Editorial: An epic reversal of fortunes

by Andru McCracken, Editor


If it hadn’t happened so many times in a row I wouldn’t mention it. But on three separate occasions, new residents said they had heard about plans for Valemount’s glacier ski resort, they checked out the community, fell in love with it and now they say they’ll tolerate a resort, as long as it doesn’t destroy the sense of community they’ve found here.

I’ll take those terms.

So what is happening in the Robson Valley and why are we getting such good recruits?

On Sunday I met a couple from Nunavut that moved here with two small kids. They came here for the reasonable winters (it’s all relative), affordable housing and mountains. I asked the father about the resort – did it affect his decision? Was he depending on it to happen? He waved a hand indicating not at all. (The best part is they are from Nunavut. They don’t need Walmart, they’re just happy to get a head of cauliflower for under $10.)

If Valemount Glacier Destinations Resort was only a ploy to raise the profile of an obscure logging town with an insanely rich and growing field of outdoor recreation opportunities, I’d call it a smashing success.

In what world is it possible that fervent mountain bikers living in Jasper National Park come to Valemount for their weekend getaway? It’s an epic reversal of fortunes.

(A side note on the resort: We need the resort (in the same way I need a new mountain bike). We have an approved resort, thanks to local support, and as payback we should be seeing increasing accessibility to the Premier range. Better roads, new bridges, new glades on the mountain side, emergency cabins – we deserve that don’t we?)

Young families are moving to Valemount and McBride. Couples are multiplying in the (virtuous) biblical sense (one imagines). At any rate, babies are everywhere. And we might just be getting a hint of the epic amount of energy they can pour into our community.

Young families with kids signals more jobs, more opportunities, more recreation.

I have seen the future, and it’s beyond our wildest expectations.

Next come singles. Over 24, living independently of family. They come to Valemount for adventure, the big climb, the first ascent, a shot down the rapids, and what do they find… super cool companions. Like minds. At the moment, it’s a shallow dating pool. We’re talking more of a Tete Jaune Swimming hole than Kinbasket Reservoir. But they will come.

I’m calling it. This is the next demographic that we’re going to see grow. And their numbers will grow in direct correlation to the outdoor sports we love to do here.

Find me a seaside community with great waves and no surfers. It doesn’t exist. Smaller the better, the harder to get to, the cooler it is.

I just hope our old timey communities can handle the influx.

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