At the end of October in 1997, Boardstiff opened its doors for the first time. Now, 20 years later, they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary.
In commemoration of their 20th birthday, the local snow and skate store will be opening their doors for an evening of fun, socializing, prizes and giveaways, this Saturday.
Owner Geof Hare is thankful to Fernie for being so kind to him and his cousin as they started a business and found their roots.
Twenty years is a long time to operate a business. For Hare, the town of Fernie itself is what has kept him going.
“It (Fernie) has just been so good to me and my family,” said Hare, “The thought of being anywhere else [shakes his head].”
Boardstiff was started by Hare and his cousin, Mark Gibb.
“We figured, why work for someone else when we could work for ourselves,” he said. “We formulated a plan to open a shop, we just needed to find the right spot.”
Gibb set out on a road trip across B.C., stopping in Revelstoke, Golden, and many more. Coming across Fernie, the two thought they would give it a shot. After staying one winter, they fell in love with the place. At the time, Gibb was 23 years old.
When they started, Frozen Ocean was the main snowboard shop in town. Ski Base also existed at the time, but dealt mostly in skis. Frozen Ocean shut down, and Boardstiff became the place to go for snowboards. Today, they are the longest-running strictly-snowboard shop in Fernie.
Born and raised in Toronto, Hare and his cousin had no idea what real mountains were. Their family had a place at Blue Mountain, where Hare became a ski instructor. When he got a snowboard for Christmas, he never looked back.
Time went on, Hare went to school in Vancouver, and got the chance to stay with his cousin Gibb who was in Whistler.
“He let me crash on his couch, I got the chance to snowboard in proper mountains, and that was definitely the end of it. It was snowboarding and west B.C. for life,” he said. Hare has enjoyed getting to know people from all over the world, and he also enjoyed watching Fernie grow.
“From a tiny miner, logger town with a ski background, to this huge multicultural little piece of heaven,” he said.