Fernie and Fernie Alpine Resort Winter Season
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
Here in Fernie, 2018 has started with a perfect combo for skiers- new snow & warm temps! Our holiday gift of snow arrived over Christmas & New Year’s creating a winter wonderland.
Now is the most amazing time of the year at Fernie Alpine Resort. Start 2018 off the right way with Mountain Time!
We’re in deep – with some of the deepest snow in North America right in our backyard- this season kicked into high gear with record setting early snow – our total snowfall to date is over 14 ft with over 45 cms of fresh pow in the last week!
More presents coming soon! Skiers and riders celebrate as the winter 2018 storm track is focused on the Powder Highway region. Weather forecasts show more snow on the way this weekend
Take your own turns in the Winter Wonderland with special offer vacation packages. Book now as the insiders will tell you that January is one of the best months to ski!
Fernie is a winter wonderland in more ways than one this holiday season! Sure, there’s the legendary annual snowfall and seemingly unlimited terrain but there are also many cheer-filled events coming to the resort just in time for the holidays.
There’s nothing quite like an old-school scenic sleigh ride to make you feel jolly. With friendly horses and a comfy sleigh that winds through the majestic forests surrounding Fernie Alpine Resort, this is a sure-fire way to get you into the Christmas spirit. From December 21 to January 5, sleigh rides will be running daily between 12 and 7 p.m. for $15 a person. If a private evening sleigh ride is more your speed, then group bookings can be made at Guest Services for groups of up to 11 people. This blissful and relaxing outdoor activity is a great way to kickoff the holidays.
And the fun most certainly doesn’t stop there. Saint Nick himself will be making a special visit to Fernie Alpine Resort for two days on December 23 and 24. He heard how great the skiing is and couldn’t resist a last minute stopover in Fernie before his big night. You can hit the slopes with Santa between 10 a.m. and noon and then head into the daylodge to tell the man in the jolly red suit your wishlist as you pose for a photo. He’ll be in the daylodge until 2 p.m. so you can be sure to snag a photo either the traditional way or in our new Santa photo booth! Elves will be on hand to email the pictures free of charge.
This holiday season is jam-packed with particularly fun activities for the little ones (aged 6-12). The Griz Kidz Holiday Program will keep the kids busy and give the parents some time to get the Christmas shopping done! The activities cost $5 per child but you can book any five Griz Kidz activities for only $20. One of those could be the Crafty Kidz nights on
December 22 and January 1 where parents can drop the little rippers off for some supervised craft time. Another could be building gingerbread houses on December 27 or even the mini carnival on the 29th. If you’ve got an aspiring snowboarder in the family, you don’t want to miss the Burton Riglet Snowboard Demo on Boxing Day. With a costume party on January 2, cooking night on January 3 and a games night on the 5th, your little tyke will have plenty to keep them occupied over the school break. All Griz Kids holiday events run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and registration can be done through Guest Services.
Another way to keep the kids busy this holiday season is with the Kids Christmas Ski & Board Camp. For only $269, kids from ages 6-12 and of all riding abilities will get three full days of on-mountain instruction from our expert instructors. The camp runs from December 26-29 and will focus on skill development, guided discovery of the mountain and of course, fun! Contact the Winter Sports School to sign up today.
For starry fun for all ages, hit up the Mighty Moose for a moonlit ski on December 23 and 24 as well as from December 26 to January 6 between 4-9 p.m. Bring the whole family out for some evening turns on the Mighty Moose and remember, your day pass is valid for night skiing as well! Otherwise, tickets can be purchased for $19.95 plus tax for adults and free for everyone under 17 years old. This is a great way to get all that you can out of your day pass and is especially great if you’re just not ready to stop riding at 4 o’clock!
Finally, one the most exciting nights of the year is celebrated across the globe and Fernie is no exception! New Years Eve is a chance to start-over, make some changes, or just continue living the great life that you do. Either way, we want to celebrate another year of awesomeness with you! Bring the whole family down to our New Years Eve party to enjoy a number of free and fun activities. Everything kicks off at 7 p.m. with arts and crafts, a photo booth and more in the plaza area. The night culminates with a dazzling display of fireworks over the Mighty Moose at 9 p.m. If you parents out there aren’t quite ready to end your night off so early, drop the kiddies off at the Griz Kidz New Years Eve party, but remember to sign up first.
Little Griz Kidz will have a pizza party, dancing, games, snacks, fireworks, and a movie (with popcorn, of course) just for them on New Years Eve at the Griz Kidz New Years Eve Party. This particular party is a paid event and requires pre-registration at Guest Services so make sure to book your spot! Kids 6 and up are invited to this fully supervised event, with two different options. Drop the kids off early (6 p.m.) or attend the family party together and then drop them off a little later (9:30 p.m.). The professional staff will keep your children safe and happy until 12:30 a.m. so you can ring in the New Year in style!
So, like we said, there are tons of events to help you get in the Christmas spirit at Fernie Alpine Resort this year. We hope to see you on the slopes!
Welcome back Fernie!
Another year of unbelievable powder and excellent riding is off to a flying start. Opening day saw people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities hit the slopes at Fernie Alpine Resort and it was nothing but smiles, some new and some familiar in the line-ups on Deer and Elk chairs Saturday morning before the line drop.
Excitement was in the air as campers yawned and crawled out of their tents and early birds met them in the maze. Even the Griz made an appearance and managed to grab the second Elk chair of the season, after stirring up some buzz in the crowd of course. As the minutes, and then the seconds ticked towards nine o’clock, voices swelled in a giant countdown. Five… Four… Three… Two… ONE!
After first chair, the smiles got even bigger as skiers and boarders discovered a snowy powder paradise in Cedar Bowl. With five lifts and approximately 35 runs open on opening day, everyone was happy with the conditions and chomping at the bit to explore the rest of the mountain.
Lucky for them, we can announce that the Timber Bowl Express, White Pass chair, and Moose slope will be opening on Saturday! Get ready to head over to see what the new side has to offer in terms of early season snow or learn some turns on our beginner slopes. After less than a week, we can now boast 65 open runs and that number is sure to sky-rocket on Saturday.
And that’s not the only new and exciting thing coming up this week. Fernie Alpine Resort has a new destination for delicious dining and it’s opening Friday, December 8th at 11 a.m!
Legends Mountain Eatery is new to the resort this year and we couldn’t be more excited to explore their scrumptious menu of daring and dazzling food. Located in the plaza, this mountain eatery is both convenient and comforting. Make sure to stop in and give it a try, that is if you can tear yourself away from the mountain long enough to grab a bite to eat!
Although you’ll certainly see many familiar faces among the staff at Fernie Alpine Resort this season, we also want to welcome hundreds of new staff members to our team! These are the people that work hard to make sure you have the best possible time skiing, riding, and relaxing in Fernie so show them some love.
With good vibes and even better snow, we couldn’t have asked for a better kick off to the 2017/2018 winter season. We hope to see you on the slopes!
Photos by: Steve Reed and Fernie Alpine Resort
“HOLD TIGHT, FÉLIX! WE’RE COMING TO GET YOU!”
“I’M IN DEEP! BUT I’VE STILL GOT ONE SKI.”
“10-4! WE’RE ON OUR WAY. RESCUE MISSION INITIATED!”
The nine-year-old boys climb up the mountain through hip-deep snow to save Félix. In reality, they’re directly under the Bear Chair, and they climb about five yards, but in their imaginations they’re deeply immersed in a backcountry survival situation.
Sadly, I see mere snippets of the mission on a shoddy helmet-cam recording. I missed their remote, life-and-death adventure entirely. Why? Because I had the brainstorm of not getting a season’s ski pass that year. Here’s my logic: I’m the hockey mom so that sport takes me away from Fernie a few weekends. I work in Alberta so lose other potential ski days there. I decided “it’s not worth it.” Or more precisely, I decided I am not worth it. Everyone else in my family has a season’s pass, even if they don’t make it up to the hill every weekend.
When I saw that video of my favourite nine-year-old boys, rosy cheeked and fired-up on adventure, I wished I’d been there. After two years with no ski pass, I’m declaring project No-Pass a failed experiment.
Because you know what happens when I don’t have a season’s pass? I don’t go skiing. In the morning, I decide I should wait until after lunch and get the half-day rate. Already I’ve missed the best part of the day: fresh powder. By noon, while the rest of my family flies high, energized by fresh air and exercise, I’m hitting the post-lunch lethargy. So I decide maybe I’d better stay home instead: there’s laundry to do, emails to answer. When the family comes in at 4:30 giggling about a day of snow fun, I’m grouchy because I’ve spent the afternoon folding clothes and scanning social media. But I’ve saved money!
That saved money will not be what I remember when my kids have grown and gone.
My husband always tells me: “You’re not supposed to think about getting a season’s ski pass. It’s the Fernie Fun Tax. Like any tax, you pay it and then you forget about it until the next year.” He has paid his Fernie Fun Tax every year since 1995. He has never once regretted it.
He’s right. In two years, I missed many fun days on the hill. Katie’s first ski race. Crazy Helmet Day. Ollie’s first black diamond run. Pink-clad Katie straight-lining full speed into the SLOW sign (I know, ski patrol friends, not funny, totally not, obviously).
This year my experiment draws to a close. When it comes to Ski Fernie, I am all in: season’s pass, priority parking, new gear. When my kids look back on their 2018 ski season, I will be woohooing my way down Red Tree right beside them. I can’t wait.
See you up there, Fernie Friends!
Photos by Powder Matt, Rob Heule & Mark Eleven Photography
CALLING ALL LOCAL ARTISTS
…Fernie Alpine Resort is looking for an Elk Valley artist to feature their artwork on one of our terrain park rail features. The artist will be part of a “Live Painting Event” on Saturday, June 24th in the main plaza. Interested artists must submit their concept sketch by Sunday, June 18th at 5pm (MST). A panel will decide the winning design and notify the artist by 5pm (MST) on June 19th. Full details on the application and submission parameters can be found below. The winning artist will receive a prize plus exposure opportunities.
For full details, click here
Fernie Alpine Resort was proud to honour 3 of our dedicated Mountain Hosts with long-term service awards this past winter. Glenn Sedgwick, Lyall Mahan and Wally Pfeifer have been 3 of the friendly faces that have been welcoming and assisting our guests for the past 25 years. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and congratulations to Glenn, Lyall and Wally!
Meet our amazing volunteers, who are out there in all weather conditions helping visitors to enjoy their mountain experience to its fullest!
“We moved to Fernie in 1989 as a result of a 3 year loan assignment from the Calgary Imperial Oil office to Byron Creek Collieries. Like so many others we loved Fernie so much we decided to stay here and raise our boys. Skiing and the outdoors was a great attraction for us, so in 1991 I joined the Volunteer Ski Patrol (CSPS) at the Fernie ski hill, then known as Fernie Snow Valley. Things have changed a lot since those early days. The ski hill consisted of only the Lizard and Cedar Bowls. The pro-patrol was small, about 6 people and the CSPS were responsible for the majority of the first aid work on the weekends. The Bear T-bar and Facelift serviced the upper mountain. The only way out of Cedar bowl was Cedar trail. During this period I also coached minor hockey and baseball. My wife Jeanette was enjoying the Fernie Host program, so in early 2000’s I joined too. I enjoyed touring and helping guests and proudly showing off our great mountain. I still love being a host, meeting and greeting people and enjoying the comradery of the host crew and it provides a break from my normal day job. It is great to get out of the house, enjoy the fresh air and get a little exercise. Maybe once retirement kicks in, I will be able to spend more time on this great mountain. “
“I originally came from the Saskatchewan flatland (Melfort), served 10 years with the Canadian Air Force, and then moved to Hinton, Alberta. While living in Hinton I was introduced to skiing at Marmot Basin. We moved to Fernie in 1981 but I didn’t take skiing seriously until I retired from Shell’s Line Creek mine. Retirement was cut short when Heiko Socher recruited me to do maintenance at the Griz Inn Hotel. This ski environment jump started my enthusiasm for skiing. Volunteering as a ski ambassador while at the hotel and with the Mountain Host program has been a rewarding experience as I enjoy promoting our ski hill to guests from around the world. “
“I moved to the quaint little town of Fernie in May 1979. Before moving to Fernie, I merely skied a couple times, skiing behind a ski-doo on cross-country skis.
I seriously started to downhill ski when the three daughters were fairly young (ages 7 to 9 years old) when they joined the Nancy Greene Program which was in the mid-80’s. Around about the same time, I also joined the Mine Rescue at Westar Mining where I worked. In 1990, I joined the Canadian Ski Patrol Program. In that first weekend of Ski Patrol, I administered more first-aid than I had done in five years on the Mine Rescue Program at the mine. I continued with the Patrol Program until 1997 which credited me with 7 years of volunteering with them.
The following winter I joined the ski-host pro-gram & presently am still a ski-host. My 25 years of volunteering seemed to have gone by way too fast. The glory years of ski-hosting was when we inter-acted with the guest by giving them 4 hours of touring the mountain; 2 hours in the morning on the old side of the mountain and 2 hours on the new side of the mountain in the afternoon. You knew when you did a good job when you seen all the smiles on the guest’s faces. Many of the toured guests came back year after year, became friends and some even retired and moved here. And, now some of them are the ski-hosts.
I will continue with the ski-host program well into the future. Now, I am the Duty Host for our Thursday Group. Come and say Hi. Thanks!”
The snow may be melting, but Fernie Alpine Resort is just starting to warm up for our closing weekend! April 15th and 16th will bring the 2016/2017 season to a close the only way the Resort knows how: with a party! Events and activities for everyone, with the Raging Elk Powder, Pedal, Paddle Relay race and the Coca-Cola Slope Soaker to the live music entertainment both days, Fernie has something for you.
Since 1984, The Raging Elk Powder, Pedal, Paddle Relay Race has been a wonderful way to end the winter and test your endurance on your own or with a team. A four and a half kilometre spring ski or snowboard kicks the event off and brings participants to the bike transition. Once on the bike, contestants ride the six kilometre route from the Resort into Fernie to paddle their way back to the toward the ski hill along the awesome – and ice cold – Elk River. Don’t worry, the fun is not over yet!
From the the river racers either hand off their “baton” or transition into the run. It may only be two kilometres, but it’s no slouch, after more than 16.5 kilometres runners will begin the ascent up ski hill road and to the finish at the base of the resort. Some awesome prizes await contestants; there not just for winners either! Contestants are encouraged to dress up, in the past the race has seen costume clad teams compete as the “minions” from Despicable Me, super heroes (superpowers may or may not be necessary) and even a BLT sandwich!
If you don’t feel like competing but want to be a part of the event, we always need volunteers to help with marshalling and transition stations, contact email@example.com for more volunteer information. On course cheering squads are also highly encouraged!
Saturday doesn’t end with the PPP! Day 1 of the 9th annual Fernival Festival in the Resort’s plaza kicks off with a live show from the high energy classic rockers the Backroad Traveler Band. This Calgary based band will be playing some beloved classic rock covers for the crowd. After a quick stage flip, DJ Skratch Bastid will be keeping the party going in the Plaza with his world renowned skills. The day will wrap up with an epic performance by Wide Mouth Mason who will play hits from their 20-year career. The Emily Brydon Youth Foundation will be on site to collect donations through various activities during the day.
In case you didn’t get enough live music on Saturday, for the first time in Fernival history a second day will be added to the lineup, bringing Fernie favourites BC/DC to the Plaza stage.
Sunday will also have the ski bum tradition – The Slope Soaker. Participate or come watch contestants do their best to make their way across a large pool at the base of the Mighty Moose Run. Costumes, and splashes are guaranteed for viewers and a portion of event proceeds go to Fernie Search and Rescue, who will be on site to pull waterlogged contestants from the icy cold pool.
Many of the closing weekend’s events have limited participation, so be sure to sign up with Fernie Alpine Resort’s Guest Services to reserve a spot for you and your team.
Words: Bryn Catton Photos: Jordan Johnson, Robin Siggers, Tourism Fernie