Now I lay me down to bed, I pray the lord for epic trails to shred. And if they’re not there when I wake then epic lines I vow to make…
Machines are fuelled and lubed, tools are sharpened, and muscles are eager to dig. Spring has nestled quite comfortably into the Elk Valley and the trail crew is heading back to work this week! Here it is… your first Fernie Alpine Resort trail crew update of 2015!
Thanks to low spring snow levels we have already been able to survey a few trails and the news is good. Our commitment to resolving drainage problems and focus on steering our older fall line trails towards newer environmentally sustainable construction practices has finally paid off. Those rides we have seen, in fact, have very little spring run-off damage. This means that other than the usual inspections and buffing, we can focus our time on a few brand new projects for the 2015 season.
So what is new this season? A quick review of my notebook work list looks something like this:
- buff out and blowdown removal on all 30+ trails plus signage installation
- finish construction of the new Timber side singletrack trail ‘Neverland’
- construction of the new Timber side alpine cross country bike trail ‘Mammoth’
- revert dual slalom back to singletrack with new skills park features
- complete a new singletrack multi-use trail from Elk Load to Boom Bottom
- construction of new multi-use singletrack trail from Haul Back Bottom through old growth forest to Old Goat in Mount Fernie Provincial Park
- new multi-use paths connecting resort accommodations to Fernie Alpine Resort base area and the new Fernie Nordic Society trails
- major tune on Rumplestumpskin from Timber Chair unload to Surprise Corner (mid elevation), upper Mr Berms and upper Big Rig berm tune-up.
It is a heavy work list for our crew this year but we look forward to the challenge. Detailed and daily updates start this week so keep checking back with Trail Crew progress on facebook, instagram, and the FAR website for glimpses of all the action.
See you on opening day June 27th Loam Rangers,
Your Fernie Alpine Resort Trail Crew
One of the largest Bike Parks in the region with a recent focus on progression makes Fernie Alpine Resort’s bike park a favourite among the biking community, being voted in the Top 5 Bike Parks in Canada for the last 2 years. Offering cross country, downhill, single track and dual slalom trails accessible from the base area or chair lift as well as a number of green trails and lessons for any ability level to learn the sport or brush up on skills.
Fernie Alpine Resort isn’t the only place to ride in Fernie, along with a number of trails accessed from town, maintained by the Fernie Mountain Bike Club and the Fernie Trails Alliance there have been significant improvements made to a number of trails over the last few summer’s allowing even more people to enjoy scenery around this gorgeous mountain town! A favourite among the youngest generation of riders, Fernie also has a FREE dirt jump park with large & small jumps, bridges and obstacles to check out, located in town near the aquatic centre.
For more information on Mountain Biking in Fernie, B.C visit the Fernie Tourism website.
There are ‘trails for everyone’ in Kimberley, 3 different trail networks offer everything from beginner riding with gentle, scenic cruises to some adrenaline pumped more difficult trails. With the newest improvements of the trails, the North Star Rails to Trails network is a 25 km long multi use track perfect connecting Kimberley & Cranbrook, perfect for families looking for an afternoon spent exercising outdoors in one of the sunniest places in B.C! Other trails to try are the Lois Creek Trails, geared towards beginner to intermediate riders, and the Kimberley Nature Park, one of the largest municipal parks in Canada for great for riders of all levels.
Get more information on the Tourism Kimberley website.
Try out the only gondola accessed mountain biking in the region at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, with over 3,700 feet of variety, there’s downhill hardcore single tracks with multiple berms, jumps and wooden features as well as lessons and green trails offered for beginners! Golden, B.C has more amazing mountain biking options to offer, being located near Mount 7, one of the most challenging downhills in Canada! Not to worry if you aren’t into the challenge, there are over 100 kms of cross country trails on Mountain Shadows and Moonraker trail systems as well as easier road and mountain cycling. Don’t miss the annual Totally Spoked Bike Fest, this year on May 30th, and participate or observe great mountain biking events at the resort and all around the town!
Get more information on the Tourism Golden website.
Start planning summer now! Opening day is Saturday, June 27th, experience lift accessed hiking and mountain biking as well as interpretive programs our zipline & aerial park and much more!
Book your vacation online or call us at 1-800-258-7669 today!
Words by: Andrew Findlay
Photos by: Robin Siggers & Fernie Alpine Resort
Published: March 15, 2015
Robin Siggers discovered Fernie some three decades ago long before someone conjured up that delicious sounding term Powder Highway. The Vancouver boy never left. It’s a Thursday afternoon, and I’m following Siggers as he drops into Corner Pocket, a spicy little couloir that squeezes into wide open Lizard Bowl, one of five bowls at Fernie Alpine Resort. The couloir features a fixed rope allowing people to hand line down the steep, often wind polished entrance that always gets the adrenaline pumping. Siggers goes first. He holds the rope, does a side slipping abseil to where the chute opens up. He releases the rope and after a trio of tight jump turns, exits the couloir then waits for me in the lee of a vertical limestone cliff that trims the bowl. This guy clearly loves skiing. As operations manager he probably bags more days on snow than an airline pilot logs time in the air. He loves skiing so much, that he’s out here today, on his day off, shredding like a 25 year old with a bunch of visiting writers.
For the already initiated, the Powder Highway needs no introduction. For the uninitiated, think of it as the place in British Columbia where you go to realize your skiing dreams, where the terms steep and deep are more than just platitudes on a brochure or website – they’re real, very real. Nature pays special attention to this corner of BC, a province already blessed from a snow sports perspective. As winter weather fronts march east from the Pacific Ocean, they discharge moisture on the rugged Coast Range. By the time these systems hit the Columbia Mountains and western slope of the Rockies, they have recharged with moisture from interior lakes. Snow falls again, this time in dreamy, fluffy, feather-light quantities. There are no guarantees; it’s weather after all, but the odds are on your side when you travel the Powder Highway. The ridiculous variety and concentration of world class destination resort, cat, backcountry lodge and heli skiing operations is a testament to the riches. Skiers are smart this way. Like Robin Siggers, they go to where the goods are. You’ve probably heard about the Powder Highway, and it’s now lodged in your brain. It won’t go away, so it’s time to act. Consider Fernie Alpine Resort and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort the southern and northern bookends to your Powder Highway road trip. Fernie overlooks the charming town of the same name, tucked into the Lizard Range, a magical piece of geology that puts the lie to the claim that it never really snows in the Canadian Rockies. Here, where the craggy Lizard Range sits perpendicular to the normal north-south axis of the Rockies, intensely local weather systems re-circulate over the mountains often dumping coastal quantities of snow on the resort’s array of wide open bowls, chutes and long meandering tree runs. By the time, you’ve zig zagged your way up Kootenay back roads and Columbia Mountain valleys, legs feeling fit and acclimatized to Powder Highway vertical, you’ll arrive on the western side of the Rocky Mountain Trench at Kicking Horse Resort. This is where you’ll get your game on – again. As you ride up the Golden Eagle Express gondola your eyes will scan the bony ridges that cut the Dogtooth Range, and divide the Kicking Horse into four main zones of downhill fun. Top to bottoms at Kicking Horse are legendary. Stack a few of these 1,260 meter vertical back-to-back and you’ll have no problem sitting at the Eagle’s Eye restaurant and tucking into a lunch of Elk Bourguignon or some good old Alberta beef. Or perhaps you’ll make dinner reservations at this peerless mountain-top dining room. You’ll watch the moonrise, and the first stars twinkle over the surrounding peaks. Or perhaps snowflakes falling in the amber glow of the outdoor lights. You’ll dream of the Powder Highway and when you’ll come back. Once experienced, never forgotten. Just ask Robin Siggers.
While there are many, many reasons to Mountain Bike (or learn to), here are (arguably) some of the best;
1) Bragging rights and Looking Cool
Can you ride the Binlogdin Wall? Or take on Rumplestumskin, the new Duff Dynasty trail, maybe perhaps even Phat Larry’s? You’re awesome – brag it up!
2) Impress your crush
Boys, girls will be impressed with your skills and girls..boys will be SUPER impressed with your skills!
3) Skip the gym but stay in shape
Have you ever tried Mountain Biking? If you have you’ll know how hard it works your core, similar to snowboarding in the winter, so stay in shape and outside while doing so!
4) Get in a tan
Soak in the sunlight, not the fake lights – Now that you are in shape, get your tan to match that bod! (You might have to work on this during your lunch break)
5) The truth about mountain biking
The truth about mountain biking here is it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Over the last few season Fernie has made a huge effort to increase the amount of trails for the beginner and intermediate rider as well as offering a variety of lessons and brush up courses (although we still have plenty of hardcore trails for those looking for an intense ride).
6) Sun, Mountain Air, Views
A day in the Fernie bike park with the gently rolling mountain views with the town of Fernie in the distance and the sunshine on your face, is always better than a day in the city or office. Hands down. No Contest.
By Cali Sammel
Photos by Nicole Matei & Henry Georgi
A dream doesn’t become reality through magic. It takes determination, sweat and hard work.
– Colin Powell
Another legendary summer is well under way at Fernie Alpine Resort. We are now two weeks into bike park season yet it seems like only yesterday we were breaking ground on spring trail work. It is a major task to open over 2505 acres of hiking and biking trails; and this year we accepted the additional challenge of preparing our upper mountain Timber side trails as well. Opening weekend always brings a level of anxiety, trepidation, and excitement for our crew as we look forward to seeing familiar faces out on the trails and hoping that our month of hard work earns a certain level of #ferniestoke. Despite significant amounts of rain fall, there were many muddy smiles and high fives flying to our relief.
After a quick respite, the Bike Crew headed back into the forest to finish our new green trail “Duff Dynasty”. One of our main goals this season was to create a fun, flowy way for novice riders to access lower mountain green trails without having to ride the gravel road. While bike parks these days are taking a lot of flack for ‘dumming down riding’ or making things ‘too green’ the reality is that;
1. These 10% grade trails are more environmentally and fiscally sustainable than tech fall line trails
2. More people, including families, are entering the sport and looking for enjoyable (not hostile-on-the-brakes-scary) descents
3. These wide, machine made flow trails can be enjoyed by all abilities and promote progression that allows bike parks to attract, retain, and convert people to life long bikers which is great for the industry in general. We altered the route and grade of upper Mr. Berms to assist with this access and have now completed and opened Duff Dynasty top to bottom. We have also done some substantial work to Ben’s Big Rig including resurfacing, rebuilding the berms, and widening the traverse across the Dipsy which provides an alternative green route down to Eville and Honey Bee. Crews will continue to revisit and improve these new sections as the season progresses and the trails wear in.
The remainder of our time over the past two weeks has been spent improving all the small stuff that usually goes un noticed. Tasks like weed whacking, pulling out stubborn boulders, cutting roots, and pruning back trees is not glamourous work, but it is definitely hard work worth doing. This should translate to better flow, improved sightlines, and less stinging nettle burn to the shins. There are also a few new connector lines out there to assist with the choose-your-own-adventure style riding we all love; keep your eyes our for a lower TNT to Duff Gardens connector (cuts over to lower Rumplstumpskin above all the wood work); and a steep loamy alternate route on Rumplstumpskin just before the slow tech rock section with the small bridges.
Moving forward, you will see our crews out this week improving the hiking trail out Lost Boys Pass, working on a total rebuff of Canada Cup Downhill to repair major winter erosion issues and alder overgrowth, in addition to ongoing buffing of all your favorite rides. There are a few other projects in the works but you will have to keep checking in for the latest updates and sneak peak photos.
In the meantime, keep on slaying it Loam Rangers. The Scott Thursday Night Race series continues with our third race of the year on July 17th and our Kids Intermediate Freeride campon July 24th. See ya out there!
Your Fernie Alpine Resort Bike Crew
Lizard Creek Lodge is known for its luxury accommodations including everything from Hotels to Condos, as well as providing an exception dining experience for guests as well as the public to enjoy. With an outdoor patio and a gorgeous great room to enjoy, it makes a great date night idea or dinner out with the family.
Some of our suggested delectable dishes to try include;
Photo by Powder Matt Mosteller
Get more information on Lizard Creek Lodge online or by call 250-423-2057.
Do you have what it takes to compete in the Lost Boys Lungbuster?! This years race is on Saturday – compete on bike or foot! Register by calling 250-423-2401 or email [email protected]