KMC 34 — The Wicked Issue

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If something is wicked, it’s bad. Morally, very bad. Evil even. It is fierce and vicious. Marked by mischief, disgustingly unpleasant, and wholly vile. It can cause harm, distress, or trouble: a ferocious storm, a tenacious fever, wild waves, a deadly avalanche. The teenager’s ski boots have a wicked odour.

Because of this, wicked goes beyond reasonable or predictable limits. It is of exceptional quality or degree. She’s a wicked skier. Which, of course, is good to most of us. Morally and visually and internally very good. It is fierce and vicious, the aggressiveness of her skiing. Not mischievous or evil or gross. Definitely not vile. If her skiing goes wrong, however, because it is so wicked, it could cause her harm, distress, or great amounts of trouble. She could crash and burn, tumble into oblivion. That self-inspired duality is the word’s essence, the inextricable connection between polar opposites. The word’s one constant, however, is that it pushes limits to the extreme and, in the end, can inspire exceptional quality. Bad, good, or perhaps in the case of the wicked stories you’re about to read in this magazine, something in between. Enjoy Issue #34. — Mitchell Scott, editor

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In 1900, Mary Vaux became the first woman to reach a peak over 10,000 feet in Canada when she summited Mount Stephen. Her work with glaciers has been invaluable and her photographs of various plant species are now archived in the Smithsonian.

But from the Okanagan to Northern Montana, and around the world, witches exist not to spook nor hex, but to enlighten and empower.

Canmore climber Sonnie Trotter helps us understand how he went from the flatlands of Ontario to becoming Canada’s greatest rock climber.

Squamish rock climber Will Stanhope helps us understand why the sport has brought him so much joy since he started at the age of nine.

Calgary climber Jon Walsh explains what drove him to be a lifelong collector of the world’s classic rock routes. By Jayme Moye.

Kootenay rock climber Jasmin Caton helps us understand the personal peace and joy the sport brings her. By Jayme Moye.

From the Backside column of Coast Mountain Culture #15, Mitchell Scott delivers a treatise on a subject close to our hearts…and eyelids.

Parts of Rogers Pass are now closed because of poaching by backcountry skiers. Here’s how Parks Canada is trying to manage the winter masses at this popular area.

Plucked from the pound, these sled dogs are pulling their weight — thanks to a good-hearted entrepreneur.

The avalanche report said they were god to go. The terrifying outcome of the day should make us stop and think – more than twice.

Death-defying venues. Physical and financial toll. Stacked odds and international big-mountain skiing’s uncertain future. This is life on the Freeride World Tour. Just ask Trace Cooke.

From Brazil to China to Norway, British Columbia highliner Mia Noblet has spent this past year walking her way into the record books.

How does a small team of snow pros generate comprehensive avalanche forecasts about Canada’s mightiest mountains, every single day, all winter long? Like this.

Compiled as part homage to a friend and conservation pioneer, a new book showcases the mysterious American desert canyons discovered by legendary East Kootenay photographer Pat Morrow and his fellow dirtbag disciples. Story by Jeff Pew.

The one constant of the word “wicked” is that it pushes limits to the extreme and, in the end, can inspire exceptional quality.

Amid exploding molars, societal decay, and a Mayan microclimate, a volunteer British Columbia dentist searches for the root of it all in Guatemala.

Returning to the scene of a crash that cost him dearly, a former snowboarder-turned-sit skier is nevertheless living it, loving it, and launching it.

He crafts skis from trees he logs. There’s a terrain park in his backyard. Al Eagleton knows he owes serendipity a beer.

Got the nerve to fly a mini-car 180 clicks an hour? If so, make the trip to the historic town of Kaslo, British Columbia.

An excerpt: How the builders of boards and bikes are tackling the issues of sustainability and consumer consciousness. By Ryan Stuart.