Articles about Fernie and Fernie Alpine Resort Summer
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
There are places that call themselves 5 star campsites. Have you ever been to a campsite that gives you 5 marvelous experiences with you starring in them? Fernie Alpine Resort mountain top camping did that for a group of 3 of us. We had arrived at the base of Fernie Alpine Resort. Cory, Cennia and myself. We were met by the resort staff that was going to aid us during our stay. Nels, Dini and Kelly. It was 3:30 on a Saturday afternoon. The weather hot and dry. The resort base was filled with people. Some milling about, others heading off to do summer activities that the resort had to offer. Like biking, hiking and sightseeing. We were about to do a night of camping on top of the world. Dini had checked us in and issued us our lift tickets. Nels chatted us up with the lay of the land and what to expect. Kelly and others helped unpack our gear from the car and load it into the suburban. Our camping gear was to take the mountain road up. We were to take the Timber Express chairlift up.
THE LIFT RIDE UP
Nels and Dini walked us to the Timber Express chairlift. Cennia requested to go up the chairlift first by herself. She wanted to take pictures with her new Cannon camera. Cory and I were to follow. As the chairlift scooped us up, Cory said “Here we go”. At that moment, the chairlift swept us upwards, grabbing our bodies with a mild force. I saw a rush of excitement in Cory’s eyes. Seconds later he was exclaiming, “I have never been on a chairlift before!” “Has this got your adrenalin up?” I asked him as the swing of the chair ended. “Oh Yeah”, he replied in an affirmative voice. We settled into the ride up while admiring the breathtaking 360 degree view. The chairlift climbed higher and higher. Up and over the light green vegetation we rode. Over the tall dark evergreen trees we sailed. We spoke enthusiastically at the changing terrain and distance below our feet. “This is awesome”, Cory stated. After eleven minutes of riding up we arrived at the mountain top campground area.
THE LOST BOYS CAFÉ & OUR CAMPSITE
Disembarking from the chairlift, we headed over to the Lost Boys Café. A mountain-top café with an outside deck. It was the central location of the mountain top campground with secluded camping spots near it. As we entered the Lost Boys Café, Dini offered us cold refreshments. We each took one and walked out on to the deck. An impressive spectacular view of looking down into the Elk Valley was before us. The miniature town of Fernie below with lines in the valley floor that were roads. This was an amazing vantage point. Nels, took us to the deck railing and told us about the valley and a little bit of its history. He pointed across to the tops of other mountain peaks giving us their names. Cennia was taking pictures with her new camera. It was all so peaceful and serene. Next we sat in large chairs taking in all the majestic scenery, chatting and enjoying the hot summer day. The deck had a metal fireplace with no fire. There was a ban on open fires due to a hot and dry summer in the region. That was OK. The place was fully licensed and the staff attended to all our needs. It was time to head over to our campsite and set it up, a two minute walk away. There we unpacked our gear and everyone pitched in to set up our tent. I remember Dini getting the tent rods ready and Kelly orchestrating the rise of the tent. Nels handing out the tent pegs. Tap, tap, tap went the hammer on the tent pegs. Everybody pitched in and within 15 minutes our campsite was set up. It was in a clearing on a small plateau nestled in by two giant mountain rock pinnacles called Mammoth Peak and Elephant Head. Mammoth Peak still with a small patch of snow in a shaded area. A picnic table was next to the tent plot. Green vegetation spread out from the plot to the base of the rock pinnacles and surrounding tree lines. It was a fantastic camping spot. This was where we were going to spend the night under a full thunder moon.
THE GUIDED HIKE
After enjoying the campsite for a while, we headed back to the Lost Boys Café for refreshments. There we relaxed and again enjoyed ourselves on the deck of Lost Boys Café. We were going to explore. Visit the Lost Boys Lookout and travel over ancient sea beds uncovering fossils of ancient times. Not before long we were on our way. Parts of some trails were lined with a strings of rocks on each side. Other parts had lush leaves, flowers and bushes along the path. We hiked though sections with trees aligning the path. Hiking up some and hiking down some. Nels and Dini would take turns narrating as we went along. Dini would point to some of the floral and tells us their names, explaining which one bloomed early and which would bloomed late. Nels with history lessons about the mountain and why the rocks were upside down in this area called the lizard range. All our questions being answered as we hiked along. We learned that the bottom branches on the trees that started high up from the ground was because that was how high the snow fell in winter. The Lost Boys Lookout was breathtaking with yet another stunning view of the valley. I even collected an ancient fossil along the way. All in all is was a sensational hike.
THE PREPARED DINNER
We returned to the Lost Boys Café to relax, drink and mingle. Entering the café, I now saw a table set with white plates, wine glasses and silverware. It was a setting for 6. A barbecued dinner was being prepared for us. Kelly, Dini, and Nels were to join Cennia, Cory and myself for a delicious dinner. I realized we all were enjoying each other’s company and this was going to be a fabulous way to have a camping trip meal. Cory said, “This is great, we didn’t have to pack any food”. Dini and Kelly brought in the food from the deck and then we all sat down. The meal was barbecued steak. Skewers with vegetables roasted over the barbecue. Potatoes baked in the barbecue and a fresh green tossed salad. We dug in, dressing our plates with all the goodies that was set before us. Chatter was going around the table. Drinks being poured with the light clanking sounds of dinner ware. We were festive, enjoying a grand camping feast on a mountain top. The view as we ate was remarkable. The sun was about to set and I reminded Cennia that she wanted to get a picture of the Sun setting from the mountain top. She slipped away for a minute and did just that. After the meal we relaxed back on the deck. Telling each other stories about events in our lives. What a great day so far we all had. About an hour later we headed back to the campsite.
THE MOUNTAIN NIGHT
When I returned to the campsite it was dark, however there was just enough light to make out where you walked without a flash light. No open fire was allowed. The three of us sat at the picnic table, reflecting on the day’s events together. It was about 11:30 pm when the most spectacular thing happened. The moon started to crest over the pinnacle of Mammoth Peak. As it moved up I could see tiny black outlines of trees in its cresting circle. I gaped at it, feeling how lucky I was to witness on a mountain top, this thunder moon. As I stared at it I could see it slowly rising. Its glowing circle becoming full as it ascended up and over the mountain peak. Higher and higher it climbed into the night sky. What an awesome way to end night.
I woke up early and wanted to catch the sun rise from the Lost Boys Café deck. I got there just in time to take a picture. A tranquil peaceful morning was taking shape. Soon Dini and the others arrived. A tasty breakfast was served and by 10:00 am we had all our gear packed up and headed down the mountain via the chairlift. Like the mild grabbing force of the chairlift the mountain top adventure had grabbed me. Like the amazing vantage point at the Lost Boy’s Café, I was amazed with what I saw and experienced. Like the history lesson, I learned of new friendships with the staff. Like the festive meal, the camping was joyful and hearty. Like the full moon, the camping trip had thunder!
NEW this summer – a trail running weekend clinic just for the ladies, so grab your girls and join us at Lizard Creek Lodge for a weekend full of fitness, fun, relaxation and girl time! Hosted by Magi Scallion, an avid trail running with a special fondness for flowy trails, Magi has represented Canada internationally in trail running as well as cross country skiing. Now sharing her passion for trail running through retreats, clinics and camps – this clinic will cover uphill and downhill running technique, program design and general running form. Stay at Lizard Creek Lodge, located at the base area of beautiful Fernie Alpine Resort, you’ll enjoy your stay in your comfortable room and meals provided by Cirque Restaurant (located in the lodge). Also at Lizard Creek Lodge is an indoor gym and outdoor pool/hot tub for an end of the day soak.
The clinic will run from September 8th – 10th, included in your fee is your accommodations, trail running clinics, welcome wine & cheese as well as all other meals, a yoga class and a massage. Now that sounds like a perfect girls weekend!
Click the booking link for pricing information and to register!
My family loves touring new towns on our bikes and the best loops always include at least one playground, a bike park, a stop for ice-cream, and a spot to cool off. Fernie has all of that in a short 8 to 15 km loop (depending on which trails you link together.)
The Main Town Loop combines several easy trails that are all relatively flat. As a family, you will enjoy pleasant trail riding on well-maintained gravel or dirt paths. Most of the loop is double track and Chariot-friendly as well. The only challenging sections for us have been on the Old Stumpy Trail (which can be bypassed.)
The loop can be started at multiple locations downtown Fernie but we like to start at the dirt jump and skills park beside the aquatic centre and spray park on the corner of Pine Ave & Ridgemont Drive. We play at the bike park to warm up on the pump track and jumps, and then visit the spray park at the end to cool off. There’s also a short beginner mountain bike loop located behind the dirt jump park that helps kids gain an easy introduction to single track riding.
Once you’ve managed to convince the kids to leave the bike park, cross Ridgemont Drive and find the trailhead for the Kootenay Elk Trail. This easy trail poses no challenges as it crosses over a boardwalk and small wetland area (image shown). You’ll soon reach a junction for the Old Stumpy Trail and the Downtown Connector Trail. The connector trail makes a beeline for Maiden Lake and is the easy trail option. At the lake you’ll find a small rocky beach area and a great spot for a dip in the cool water if you’ve packed swim suits with you.
If you’re up for a challenge, take the Old Stumpy Trail and Great Northern Trail for a longer loop to Maiden Lake. This extension has some tricky spots and you’ll have to walk bikes when you come to a few short sets of stairs. Regardless of the technical bits on Old Stumpy, it’s a beautiful trail with an “old growth forest” feeling to it. It’s also a short ride until you reach the much easier Great Northern Trail which parallels the Elk River.
Once you’ve reached Maiden Lake, the riding gets extremely easy for a while as you continue on the Emily Brydon Trail along the Elk River and connect to the Dogwood Trail heading for the town Boat Launch. Shortly after the boat launch, go around the corner and then cross a small bridge. Here you’ll get on the Brewery Creek Trail heading for an old barn (main/top image). The bike tour ends with a short introductory section on the Coal Creek Heritage Trail (where you probably won’t want to be wearing white shoes since the trail is practically made of coal dust!)
You’ll end up back at the aquatic centre from where it’s a short drive or bike ride over to the Happy Cow Ice-Cream Store off Highway 3 (between 5th and 6th Street.)
Progressions for easy – intermediate family mountain biking
Once the kids have cut their teeth on the Town Loop, it’s time to move on to some other great intro-trails that are a bit more technical and offer a “real” mountain biking experience.
The Coal Creek Heritage Trail – This trail is divided into two sections, The Lower Coal Creek Heritage Trail and the East Coal Creek Heritage Trail. We rode a 9 km section of the trail and started from the “Townsite” parking lot on the East part of the trail. To find the parking lot, drive 6.3 km up Coal Creek Road from town, turn left at the bridge onto First Creek Rd. and look for the Trailhead Kiosk, 3 km further along on the left.
This is a classic “truck drop” ride (meaning, you drive up, drop the kids off, and they bike back down to town.) Either arrange the ride with a shuttle or plan to have an adult bike back up for the vehicle (as we did) because making the kids ride UP Coal Creek would not be a lot of fun for anybody. Fortunately, the bike park and spray park are right at the end of the trail so kids will not be bored while they wait for somebody to go fetch the truck.
While this is considered a “beginner” trail, I was pretty new to mountain biking when we rode it and I had to walk a few hills. Gears and hand brakes are imperative for safety and enjoyment on the ride.
The Lazy Lizard Trail – This is Fernie’s star trail for family mountain biking and is another popular “truck drop” for children who prefer riding downhill without a lot of climbing.
Start at Island Lake Lodge on the Upper Lazy Lizard Trail and descend down to the entrance of Mount Fernie Provincial Park on the Lower Lazy Lizard Trail (image shown). The trail winds through an old growth cedar forest with fun boardwalks and bridges. Expect smooth, even grades, with berms on the corners and wide bridges to ensure nobody falls in the creek. The trail is 9 km long and loses 500+ metres of height (why you probably will not ride it up with the kids.) Let the children enjoy the fun flowy descent and then send somebody back up for the vehicle while you play in the creek with the kids in the provincial park.
Montane Trails – The Montane area has a bunch of new trails, starting from the old barn/coal creek bridge. On these trails you’ll be rewarded with great views of the Lizard range, Mt Fernie and the 3 sisters.
And I’ve had two separate families tell me how much they love the new Montane Blue for Evyr Trail, a fairly easy section of the loop above. The ride can be completed by riding on Montane, a double track trail and a smooth easy ride.
Biking the Ridgemont Trails with Older Kids and Teens – For families ready to move on to some solid intermediate trails, Ridgemont has plenty to offer with hill climbs, fun downhill riding, flowy corners, obstacles and beautiful scenery.
Head up Cemetery bi-pass (image shown) and continue on to the junction where ‘KiddieUp’ is the middle of 3 trails that branch off. It is full of easy switchbacks to keep the grade bikeable for the young ones, and give them plenty of practice cornering. To complete a loop take a right onto the logging road, and about 200m down you can take another right onto ‘What’s up Doc”.
For something longer and more challenging, you could put together nearly any combination to make an excellent loop. Cemetery Bypass, Kiddie Up, Queen V, Ecoterrorist, Eric’s Trail, and Broken Hip are all intermediate trails that are popular with families riding with older children and teens.
Information on all trails here can be found on the Trail Forks website.
Progressing to Downhill Mountain Biking at Fernie Alpine Resort
Register for a Kids Freeride Mountain Bike Camp and let professional coaches introduce the kids to lift-accessed downhill riding at Fernie Alpine Resort.
The theme of the camps is “Teaching kids to ride hard and safe.” In the camps, kids learn basic downhill riding skills, gain confidence, learn to ride steep lines and to tackle challenging terrain at the resort. Discounted lift tickets and bike rentals are available for camp participants.
The resort will be holding four camps this summer for kids ages 8 – 16 and each camp runs for two consecutive days mid-week. Meanwhile, mom and dad will find no shortage of entertainment at the resort’s bike park. Adult lessons are also offered including the brand new mid-week Trail Warrior Camps for adults. These 3-day camps are designed for cross country riders interested in developing downhill bike skills.
My family has a gigantic list of trails we want to ride this summer so we’ll see you out there with huge smiles on our faces. My 8 year old (below) will be leading the way and will be yelling back at me to stay on my bike and to stop wussing out on every corner. 😉
Special thanks to Leanne Nanninga and Coleen Hughes for contributing to this story with trail suggestions, route information, and photos.
Considered by many of our staff to be the hidden gem of the resort, the Skeleton Flats / Summer Road loop takes hikers on a 4km loop through the stunning Lizard Bowl.
Beginning on the Summer Road trail at the top of the Elk Chair, hikers steadily climb (16% grade, 345 m elevation gain) a wide road with panoramic views of the city of Fernie and surrounding peaks before reaching the Lizard Bowl Observation Deck. Interpretive signs line the viewing platform and explain some of the historic features of the area.
Continuing further up trail, hikers will make two scenic road switchbacks before reaching a trail junction. From this point, hikers may choose to either ascend via the Skeleton Flats trail (and descend the Summer Road at the end of the hike) or continue up the Summer Road and complete the loop in reverse down the Skeleton Flats trail. Both options are equally as rewarding. The Skeleton Flats trail climbs through the Dancer avalanche path to reach a stunning sub-alpine meadow exploding with wildflowers. Of interesting note are large timber debris piles and trees which have been broken or become bent over as a result of powerful winter avalanches. Hikers may notice the large ‘caves’ or sinkholes, many of which have been filed in with large boulders for safety. These are formed by the easily dissolveable limestone rock which make up the Lizard Range, known as Karst topography.
The trail then begins its traverse across the top of the Lizard Bowl. Keep your eyes on the rocky headwalls for white mountain goats, as they are often spotted here! As you approach the Bear Chair unload, a marked Fossil Zone presents an exceptional rock wall, hosting a variety of ancient sea floor life fossils.
The top of the Bear Chairlift marks the junction with the Summer Road trail and the descent back down to the Elk Chair. Moose, bears, deer, ground squirrels, and even badgers can often be viewed here. Be sure to stop by the Nature Bob’s Interpretive Centre located at the top of the Elk Chair to learn more about the flora, fauna, and fossils that make Fernie unique or to discover more hiking options at the resort.
Blog & Photos by Nicole Matei