Craft Breweries, quaint mountain towns, stunning rocky mountain views – those are the new experiences many people seek when planning at road trip. Road trips really are the best of all travelling worlds – without the major cost/headache of flying somewhere, staying semi close to your homebase while getting out and seeing the world at the same time. If you’re still looking to plan a fun, easy to manage getaway this summer or fall – here’s an itinerary all laid out for you. Less planning – more fun! It doesn’t get much better than that!
If you’re coming from Calgary in the south of the city or surrounding area, start at Fernie Alpine Resort – it’s an easy 2.5 hour drive when there’s no snow on the ground and it is home to perhaps the best known craft brewery scene of all our suggested locations. If you’re heading out from Calgary in the north or surrounding area, Kicking Horse might be the place for you to start your trip and do this whole circuit in reverse.
Fernie, B.C. – where the beer is local, but your server might be an import
Fernie is one of Canada’s great ski towns, not only has it been named ‘the coolest little town in North America’ by Rolling Stone Magazine, it’s also been named ‘the greatest Canadian outdoor town’ by Get Out There Magazine, in part because it truly is a year round outdoor destination with so much to do in the summer as well as the winter.
What to try – for a non boozy activity, try the Aerial Park at Fernie Alpine Resort. It’s a super fun afternoon where even adults find a challenge in the tree top obstacle course (perhaps do this one before the brewery tour, you might not want to have a hang over when 30 feet up in the trees)!
Where to drink – The Fernie Brewing Company is not just well known in Fernie, it’s well known in Calgary and branching out into many other major cities as well. But Fernie, of course, is the breweries home. The Fernie Brewing Co. building is located just as you drive into town (from the Sparwood/Calgary direction), they have a tasting room where you can try a flight of 4 beers for just $5 – which they donate to charity! Want to give back and drink at the same time? Fernie Brewing Co. is for you! Another fun initiative from the Fernie Brewing Co. is the Trail to Ale challenge, which is pretty much exactly what the name suggests, get more information on the Trail to Ale challenge on their website.
Kimberley, B.C – a place to get away from traffic, full calendars and all things marked ‘urgent’
Kimberley is a town where you feel relaxed, like really relaxed. If you’re from the city when was the last time you can say you felt completely relaxed? Maybe it was on a nature walk, or in your backyard or maybe it’s only when you actually get out of the city. If you’re asking the questions where can I relax and forget about all my worries while on vacation – Kimberley is your answer.
What to try – swimming in gorgeous St. Mary’s lake, it’s super fun & super free! There’s not only swimming at St. Mary’s Lake you can also canoe, kayak, stand up paddle board, fish or just float! If you’re looking to rent some water sports equipment check out local company Kootenay Rafting for options. St Mary’s is home to some of the most gorgeous views in the region, Instagram worthy pictures for sure (and everyone needs to document their best vacations on Instagram). For even more options of what to try in Kimberley, check out my blog from last summer – ‘12 (plus) reasons to visit Kimberley this August’.
Where to drink – Overtime Beerworks in Kimberley may be the youngest of all the breweries on our list, starting in 2016 – don’t let that deter you though, their beers are brewed with the sophistication of a much older brewery and they’re quickly making a name for themselves further than just in Kimberley and are available in a variety of cities and towns in British Columbia and Alberta. All their beers are brewed in small batches, making each of them slightly different with the unique flare of each individual batch – try local favourites like the ‘Mountain Standard’ Golden Ale or the ‘Right About Now’ IPA.
Golden, B.C – the friendly mountain town
Golden is another one of those ultimate outdoor adventure towns on our list, with a TON to choose from in regards to outdoor activities. Golden and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort are frequently named in magazines with annotations such as ‘extreme’, ‘challenging’ and ‘adventurous’ and while it is all of those things, it’s also a place to chill out and enjoy adventures everyone can try. For example…
What to try – the Via Ferrata at Kicking horse Mountain Resort is an amazing experience not to be missed while in Golden. While it admittingly does look pretty hardcore, it’s actually a mountain climbing trek even novices can accomplish and feel comfortable while doing so. Via Ferrata courses are a series of iron rungs and handles mounted across the mountain face that novices and expert climbers can do, all the while strapped into to a safety harness – an added bonus of the Kicking Horse course is the suspension bridge you need to cross to get to the Via Ferrata course, it’s an experience in itself! In fact, if the Via Ferrata is still a little too hardcore for you – the Suspension Bridge can be done on its own without having to continue onto the full course. The sense of wonder and accomplishment you’ll feel after achieving the Via Ferrata course or just crossing the Suspension Bridge is enough to make anyone want a beer!
Where to drink – The Whitetooth Brewing Company is the place to go in Golden, not only do they offer their own unique and delicious beers (that goes without saying), their outdoor patio is one of the best in Golden with an epic view of the surrounding mountains. There are quite a few beers to choose from that fall into three categories – ‘West Coast Inspired’, Belgian Inspired’ and ‘High Gravity’ – no matter what type of beer you enjoy you’re sure to find one that suits your taste buds here. The Brewery doesn’t have a huge capacity and is usually busy – they open at 2pm so make sure you go early and you might just get to sit here, I can’t think of very many better seats than that!
It’s the final countdown…
We’re coming into the homestretch for opening day 2018. In less than 24 hours our doors will be ready to blast open for another Legendary summer of bike park operations, lift accessed hiking/camping and treetop adventures in our Aerial Park. Our to-do lists are long and with a severe storm watch in effect for today we’ve got to get back out there to get things in order for you before the rain falls, but here’s a quick update to wet your taste buds.
In our last crew report we told you about all the great work done on our Elk side trails this spring. Shout out to AERE Films who shot some amazing footage showcasing some of the tune-ups on Top Gun, Duff Dynasty and Deer Trail. You can check out the short video posted on our social media channels here. The dappled light kept much of our work shrouded in shadowy secret during the vid but there were quite a few hoots and hollers heard while they were filming – you’ll just have to come out and inspect those corners for yourself this weekend! We’ll have all Elk side trails open for you with the exception of Alternate Flight Pattern, Holo Bike and Kodiak Karnage. We’re working on a new section of bermy / jumpy trail on the Lower Lizard ski run to bring Elk side riders into the base. This is still a work in progress so, in the meantime, all riders will need to ride a short section of road to return to the plaza and the lifts. Please respect your fellow riders and other users sharing this road – SLOW DOWN.
With snow finally melting off our alpine zones, our crews have spent the last seven days focusing on our Timber side biking and hiking trails. Last Saturday, we hosted our first ever volunteer trail day work party. A solid crew of seven came out to kick off a rejuvenation project on Rumplestumpkin. The work continued all week as we repaired cribbing, rebuilt corners and took care of some other messy sections that needed love. There is still a lot of work to do here over the season but we’re pretty stoked on the great start and look forward to getting this trail back in primo shape for all you dark side riders. Current Timber side trail status – Upper TNT will remain closed for the weekend, however we will be offering Bike Thief, Bin Logdin, Lower TNT and Neverland in addition to the 4km alpine to valley bottom Rumplestumpskin. Hikers can access outstanding alpine views on the Siberia Ridge, Lost Boys Lookout, White Pass, Pika Pass and Milky Way Trails. Note – some of the hiking trails still have snow such as Pika Pass, but the trail crew has marked the trail and it will be a very “cool” hiking experience.
A few friendly reminders as we unleash summer on you. Many of our trails have changed and early season conditions exist across our mountain. Take it easy. Do a few slow inspection laps to scope out the changes, gauge your speed accordingly and get reacquainted. If this storm produces tonight, there could be blowdown and slippery conditions out there tomorrow. Watch for workers out on the trails and please stop to give us your feedback or voice any concerns you may have. For on-mountain emergencies please feel free to program the Patrol Emergency Number (250-423-2426) into your cell phones. Can’t wait to see everyone out there!
Nicole & The FAR Trail Crew
Photos by Nicole Matei & Nik Dunn
Rise and shine it’s almost bike park time! With barely a moment to wipe winter’s sleep out of our eyes, the Bike Crew commenced our clean-up earlier this month. The FAR trails emerged from their snowy slumber with only a few ‘nightmares’ to be soothed away before we swing open the doors on opening day on June 23rd, 2018.
Last fall’s dramatic wind event left a clever game of forest pick up sticks best suited for woodland giants. We have to give a huge shout out to the FAR Saw Crew for their extraordinary talents helping to clear the challenging forest floor tangles and treetop snags. Once these hazards were removed, our forest gnomes headed to work in the dirt and to repair damages to wood features. Top Gun, Deer Trail, Duff Dynasty, and Bin Logdin have since had machine touch-ups throughout. Will Power, Monorail, Mr. Berms, and Ben’s Big Rig are next up on the list.
The majority of our summer mountain signage has been deployed with a major upgrade this year to the new Ride Smart trail marking program. This new system differentiates freeride vs technical trails and helps to identify trail progression, ensuring riders have an enjoyable and safe experience on the mountain. Not to mention, we also have a brand-new hiking trail map and guide brochure this summer.
As of today, this is what we’ll be able to offer for opening weekend: all Elk side trails, all multi-use trails, Rumplestumpskin from the top, all lower Timber trails, and the bike skills park. For the hiking crowd, again all multi-use trails, Megasaurus, Siberia Ridge Loop, and Lost Boys Look Out. All other hiking trails are currently snowbound and will remain closed for safety.
What else is on the plate for summer 2018? We’ve decommissioned Canada Cup, Cripple Creek, and Hornet from our Bike park trail portfolio to make room for some exciting new projects. We would like to ask all riders to respect these closures so that we can focus on moving forward instead of repeatedly heading ‘back’ to enforce signage and fencing during the season. The BC Cup / Canada Cup is returning to Fernie, July 21-22nd with the intention of having the full upper BC Cup course open for public consumption the remainder of the summer. In addition to our legendary Thursday Night Race Series presented by SCOTT, we have partnered with the North Face to offer an all new Running Race series on Thursdays as well.
See you out there,
Nicole & The FAR Trail Crew
Photos by Nicole Matei
Who could have known that the first ever Dirty Dancer Banked Slalom event would be as successful as it was? Every snowboarder in town of course!
This event was special for many reasons but perhaps the biggest reason was that it really brought the snowboarding community of Fernie together in a fun, passionate and meaningful way. Between the local board shops sponsoring the event, locals of all ages hand digging the course for a week before the actual race and the high energy and support for riders of all ages and genders on race day, we couldn’t have asked for a better inaugural event day!
The event was fully sold out at 100 riders (with another 40+ on the waitlist) divided into various categories. Boarders got two timed runs down the banked slalom course which took place in the Dancer gully in Lizard Bowl at Fernie Alpine Resort.
Race day kicked off with the wee rippers of Fernie! We had 4 boys and 2 girl groms who absolutely slayed the course, all while looking adorably small compared to the giant berms they were riding!
Then we moved into the Open category. Since Banked Slalom events have their roots in the very beginning of snowboard culture when boarders were banned from most ski resorts, it’s important to celebrate riders of all skill levels. The open category was meant for riders who are just trying out racing and are out to have some fun and test their skills! First we saw the open women’s category, follow up by the open men’s.
Next up were the big boys and girls… the Men’s and Women’s Pro category. These racers really knew what they were doing, most of them clocking the course in under a minute! Due to huuuuge interest from the snowboarding men of Fernie, we split the Men’s Pro into three categories based on age, 19-29 went first, then the 30-39 year olds and finally the Master’s Division for those seasoned veterans of 40+!
Throughout the day, spectators either cheered from the sidelines of the course or enjoyed the view (along with a beer and burger) from the Bear’s Den where the DJ and announcer were stationed, making the energy high and infectious!
All in all we could not have asked for a better event and want to send a massive thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. That includes Commit Snow & Skate, Edge of the World, Boardstiff Snow Skate & Surf, everyone who helped dig and shape the course, all the volunteers on the day of who made things run smoothly, the timers, the forerunners, and everyone who signed up or came to watch! We can’t wait to make this event a Fernie staple and to keep celebrating the awesome community of snowboarders in the Elk Valley. You guys rule!
Interested in seeing event results? Click here: https://3atdoe9h52s12e9hqcxdp3ah-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Dirty-Dancer-Results.pdf
Want to see some photos from the event? Click here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/FernieAlpineResort/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10160258524730367
Well winter just won’t stop this year will it? In light of Mother Nature’s snow-generosity, we’ve decided to extend our spring ski dates and hours to include all next week – meaning we’ll be open straight through to Sunday April 15th! Most services will be running, with terrain dependent on conditions. For the latest info be sure to visit our Snow Report page or RCR App daily.
Don’t miss our on our epic closing weekend on April 14th & 15th – with our annual Powder, Pedal, Paddle Relay race and featuring a live outdoor concert by Sloan with special guest openers the Velveteins on Saturday. Followed by our Slopesoaker on Sunday and BC/DC for another great season send off!
Hours & Services for April 9th – 15th;
Open Daily 9am – 4pm
Haul Back T-Bar
Lower Mountain, Lizard Bowl and Cedar Bowl (Based on conditions)
Adult; $79.95 – full day, $63.95 – half day
Senior: $63.95 – full day, $50.95 – half day
Youth: $59.95 – full day, $47.95 – half day
Child: $31.95 – full day, $25.95 – half day
Double Discount Days for Loyalty Cards in effect!
Winter Sports School
Late Season Private Lessons – $99 for 2 hour private for 1 person, (additional person is $24.75)
Beginner Half Day Level 1 Telus Learn to Ski /Ride (offering in mornings only). First time skiers & riders only.
Resort Childcare Centre
Open daily from 9am – 4pm
Sports Alpine Retail Shop
Open daily from 8:30am – 4:30pm
Sports Alpine Rental & Repair Shop
Open daily from 8:30am – 4:30pm
Slopeside Coffee & Deli
Open daily 8am – 2:30pm
April 9-13 – Closed
April 14 & 15 – 11:30am – 4:00pm
April 9-13 – Open 12pm – 6pm
April 14 – Open 11am – 8pm
April 15 – Open 11am – 6pm
Cirque Restaurant & Ice Bar (located in Lizard Creek Lodge)
April 9-13 – Breakfast (8am – 10:30am) / Dinner (5-9pm – bar opens at 4pm)
April 14 – Open 8am – 10pm
April 15 – Open 8am – 9pm
Legends Mountain Eatery
April 9-13 – 11:30am – 5pm
April 14 – Open 10am – 10pm
April 15 – Open 11am – 6pm
April 9-15 – Closed
Mountain Pantry Grocery & Liquor Store
April 9-12 – Open 8am – 6pm
April 13 & 14 – Open 8am – 9pm
April 15 – Open 8am – 6pm
Lost Boys Café
Closed (Timber Side closed)
Spring has officially sprung here at Fernie Alpine Resort and although we loooooove the big snowy dumps of winter, we have to admit that sunshiny days and slushy spring snow are feeling pretty good right now. And not only that but we have every single weekend from here until the end of the season jam packed with incredibly fun spring events! Everyone here at Fernie Alpine Resort is bursting at the seams with excitement over all these end of year celebrations so we want to give you scoop on everything that’s going down!
First up we have Kokanee Retro Day on Saturday, March 24th! This event sees the whole hill transformed into a real life Hot Tub Time Machine, with people rocking their tight and bright ‘80s gear all over the hill, beer gardens, a bumpin’ DJ in the plaza and a special promotion put on by our title sponsor, Kokanee! It’s a great chance to dust off those old snowsuits and celebrate a day of spandex, hairspray and headbands! The party continues in the Griz Bar after the beer gardens where DJ Rocswell will be spinning your favourite retro tunes.
The fun doesn’t stop there, but certainly becomes a bit more kid friendly for the next weekend! We have the Griz Kidz Winter Carnival on March 31 and the Easter Eggstravaganza on April 1st! The carnival will be tons of fun for the little ones with face painting, balloon animals, games, activities, crafts and more! The festivities will take place in the plaza from 11am to 3pm. To celebrate Easter at Fernie Alpine Resort, the Easter Bunny is visiting to set up a fun scavenger hunt! All you have to do is follow the clues to find the hidden basket of eggs and a tasty treat!
Snowboarders, the next weekend is for you! Get back to your snowboarding roots with the Dirty Dancer Banked Slalom, a throwback to the ‘80s where boarders were the outlaws of the wild west, banned from most ski resorts and forced to fight for the right to shred! Well, times have changed and we want you to celebrate by entering this awesome event for all ages. It’s running on April 7th and is sponsored entirely by local Fernie boardshops, making this a totally awesome grassroots event that we couldn’t be happier about!
The awesomeness continues right into closing weekend with Fernival and the Raging Elk Powder Pedal Paddle race! Since 1984 teams and individuals have been competing in this epic ski, bike, paddle and run race in Fernie and this year is no exception! After the race we’ll have a party in the plaza with a BBQ and free concert by the band Sloan. This all goes down on April 14th but the fun certainly doesn’t stop there. Day two of Fernival and our final day of the season is also going to be a blast with our annual Slope Soaker event and more killer music by favourites BC/DC on April 15th. Strap on your skis or snowboard and a funky costume to see if you can make it across the pond and win excellent prizes and lifelong bragging rights for the Slope Soaker.
As you can see, these last few weekends at Fernie Alpine Resort are going to be unspeakably epic so make sure to come celebrate with us! If one of these events catches your fancy, you can find more details and registration links here: https://skifernie.com/events-activities/events-calendar/
The appeal of the Dummy Downhill lies in its ability to bring joyous delight in the form of creativity, flight and carnage to everyone watching! This year’s event saw 13 dummies (forms mounted on skis) compete against one another in an epic day of fun on Sunday, March 4th.
The dummies ranged from popular book characters like Captain Underpants, to recycling projects like The Giant Tin Foil Ball to news items like Elon Musk’s flying car. All 13 entrants brought something to the table and delighted the gathered crowd as they were launched off a massive jump, only to land or smash or glide into the empty parking lot below.
Not all the dummies made it to the jump but the explosion of bits and pieces on the hill had fans cheering nonetheless! One crowd favourite was the Giant Tin Foil Ball that upon impact exploded into hundreds of tiny tin foil balls.
Judges were particularly impressed with the creativity behind the I Lava You dummy, a prehistoric volcano mounted on skis, complete with lava foaming out of the top. Another crowd favourite was Zippy the Zombie, a rather life-like fellow who chased anyone not wearing a Griz Pin down the hill, before teetering precariously on top of the jump and continuing his rampage in the parking lot.
We saw appearances from a bikini-clad George of the Jungle, an incredible paper mache likeness of Captain Underpants, a surly Sasquatch requesting everyone just leave him alone and a group of rowdy rafting stuffed animals.
In the end, it was “Falcon Awesome”, the aircraft built to mimic Elon Musk’s orbiting Tesla that took the overall prize. It may have been the smooth flight trajectory, the wake of smoke it left behind or the satisfying crash at the end that won it the title of “Best Overall Dummy” but either way, the crowd and the judges loved it.
At the end of the day, we were happy to announce that with the help of everyone involved in the event we were able to raise $670 for the Canadian Cancer Society. The Raging Elk Dummy Downhill has been successful as a fundraiser in the past and we were pleased and grateful for the amount raised this year!
A huge thank you to everyone who came out for the event, built their dummies, and donated their time to such a worthwhile cause. Time to start planning those dummies for next year now…
Best Overall (Distance, Creativity, Etc.) – Falcon Awesome
Best Creativity – I Lava You
Fun Disintegration – George
Best Ski Down/Best Trick – Zippy the Zombie
Most Style and Effort – Stop Following Me
Best Construction – Captain Underpants
Smoothest Flight – Big Air Machine
Hard Luck (3 way tie) – Forecasters Friday, Giant Tinfoil Ball, Tie Flyer
Best Name/Best Stunt – Wild & Rowdy River Rafters
Fundraising Award (raised $230) – Kentucky Fried Chicken Master
Longest Journey – Chester
The future of Canadian freeskiing was in Fernie this past weekend in an action-packed competition sponsored by Jeep, Rossignol and Smith Optics. One hundred competitors from Western Canada and the United States descended on Fernie Alpine Resort for the two day Jeep Jr. Freeski event.
At the competitors meeting on Saturday morning, spirits were high as kids aged 7-18 fidgeted in their seats, eager to hit the slopes for inspection. With their bright red bibs over their snowsuits or attached to their hips, the 100 competitors hiked up to the venue, Big Bang, a Fernie favourite run with a steep pitch, snow-covered trees and several natural features scattered about. Kids and coaches took their inspection run, picked their lines and then… we were off!
We started with the 7-11 Girls who absolutely wowed the judges with their style. Even more impressive was seeing the winners on day two take their spots on the podium and realizing just how young and tiny some of these little rippers are. No matter how small though, the 7-11 Girls were some of the fiercest skiers on the mountain!
We followed it up with the 7-11 Boys who showed speed and control coming down the steep pitch on Big Bang. Next was the 12-14 Girls, who showed no signs whatsoever of intimidation as they charged the mountain and started showing off some tricks over the features!
The 12-14 Boys were no exception to the excellent skiing we saw on the weekend, showing us that they’re the ones to keep an eye on as they grow and mature into expert skiers!
The air at the start gate was practically sizzling with electric energy as the 15-18 Girls prepared to make the drop. Between the hugs, high-fives, fist-bumps and pep-talks the vibe was one of excitement and support! As each competitor dropped down onto the run, cheers and shouts echoed around the valley. The 15-18 Girls absolutely killed it, throwing some big air and skiing some crystal clean lines.
Then, the big boys came out to play. The 15-18 Boys were no joke when it comes to awesome tricks and big air! They hit every feature they could manage, throwing 360s, spread eagles and all manner of grabs and twists and turns!
After a full day of skiing, a weary but still energized by adrenaline group of competitors met up in the Daylodge to learn their fates. Head judge Jeff Holden stressed the fact that they’d seen some phenomenal skiing all day but that the cuts had been made. Fifty percent plus one of the competitors would be coming back to battle it out for the finals….
It was a slightly more anxious group of skiers who gathered in the Daylodge the next morning. The temperature had dropped overnight, meaning that nice soft snow they’d enjoyed on Big Bang the day before had transformed into something a little more solid. The judges took a couple test runs down the venue and decided that although the snowpack was hard, it was edgeable and the competition could safely go forward! After hearing this news, the energy started to turn from anxious to amped. The finals were a go!
Once again we started off with the 7-11 Girls and although they all did their utmost best as the first ones down the slope, it was Annika Cooper from Kimberley who impressed the judges the most with a score of 60.30! In second place was Anjah Morgan-Smith from Lake Louise and in third, Fernie’s own Ivy Wright.
Now that the girls had broken up the hard snow and ice a bit, the 7-11 Boys came racing down! And what a competition this category was! In the end, it was Issac Hulme from Fernie who snagged the top spot with a score of 60.30. Joseph Lesage-Reid from Kimberley was hot on his heels in second place and not far behind him was Elek Wenzlawe, another Fernie local in third place.
The 12-14 Girls category saw a bit of drama as competitor Ava Lund from Lake Louise took a tumble and had Patrol help her down. We hope you’re feeling better Ava and we want you to know that your first run was truly impressive!! As Ava was getting the help she needed on course, some snowy weather started rolling in, meaning visibility for the last few categories was a little bit sketchy. No matter, the 12-14 Girls powered through it like the powerhouses they are and after a tough battle, Eden Amundsen from Fernie came away victorious with a score of 57.63! Kiara Bertsch from Lake Louise took second place and less than a point behind was Andorra Wright from Fernie.
With the snow thickening, the 12-14 Boys took to the start gates. With shouts of encouragement and jubilation ringing from the top, Ashton Chilton from Lake Louise impressed everyone with his 65.73 point run! Second place went to Mason Scott from Whitewater and third to Justin Darnborough from Red Mountain.
The judges paused to consider the visibility issues and considered switching to a split judge set-up but decided to push forward. They had confidence in the 15-18 Girls and they were right! Despite the conditions, the girls wowed with their style and confidence and Jade Regehr from Lake Louise ended up taking the top spot. Neve Richards from Fernie was hot on her heels though and third place went to Ella Engelhard from Missoula.
Finally was the 15-18 Boys. Everyone was expecting big things after watching them ski yesterday and the crowd gathered at the bottom of Big Bang were not disappointed. With a stunning score of 66.27 points, Fernie’s own Levi Wright took the top spot! He was joined on the podium by two more Fernie boys, Roy McPherson in second place and Tyler Stack in third.
As the winners collected their prizes, they flashed big smiles at a room full of cheering parents, coaches and friends! The next stop for these young freeskiers is Kicking Horse this weekend and Kimberley Alpine Resort on February 24&25!
For a list of day one results, click here: https://skifernie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Day-1-Results.pdf
For a list of final results, click here: https://skifernie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Final-Results-1.pdf
On November 18, 2017, in the dark of night someplace in the woodlands surrounding Fernie, British Columbia, spotlights of fuchsia, aquamarine, and gold illuminate a clearing at the base of a hillside. There, hundreds of humans clad in ski pants, puffy jackets, and toques, move to the beat of the intergalactic house music that pumps from speakers on a makeshift stage. The wooden stage has a pyramid for a roof—presumably to protect the DJs and electronic equipment from the elements—currently serving as a fantastical screen, wrapped in white polyethylene plastic sheeting, upon which someone, somewhere, projects a mesmerizing light show.
Welcome to the Mogul Smoker, a 42-year Fernie tradition. You won’t find anything for sale here. Not the modern artwork or willowy dreamcatchers that hang from the surrounding trees. Nor the “Gluten Free Hugs” advertised on the white sandwich board. Admission is free. BYOB, and even your own water. The producers, a group of local volunteers, put on this beloved annual event for the sheer fun of it.
The very first Mogul Smoker occurred one snow-less November in 1976, as a playful ritual to appease Griz—Fernie’s mythical winter deity—to make it snow. Residents Liz and Ian Stokie, along with their good friend Barry Hulbert, started it with a barn party and bonfire. Kim Stokie wrote on Facebook that she remembers her dad and Hulbert using up all the alcohol in the house to perfect a special party drink, which ended up containing rum, Kalua, coffee, and hot chocolate. They dubbed the concoction the Mogul Smoker. In the early years, participants burned old wooden skis in the bonfire, and donated either a bottle of rum or Kalua to the cause. The party kept going until it snowed, the faithful raising glass after glass of Mogul Smoker and toasting “Long live the Griz!”
The present-day Mogul Smoker is less about the homespun cocktail, and more about the smoking hot dance floor, erected each year at a secret location in the forest, where a non-stop lineup of DJs spin tunes well into the morning. There’s still a bonfire, but the Griz is not amused by people who throw in modern-day skis. “Burning plastic is counter intuitive to creating snow,” says Caleb Brown, 26, a lifelong Fernie resident who has been part of the team that organizes the Mogul Smoker for seven years.
Brown and team built the 2017 stage and its trippy pyramid from scratch, along with a treehouse-style shelter for the audio technician, and various other wood platforms and pyramid-shaped shelters. Chad Kona did the psychedelic visuals and PK Sound handled the flawless audio. The DJs were all Fernie locals who volunteered their time, and assisted with setup and teardown. GearHub sold 500 wristbands for $20 each, which gave participants access to a shuttle bus system that ran all night between the Royal Hotel and the undisclosed venue location.
Brown, a DJ himself, took the final set at 7:00 a.m. “It’s sort of become my trademark,” he says. “There may not be as many people left for the last set, but those are the people that mean the most, the ones that stick it out to the end.” Brown needn’t have worried about playing to a ghosted dance floor—100+ people were still standing strong for the Griz.
On the following Tuesday, Fernie Alpine Resort announced that it has already accumulated more than seven feet of snow, and would be opening a week early, on November 25th. Long live the Griz!
Keep the snow coming by toasting Griz with a Mogul Smoker cocktail, available at The Griz Bar at Fernie Alpine Resort. Or make your own following this flavorful recipe, courtesy of Stephanie Fleming, owner and mixologist at Infinitea T-Bar & Boutique in downtown Fernie:
1oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
Hot chocolate made with organic dark chocolate powder, honey, and cream
Top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of chocolate powder.
Photos: Mogul Smoker Facebook & Abbydell Photography
What a perfect day for ripping, slipping, sliding and jumping yesterday was! With warm temperatures and rays of sunshine peeking through the trees and bathing the competitors and spectators of the Raging Elk Kinky Rail Jam in its glow, the day was truly fully-charged.
The action got started just after 11am in the Fernie Alpine Resort Terrain Park, with competitors between the ages of six and “too old to say” hitting six different features, including various boxes and rails. Between their runs, competitors cheered each other on, waved at the chairlift riders dangling above them or used their skis and poles to play air guitar and drums to the pounding beats.
Spirits were running high and competitors were bristling with electric energy as they gave their all on each of the features. We saw tricks ranging in creativity and success and the judges were impressed by all. Skiers reigned supreme in this year’s event, with only one snowboarding competitor, Emily Park.
Emily took home a win in the snowboard category as well as in best trick on a snowboard!
It was a bit more of a tricky decision for the judges in the skier categories but after much debating, they chose their winners:
In the Girls Ski category, we saw Amy Shipley take the gold with Nell (The Nellinator) in second place and Ivy Wright hot on her tail in third.
Jack Nash was the winner of the Boys U10 Ski category although Adam Holub and Jake Weyman put up a good fight, coming in second and third respectively.
For the Boys 10-15 Skiers, Parker Kennedy nabbed the top spot with Charlie Nash right behind him in second place. Another Charlie (Domareski) took third place, rounding out the trio.
The tricks got bigger and wilder as we moved up the ranks and the Boys 15 and Over Ski category truly impressed. Lucas Reid and his stylish moves got him a first place finish, with Marten Hammarstrom coming in second place and Carter Murray in third.
Perhaps one of the most entertaining runs of the day was the final lap through the park for Best Trick! Competitors pulled out all the stops, got really creative and had one last run to show off their flashiest trick. There was spins and turns and one-legged wobbling, all resulting in a very entertaining and impressive show.
Ivy Wright took another win with best trick for girls, while the youngest competitor Theo Favreau got best trick for the younger boys. Charlie Nash wowed the judges and took the best trick for mid-age boys and Carter Murray can now brag he’s got the best trick on the mountain of the older boys!
All in all, the day was a raging success! And speaking of raging, let’s give a huge shout-out to our title sponsor: Raging Elk Hostel! We couldn’t have done it without you guys <3