Mixing roots and adventure: a new resident’s lens on Valemount

by Andru McCracken


Tristan Kimmerle likes adventure, and while he is dedicated to flow and big mountain sports he is also interested in setting down roots. After much consideration and some complex calculations, Kimmerle decided Valemount was the right combination of clean and cool. /ANDRU MCCRACKEN

One of Valemount’s newest residents, Tristan Kimmerle grew up in Toronto. And he couldn’t wait to be done with it. While working on a three year advanced diploma in construction management,  Kimmerle took a year off and fled west to Canmore. It clicked.

“I just wanted to get out,” he said. “I wanted to be in the bush or wilderness, ski touring, ice climbing… You can’t really get that in Ontario.”

He said after living in Canmore for two years, spending winters sleeping in this truck, he realized he should find a place where he could actually afford to live.

“I would love to live there, but it didn’t make sense,” he said.

Kimmerle has a practical streak in him.

“A handful of towns across BC caught my attention and my parents’ attention as well, as they tried to push me along. We first heard about Valemount through our car insurance broker in Ontario. He does two weeks of skiing out west every year. He mentioned it five years ago,” said Kimmerle.

“It was always on the radar, especially with the talk about the ski hill,” he said.

“At a certain point I was like, I have to visit.”

Kimmerle loves winter. If he had his way it would be winter 12 months of the year and he would spend more of his time ski touring and playing hockey.

Kimmerle doesn’t miss the rollicking singles scene; he travels for work as a tree planter and is always able to visit friends, and, Jasper, he said, is right next door.

“In many ways being in your 20s in Valemount, it is still far more attractive to be out here with no crowds, rather than to be in Jasper or fighting to find a parking spot,” he said.

As for work, Kimmerle said because he is reasonably skilled and fit, good paying work isn’t hard to find.

Kimmerle owns a trailer on 17th Avenue on a big property and spent most of this summer working to pay off the mortgage, but also taking time to have fun.

“Being in my 20s I can pretty much do any job, all the jobs that I have chosen had either really nice perks, or good experience. There are plenty of jobs here in the valley, and tonnes in forestry which I want to learn,” he said.

Kimmerle believes that Valemount becoming the next Whistler is ‘hard to imagine.’

“There is no point aiming to be a Whistler, because it’s not an easy way to live,” he said.

Kimmerle said a slow pace and affordability of Valemount means that he can enjoy getting into the mountains but still save for the future, unlike Whistler and unlike Canmore.

“I always look at Canmore as a place I will temporarily live…,” he said. “Most likely in a vehicle.”

Kimmerle said the one aspect of Canmore that would look good in Valemount is a climbing centre.

“The rec centre is the most valuable part of Canmore,” he said.

“For everyone who climbs, you  will see all your friends there climbing in the dead of winter.”

Kimmerle said that another thing that drew him to Valemount was the rec hockey.

“I haven’t played in a few years because I have been living out of my car, but I love hockey and I can’t wait.”

Stacking up

Kimmerle checked out many mountain towns before deciding on Valemount.

“There are some amazing places to live, but when it gets down to it, I’m not willing to waste my time just living by the seat of my pants,” he said. “I value my time more than just paying rent and having fun. I also want to invest in my future.”

In his travels Kimmerle has met many couples looking at moving to Valemount for many of the same reasons, and he’s glad that more young people are choosing to move here.

“A whole bunch of CMH people have bought houses in town,” said Kimmerle. “I’m not the only one doing this. There are other people on the same page as me.”

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