Here & There

Photos Matt Bruhns
Video Matt Bruhns

In a hypothetical situation, you find yourself on a Sea to Sky edition of Family Feud. Steve Harvey asks you: “Which question is posed most often in the corridor?” The options are as numerous as the trails:

"How low was the freezing level last night?"
"You ride this weekend?"
"Après at Handlebar?"

But if I were to venture a guess, the most asked question would be “Where are you from?”

Since the majority of us aren’t actually “from here”, you get a lot of interesting answers. For some, it’s a simple “I was from over there, and now I’m here”. But for others, including me, it takes a few more steps to answer the question. A chairlift isn’t always long enough to explain it and so I have come up with a few answers depending on the situation.

Waiting for your order at Blackbird next to a chiropractor from Vancouver who was just talking about his most recent trip to Hawaii? He gets the short answer: “Calgary”.

In line at Crystal chair with a Mt. Baker local you just met while skiing Ruby bowl? They get the medium-long answer: “I was born in Yellowknife, moved to Calgary later on, and now I’m here.”

Half-way up to Dark Crystal with a tall blonde from Sweden who just moved to Whistler for the summer? It’s too hot to pedal fast anyways (or is that just me?), so they get the long answer: “I was born in Yellowknife, but we moved to Saskatoon when I was 9, then as soon as I finished high school, I moved to Calgary to train as a speed skater and study. After graduating from university, I moved to Pemberton.


It’s a simple question, no doubt asked in a similarly high frequency in certain other communities around the world. I would speculate a correlation could be drawn between the regularity this question is asked in a given place and how exceptional said place is. If you’re going to jump on a ship and travel halfway around the globe to set roots in unfamiliar soil, odds are you’re going to put in the extra effort to find yourself a nice patch of dirt.

So why did we choose here? Well, in order to avoid the usage of any clichés, I’ll avoid that question and instead paint a portrait of the obvious. In the Sea to Sky, our mountains create rock formations that are works of art. Bedazzled with a unique abundance and diversity of life, save for a dwindling few places on Earth, they cultivate an urge to explore unlike many others. And on our favourite slopes, we’ve drawn lines through the dirt that put their best features on display. Around here it seems we have a lot of these.

Having once lived the life of a mountain biker landlocked in the flat prairies, watching the fat tire world go by longingly through the screen of my parents' desktop computer, I have doubts that I’ll be leaving here any time soon.


As guests on this land, we acknowledge that the Sea to Sky is the land of the Lil’wat, St’át’imc Tmicw, and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw Nations. We appreciate their stewardship for this place, and, to help contextualize this article, we feel it is important to understand that they are the ones who are actually from here.

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+2 Pete Roggeman Niels van Kampenhout

Damn, got me really itching for some riding, still too much snow around here. Great photos and video, would love to visit Sea to Sky sooner than later. Cheers from Colorado.

Around here you get a lot of the same sort of question and answer, "where are you from?" "how long you been here?" etc., it can get annoying sometimes, especially when coming with attitude from an entitled "native". It comes with the fortune of living in what is for many a vacation and/or retirement destination though. I often say "I'm not a native (eye roll) but my kids are", I'll have to try that "I was somewhere else but now I'm here" next time I get the attitude.


It can be a loaded question, for sure - especially depending on how it's asked. Same for the ol' "What do you do?" I had a friend who used to always answer that with "I snowboard twice a week and ride my bike as much as possible". A lot of people would give him weird looks in return but honestly, you're in a casual, short-term back-and-forth like on a chairlift, what answer do you expect?


+2 Pete Roggeman Niels van Kampenhout

Great photos and video!

Ahh the dreaded where are you from question.

Its not as much a hassle but more of an existential one for me personally.

Born in Istanbul, moved to Vancouver, then to Montreal back to Vancouver, then to Spain, back to Vancouver.. I lived away from "home" longer than I lived at it. But nothing ever felt more "home" than the North Shore. I feel very privilaged to be accepted to be a part of this family and fully understand that the land is part of the Lil’wat, St’át’imc Tmicw, and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw Nations.


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