Articles about Fernie and Fernie Alpine Resort Summer
Did you know that in the summer, we have a whole team of people dedicated to preparing our skiable terrain for winter? We call them the Saw & Brush Crew and this year, the stars aligned, and they were able to take the resorts ‘haircut’ to a whole new level. The early season conditions will be incredible (what alders!?) and some of our most loved runs on the mountain, think Boom, Buck-shot, Suprize and Black Cloud will offer you a very different (FUN!) ski/ride experience.
The most significant change is thanks to the FrankenCat! That’s what we call the new mower-cat that was created here at Fernie Alpine Resort. Our Vehicle Maintenace Crew have outdone themselves by constructing a machine that can tackle terrain that was previously unattainable.
Blair and Alina (our grooming/mower-cat extraordinaires) were able to cut every inch of mowable terrain across all 5 of our bowls. In fact, thanks to the use of a winch, they were able to access very steep terrain that has never been mowed before (see below for a HUGE list of what runs were mowed). This is exciting news! If you combine that with the work that our saw and brush crew completed over the summer (see more here), the alders didn’t stand a chance. Our early season conditions are set up to be some of the best yet!
Mowing timeline over the years:
1987 – The first (recorded) mowing was in the Fernie Snow Valley days, by Fernie legend, and previous owner, Heiko Socher. They used a European hand mower (walk behind) to mow the Lizard and Elk runs.
1988 – We upgraded to a John Deere 350 Dozer with an attached ditch mower
1993 – We moved onto a bigger Dozer, John Deere 550 while using the same ditch mower
1996 – We changed to a Bush Hog Mower
2007 – The BR-350 #19 snowcat was converted to a mower with a mulcher on the front and fitted with a Winch on the back
2019 – Cat #19 BR350 and cat #33 BR350 were combined to create ‘FrankenCat’. It was fitted out with a THC Cancela TTH-350 Hydraulic mower. The #33 cat has been part of the FAR grooming fleet as a winch cat since the 15/16 season. This machine was a favourite for many of the operators in the Grooming department.
The #19 snowcat is a special machine to us as it was the first BR350 that Fernie added to their grooming fleet, and also the first BR350 with a winch. This machine even borrowed by Lake Louise for the FIS Alpine World Cup!
The creation of the FrankenCat has allowed us to make our terrain even better, and a huge credit is owed to the Vehicle Maintenance Mechanics and Jeff’s entire team, who worked incredibly hard to make all of this happen for the Resort.
Another cool fun fact: Tim, who joined the Mechanical staff in April after many years of dreaming of being a mechanic at the ski hill, was assigned to work on FrankenCat as his first major project. FrankenCat was the first Groomer that he has worked on. Shane provided a ton of guidance during this project; Dan and Rob also had the lovely task of replacing the hammers inside the mower (which was not an easy job). The new hammers cut the alders like a Samurai sword.
Let’s hear it for the Shop Crew, Blair and Alina! Give them some yee haa’s when you’re cruising down Sib Ridge in the early season.
Runs that have been mowed:
Lower North Ridge
North Ridge – winch
Upper Kodiak – winch
Bear – winch
Upper North Ridge – winch
Siberia Ridge – winch
Silk Trail – XC Short Loop
Upper Falling Star
Runs that were cut by the Saw & Brush Crew:
Bomb Drop (upper Cedar Bowl)
Stag Leap – up to Megasaurus
Decline – up to Megasaurus
Skydive – up to Megasaurus
Griz Lift line (in between China Wall and Ballet)
Timber Lift line above Rock Landing to White Pass load
The annual Brushing Program for the Fernie Ski Resort is having a very successful summer. The cooler weather and lower Fire Danger ratings have allowed the crew to keep working through the dog days of summer without restrictions due to Fire Danger. The crew this summer has also been doubled to allow us to catch up a little on the past couple seasons where High Fire Danger has shut us down or limited our progress. The crews have been hard at work in many areas across the mountain.
There has been a new line cut down Snake Ridge as well as cleaning a new line down the North Boundary for those that are looking for the Steep and Deep that Fernie is famous for.
Additionally, we have been working on core areas on the Lizard Side that focusses on terrain that is open at 9 am on most big snow days. The Sunny Side has had a new haircut that extends down onto the China Wall and old Griz Lift line that will provide some early deep turns on those Pow Days.
Boomerang and Boom Ridge has received another mow and will be prime for early season riding providing steep turns right out of the gate.
New Side lovers will also see some changes to the lines in the Alpha Centauries and Currie Chutes areas as well as the lower elevations of the Big Three as we cleaned up the exits from those thigh-burning runs. In addition, core areas around the Timber Bowl, Surprise, Black Cloud have all been touched.
Our Summer Mower Cat was rebuilt from a repurposed Snowcat this Spring and will be out in anger this fall to mow many of our main runs including all our beginner terrain on the lower mountain and runs where all the rocks and obstacles have been removed such as Bear, North Ridge, Kodiak, and many others.
It is a giant mountain, and we have excellent growing conditions. People ask why don’t you just cut it all? Sounds like a good idea but when you are standing at the bottom of Cedar Ridge looking up at acres of 12 foot high Alder, you start to feel pretty small. When you dive into Cedar Ridge early season and have that perfect line top to bottom down the King Fir don’t forget to think about that person that has spent their summer on the end of a saw making that possible.
We are looking forward to an awesome season.
There are many things in this world that we take for granted. The way that we move and our freedom to walk, run, ski and bike are undoubtedly some of them.
It’s not so hard.
Want to go skiing? Go.
Want to climb a mountain? Go.
Want to go downhill mountain biking? Go.
I have a question, what if you had no legs? Would the ‘go’ be as easy?
This past Saturday was International Ride MTB Day, and we had the honour of having Mack Adams, a shredder from the Elk Valley, spend the day with us here at Fernie Alpine Resort. Mack is an upbeat guy who is always keen for a chat and, ALWAYS keen to send it on the mountain with his friends.
You wouldn’t guess it to look at him, but Mack is a double amputee who lost both of his legs at ten months old due to a congenital birth defect. He hasn’t let that stop him.
At the age of 12, Mack learnt how to bike, using outriggers (adult training wheels), with the help of Mark Hall, owner of GearHub. He then tried his hand at dirt jumping but found that his true biking passion lay with downhill mountain biking.
So, once again, with the help of Mark from GearHub who loaned him a Rocky Mountain Maiden, on Saturday Mack was back up at our bike park, in the pouring rain, getting his laps in. At one point I asked him if he was doing ok. He answered, “Yeah, but my ankles are starting to hurt.” His friends told me that these kinds of jokes had been flying around all day. His stoke was high, he was having fun, and watching him do his thing was inspiring! What a great way to spend International Ride MTB Day.
Mack has a dream of riding every trail that we have in one weekend, and Fernie Alpine Resort is working with Mack to help him make it happen. He is also a keen basketballer, volleyballer and loves to play his guitar – basically, nothing will stop him once he has set his mind to it.
What a legend.
Downhill mountain biking in Fernie is exhilarating, and often breathtaking.
The downhill trails here at Fernie Alpine Resort are in prime condition and riding beautifully.
Come and check out what it’s all about, and advance your skills, in one of our mountain bike camps or lessons!
NEW! ADULT CO-ED DOWNHILL CAMPS
Are you comfortable on green & blue trails but want to develop your downhill riding skills? Join us for our new adult co-ed intermediate weekend camps – focusing on progression to more technical descents, roots, rocks, drops, jumps & obstacles. With small group sizes, our certified professional coaches will help take your riding to the next level. Camp includes 10 hrs of coaching over two days, lunch, lift tickets, and bike maintenance session. Ages 18+.
Dates: July 13 & 14 / August 10 & 11 Time: 10am – 4pm. Price: 2 day camp $229 / 1 day camp $139
WOMEN’S MOUNTAIN BIKE CAMPS
MTB designed by women for women! These camps are catered to various levels of riding ability and are led by qualified female instructors. Camps include skill sessions, bike maintenance, lift tickets, instructional trail rides and lunch.
Dates: July 13 & 14, 2019 / August 10 & 11, 2019
Time: 10am – 4pm
Price: 2 day camp $229 / 1 day camp $139
MOUNTAIN BIKE PRIVATE LESSONS
For the beginner or hardcore rider — have a lesson tailor-made to suit your skills! Rates are based on 3 people per lesson — price includes instruction only. Lift ticket is required. Participants receive a 20% discount on bike rentals for the day of their private lesson.
DISCOVER MOUNTAIN BIKING
Discover the thrill of Downhill Mountain biking under the expert guidance of one of our bike coaches. Learn the basics and gain confidence! Minimum 3 people per lesson and a maximum of 10 people per lesson. The clinic includes a 3-hour coaching session, 3-hour bike rental and 3-hour lift pass. Rates based per person. For ages 8+.
Days & Times: Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10am-1pm
PEAK TO PARK TO PINT BIKE TOUR
Join us for a fun afternoon of biking! Starting from the top of the chairlift at Fernie Alpine Resort, cruising downhill to Mt Fernie Provincial Park and then pedalling through town to enjoy a refreshing sampling of East Kootenay beers! Includes guiding, lift ticket, and post-ride sampler drinks. Guests then have the option to take our complimentary shuttle back to the resort. Minimum 2 participants. Ages 19+.
Fridays & Saturdays
1:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Tail crew primarily spent this week on the Lizard Lane.
-On Monday, we finished all the machine work and began hand shaping.
-Tuesday & Wednesday were spent dialling in the shapes of features and hand packing.
-After Wednesday night’s rain, we spent Thursday repacking Duff Dynasty, Monorail, Case Closed and began packing on Mr. Berms.
-From Tuesday to Thursday we’ve had a machine in the Aggravated Assault Extension tree island. More info to come on this project over the next week!
See you on the trails!
Trail Crew 🚵
We have lots of exciting work going on at Fernie Alpine Resort this summer!
This year Trail Crew were able to start their work earlier than ever, and it has been very productive.
Our progress so far has included:
- A full rebuild of Monorail and lower Duff Dynasty
- We’ve finished all the machine work and shaping on upper Mr. Berms tree island (carrying on from where we left off last year)
- New squirrel catcher berms on upper Will Power
- The Lizard Lane is underway!
We’ll be doing weekly updates with a few teaser photos.
See you on the trails,
Summer is just around the corner, and we’re excited to have three amazing outdoor adventure camps to keep your kids entertained and having fun all day long!
Experienced camp counsellors & bike coaches are ready to fill your child’s day with action-packed adventures and exciting new knowledge that they just can’t wait to share with you!
The Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) is forever grateful for the passion of their employees, guests and especially the home towns where the resorts are located. In each town there are people who have supported the resorts for many years and in an effort to give back to these communities, the Community Summit Fund was born. 2007 marked the first year of the Summit Fund program, with an initial five-year commitment, RCR donated over $150,000 to over 100 community organizations. After the first five years, RCR decided to officially renew the Summit Fund indefinitely and continue to donate to organizations, schools and charities each and every month.
At Fernie Alpine Resort, our Community Summit Fund has helped transform the local Fernie community by supporting sustainable local projects that help create positive opportunities and outcomes for its citizens, especially youth.
In the last six months, we have donated just over $11,000 to 22 different local organizations and projects including:
Fernie Chamber of Commerce – support of 2018 Griz Days
Fernie Mountain Film Festival
Local athlete, Andrea Byrne – Freeski Competition support
Fernie & District Arts Council – support of the Out of the Box: Dumpster Project
Fernie Secondary School -support the ski/snowboard team to attend 2018 provincials, teaching classes on outdoor trapping traditions, new school fitness room equipment, annual scholarship program
Emily Brydon Youth Foundation
Fernie Alpine Ski Team – support of FAST Film Festival 2018
Isabella Dickens Elementary School – support annual spring tea fundraiser
Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club – support club to attend swim meet
Elk Valley Society for Community Living
Canadian Adaptive Network – support Fernie Disability Awareness Night
Fernie Golf Club – support 100th anniversary commemorative display
The Ghostriders Adventure Camp
Wapiti Music Festival Society
City of Fernie – support for Canada Day celebrations
Fernie Heritage Cemetary and Restoration Society
Fernie Tennis Community Association – support of East Kootenay Open 2018
East Kootenay Foundation for Health – support for 2018 Starlite Ball Fundraiser
Friends of the Fernie Heritage Library
The Community Summit Fund isn’t just about cash donations, but it’s also about being involved in the community ourselves. Our very own Robin Siggers is a great example of an employee giving back to the community. Robin is involved directly with the Fernie Ski Touring & Trails Club. He also volunteers his time working on the Fernie Dirt Jump Park – using the RCR loader, he moves dirt and shapes the jumps. On top of that, he’s a regular contributor to the Fernie Trails Associations crew – working nights maintaining the trails.
For more information on the Fernie Alpine Community Summit Fund and how to apply for a grant, please visit: https://skifernie.com/summit-fund/.
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