Marie Fortin, Founder, Hilltrip
by SONDI BRUNER
A native of Quebec’s mountainous Saguenay region, Marie Fortin practically grew up on the ski hill. But when she moved to B.C. and encountered the coastal mountains that tower more than twice as high as those near her hometown of Chicoutimi, she was awestruck.
“When you go up the mountains for the first time, you see the peaks and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before,” says the former competitive snowboarder. “It took my breath away.”
When Fortin realized that global warming was causing the glaciers to melt, she saw it as nature’s warning to change our behaviour so the peaks will stay intact for future generations.
Fortin’s growing concern for the environment compelled her to create Hilltrip, a social marketing company aimed at making the much-loved mountain lifestyle more sustainable.
Based in Whistler, Hilltrip has created its own carbon offset program. It also organizes fun, Earth-centred events including the Step It Up speaker series, the Sierra Club Energy Film Festival, and the silent-auction fundraisers ActionONE and TWO. All are geared toward promoting environmental sustainability.
This year, Hilltrip is heading up Whistler’s EnviroFest, and is promoting Whistler’s Green Drinks, an informal gathering of people interested in green issues, last month. A recent graduate of the Leave No Trace Master Educator course, which focuses on managing one’s footprint when enjoying the outdoors, Fortin plans to start giving Leave No Trace workshops. She also aspires to offer educational, low-impact adventures to other mountain-lovers.
“In the mountains, we have much more to lose,” Fortin says. “With Hilltrip, I try to nurture the instinct of conservation in nature. It’s something we all have inside of us.”
Reprinted from SharedVISION