Strong winds down power lines

The “old side” of Fernie Alpine Resort was closed Sunday morning after extreme winds overnight caused major damage to power lines and poles.

The “old side” of Fernie Alpine Resort was closed Sunday morning after extreme winds overnight caused major damage to power lines and poles.

Trees were blown over at different areas at the resort, leaving the Bear, Boom and Elk chairs without power.

“We had winds like I have never seen before at Fernie Alpine Resort,” said Matt Mosteller, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at FAR. “Lots of trees fell – it was a really big deal. The damage was all on the old side so we were able to get Timber and White Pass open and thanks to the hard work of staff we managed to get the old side up and running again just after 1 p.m. on Sunday.”

The resort offered half price tickets for sale on Sunday and also updated the website to make sure people travelling to the resort were aware of the closures first thing in the morning.

Fernie Alpine Ski Team (FAST) had to cancel their races on Sunday.

The power also went out in Fernie in the early hours of Sunday morning. Although it only lasted nine minutes, it affected 4,550 residents in Fernie.

“There was a very brief outage that began at 12:58 a.m. Sunday, February 13 and all customers were restored at 1:07 a.m,” said Diane Tammen, Community Relations Manager for B.C. Hydro. “The outage was caused by high winds, storm conditions and fallen trees which resulted in equipment failure. Crews worked safely to restore service as soon as possible.”

Tammen said the wind also caused a separate outage for four hours on Sunday morning.

“A separate outage caused by a downed wire occurred on Sunday, February 13 at 6:56 a.m. affecting approximately five customers in the 5100 Block of Cokato Road,” she said.

Environment Canada said there were extreme winds recorded in Southern Alberta and other areas near the Elk Valley, but unfortunately they do not have a weather station in Fernie so were unable to say how strong the winds were.

“There were gusts up to 120 km per hour near Radium Hot Springs and 94 km per hour in Lethbridge in the early hours of Sunday morning,” said Greg Pearce, Environment Canada forecaster. “Claresholm in Alberta received gusts of 141 km per hour which is really extreme.”