Fernie and Fernie Alpine Resort Winter Season
Undoubtedly a little bias, we think that heading to Fernie Alpine Resort during any time of the year is a good idea, there’s just so much to do year-round! BUT, there are a few particular reasons why you should plan your girls road trip to Fernie in the early ski season. With the long anticipation of winter, early season turns are the perfect excuse to get the gang together to welcome the change of pace and to kick off your season. With the crisp fall mornings here and winter thoughts creeping in, here’s why you should get your girl’s trip on the calendar for this upcoming December.
EARLY SEASON SNOW, IT’S ALL YOURS!
While the base accumulates rapidly, the falling snow provides untouched powder ripe for the shredding! By booking your trip earlier in the season, you’ll get in on the blank canvas that coats Fernie Alpine Resort and get it all to yourselves! Visit mid-week early season, and the resort will feel like a private mountain experience, zero lift lines and impeccable snow for your girls trip!
EARLY SEASON DEALS
The saying “the early bird gets the worm” couldn’t be more true when you book your girls getaway for the start of the season in Fernie. Purchase multi-day lift tickets a week in advance for substantial savings or book lift tickets and accommodations at the same time for a killer deal. Keep eyes on skifernie.com for additional early season specials that will seal the deal!
BEAT THE HOLIDAY RUSH
Holidays are all about spending time with family, taking it slow and basking in each other’s company. A girls shred trip is much more about the shredding. When you hit the slopes earlier in the season, you’ll get your fix of serious shred days so that you’re content to hang back and do the family program around the holidays without a case of the antsy pants, which your family will be grateful for.
GET YOUR SKI/SNOWBOARD LEGS BACK EARLY
You’ll surely stay ahead of the curve when you sneak in a ski trip in the early season. You’ll work on your stamina and be able to handle big days without getting jello legs. You’ll Thank Yourself for starting your season early and see the progression in your skiing and riding ability.
When it comes down to it, any woman’s week or weekend at Fernie Alpine Resort makes for a fun trip packed with insightful conversations, silly shenanigans and memorable moments. We hope your annual (or soon to be annual) girls road trip to Fernie Alpine Resort is filled with powder, small lift lines and great deals! Enjoy finding your much-anticipated mountain bliss with your lady crew this upcoming December.
Words & Photos by Abby Cooper
Griz Days are coming up, and it should be no surprise that the legend himself celebrated by giving us 55cm powder days.
So when you’re not waiting for a giant man with a musket to blast down more powdery goodness, what can you get up to this weekend? As always, here at Fernie Alpine Resort, we have lots of fun activities planned, as well as even more engaging events happening in town. Get all the details for epic Griz Days events you won’t want to miss!
Let’s get started with what’s going on around the mountain…
To kick things off, on Friday we have Ski with Griz. The Griz will be hanging around the resort and photo ready between 11:00am and 2:00pm. He’ll be in various spots throughout the day including Lost Boys and the Bears Den so be sure to follow our social media to see where he’s at. Don’t miss your chance to meet a true Fernie snow legend.
On Saturday, kids from ages 6 to 12 are challenged to see if they have what it takes to be The Griz. The Junior Griz Training Ground is back and proudly hosted by Fernie Alpine Resort this year. This event includes the Griz Obstacle Course, Log Toss, Kid Friendly Axe Throwing and more, and it’s FREE! The event runs from 11am to 1pm, but be sure to head into Guest Services between 11am and 12:30pm on Saturday to register and pick up a training card. The first 100 training cards to be returned will receive an epic treat bag! Don’t forget to dress up for this year’s theme, Griz Days Gone Denim, because there will be prizes given out at 1:30 in the plaza for the Junior Griz Costume Contest.
Last but certainly not least, the ever exciting crowd favourite, Raging Elk Dummy Downhill, is happening Sunday, March 3rd! Channel all your creativity, ingenuity, and imagination into your “dummy,” and then, our favourite part, watch the carnage fly as they are launched off a jump of destruction! Ok, ok, we might be just a little excited! It goes like this: Registration is from 11am to noon at the bottom jump next to Timber Chair. At noon all Dummies will be assessed by the judges, 12:30pm the Dummies will head to the top, 1:00pm they meet their doom! At 3:00pm, in the Daylodge, we will have the awards ceremony. 100% off the proceeds from registration will be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. Entry fee is a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society (Minimum donation amount is $20). Entries can bring their donations (in cash) to the check in on the event day or can do their donation online here.
Click here for all the contest rules for dummy assembly.
The magic of Griz Days continues in town, with tons of amazing events and activities, so many in fact that we can’t mention them all in one blog. Here are some of the highlights –
Join the Arts Station on Friday at 4:00pm and 6:00pm for a theatrical performance of The Griz Myth Adventure, where the audience gets to choose the ending. Entrance for this fun night of theatre is only a toonie! Yup you heard right, we’re not loonie, it’s just a toonie! Ok, that was bad. If you’re looking for something a little more upbeat, why not spend your Friday in the Griz Days Pub Crawl? Starting at 3:00pm at 9 different bars and pubs around Fernie, your ticket includes refreshments at each location, transportation from the ski hill to town, food and epic prizes.
Kick off Saturday with a pancake breakfast starting at 8:00am at the Community Centre, and then enjoy beautiful handmade goodies at The Griz Days Craft Fair starting at 9:00am. You can also try your hand at snow golfing on Saturday from 9:30am at the Fernie Golf Club. Fernie’s fiercest and “Griziest” competitors battle it out for the title of The Griz from 11:30am at the Extreme Griz Competition, located at the Park Place Lodge and various locations around town. Feel the burn with a Hot Wing Eating Contest, starting at 4:00pm at the Fernie Hotel and Pub. 5:30pm on Main Street downtown kicks off the ever fun and fabulous Griz Days Parade. Watch out for the Fernie Alpine Resort float strutting their finest denim and blasting t-shirts from the Avalauncher! And finally, end Saturday with a BOOM in Station Square with a spectacular Griz Days fireworks show, starting at 8:00pm.
For a full list of events happening both at the ski hill and in town click here.
We wish you a fun, magical, and powdery Griz Days 2019!
So, you’re planning a vacation to Fernie Alpine Resort, or maybe you’re trying to find fun activities while the kids are home from school, or you could just be looking to create some memories with friends. You might be wondering, what’s going on at the ski hill over the holidays? Well, it might be quicker to ask what ISN’T going on! Get ready for a holiday activity blog that’ll blow your stocking right off the fireplace!
Planning to sleigh (hehe, see what we did there?) the mountain on December 23rd and 24th? Join the big man himself as he shreds some pow between 10:00 am to noon. Santa will be enjoying his après ski cookies and milk in the Daylodge between noon to 2:00 pm, so don’t forget to check if you’ve been naughty or nice and snap a picture with him before his big night.
Jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh, hey! We think horse drawn sleigh rides are a magical way to explore our very own winter wonderland! For only $15 per person, enjoy a scenic ride through Fernie Alpine Resort between December 21st and January 4th. Want to spread the holiday cheer with a bigger group? You have the opportunity to rent a private sleigh, available for a maximum of 11 guests. Hear the sweet jingle of our sleighs between 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm daily.
‘‘Tis the season for giving, so in true Christmas spirit we are hosting a multitude of fun family activities absolutely free! Starting December 26th and again January 2nd, Bingo takes to the slopes. Mark off every run you ski on your bingo card and snap a picture for a chance to win some sweet prizes. Do you like après ski drinks? Do your kids like decorating Gingerbread houses? On December 27th at Slopeside Café, with your purchase of a beverage between 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm, receive a Gingerbread house decorating kit free! One Gingerbread house per family while supplies last. But our artistic spirit doesn’t end there! Head back to Slopeside Café on December 28th and January 4th between 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm for even more creative fun. Receive a surprise arts and crafts kit to create a holiday memory you can take home with you (supplies are limited). Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, there’s more! On December 30th why not go on a photo scavenger hunt, taking place all over the hill. Between 9:00 am and 10:30 am, pick up a list of clues at Slopeside Café and then the hunt is on! If you find a clue, take a picture and post it on Facebook or Instagram with #lovefernie. Once you’ve found all the clues, head back to Slopeside Café between 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm for some epic prizes!
Want to wind down after a crazy day on the slopes? Join us for après S’morey Time on January 3rd at Slopeside Café between 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm, and be enchanted by the tale of the Griz and other great legends. More après ski activities and games you won’t want to miss will be taking place at Slopeside Café between December 26th and 30th, as well as January 1st through to the 5th.
Did you know Fernie Alpine Resort has supervised kids’ activities going on through the holidays? Well now you do! December 23rd, 24th, 26th through 30th, January 1st to the 4th, The Griz Kidz Activity Night will be hosting games, crafts, movies, and pizza. Drop the kids off from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on the top floor of the Mountain Pantry (entrance via Fernie Slopeside Lodge parking lot) and enjoy the evening, kid free!
Do you think shredding the slopes shouldn’t be limited to 4:00 pm? Neither do we! Which is why we are offering Night Skiing on the Mighty Moose December 22nd to 24th and December 26th through to January 5th.
We are anything but boring here at Fernie Alpine Resort, especially with great activities and events happening almost every day throughout the week! Saturdays on the hill are jam packed with loads of fun for all ages. Lizard Creek Lodge will be hosting a Kid’s Pool Party and Movie Night every Saturday, with a BBQ dinner thrown into the mix. Uptracking Guided Tours available every Saturday will take you through a beautiful forested trail to the Bear’s Den where delicious hot beverages can be had. Then after all that hard work and exercise, head back to Cirque and reward yourself with a cocktail. For a chill Saturday activity between 7:30 and 8:30 am, why not enjoy a Stretch and Warm Up at Lizard Creek Lodge before you hit the slopes? Nordic Sundays are fun way to spend your Sundays, enjoy a guided instructional tour on our beautiful Nordic trail system. On Tuesday enjoy a Snowshoe and Dine experience you’ll never forget, where a 1.5 hour guided snowshoe tour ends with delicious pasta and wine at Cirque Restaurant. Craving even more exercise? Try the fast paced and exciting Vinyasa Yoga from 5:30 to 6:30 pm at Lizard Creek Lodge. And finally, Ride and Dine on Thursdays with a 1.5 hour guided bike tour followed by burgers and beer at Legends Mountain Eatery.
Our fantastic Griz Kidz program continues on New Year’s Eve, where activities such as a pizza and dance party, games, snacks and a movie are happening all night long! Two options are available for this evening of fun; drop the kiddies off early at 6:00 pm, or drop them off a little later at 9:30 pm. This event is completely supervised by our Winter Sports School staff and runs until 12:30 am.
Help your kiddos develop their passion for sliding on snow by signing up for our Ski and Snowboard Camp, January 1st to the 4th!
Enter the New Year with a BANG by joining us in the base area for a multitude of family activities, followed by a wondrous fireworks display presented by TELUS! All activities are free and no reservations are required. But don’t stop there! Bring in the New Year with a party at Cirque Restaurant with local band, Cold Cuts! The Griz Bar is ringing in 2019 with live music from our favourite New Year’s Eve band, the Todd Band, and Legends Mountain Eatery will be bringing in a party like it’s 1999!
Phew! So much to do and so little time to enjoy it! From all of us at Fernie Alpine Resort, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Check out the full holiday schedule by clicking Holiday Events at FAR 2018-19!
For Guest Services contact: 250-423-2435 or [email protected]
For Winter Sports School contact: 250-423-2406 or [email protected]
The act of sliding on snow is a mystical experience. It is a romance that only those captivated by its spell can truly understand. It can go beyond infatuation, beyond addiction, beyond reason, and in some cases, beyond the realm of impossible. It connects us to ourselves, it connects us to each other, it connects us to nature. Once you are drawn in, it is a lifelong passion. We sought out a variety of individuals, united by the love of sliding on snow, to find out just what gets their hearts beating this season.
The coming of a new season will rekindle the flame for adrenaline junkies and fun-seekers alike. An unmistakable flame resides in the heart of Greg ‘G-Money’ Barrow, a man whose local fame needs no introduction. Greg is a magnetic character whose Southern Swagger is iconic. Why G-Money? In the days of his youth, Greg delved into the world of basketball; and when making a shot the crowds would chant ‘MONEY!!’ Not what you expected hey…?
With the concept of carrying ski poles being a put off, G-Money took to snowboarding in 1982, and after traveling across North America he took the advice of his friend and hero, Craig Kelly, and opened Fernie’s local snowboarding haven Edge Of The World. Why build a whole lifestyle around snowboarding? “Because of the feeling,” said Greg as he flashed his charming smile. “You can’t get that feeling anywhere else.” So, what makes G-Money stand out from the crowd? Besides sporting the latest and greatest snowboards, Greg holds 18 consecutive first chair victories at Fernie Alpine Resort. We could tell you what it takes for Greg to snag first chair every year, but we are sworn to secrecy by The Griz himself. We CAN tell you only a snow-lover could commit themselves the way Greg has. Even though Greg wonders if a brave challenger will ever present themselves, his title still goes undefeated and at the grand age of 70 he once again found himself the first in line on opening day this season.
What makes a group of 10 and 11-year olds leave the comfort of their beds at 5:00 a.m. on a Saturday? The hope of winning first chair at Fernie Alpine Resort does! This season we have to highlight the spirit and enthusiasm of brothers Will and Ben Johnson and friend Tain Prentice, who were sitting proudly with G-Money on first chair. Only slightly less enthusiastic, Ben and Will’s father, Mr. Johnson, described the new season as “The Year of the Dad” and is very pumped to be giving his well-deserved new skis a try. He went on to say, “There are a lot of reasons why I love skiing, but the elimination of distraction and just being able to let work and life go, being able to crank it up and feel the wind on your face. I don’t know, there is nothing else like it.” Lined-up on opening day were hundreds of skiers and snowboarders who felt the same and were eager to welcome in a new season.
But what happens when chasing a feeling becomes a matter of life and death? Caleb Brown, a born and bred local and avid skier, knows these consequences all too well. Caleb starts his account ominously by saying, “We thought it would be fine, even though there were signs that it wasn’t.” March 21st, 2017, Caleb was caught in an avalanche that flung his body down a mountainside for over a kilometer. Having luckily lived to tell the tale, no one would have been surprised if he had given up skiing forever. But for Caleb, the sport is more than just skiing, it’s an addiction to adrenaline that dictates his every move. “There’s nothing like it,” Caleb said with a sparkle in his eye. “It is as close as you can get to flying without ever leaving the ground.” For Caleb, nothing brings him more joy than being on skis, in the woods, with snow falling around him. The feeling Caleb chases was too valuable to leave behind, so the season following the avalanche he found a new perspective and passion – skiing bigger lines than he has ever skied before. This season will look a little differently for Caleb, knowing he can hit those lines is finally enough, as in the end what really matters most is that he is here to continue to experience what he loves with his friends and family by his side.
The intoxicating feeling of sliding on snow is something that can be felt and appreciated at any age. Someone who was brought up skiing will often have family or friends who have cultivated that seed, as was the case for Krista Turcasso. Krista was taught to ski at the early age of 3 years old by a close family friend. Though originally involved in ski racing, Krista’s interests were turned to all-mountain skiing and the draw of finding solitude within white snowy peaks. The almost hypnotic feeling of floating on powder is something Krista finds exhilarating, but not to be overshadowed by experiencing skiing through the eyes of her daughters. Some of the many reasons why Krista enjoys time on the mountain include, “Creating that passion…Skiing is something you can have for a lifetime. To create something my family can do together and to see the girls get so excited about… [pushing] themselves to accomplish something – there’s nothing like it.” Krista, who taught her daughters to ski from the tender age of 18 months old, goes on to describe one of her favourite memories as watching her daughter discover powder for the first time and the absolute thrill of her disappearing skis! Krista and family are very excited for the season and all the adventures and memories they will create this year.
So, what’s the big deal about sliding on snow? As the snow enthusiasts throughout our blog have said, “THERE IS JUST NOTHING LIKE IT!” We can’t wait to see how you will celebrate SNOW-FUN with us this season! What made you fall in love with skiing or snowboarding? Let us know in the comments below!!
Let’s get straight to the point; winter tends to overstay its welcome. With major snowstorms lasting into April earlier this year, Mother Nature definitely took longer than expected to bestow warmer temperatures upon us Canadians.
Living in this wonderful, snowy nation, there are some crucial lessons to learn in order to thrive in the ‘Great White North’. Most importantly, is realizing the importance of making the best of your environment and conditions (especially the long winter months we so often endure).
Our initial instincts are to stay warm and cozy during blizzard-stricken months, huddled indoors with blankets, warm drinks, a crackling fire and taking in an unhealthy amount of Netflix, while silently praying that our neighbour or significant other will shovel the walkway. Winters have such great potential though, why surrender such glorious opportunities to see the remarkable beauty Canada boasts in its backyard?
Exploring the outdoors throughout all four of our Canadian seasons is a revitalizing experience for us, which should be taken advantage of to refresh our frame of mind. It’s a chance to discover new adventures just a snowball’s throw away. We’re all familiar with making the most of warm temperatures during the summer months with patio season and backyard lounging in full swing. The winter landscape can be just as inspiring too, when given the chance.
If you need more convincing, here are a few of Canada’s premiere winter activity destinations:
Fernie, British Columbia
The shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs along 2nd Avenue in Fernie are some of the Canadian Rockies’ hidden gems, with surrounding mountain peaks looming over the glow of its downtown streets.
Located just down the road, Fernie Alpine Resort is home to some of Canada’s most legendary powder, with an average snowfall of 30ft. From epic downhill skiing to leisurely snowshoe and groomed cross-country skiing trails, the resort has activities for the whole family. It also offers plenty of weekly programs to get you outside and even yoga classes to help you find your winter Zen. Their on-mountain accommodations along with a local shuttle to town make for a perfect introduction to Canada’s winter activities.
Kimberley, British Columbia
If you’re looking for a classic mountain town, you’ve found it. The town of Kimberley embodies the Canadian spirit with humble, welcoming locals and a relentless passion for nature. Kimberley is home to craft beers, great local dining, the oldest building in Canada and a variety of activities to enjoy outside.
With stunning scenery of the Kootenay mountains, Kimberley Alpine Resort is just minutes from town and offers great facilities and terrain for people of all skiing and snowboarding ability levels – from first-timers to seasoned slope shredders. Looking to stay on level ground? Try the area’s expansive snowshoe trails, cross-country skiing network or check out fat biking, one of North America’s favourite new activities (mountain bikes with wider tires for better grip in snow conditions).
Golden, British Columbia
One of the most famed locations along the Powder Highway, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and the town of Golden are conveniently located along the TransCanada Highway and ready to provide you a mountain experience like no other. Drop into Whitetooth Brewing Co. for locally crafted beers, or the Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre for an up-close learning session with these amazing animals.
Delving deeper into nature, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort offers Canada’s highest dining experience, the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant at 7,700ft. Once you’re fueled up, hit the slopes of the Catamount Chair to learn the basics on your skis or snowboard, or bring your little ones to the tube park and natural ice rink at the base of the resort. Advanced skiers head to the top via the gondola for wide ranging bowls, ridges and chutes. If staying grounded is your preference, Golden is primed with world-class snowmobiling, along with plenty of rentals and tours available.
Life’s too short – and winters are too long – to miss out on a lifetime of adventure. Let winter activities revitalize your soul and help you look forward to the inevitable snowfalls each year. Meet Mother Nature halfway on this one and discover how rewarding Canada’s winter climates can truly be.
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
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