FAR opening day kicks off with heavy snowfall, hundreds at Timber Chair

Excitement was in the air as the first skiers of the 2021 season at the Fernie Alpine Resort prepared for the launch of the first lift on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. From left: Jeff Johnson, Will Johnson, Ross Frazier, Greg ‘G-Money’ Barrow. Behind Barrow is Rick Leeks. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Excitement was in the air as the first skiers of the 2021 season at the Fernie Alpine Resort prepared for the launch of the first lift on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. From left: Jeff Johnson, Will Johnson, Ross Frazier, Greg ‘G-Money’ Barrow. Behind Barrow is Rick Leeks. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Greg ‘G-Money’ Barrow was first in line for the 21st year in a row to make the first lift of the winter season at the Fernie Alpine Resort on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Greg ‘G-Money’ Barrow was first in line for the 21st year in a row to make the first lift of the winter season at the Fernie Alpine Resort on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Greg ‘G-Money’ Barrow and his friend, Ross Frazier, first in line for the kick off of the 2021 winter season at the Fernie Alpine Resort. Frazier has camped out for several years to make the first lift as Barrow has. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Greg ‘G-Money’ Barrow and his friend, Ross Frazier, first in line for the kick off of the 2021 winter season at the Fernie Alpine Resort. Frazier has camped out for several years to make the first lift as Barrow has. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
The first official lift of the 2021 winter season at the Fernie Alpine Resort. From left: Jeff Johnson, Will Johnson, Ross Frazier, Greg ‘G-Money’ Barrow. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)The first official lift of the 2021 winter season at the Fernie Alpine Resort. From left: Jeff Johnson, Will Johnson, Ross Frazier, Greg ‘G-Money’ Barrow. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Skiers and boarders lining up and smiling as they prepare for the first tear of the 2021 winter season at the Fernie Alpine Resort on Dec. 11, 2021. From left: Sean Roszell, Graham Preston, Katie Keast.Skiers and boarders lining up and smiling as they prepare for the first tear of the 2021 winter season at the Fernie Alpine Resort on Dec. 11, 2021. From left: Sean Roszell, Graham Preston, Katie Keast.
Jeff Johnson and his 12-year-old son, Will Johnson, camped out the night before the Fernie Alpine Resort’s winter season opening day on Dec. 11, 2021. The two were enjoying a fire the morning of the opening, and had Funky Goat Pizza delivered to them for dinner the night before. It was their fourth year camping out together. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Jeff Johnson and his 12-year-old son, Will Johnson, camped out the night before the Fernie Alpine Resort’s winter season opening day on Dec. 11, 2021. The two were enjoying a fire the morning of the opening, and had Funky Goat Pizza delivered to them for dinner the night before. It was their fourth year camping out together. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
From left: Madeline Watson, Michelle Nowak, and Mackenzie Ballek. The three were working as lift operators on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, for the Fernie Alpine Resort’s winter season opening day. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)From left: Madeline Watson, Michelle Nowak, and Mackenzie Ballek. The three were working as lift operators on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, for the Fernie Alpine Resort’s winter season opening day. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Fernie Alpine Resort lift operators Madeline Watson, Michelle Nowak, and Mackenzie Ballek (not in that order in the picture) dancing to music playing from the Timber Chair operating cabin not long before the lift officially opened for the winter season on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Fernie Alpine Resort lift operators Madeline Watson, Michelle Nowak, and Mackenzie Ballek (not in that order in the picture) dancing to music playing from the Timber Chair operating cabin not long before the lift officially opened for the winter season on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
The Fernie Alpine Resort 2021 winter season kicked off on Saturday, Dec. 11. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)The Fernie Alpine Resort 2021 winter season kicked off on Saturday, Dec. 11. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Hundreds of people were lined up at the Timber Chair for the Fernie Alpine Resort’s winter season kickoff on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.Hundreds of people were lined up at the Timber Chair for the Fernie Alpine Resort’s winter season kickoff on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.
Robin Siggers, operations manager with the Fernie Alpine Resort, on the winter season opening day, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Robin Siggers, operations manager with the Fernie Alpine Resort, on the winter season opening day, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
A bear was spotted near the Fernie Alpine Resort’s The Mountain Pantry on Friday, Dec. 10, the evening before the 2021 winter season opening day. Heavy snowfall hit the Elk Valley, including Fernie, on opening day, Dec. 11, 2021. (Courtesy of Robin Siggers)A bear was spotted near the Fernie Alpine Resort’s The Mountain Pantry on Friday, Dec. 10, the evening before the 2021 winter season opening day. Heavy snowfall hit the Elk Valley, including Fernie, on opening day, Dec. 11, 2021. (Courtesy of Robin Siggers)
Hundreds of people were lined up at the Timber Chair for the Fernie Alpine Resort’s winter season kickoff on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.Hundreds of people were lined up at the Timber Chair for the Fernie Alpine Resort’s winter season kickoff on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.

Snowfall, good vibes, and the Griz were all present for the Fernie Alpine Resort’s (FAR) 2021 winter season opening day on Saturday morning (Dec. 11).

The opening had been pushed back by a week due to rainy weather and mild conditions leading up to the originally-planned Dec. 4 opening.

Thankfully for the shredders, snow began to fall throughout the week, and by the time the weekend rolled around, the Griz had arrived in Fernie.

By the time the lifts kicked off at 9:15 a.m., there were hundreds of mountain-shredders lined up at the Timber Chair, ready for their first tear of the season – and at the front of the line was G-Money, as expected, waiting in line to be on the first chair for the 21st year in a row.

READ MORE: ‘The ski hill here is just fantastic’: ski season around the corner

“It was just as fun as ever,” he said.

“It was a good night. It wasn’t cold at all, and slept great.

“I’m just happy that it’s open, and looks like (Resorts of the Canadian Rockies) has a great group of employees here working. They’re all very happy and enthusiastic this morning, so that’s good. Good vibe. Really good vibe.”

Barrow’s friend Ross Frazier was by his side. He has camped out for several years to make first lift as Barrow has.

“It’s just good to be out and have full chair capacity. Last year, G and I here, we had to go up ourselves, six feet apart. It wasn’t as epic for his 20th year.

“But it’s good to see everybody out again.”

Jeff Johnson was another die-hard early riser, and was found sitting by a fire next to the Timber Chair with his 12-year-old son, Will Johnson, at around 8 a.m.

He said he’s been camping out with Will at the ski hill for four years.

“This is kind of a fun little family thing that he and I get to do,” he said.

FAR’s resident snow and weather expert (and Ski Patroller) Robin Siggers said there was “lots of enthusiasm and lots of keen skiers” heading up the mountain, but offered a word of warning as snow levels were not yet at their ideal due to the warm weather the week before Dec. 4.

“But it’s snowing now. There’s lots of snow in the forecast. And this little bit of new snow, and a little help from mother nature, is going to put us over the top. And by early next week, we should have most of the resort open with excellent conditions.”

READ MORE: ‘We’ll see you on the mountain soon’: FAR eyes Saturday for new opening day


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josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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