Families have hit the trails for a cross country ski event featuring costumes, hot chocolate and camaraderie.
Fernie Nordic Society hosted the seventh annual Community Fun Race at the nordic centre on Sunday, February 17 after the event was rescheduled earlier this month due to extreme cold.
Twelve teams took part in the adult-child race, which included a hot chocolate stop for the kids, while the adults skied another 2km on the Cedar Loop and Lizard Lookout trails before returning to the hut together.
Best costumes went to Ezra Gibb, who suited up for the occasion, and Penelope Holt for her Nordic costume.
The second part of the event consisted of four laps of the 3km course. Fourteen skiers chose to do this as part of a team in a relay race, with teams formed by randomly pulling names. Another 13 skiers completed the entire course solo.
The youngest to take part was six-year-old Finnigan Bragg, while the oldest was in his 70s.
Participants came from as far as St. Albert, Alberta, and even Australia and New Zealand.
Organizer Sam Sedlowsky said the Society hosts the event each year to engage the community at large, not just those who like to race.
“We’ve made the event completely free in order to make it as accessible as possible,” she said.
“We are proud to be able to host such events, show off our beautiful hut and our new groomer.”
There has been a huge increase in skier numbers in Fernie. Last year, the Society celebrated a record membership of 851 and now boasts 976 members.
“It takes a huge amount of effort to make our club run and it’s almost entirely volunteer run – we are so grateful for their passion,” said Sedlowsky.
Going forward, the Society hopes to generate more interest in the Community Fun Race.
“We might find a way to keep the word ‘race’ out of the event but still challenge those who want it,” said Sedlowsky.
“The day is meant to be fun, inclusive, with a great community spirit and not so much about competition.”