The final events of Griz Days took place up at Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR) this past Sunday, tying up another successful year of flying dummies, racing beds, and humorous woodsman challenges.
The day began in the plaza, where various creatively inspired contenders, many of which were local artists, stood in front of large blocks of ice in this year’s Ice Sculpture Contest. With the assistance of professional ice carvers Peter Vogelaar and his wife Lesley Mayfield, the competitors spent hours chiselling away at everything from polar bears, to bunnies, and even an oversized mug.
“Sculpting snow is a great way for artists to make a big sculpture in a short amount of time. It lets people who are interested in sculpture but might not try it otherwise, give it a go,” said Mayfield.
Walking around the site, she reminded the artists to forego perfection and see the sculptures through the abstract eye of an artist. Vogelaar on the other hand focused on providing assistance with ice sculpting techniques and how to use tools.
For more information on the couples ice sculptures, including the Griz sculpture that made it through the parade, visit their website at Snowsculpture.com.
Events continued throughout the day, with the always exciting Raging Elk Dummy Downhill commencing at 1 p.m. In this event, teams worked for weeks to put together stylish dummy carts on skis or sleds, only to race them down a slope and over a massive jump. Huge crowds gathered at the site of the event to marvel at the flying masterpieces and shocking carnage. The dummies were judged based on a number of criteria, including aesthetic, quality of jump, and shock value of the crash. Later in the day, a handful of awards were dished out to the teams who put together the dummies as Griz Days wrapped up with a sizzling barbecue and crisp refreshment garden.
Taking home the prize for Best Air was Buddy Bears. Reel Griz was awarded Best Name, Red got Best Disintegration, and the Hard Luck Award went to Griz Goes to Olympics. Polar Rex received the Best Dressed award, and Best Stunt was given to Flight of the Fairy Bread, who did 180s down the entire take off. Most Humanoid was awarded to none other than Human Error, and Open Season got the Best Distance Award. Lastly, Raging Alcoholics were bestowed the honour of the Crowd Pleaser, and Screaming Eagle got a special mention.
Also scattered around the plaza on Sunday was a number of promotional booths, including one from SheJumps. SheJumps is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering and supporting women in outdoor activities. The ladies hosted an event that day called Get the Girls Out, where over 40 women came together to shred and celebrate both Griz Days and International Women’s Day.
The Fernie Nordic Society also hosted their Griz Days event on Sunday, called the Snow to Ice(cream) challenge. In this event, participants were tasked with completing four challenges within 72 hours, taking time stamped selfies at each of four Snow to Ice signs set up. The Nordic Society also celebrated Griz Days by opening up their trails to the public for free skis throughout the weekend.
Ultimately, Griz Days brought the entire community of Fernie together as they bonded over the legend that makes Fernie the unique town it is.