The snow was powdery and the temperature was mild for the first day of skiing and snowboarding at the Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR) in 2022.
Hundreds of people were lined up at the Timber Chair on Saturday (Dec. 3) morning for the winter season opening at the mountain, including Fernie legend Greg ‘G-Money’ Barrow, who camped out overnight for his 22nd year in a row to make the first lift at 9 a.m.
“I think this will be one of the best opening days ever,” Barrow said.
“The dump last night… it’s going to be gorgeous up there.”
Jeni Pearson, manager of resort experience at FAR, said the turnout was amazing.
“We’re super stoked,” she said.
“We’ve got 23 cm of snow in the last 24 hours, we have a base of a 134 cm, it’s one of the best openings we’ve ever had.”
She said that, in the last seven days, they got over 77 cm of snow, and that about 60 to 70 per cent of the terrain was open for Saturday’s kick off.
The conditions were awesome, she said.
“Fresh powder, people are going to have some deep turns today for sure.”
According the the FAR website, the open lifts were the Mighty Moose Platter, Deer Chair, Elk Chair, Bear Chair, Haul Back T-Bar, Timber Chair, and White Pass Chair.
The temperature in Fernie was hovering around -6 with a mostly cloudy sky.
“We’ve come out of that cold snap, it’s a perfect day for opening day,” Pearson said.
“We couldn’t have asked for better conditions.”
She said that, last year, any closures they had were due to conditions, not enough snow and some safety issues. This year, any closures were mostly due to avalanche control.
“We have a really professional team of avalanche professionals in our patrol. They’ve been working hard all week to control the new snow that we’ve had.”
“They’re getting terrain open as quickly as possible, but safety obviously is the number one concern. So making sure they can open that terrain safely for everyone to have fun.”
Joni Mohr was one of the skiers lined up for the opening of the lift, and said she was ‘so excited’ for it to get going.
“First family ski day, lots of powder,” she said, pointing to the ‘monster report’ for the amount of snow that had recently fallen.
“My youngest is eight but he’s ready for the black diamonds,” she said.
Pearson estimated that hundreds were lined up for the opening, and said the first two lifts at the Timber Chair were filled with people who had camped overnight.
“That’s the stoke factor,” she said.
Barrow said he had arrived the previous day at around 4:30 p.m. to camp out, and that he was one of seven who were present for the overnight stay.
“That was the most I’ve seen I believe since I started doing this,” he said.
Others included Ross Frazier and Jeff and Will Johnson, all of whom were present the previous year camping out and all of whom made the first lift once again.
Barrow said he was looking forward to getting his legs back underneath him.
“It’s a wonderful life,” he said.