What binds a community together? What makes us proud to call the place we live home? In Kimberley, for over 92 years, it was the holes we dug in the ground, the thousands who gathered to extract precious metals from the world’s largest lead and zinc mine. It was a town toughened by grit, the damp echoe beneath us. Yet when the mine closed in 2001, we began the search for a new identity, beyond the one previously carved underfoot—an identity that celebrated our stunning landscape and the small-town charm that drew us towards it.
In 2007, an event was born in Kimberley that became an integral part of our identity: The Dirtbag Festival, a visual celebration of the elusive dirtbag lifestyle. The festival, entering its 10th anniversary, is a local cultural phenomenon. It consistently sells out two consecutive nights, and has included a variety of formats toasting the dirtbag lifestyle: the ever-popular community slide show, an eclectic compilation of Kimberley residents’ photographs; locally-produced films, some which are national award winners; spoken word; after parties; presentations by adventure gurus, such as 2016’s keynote Will Gadd; and beyond these events, the pervasive buzz leading up to the weekend, the constant chatter: “Are you going to Dirtbag?”
What exactly is a festival that honours dirtbags? According to its Facebook page, the Dirtbag is, “…a celebration of story gatherers as well as the story tellers, told by dirtbags living in the rebel realms of the wild spaces they call home, through film, photography, spoken word and art. It is a community of artists, activists, pranksters, and adventurers who carry us through dark winters by sharing their stories.” It poses a question to Kimberley residents: “What awes & inspires you? What keeps you going? What’s your place on earth? What’s your story?”
In its 2007 inaugural opener, local dirtbag icons attempt to explain the term “dirtbag”. According to Dave Quinn, “The most valuable thing a dirtbag has is time to spend with friends and to explore passions. Way down on this list is money.” Quinn believes to call someone a dirtbag, “…is to lay a really nice compliment on them.”
Dirtbag co-founder (along with Kevin Shepit) and host of the Travel Channel’s “Big Crazy Family Adventure” Bruce Kirkby says, “Dirtbag’s got a bad sound, but it’s really a great thing: You put your money—what little you have—into the things that count. You don’t spend all your time trying to make money. You do things that are fun.” Kirkby believes that the success of the Dirtbag Festival is that it speaks, “to what we value, and why we were here. And folks like seeing what their friends and neighbours shot in the last year, as opposed to going to Banff to see what the entire world has produced. So it’s become a very intimate event.”
Shepit believes that the Dirtbag Festival was embraced from the beginning. “It represents letting go,” he says. “Letting go of tomorrow’s worries, yesterday’s mistakes, workload, debt load, stress load, and the celebration of being able to, at a moment’s notice, simply notice the moment.” The new man behind Dirtbag’s curtain, Steve Tersmette, believes, “Dirtbaggery is our lifeblood. Look out our backyard. How can we not be a town of dirtbags?”
Dirtbag films have showcased a collage of wild adventures: family canoe trips through Alaska; 15-year-olds urban skiing off downtown rooftops; solemn Indian pilgrimages; the quiet narration of multi-day treks through the St. Mary’s Alpine; and the ever-popular openers, featuring Jedi dirtbag John Haner (see link above).
The spirit of Dirtbag brings a community together in the most unusual ways: Ryan Lunge’s 2014 Dirtbag Film winner, “Pirates of the Kimberlean” featured ten neighbourhood children from three to six years of age. It included special effects, green screen, waterfall cable cam shots, pirate outfits and props crafted by parents, and a 16-foot long pirate ship replica Lunge built in his back yard. Lunge, who had never shot a video before, learned everything from a book, and watching YouTube. “It became a bit of an obsession for the year prior to Dirtbag,” Lunge said, “but we had such a blast.”
How does a town celebrate its identity and culture? It gathers in a sold out theatre, hoots and hollers as photos and films flash upon a screen. It stands teary-eyed, smiling, sending ovations to the dirtbags we’ve lost. It celebrates the lifestyle of living in the Kootenays, among the people who are proud to call Kimberley home, and the Dirtbag its festival.
Dirtbag Festival 2017 (March 24-25, 2017)
Submissions Open: December 15, 2016
Submissions Close: February 19, 2017
Ticket Sales Open: Feb 1, 2017
There’s something about mountain towns that I love. Maybe it’s the coziness that comes from feeling perfectly enveloped by peaks around you, or the gentle orange glow that bounces off the jagged summits at sunrise and sunset. At first glance, Kimberley feels like one of those towns inside a snow globe: Windows lit by fireplaces, smoke wafting from the chimneys, sidewalks blanketed in white. Quiet. But if you think Kimberley is a sleepy town “in the middle of nowhere”, think again.
Some of my favourite memories and laughs have come from adventures in Kimberley. From surprise powder days that provided fresh tracks with every run, to gliding on cross-country skis under a full moon, to discovering a snow pack so deep we could ski off a garage roof and land in a soft pillow of snow below (don’t try this one at home, kids).
And then there’s the culture of this mountain town – steeped in history, it has embraced the future and younger families and adventurers are eager to call it home. It permeates a zest for life that can sometimes be forgotten in the city.
In Kimberley, “do it now” attitude means something completely different here – it’s more like “go do it now”. This means that deadlines can wait just a little longer on a powder day, or that meeting can happen just as efficiently on the chairlift. Come evening, at the local watering holes, local legends help keep the stories alive that make a place unforgettable.
Here’s four reasons why adventurers are loving Kimberley now more than ever:
- Four seasons of fantastic – Snowy winters and sunny summers. Kimberley provides quick access to dozens of outdoor activities.
- Go fast, then slow down – Adventurers love to get out there, then wind down re-charge. With a vast number of outdoor activities, and the emergence of a local food culture and plenty of cozy accommodation options, it’s easy to find the perfect balance between “go” and “rest”.
- Powder stashes for days – When winter storms roll through the East Kootenays, they can provide a big powder punch. Quieter mountains like Kimberley Alpine Resort can provide fresh tracks days after a storm, particularly on the mountain’s “backside” which offers a variety of advanced terrain.
- Fly close – When the big city calls, the Canadian Rockies International Airport is located just 20 minutes from Kimberley, with daily service from Calgary and Vancouver. And speaking of flying, Kimberley is also home to world-class fly fishing on dozens of lakes and Rocky Mountain rivers.
So give that snow globe a shake, and find yourself living in a real-life version of one this winter in Kimberley. Go on, do it now.
Unparalleled Savings! 1st, 4th & 7th ski day FREE & up to $40 (double discount period) savings every time you ski! Plus go Direct to Lift – just by linking your credit card.
- 3 FREE days The 3 Free Days can be redeemed at any RCR Western Resort.
- Cardholders receive their 1st, 4th and 7th ski days FREE and daily discounts every other day.
- Children 6-12 to get their very own RCR Kids’ Club Card FREE of charge. ($5 discount on full-day Child lift tickets at any RCR resort)
- Your Direct to Lift card can be linked to any major credit card at any of our resorts or at the Calgary office.
For more information visit the RCR Webstore. On sale until December 31, 2016.
Head north into Kimberley, and you’ll notice a billboard: “Smile. You’re here. We’re happy.” Ascend into a landscape of the highest city in Canada, the snowpack of surrounding mountains, the people readied for cold weather: steep metal rooves, wood-fired chimneys, Thule boxes stuffed with skis. Enter a town with tales of grandfathers who descended into earth, drilling, jackhammering, and blasting into what was the world’s largest underground lead-zinc mine. Pause for a moment, and you’ll notice Kimberley’s quiet charm, the mining homes built eighty years ago, kids who still wander into ravines and build forts, the town’s one traffic light, and for a loonie listen to the yodel of Happy Hans from the world’s largest cuckoo clock. When you ask directions, there’s a friendliness to the people. You’ll notice their smiles, like those settled in a place they needed to be. It doesn’t take long to discover, whether you live here or are just visiting, Kimberley’s a good place to be doing just about anything.
Among long-time residents, whose families carved Kimberley out of rock, is a new population calling Kimberley home: A younger generation, who’ve set roots here for the lifestyle and the vast array of activities right outside their door. It’s not long before they notice how long it takes to grocery shop, distracted by new friends telling tales of their latest adventures. As organic farmer and counselor Kelly Comishin says, “And all those adventures are from understated, humble folk, out because they love it. Not for bragging rights.” When you talk to the people of Kimberley, there’s a humility to them, and a sense that “good” is sometimes the quietest form of “best”. It’s a town of belonging, where everyone’s welcome. A town, once defined by mining, now by the eclectic mix of industry reflecting the culture of people who live here: skateboard manufacturing, coffee roasting, gin distilleries, climbing gyms, microbreweries, coffee shops and locally-sourced restaurants. All these, infused into the established culture of brick buildings, restaurants, hardware stores, and small businesses that have supported families and served the community for generations.
Kimberley’s a town that will charm you. You’ll never want to leave—there’s too many good things going on. When you enter Kimberley, you’ll smile.
Like the sign says, You’re here. We’re happy.
To Help Put a Smile on Your Face:
Kimberley Alpine Resort: Over 75 runs, five lifts and 2,465 vertical feet, with Rocky Mountain panoramas. Longest night skiing run in Canada.
Kimberley Nordic Club: X-C Ski Trails, with over 40 kms of snow-cat groomed trails; 3.3 km lit for night skiing.
Outdoors Adventures: The Kimberley Nature Park is one of Canada’s largest trail networked municipal parks; as well, a 25 km North Star Rails to Trails joins Kimberley to Cranbrook on a converted paved railway bed. Travel anywhere, just minutes outside of Kimberley, for an abundance of lakes, rivers, trails, and access to the Purcell and Rocky Mountains.
Golf: There are three public courses within Kimberley, and eight within a ½ hour drive.
Fine Food: Kimberley hosts the most restaurants per capita in Canada! Whether you’re looking for a German-themed meal in the oldest building in Canada, or a Rails to Trails chicken burger and mucky fries, Kimberley has a cuisine for everyone.
Activities and Attractions: Indoor climbing gym; aquatic centre; pedestrian-only brick-lined platzl, downtown shopping, and restaurant hub; underground mining railway.
Art and Culture: Galleries. Arts and cultural centre (Centre 64). Live performances. Heritage sites, and a variety of festivals.
Accommodations: In Kimberley, there’s an accommodation for every budget: from mountain chalets, to ski-in/ski-out luxury lodges. Enjoy the Rocky Mountain alpenglow from your bedroom or hot tub.
Getting Here is Easy: Kimberley is only a 20 minute drive from either The Canadian Rockies International Airport, or from Highway 3, one of Canada’s two primary east-west routes.
Photos: Cali Sammel, Raven Eye Photography & Mike Reece
August 5, 2016
It’s not over yet! Although it’s winding down, there is still plenty of summer sunshine left before the chill of winter creeps up on us. In the meantime, whether you’re a golfer, runner or explorer, here are the rest of the summer events to attend to soak in the last of the summer rays!
Pars & Guitars 2
August 18th at Trickle Creek Golf Resort
For the second Pars & Guitars event of the summer, Trickle Creek Golf Resort will welcome Amy Thiessen to our Clubhouse Patio stage. Pair your tickets with a round of golf and/or dinner reservations before the show, call 250-427-3389 to order advance tickets.
Black Spur Ultra
August 20th at Kimberley Alpine Resort
From the creators of the Sinister 7 Ultra, the Black Spur Ultra is a race wrought from the windy, technical single track that trail runners dream about. No pavement, big climbs through rugged terrain, and stunning scenery. It its first year many racers dubbed Black Spur an “instant classic”. Hosted at Kimberley Alpine Resort, you can walk to the start line right from your hotel room. Visit the official website for more information or to volunteer!
September 3 in Kimberley
First Saturdays in Kimberley is a monthly celebration of Kimberley Arts & Culture. With a variety of local vendors and artisans to visit and shows throughout the day to enjoy. For more information on the First Saturday events in Kimberley visit the Kimberley Arts at Centre 64 website.
Thursdays until September 8th
Stop by Howard Street in Downtown Kimberley each Thursday from 5 – 7:30pm and purchase fresh food from local farmers and producers as well as products from vendors such as Bootleg Mountain Soap, Pridham Studio (functional pottery) and WaterMELon Designs (for our furry pet friends). For more information visit the Kimberley Farmers Market website.
Men’s Mountain Classic
September 15th – 17th at Trickle Creek Golf Resort
The 28th annual Men’s Mountain Classic will be at Trickle Creek Golf Resort on September 15th – 17th. For all event information visit the official website.
**You can NOW Register and Pay at Guest Services or call 250.427.4881**
You can also fill out the RCR Event Waiver online. Please click on the following link: https://
Downhill Ski or Board (2km) Cross Country Ski (5km) Road Runner (4.2km) Rock Climb (5 climbs) Cyclist (4km)
Individual (all ages) $40
Mixed team up to 5 people (all ages) $100
Registration fee includes a bbq lunch, event souvenir and a draw ticket for a chance to win awesome prizes!
Click here to view Schedule and Nordic Maps – 2016 iron legs schedule 5km Nordic Map 3.5km/kids Nordic
8am – Bib pick up, waiver signing and collection of payments on the day of the race. (It is recommended that individual racers drop their equipment off at the transition areas prior to registering at 8am-9:30am on Saturday. There will be a volunteer present at 8am outside the Climbing Gym and Nordic Centre to watch over equipment.)
9:30am – Pre race meeting in Slopeside
10.30am – Race starts
1:30pm: Ceremony in KAR Plaza
Here is the 2016 Course Map for the running/cycling portion of Iron Legs. Runners will start at Kimberley Nordic Club and run down to Spirit Rock Climbing Center through the Platzl. The cycling portion will start at Climbing Gym through the Platzl (mandatory for all cyclists to walk/push bike through Platzl) up Gerry Sorensen Way to Stemwinder Drive (past Trickle Creek Lodge) into the KAR Plaza.
A special thanks to our sponsors so far: Rossignol, Helly Hansen, Head, Jeep, Telus, Kokanee, Spirit Rock Climbing Centre, Kimberley Vacations, Kootenay Mountain Works, Purcell Outdoors and Handz on Evolution, B104 Total Country and 102.9 The Drive, Kimberley Nordic Centre, St. Eugene Resort and Casino and the City of Kimberley.
Schedule of Events
Saturday, April 2nd
9am Splash event information and REGISTRATION tents opens in plaza *Please note – Registration is on the day of the event on a first come first serve basis.
11am BBQ and beer gardens open, photo booth, plaza games, free facepainting and more!
12pm Live music by Mile High Club
2:15pm Spring Splash event begins!!!
4:45pm Spring Splash & event awards
5:00pm Live music by Jory Kinjo and the Static
7:30pm Live music in Stemwinder by Oak Republic
Sunday, April 3rd
9 – 11am Information and Registration Tent opens in the plaza (you can register now for Dummy Downhill at Guest Services or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dummy inspection begins
11am BBQ and beer gardens open, photo booth, plaza games, free facepainting and more!
12:30pm Live music by Lucas Hanny and The Fable Hoppers
3:00pm Dummy Downhill starts
4:00pm Dummy Downhill and event awards!
4:30pm Live music by the Good Ol’ Goats
For more info call: 250.427.4881
March 12, 2016
Click here to view Ski Mo results 2016
Thank you to all the participants, sponsors, organizers and volunteers for all their help to make this event a success.
City of Kimberley receives $4.5M federal Gas Tax Fund contribution for reconstruction of Gerry Sorensen Way
KIMBERLEY, B.C. – The City of Kimberley is pleased to announce that it will receive the lesser of $4.5M or 100% of the costs for the Gerry Sorensen Way Reconstruction project under the Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund.
With an estimated 800,000 vehicle trips on Gerry Sorensen Way each year, local residents should benefit from reduced wear and tear on their vehicles. As a resort municipality, the City of Kimberley is also interested in improving tourists’ perceptions and experiences in our City. Travel between the downtown core and the Kimberley Alpine Resort, Trickle Creek Golf Course, Kimberley Nordic Centre, 500 condominiums, and 300 townhouses should be greatly improved.
The poor condition of Gerry Sorensen Way is largely due to poor drainage and improper subsurface materials from the original construction. The annual patching of potholes and cracking has consumed approximately half of the City’s paving budget over the last five years.
The project will go out to tender in March. The work on Gerry Sorensen Way will begin in May and finish in September 2016.
Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick states “Good roads create a positive impression of the community, and are a visible indication to taxpayers that their tax money is being well spent. Virtually every visitor that comes to Kimberley drives Gerry Sorensen Way, as does the majority of residents on a regular basis. Our highest profile road needs to be one of our best. We are thrilled to be able to do the work this year.”
Don McCormick, Mayor, City of Kimberley
“Through the federal Gas Tax Fund, the Government of Canada is allowing communities in BC, and all across Canada, to make informed decisions about their infrastructure investments and how best to spend federal dollars. Community officials are best positioned to identify their specific needs, and the federal Gas Tax fund supports them in making those strategic investments. These 57 projects will contribute to building the strong, inclusive and sustainable communities Canadians desire to live in.”
Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
“These funds will help support the construction of infrastructure improvements that will provide a better standard of living for residents in communities all across B.C. I’m pleased to say that local governments throughout the province are receiving more than $69 million in funding for 27 capital projects through the Federal Ga s Tax Fund, which is administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and provided by the Government of Canada.”
Honourable Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
“Investments through the federal Gas Tax Fund are helping British Columbia’s municipalities address their local infrastructure priorities, while creating jobs and supporting economic growth. Gas tax funding is important for building and improving critical transportation infrastructure, including the bridge in Zeballos and other municipal facilities. We thank the federal government for its support from this fund, which will make way for a number of worthwhile projects around B.C. to complement our 10-year transportation plan – B.C. on the Move.”
The Honourable Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
“The federal Gas Tax Fund is helping local governments accelerate their capital investment plans. These investments will support improved levels of service for facilities in communities throughout BC. The 189 local governments that we represent appreciate the ongoing commitment of the Government of Canada to improving local infrastructure. We are also pleased with the valued support provided by the Province of British Columbia to deliver this program.”
Al Richmond, President, Union of BC Municipalities
To learn more about the federal Gas Tax Fund visit: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/gtf-fte-eng.html.