A Pemberton, British Columbia, young-un blazes a trail for mountain millennials. By Lisa Richardson.
Sam McKoy didn’t last long in engineering school. As it turns out, he’d rather be designing soul-fuelling backcountry ski trips for the nature-deprived than sitting in a classroom or an office crunching out formulae. So, when the 17-year-old from Pemberton, British Columbia, walked out of university and into a temporary gig shovelling snow and helping out at a backcountry lodge, he walked right into his element.
Now 25, McKoy is a hiking guide, one of the youngest people to qualify as an Association of Canadian Mountain Guides ski guide, and a science undergrad studying the inter-relationship between tourism, land management, outdoor education and Indigenous studies. He is a suggestion that millennials might, instead of being the generation everyone rolls their eyes at, be leading a movement to reconnect and restore our broken relationship with the natural world.
Having explored and traversed some of the wildest expanses of British Columbia, McKoy is keen to help other people do the same. He says his newly developed winter and summer programs, Chilko Basecamps and Ipsoot Journeys, “are designed to foster experiences that allow people to build connections to nature, place and each other.”
At the very least, willing adventurers might reclaim their attention spans and powers of observation, in a way that only slow, sweaty immersive experiences in nature can provide.