Nordic skiers in Fernie have a good reason to be excited about this winter’s Nordic ski season. The Fernie Nordic Society (FNS) will be opening a new system of cross-country ski trails adjacent to Mount Fernie Provincial Park with events on December 6 and 7.
Approximately five kilometers of new trails will be set for classic and skate skiing with four different loop areas. One loop is more challenging with an intermediate section. The trailhead is located at the Mount Fernie Provincial Park overflow parking area with a small warm up hut for this first season.
Thanks to agreements with private landowners, the Vale family at Cedar Development and Galloway Co. family, the Elk Valley trail system will reach the Fernie Alpine Resort boundary once phase two of the project is complete. A bridge will cross Lizard Creek once approval has been received from the Ministry of Forestry, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
The project is costing $175, 000 and began in December 2012. To initiate the planning phase $25,000 was received from the Ministry of Community, Sports and Cultural Development in 2012 when MLA Bill Bennett was the minister.
In the bidding process for a trail designer, Norwegian trail designer Reidar Zapf-Gilje stood out from other applicants. Zapf-Gilje is known as one of the best Nordic trail designers in the country and he does a lot of work for non-profit societies, as it is his hobby and passion.
The trail construction cost of $100,000 was funded by a grant from the Resort Municipality Initiative fund through the City of Fernie. Teck donated $50,000.
“In order to maintain a high level of transparency, it’s important to have a bidding process and financial accountability,” said Megan Lohmann FNS president.
The FNS has a new partnership with the Ktunaxa Nation. There will be interpretive signage on the trails in the future as an educational opportunity and to acknowledge the land as Ktunaxa traditional territory.
The FNS will also be able to host Provincial races at the Elk Valley Trails. A season’s pass costs $35 for an adult, $90 for a family or $10 for an individual day pass. These trails are for Nordic skiers only. People with dogs, snowshoes or hiking are asked to use trails on the city dike or at Island Lake where those activities are permitted.
For more information go to http://www.fernienordic.com.