Skyler Des Roches
Bushwhacking. To be more specific, I do various seasonal forestry jobs, which mostly entail bushwhacking with a GPS, delineating wetlands, streams, or hunting down and mapping trees infested by various parasites. It's work that allows me to move and be outside, and the freedom to travel for much of the year without burning bridges with my employers.
Vancouver. But all of British Columbia is my home.
I'm a huge believer in Made in Canada. My desire to use Canadian-made gear is not so much out of some patriotic or protectionist values, than from the recognition that the material things we use in our lives, such as outdoor clothing, are really human things. Their value not from what they are, but from the human effort that went into making them. It's important to me that the whole Westcomb crew - from the people designing gear, to business managers, to the people making each item - work together in the same building in Vancouver. I've met several of them. I know that all the people working to make Westcomb equipment are respected as humans, not simply treated as replaceable machines, as is often the case when manufacturing moves offshore from company headquarters. Of course, Westcomb gear also performs amazingly.
I became addicted to Chilean empanadas (empanadas de pino) during two bikepacking trips to Chile. They are pastry pockets filled with stewed beef and onions, and unfortunately not easily found in Canada.
I generally prefer to be too cold because it encourages me to move faster.
I'm inspired by people who risk their place in society to satisfy a longing for adventure. John Clarke spent half of each year, often alone, exploring large areas of the Coast Mountains that no one had heard of or really cared about. Local backcountry skiers like Christian Veenstra, Nick Elson, and Eric Carter, who have completed classic multi-day Coast Range ski traverses in mere hours, inspire me to get fitter, and, like Clarke, lend a different scale to mountain ranges.
Then, there's a growing group of long-distance bikepackers who, with a careful use of ultra-light equipment, are crossing countries and continents on rough dirt roads and trails. The combination of technical mountain biking with compelling travel journalism inspires much of my time spent looking at maps, ignoring the lines of highways and paved roads.
My Crest Hoody. It has a perfect cut and is super light, breathable, and comfortable. l love that it functions as a technical softshell, but is disguised as an ultralight wind breaker. It takes the place of my hard shell most of the time.