach. An elitist sport anywhere you look in the world it is expensive, plain and simple. In Vancouver we have the luxury of living with world-class resorts at our doorstep. This is in addition to an excess of companies based here and a high demand for product, allowing for reasonable prices in the market place. As an athlete supported by some of these companies it reminded me of how fortunate I am to be traveling internationally with a snowboard attached to my feet.

While our trip continued with more mountains, volcanoes, split boarding and surfing, I was constantly taken back to of the gravity of growing up in Vancouver and having access to these amazing opportunities. While I was living la buena vida in Chile, twenty minutes away from my childhood home people were living in poverty in the downtown eastside.

Beyond Boarding aims to inspire snowboarders to make positive change in the world. Traveling to the other side of the world helped me realize that I can help make positive change in my own city. I am looking forward to working with Beyond Boarding this winter to execute a snowboarding benefit for the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center.

So as the rain begins to fall on Vancouver again snow will soon be coming covering our mountains. While I will be forever grateful for the experiences gained on this trip I am excited for the promise of a new winter and for getting lucky beyond Chile.