Fernie Museum archivist Lindsay Vallance holds up a trove of primary documents related to early ski hill development and activity around Fernie that was delivered to the museum in early March, 2022. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

Fernie Museum archivist Lindsay Vallance holds up a trove of primary documents related to early ski hill development and activity around Fernie that was delivered to the museum in early March, 2022. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

‘A treasure trove’: new primary documents at the Fernie Museum help fill archive gap

The documents show activity regarding the Snow Valley Ski Hill and the earlier Fernie Ski Club

The Fernie Museum acquired a trove of primary documents in March revealing details of early ski hill development efforts and in the area and more.

The documents show meeting minutes, correspondences, photos, maps and more from the Fernie Ski Club from 1947 to 1951, and early development plans for the Snow Valley Ski Hill from 1960 to 1962, according to Lindsay Vallance, archivist with the museum.

“It really is a treasure trove,” she said.

The documents were dropped off at the museum in early March by Tomoaki Fujimura, who once worked with Resorts of the Canadian Rockies and the Fernie Alpine Resort.

The trove has helped to fill a gap in the archived material at the museum.

While they already had information from the early days of the Snow Valley Ski Hill, they were just copies, Vallance said.

“But we don’t have the original documents in our archive, so this is useful stuff.”

About the Fernie Ski Club, however, very little was known — mostly only that it existed and they were active.

“This time period was kind of a black hole in our records,” Vallance said.

But no more. Included in the trove are minutes and correspondences of the Fernie Ski Club for around five years of their activity.

Describing some of the details revealed in the documents, Vallance said the club wanted to build a ski hill, and were engaged in clearing forest by hand and with a bulldozer near a section of Island Lake.

She referenced a Free Press article that was included in the documents that said: “Work has started on the ski hill… Considerable cutting was done… There is a need for a horse or two to skid the timbers out to a central point… Any volunteers with a horse for next Saturday?’”

The documents reveal work and plans around Island Lake, such building a road to encircle the water. They also suggest the existence of other early ski hills called Coal Company Hill and Sawmill Hill.

The Snow Valley Ski Hill documents show talks about bringing the 1968 Olympics to town. They also show an early brochure for the hill — season passes for families were $55 — and much more.

Next on the work docket for the documents is to catalogue and store them to make them searchable in the archives.

“If we ever do a ski exhibit in the future… this will be valuable to creating that exhibit,” Vallance said.

“I’m glad (Fujimura) brought us this stuff.”

READ MORE: The Fernie and District Historical Society has a new executive director, Jim Takenaka

READ MORE: The news of yesteryear preserved online: FDHS digitizes The Free Press


@fishynewswatch
josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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