Jody Krienke is this week's Face of the Valley.

Faces of the Valley – Jody Krienke

This week's Faces of the Valley focuses on Jody Krienke, who after travelling the world is making roots in Fernie.

Jody Krienke was born in Regina, Sask., in 1983. The middle child of three, she remembers a fun childhood with her brothers Jamie and Jesse and her parents, Kevin and Clarice.

Her father worked as a drafter for Stantec, but his true love was cars, and he was also a skilled mechanic, rebuilding a 1957 Chevy.

Jody has semi-fond memories of their father taking them on camping trips and road trips around North America.

“He used to take us camping and I hated it,” she laughs.

The Krienke household became very close knit, and Jody still enjoys strong relationships with her brothers to this day.

After graduating from Balfour Collegiate High School in 2001, Jody left to travel Europe and what was meant to be a short stay became a rather long one.

“I planned to go to Europe for a year and I stayed for five,” she says.

While she admits it’s hard to pick a favourite city in Europe, Italy is where she found her second home. Her father came to visit her when she lived in Florence in 2009, and she remembers that as one of her favourite times. He passed away suddenly five years ago, and she says his death impacted her life.

“We are all the way we are because of him,” she says of her father.

In 2010, Jody returned to Canada and settled in Fernie. For her, Fernie was “the perfect fit. It was the right move.”

What Jody enjoys about the Elk Valley is its diversity of people and the fact that it attracts people from all over the world to enjoy the outdoors.

The international appeal and tourism industry made it comfortable to her, and she opted for the Elk Valley rather than returning to Saskatchewan.

In Fernie, she was near to family, as her younger brother Jesse had moved here with her “adopted brother” Derek. While she has grown her own roots and made her own life here, sometimes she feels like she will always be referred to as “Jesse’s sister.”

Last year, Jody started working at The Red Lodge. While her official title is Reservations Manager, she has her hand in many pots; helping with the marketing, advertising and public relations for the lodge. So far, she has loved the opportunity as it has presented her with new challenges.

“I get to work with more people in town,” she says of her job, “I’m getting to know a lot more people.”

After six years in Fernie, Jody decided to plant stronger roots and recently bought an apartment close to downtown. She is currently in the process of renovating it, and making it more her style.

“It’s home to me now. I feel like I’m happy here,” she says, sharing that she feels at ease whenever she returns to the valley and see the mountains. “When you get that feeling, you know it’s home.”

One aspect about Fernie that Jody enjoys is the balance between the two industries – coal and tourism.

“It’s the history of the town,” she says of the coal industry. “You don’t want to lose that. It’s what makes it unique.”

While Jody’s roots in Fernie may be young, her love for the town is evident in the way she speaks of it. Even with her love of travel, her decision was to make Fernie her home.

This is what makes Jody a unique Face of the Valley.