This February, the new Raven Backcountry Festival raised $16,000 to support the Lisa Korthals Memorial Bursary.
Lisa died two years ago in an avalanche,and as I watched, via instagram, at a distance, as friends tried to mourn and remember her, while also self-isolating, it struck me that we are entering new territory right now, and will need to create some new rituals and ceremonies and practices to grieve, to mourn, to celebrate. Together, but apart. When all you really need is a hug, what do you do?
We may need to rediscover how to lament, as Tim Costello recently wrote in the Guardian.
As we mobilise for action on these fronts, I am concerned we are not preparing for the wave of grief that will have to be expressed alone, in ways totally foreign to our natural instinct to come together and physically embrace each other.
How will someone mourn the passing of their parent if they can’t sit with them in their final hours? How will we mark the loss of friends and colleagues when we aren’t allowed the time and space to honour them? How will local communities cope when loved health workers die?
How do we prepare for the sadness that will be thrust upon us?
We must prepare to rediscover the art of lament.
Lament is a one of those words that seems to have lost its meaning. Lament is not a label to put on a person or a situation – it’s the communal sharing of this grief, an act of solidarity that ensures no one needs to grieve alone, despite our physical distance.
If we are going to find a way to lament through the coming months, we need to start now by actively participating in our shared sense of exile. As Camus reminds us, it is about giving wandering shadows substance by rooting ourselves in the solid earth of our distress.
Sharing exile can take many forms, but it starts with developing common rituals – whether it is joining in online church services or choral events freely available, lighting a candle with friends across a Zoom meeting, clapping our valiant health workers on our doorstep at 8pm each evening or singing from balconies like the Lombards.
From their press release:
“We are thrilled with the community support for this new event” said Andy Meeker Tourism Pemberton Director and event co-organizer. “Thanks to all the event sponsors and people that came out to the event we have been able to surpass our fundraising goal and cover the costs for an aspiring female guide to get certified next year”.
“We want to share our heartfelt thanks for the generous contribution made by the Raven Backcountry Festival team to the Lisa Korthals Memorial Bursary” stated Vlad Lamorouex of the Canadian Ski Guide Association. “The donation will go a long way to supporting the bursary’s mission over the coming years”
Tourism Pemberton is grateful for the support of all the sponsors and community partners who helped make this inaugural event possible. They include Pemberton Valley Lodge, Yeti, Arc’teryx, Blackcomb Helicopters, Broken Boundary Adventures, Coast Mountain Guides, Extremely Canadian, Pemberton Brewing Co, Pemberton Distillery, The Beer Farmers, Big Sky Golf Course, Cheetah Factory Racing, Kye Shapes Skis, Foon Skis, Whistler Heli Skiing, The Pemberton Arts Council, Limelight Screen Printing, Copper Cayuse Outfitters, Mount Currie Coffee, Blackbird Bakery, The Village of Pemberton, Destination BC, Pemberton Valley Wellness, TLH Heliskiing, Icelandic Skis, Pemberdise Lifestyle, Valley Chainsaw, and www.wayneflannavalancheblog.com
About the Lisa Korthals Memorial Bursary
The Lisa Korthals bursary provides financial aid to those women who are pursuing a career in mechanized ski guiding through the CSGA. Eligible for any women applying to CSGI accredited courses such as CSGI Level 2, 3, SGSC or Touring Module. Preference will be given to someone that has already completed the Level 1 CSGI course and is looking to advance through the CSGA program.