Crowds were lined up at the base of the mountain at Fernie Alpine Resort to get in the first run of the season on opening day. Alexandra Heck/The Free Press

Eager riders await first chair

Fernie Alpine Resort sees overnight campers for first chair on opening day

As the sun peeked out over the mountain, there was already a lineup at the base of the chairlift.

People eager for the opening of Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR) fiddled with their skis and shuffled around in line, antsy, waiting.

For some, they’d already been there for hours.

Greg Barrow, widely known as G-Money, camped out over night to catch the first lift. Barrow along with Grace Brulotte, a sit-ski racer and Scott Courtemanche all made sure they were some of the first up the hill.

Courtemanche, Brulotte’s assistant camped out overnight on her behalf.

“I absolutely love the energy of the crowd,” said Brulotte, who has been sit skiing at FAR for five years, and started the adaptive skiing program there. This is the second year that she has gotten on the first chair of the season.

“First chair is special because it proves that nothing is impossible, no matter who you are and what your ability is,” she said.

Minutes before 9:00 a.m. when the first chair opened, Barrow raised his board over his head and cheered with the crowd waiting behind him.

“I don’t hear you,” he said, before the lineup erupted in cheers.

Barrow is from North Carolina, and moved to Fernie in 1999.

He has been on the first chair for 17 years in a row, and arrived at the resort at 4:00 p.m. the previous day, to set up his campsite.

“It’s fun to do something dumb,” he said.

Others, less competitive but nonetheless equally as excited, stood sipping their morning coffee in wait.

Joel Murray came out from Regina, Sk. for the opening day.

“The stoke is pretty high,” he said, adding that the first run of the season is always a bit of a shock. “You haven’t ridden for months and you’re sore, but you’re so excited to be out.”

So far, the resort has over 35 runs open.

With heavy snowfall in November, FAR was expected to open for a preview weekend, but heavy rain prevented an early opening.

“It’s an early season powder day,” said Karen Pepper, marketing manager at FAR. She says that with the early snow, excitement has been building for opening day. “We’re just happy that we have a community that shares the same passion and excitement that we do.”

As colder weather and heavier snowfalls help build the base, the resort will be opening more of their nearly 140 ski runs.

“The upper mountain is in surprisingly good condition,” said Pepper. She says that with more cold weather, staff will be using snow machines to build up the lower runs. “I would say this is a good start.”

alexandra.heck@thefreepress.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Registration opens for Fernie Writers Conference

The conference will take place from August 17-23 and will feature several accomplished authors

Fernie businesses get back to work

As COVID-19 restrictions loosen, a variety of businesses in the valley are getting back to work

Fernie city council approves reopening of outdoor recreation spaces

Staff from the City of Fernie recommended that a non-medical cannabis retail… Continue reading

Local conservationists clean up public land near Galloway

Twenty members of the community volunteered their time for the clean up effort

Wildsight turns a sour situation into sweet online learning

The group is offering a variety of resources for home learning

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Greater Victoria nanny pleads guilty to child porn, sexual interference charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to slew of sex crimes

Most Read