By Centine Wilbers
The trio on board the Maui Ski Bus are on the kind of epic journey ski dreams are made of. Steve Fisher the skier, along with Gykaiya the black lab cross and Franklin the Dachshund, are attempting to visit 100 different ski resorts in Canada and the United States within the space of a single season. With Fernie at number 73 on his list, Steve still has a way to go. “Tomorrow I’m off to Kimberley,” Steve says, “and then on to Banff. It’s exhausting, but exciting.”
Despite skiing so many mountains in such a short space of time, Steve appears fond of Fernie Alpine Resort after just a day on the slopes. He has already amassed a group of fans vying for his ‘Maui Ski Bus’ stickers, and is on a first-name basis with the servers at Kelsey’s Bar and Grill. When asked how he likes the legendary powder of Fernie Alpine Resort, Steve answers he is “disappointed,” with a mock straight face. “Disappointed I couldn’t spend more time here!” he adds, before erupting into laughter.
“I visited ski patrol at the top of Bear Chair and White Pass,” says Steve of his day at Fernie Alpine Resort. “I like to learn from them about the hill, and maybe join them for a ski tour. In return I like to bring them presents and Maui Ski Bus stickers. I hope people will see these stickers and follow up by looking on the Internet. There you can read my blog and donate money to my charities, Maui United Way and Livestrong Cancer Foundation.”
A self confessed ‘frustrated ski bum, trapped on a tropical island,’ Steve is a frequent visitor to the ski fields of North America. In fact, the Maui Ski Bus tour was inspired by a thwarted attempt to visit last year. “I’d just started a new job in Real Estate, and after three weeks I asked for time off to ski,” Steve explains. “I told my boss that the time off was in the quietest period of the year, and that a quick little ‘skiing fix’ would leave me refreshed and ready to take on a bigger workload. My boss, Randy, said ‘That’s a good one, Steve, but it’s not going to work!’ So this year, I am making up for all the seasons I didn’t do.”
An adventurous and dedicated dreamer, Steve is the recipient of two Guinness World Record awards. “One record was for accompanying my old dogs, Gypsy and Kai, on the 15 kilometre ‘Maui Channel Swim’ between Lanai and Maui Islands,” Steve explains. For the second record, Steve sailed for 47 days on a customised wind surfer, between Los Angeles and his home on Maui.
Though many claim to be jealous of Steve Fisher’s adventures, he assures that the Maui Ski Bus tour is difficult. “It’s not a glamorous way of living. I’m always searching for free Internet and shower facilities. It’s like winter camping all season long.” Steve combats any feelings of homesickness and loneliness by decorating the inside of the bus with mementos of Hawaii. The floor of the van is decorated with four shades of sand, collected from the island beaches, while photos adorn a dining table and ski passes surround the ceiling space. “I found the bus on Craigslist,” says Steve. “It used to be an airport shuttle. I had to do quite a bit of converting to make it liveable, creating spaces to eat, sleep and cook.”
Visiting up to six resorts in a week, Steve Fisher avoids what he calls ‘instant gratification.’ “I ski hard some days, but I have to be careful not to suffer an injury that can cut this adventure short. This is something I have to finish.”