The annual Brushing Program for the Fernie Ski Resort is having a very successful summer. The cooler weather and lower Fire Danger ratings have allowed the crew to keep working through the dog days of summer without restrictions due to Fire Danger. The crew this summer has also been doubled to allow us to catch up a little on the past couple seasons where High Fire Danger has shut us down or limited our progress. The crews have been hard at work in many areas across the mountain.
There has been a new line cut down Snake Ridge as well as cleaning a new line down the North Boundary for those that are looking for the Steep and Deep that Fernie is famous for.
Additionally, we have been working on core areas on the Lizard Side that focusses on terrain that is open at 9 am on most big snow days. The Sunny Side has had a new haircut that extends down onto the China Wall and old Griz Lift line that will provide some early deep turns on those Pow Days.
Boomerang and Boom Ridge has received another mow and will be prime for early season riding providing steep turns right out of the gate.
New Side lovers will also see some changes to the lines in the Alpha Centauries and Currie Chutes areas as well as the lower elevations of the Big Three as we cleaned up the exits from those thigh-burning runs. In addition, core areas around the Timber Bowl, Surprise, Black Cloud have all been touched.
Our Summer Mower Cat was rebuilt from a repurposed Snowcat this Spring and will be out in anger this fall to mow many of our main runs including all our beginner terrain on the lower mountain and runs where all the rocks and obstacles have been removed such as Bear, North Ridge, Kodiak, and many others.
It is a giant mountain, and we have excellent growing conditions. People ask why don’t you just cut it all? Sounds like a good idea but when you are standing at the bottom of Cedar Ridge looking up at acres of 12 foot high Alder, you start to feel pretty small. When you dive into Cedar Ridge early season and have that perfect line top to bottom down the King Fir don’t forget to think about that person that has spent their summer on the end of a saw making that possible.
We are looking forward to an awesome season.
After the great success of last years Griz Kidz Halloween Party & Haunted House, it’s back!
Dress up your little monsters and join us for the 2nd Annual Griz Kidz Halloween Party & Haunted House on Sunday, October 27 from 12 pm – 4 pm in the Day Lodge.
Join us on the main floor of the Day Lodge for ghoulish games, creepy-crawly crafts, enchanting activities and decorate a Halloween treat. Come dressed in your costume and take a family photo in our spooktacular photo booth. If you get hungry, we’ll have other twisted treats available for purchase.
Finally, take a walk downstairs and enter our haunted basement… if you dare (Mwahahaha).
Admission at the door:
$5/person (ages 2+)
$15/family (up to 2 adults & 3 children)
Free for children 1 yrs old and younger.
Why not make October 27th a full day of kids Halloween fun! Before coming up to the Griz Kidz Halloween Party head to the Vogue Theatre for the annual Trick or Treat at the Movies! This year’s special spooky screening will be “Hotel Transylvania 3” with the movie starting at 10am! (perfect timing to go to the movie then head up to the resort once it’s finished). Tickets to the screening are $5 with all proceeds going towards the Fernie Women’s Resource Centre Emergency Fund. Tickets are available at Rockies Law (above Scotia Bank), Grow and the Fernie Women’s Resource Centre. For more details and the movie poster click here
WHEN: Saturday, September 7th @ 9 AM
ABOUT: One mountain town, two mountain girls, with a mutual love for trails, races, sweat & exhilaration. And so was born Fernie’s First Annual Mountain Duathlon in 2010. This year, to mark our race’s 10th Anniversary, we’re planning another fantastically fun race for all the family, celebrating the amazing terrain and trails available in Fernie.
START & FINISH: Fernie Alpine Resort
RACE INFO: Trail Running & Mountain Biking Duathlon.
CATEGORIES: Classic Solo (Run then Bike), or find a Teammate and go Classic Team. Under 14, then take part in the Youth Race, as a Soloist or Team. Ages 12+ also welcome to take part in the Classic Race. *Please note: Due to the logistics of this race, there is no option to Run or Bike only – you must find a teammate or go for it Solo!*
ENTRY FEE INCLUDES: On top of a great race day, you also get…a special 10th Anniversary Hoodie, Post-Race BBQ and Beer (kid-friendly version), Aid Station, Draw Prizes, Cash Purse & Podium Prizes galore.
PRICING: Classic $70 (suitable for 12+, discounts for under 16yrs applied in cart), Youth (7-14yrs) $30. No early bird, no late. First entered first-served, on your choice of shirt sizing!
REGISTRATION: Registration closes Monday, September 2nd, at midnight. No entries after this date. Merch ordering deadline Monday, August 19th – don’t miss out!!
Paint this mountain scene!
Gather up some friends and join us for a Sunday afternoon on the patio at Cirque Restaurant, painting a beautiful mountain scene and enjoying a glass of wine (or beer).
Artist, Sue Hanlon will walk you through with step-by-step instructions to have you on the way to your very own masterpiece!
Cost: $52 +GST
Guided lesson by a local artist, all necessary paint supplies and a glass of wine or draft beer.
Don’t wait! Limited tickets available.
Downhill mountain biking in Fernie is exhilarating, and often breathtaking.
The downhill trails here at Fernie Alpine Resort are in prime condition and riding beautifully.
Come and check out what it’s all about, and advance your skills, in one of our mountain bike camps or lessons!
NEW! ADULT CO-ED DOWNHILL CAMPS
Are you comfortable on green & blue trails but want to develop your downhill riding skills? Join us for our new adult co-ed intermediate weekend camps – focusing on progression to more technical descents, roots, rocks, drops, jumps & obstacles. With small group sizes, our certified professional coaches will help take your riding to the next level. Camp includes 10 hrs of coaching over two days, lunch, lift tickets, and bike maintenance session. Ages 18+.
Dates: July 13 & 14 / August 10 & 11 Time: 10am – 4pm. Price: 2 day camp $229 / 1 day camp $139
WOMEN’S MOUNTAIN BIKE CAMPS
MTB designed by women for women! These camps are catered to various levels of riding ability and are led by qualified female instructors. Camps include skill sessions, bike maintenance, lift tickets, instructional trail rides and lunch.
Dates: July 13 & 14, 2019 / August 10 & 11, 2019
Time: 10am – 4pm
Price: 2 day camp $229 / 1 day camp $139
MOUNTAIN BIKE PRIVATE LESSONS
For the beginner or hardcore rider — have a lesson tailor-made to suit your skills! Rates are based on 3 people per lesson — price includes instruction only. Lift ticket is required. Participants receive a 20% discount on bike rentals for the day of their private lesson.
DISCOVER MOUNTAIN BIKING
Discover the thrill of Downhill Mountain biking under the expert guidance of one of our bike coaches. Learn the basics and gain confidence! Minimum 3 people per lesson and a maximum of 10 people per lesson. The clinic includes a 3-hour coaching session, 3-hour bike rental and 3-hour lift pass. Rates based per person. For ages 8+.
Days & Times: Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10am-1pm
PEAK TO PARK TO PINT BIKE TOUR
Join us for a fun afternoon of biking! Starting from the top of the chairlift at Fernie Alpine Resort, cruising downhill to Mt Fernie Provincial Park and then pedalling through town to enjoy a refreshing sampling of East Kootenay beers! Includes guiding, lift ticket, and post-ride sampler drinks. Guests then have the option to take our complimentary shuttle back to the resort. Minimum 2 participants. Ages 19+.
Fridays & Saturdays
1:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Tail crew primarily spent this week on the Lizard Lane.
-On Monday, we finished all the machine work and began hand shaping.
-Tuesday & Wednesday were spent dialling in the shapes of features and hand packing.
-After Wednesday night’s rain, we spent Thursday repacking Duff Dynasty, Monorail, Case Closed and began packing on Mr. Berms.
-From Tuesday to Thursday we’ve had a machine in the Aggravated Assault Extension tree island. More info to come on this project over the next week!
See you on the trails!
Trail Crew 🚵
We have lots of exciting work going on at Fernie Alpine Resort this summer!
This year Trail Crew were able to start their work earlier than ever, and it has been very productive.
Our progress so far has included:
- A full rebuild of Monorail and lower Duff Dynasty
- We’ve finished all the machine work and shaping on upper Mr. Berms tree island (carrying on from where we left off last year)
- New squirrel catcher berms on upper Will Power
- The Lizard Lane is underway!
We’ll be doing weekly updates with a few teaser photos.
See you on the trails,
Have you ever seen a dog riding a chairlift? How about a dog skiing next to its owner? Or even crazier, a dog being long-lined under a helicopter? These are just a few of the skills that make avalanche dogs… Super canines!
Meet Mogul, a four-year-old German Shepherd who adores his ball and will do anything for fresh veggies. When Mogul isn’t falling asleep with a ball in his mouth or receiving never-ending attention, he also works as a Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog AND a Search and Rescue Dog. This means Mogul has a job all year round, making sure his handler, as well as anyone venturing into the backcountry, can play safe. So what exactly does it take to become an avalanche dog? To answer that question we caught up with Megan Kelly, Assistant Ski Patrol Director for us here at FAR, and companion to the amazing, Mogul.
Preparation for the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) certification begins when a puppy is just six months old. It starts with simple obedience training such as following commands, playing tug-of-war, and getting the dog to chase objects or people. It gradually progresses to the handler hiding and having the dog come find them. Eventually, they progress to open snow caves, where someone can hide, awaiting discovery. The snow caves go from being open to having closed off walls. The last step in the progression is using articles, usually, pieces of wool fabric saturated with human scent, buried under the snow. The dog eventually learns that in a real avalanche situation it is very unlikely they’ll have clues, so they need to rely on the scent of a human rising from under the snow to help find them. Finally, the dog is able to be given a command, like “search”, and will have the control to do their work and search for a missing person. The final test to complete certification requires the dog to search for 40 minutes, looking for two articles buried 75 centimetres under the snow to mimic a live person. CARDA certification takes a year and a half to complete and requires dogs to be tested every year in order to keep up their certification. Handlers are also tested every second year to make sure their skills are still up to date.
So what can an avalanche dog achieve that aids in a successful rescue? Simply put, it would take a search and rescue team up to four hours or more to search one hectare of terrain. It takes an avalanche dog just thirty minutes to achieve the same results. With avalanche dogs being so quick, agile, and possessing a highly sensitive nose, they use their training to identify human scents and track it right to the source.
Fun fact time! Did you know that Fernie has the privilege of the first live rescue done by an avalanche dog in Canada? That’s right! In the early 2000s, Robin Siggers and his avalanche pup Keno recovered someone who had been caught in an avalanche in the backcountry without a transceiver. It was this circumstance as well as inspiration from other handlers in town that caught Megan’s attention. In describing why she decided to become an avalanche dog handler Megan said, “I was inspired by that working relationship, you know the fact that you can bring the dog to work. There’s also a chance you can really make a difference in someone’s life or you can save a life, I just wanted to contribute to that, and it’s a good way to volunteer.” Megan and Mogul are part of the 40 other volunteer search and rescue members in the valley and are on call 24 hours a day. There are two other full-time avalanche dog and handler teams, as well as a few part-time teams, who not only serve Fernie and area but can also be called provincially to aid in rescues.
But don’t think it’s all work and no play! According to Megan, Mogul is a best friend who receives all the best treatment. “Mogul really loves just being at the top of the lift at Bear top and just hanging out and saying hi to everyone. When he retires he’d like to be a Public Relations dog.” When the working vest is off, Mogul loves to bask in the attention of the public, but when the vest is on he’s much like a celebrity who has learned to ignore the praise of their adoring fans. No paparazzi, please!
Steve Morrison, who is a member of the ski patrol team at FAR and handler to avalanche dog Neko, cautions the general public to be aware that avalanche dogs are working dogs. “…We want people to be friendly, but just at the right time. After I take his vest off is a good time, because otherwise, that’s the cue that the dog is working. I’m usually fine with people approaching the dog, as long as they ask me and maybe remove their skis or snowboard first…”
Speaking of meeting our super avalanche dogs, we are happy to be offering two demos to show off their stuff on February 23rd! Avalanche Awareness Day is coming your way, and it should come as no surprise that we’ve got plenty of fun and educational activities planned in the plaza and on the mountain. From 11 am to 2 pm we’ll have an Avalanche Awareness Information tent set up in the plaza. Don’t miss your opportunity to meet and watch our avalanche dogs in action, happening at 11 am AND 2 pm at the base of the Deer Chair. And finally, join us for an après fundraising auction in the Griz Bar, the proceeds of which go to Avalanche Canada to support their educational initiatives.
So why should you take the time to become more avalanche aware? According to Megan, the backcountry invites you to learn and discover. “The backcountry has given me so much in my life. I’ve learnt so much about myself, I’ve connected with nature, I’ve developed these cool skills by going into avalanche terrain in the winter. But I’ve done that by being avalanche aware and keeping myself safe, having the right gear and knowing how to use it. That’s opened up this whole world for me, which is why I encourage people to go ahead and become avalanche aware, so you don’t have to avoid that terrain if you don’t want to. You can engage in it and learn something about yourself.”
So whether you are shredding it up with us at Fernie Alpine Resort, or having an adventure in the backcountry, be aware and most importantly… Stay safe and play safe!
For more information on CARDA please visit here.
You can also watch the following informative video, and see a dog flying from a helicopter, by clicking here.
More information on Avalanche Awareness Day here.
To see Mogul in action click here.
Feature photo of Mogul by Abby Cooper
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.
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