Ski stoke at Fernie’s Community Centre

Annual Ski Swap and the Fernie Ski and Board Film Fest took over the Fernie Community Centre on Nov. 5.

Skiing and snowboarding took over the Fernie Community Centre on Nov. 5 for the annual Ski Swap and the Fernie Ski and Board Film Fest. Both events go to support local ski groups, the swap is for the Fernie Alpine Ski Team (FAST) and the film fest is for the Fernie Volunteer Ski Patrol Society (FVSPS). The Ski Swap started the day at 10 a.m. but that didn’t stop eager skiers and snowboarders from lining up around the building before opening. According to Kim Carter, an organizer of the Ski Swap, the event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for FAST.

“We are looking to bring in between $10,000 and $15,000 for our club. We typically have a few hundred people coming through and about 80 volunteers throughout the day,” she said. “[The funds] are used for our infrastructure – costs like coaching, gates and the ongoing operating costs of our ski team.”

At the Swap’s exit, FVSPS was selling tickets for their screenings.

“We camp the exit and try to get the last $20 from people’s pockets. After the ski swap finished up we have a team that comes in for set up to get us ready for the 6:30 p.m. opening,” laughed FVSPS member Ted Van Rhijn in an interview at the mornings event. “We are showing three movies. Tickets are $20 a piece for adults, $10 for kids and ages three-and-under are free. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the first film is at 7 p.m.”

The event may not raise as much money as the Ski Swap, but profits of the event go to support the FVSPS.

“This event is our biggest fundraiser; we typically bring in about $4,000 to $5,000 dollars. We parlay that with gaming grants from the B.C. Lotteries to help us with the larger ticket items,” said Van Rhijn. “All of the proceeds go toward funding equipment for the Fernie Volunteer Ski Patrol Society up at Fernie Alpine Resort and Wapiti in Elkford. We need to buy things like jackets, packs and other supplies like that.”

The evenings event had almost every chair filled as participants got some snow stoke watching some of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders in the world on the big screen. When The Free Press spoke with Van Rhijn prior to the show he was hoping to catch the last film of the evening.

“Our first show is Ruin and Rose. It is more of a family type feature film. From there we get a little more gnarly with Tight and Loose then we will finish off the night with Fourth Phase. I’m looking forward to Fourth Phase as I will hopefully be done running the stuff in the back and I will get the chance to watch the movie with the public,” he said.

The event typically has around 25 volunteers, who help to make the three film event fun for everyone.

“We have people running around collecting prizes for draws – we draw after every film. There’s a bunch of prizes – cat skiing, a ski trip to Whitefish, some ski packages from vendors,” said Van Rhijn. “There are a lot of people involved, we have people that are running the bar side, the concession side, set up and clean up, we even have some of the Mountain Adventure Skills Training (MAST) students from College of the Rockies coming to help us out with setting up and taking down the screen.”