WHAT YOU MISSED AT
GOLDEN MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL
By Andrea Johnson
EVENTS I HERITAGE
Traditionally, the May long weekend is occupied with RV christening, unpredictable weather and the chance to finally shed those plaid-on-plaid layers you were styling all winter long. As a tribute to the adventures that surround it, Golden, BC, celebrated the kick-off to summer with something a little more unique.
With two limbs grasped to an overhanging wall and a third reaching far overhead to a unseen crimp hold, Will Gadd used his precarious body position as an opportunity to teach. An intimate audience gathered at the Dogtooth Climbing Gym in Golden, BC, on Saturday to participate in a climbing clinic hosted by Gadd, 2014 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. The two-hour session was scheduled amongst a multitude of events that took place over the May long weekend for the second annual Golden Mountain Festival.
WHAT IS IT?
Be it whitewater rafting down the Kicking Horse River, trying out your downward dog in an outdoor yoga class, or strolling through the Farmers Market, the entire community of Golden came alive last weekend to kick off the start to summer. Hosted by Tourism Golden, the festival celebrated the unique adventures that await those who frequent the rivers, peaks and valleys of Golden. The titled theme of “Adventurers of Yesterday & Today” rang loudly throughout the weekend.
Friday night boasted a Q & A with three young ski mountaineers, known as the Dogtooth Rangers, who adventure in the very mountains that they see in their own backyards. Cody Lank, Ty Mills and Isaac Kamink have been recreating together for over a decade, and represent a base of outdoor enthusiasts who are flocking to the Golden area for the untouched landscape and possibilities that await. Seated next to his comrades, Ty Mills exuded that, “Living in Golden is like being on an island surrounded by wilderness. There is a lifetime of adventures here.”
Downtown Golden was vibrant on Saturday morning with buskers providing musical entertainment to the many people browsing the Street Sale that led festival-goers to the center of town in Spirit Square. There, Higher Ground Mountain Sports organized a Bike Demo with representatives from Devinci, Scott, Rocky Mountain Riders and Lapierre, ready to show off their 2015 models. Free rentals and swag giveaways were all part of the event organized by shop owners, Lolli & David Gagnon, with plans for next year’s Demo Days already underway.
At the Golden Civic Centre, Gadd engaged a packed crowd with anecdotes from his adventures over the past 30 years, highlighting his recent first ascent up Niagara Falls in January 2015 and a paragliding feat that took him 640 km along the back of the Canadian Rockies, crossing the US border, in the summer of 2014.
He never failed to honor the curiosity that his adventure-seeking parents instilled in him at a very young age. “I always wondered what’s over the next ridge, what’s in that river canyon? If I fly my paraglider at that wall, what’s going to happen?” said Gadd, “I find the world a very interesting place.” Sequencing his thirst for adventure as a young kid growing up in Jasper, AB, to detailing how he has become one of the world’s best ice climbers, Gadd still had time to permeate his presentation with laughs, and a dozen or so charming photographs of his kids.
The weekend wrapped up on Sunday with activities, including an interactive play hosted by Golden’s own Amuse Troupe, a free concert by Krysta & The Krybabys, and a local farmers market all under the umbrella of what remained a mostly precipitation-free May long weekend.
WHERE DOES IT GO FROM HERE?
In its infancy, the Golden Mountain Festival aims to appeal to outdoor addicts at all extremes. While overall attendance at the festival increased by 30% from its inaugural year, Executive Director of Tourism, Joanne Sweeting, doesn’t want to stop there. “We are looking forward to building on the success of this year’s event,” she said, “ultimately creating an iconic festival which is recognizable and self-sustaining, but retains at its core the essence of Golden as a historic authentic mountain community.”
An almost-local in Golden, BC, Andrea Johnson has been nestled in the Columbia Valley for four years, but has been chasing the mountains much longer. Rock climbing, XC biking and tiring out her 2.5 year old pup (so he doesn’t eat the couch) are all in a days work for this budding writer!