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Visionary Fernie businessman Mike Delich honoured for decades of community service

Delich was officially recognized at the Tourism Fernie AGM on April 4
Fernie businessman and volunteer Mike Delich, standing center right, was recognized for decades of valuable community contributions at the Tourism Fernie AGM on April 4. He was presented with a wooden art piece and plaque in recognition of his service by tourism Fernie executive director Jikke Gyorki, left, Elk Valley Wildsight conservation coordinator Randal Macnair, and manager of the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies Andy Cohen (Photo courtesy of Tourism Fernie)

Long-time Fernie resident Mike Delich was recognized for his valuable community service at the Tourism Fernie AGM on April 4.

A dedicated businessman and volunteer, Delich’s hard work and visionary mind has touched every area of the community and helped transform it into the thriving tourism town that it is today.

He was presented with a handcrafted wooden art piece with a plaque for his contributions.

Delich was a founding director of Tourism Fernie, who strongly advocated for the adoption of hotel tax in smaller resort communities. It was due to his efforts that local accommodations began collecting tax from its visitors in 2007, which flooded the local tourism industry with money.

He was a mainstay in the local ski industry and helped build infrastructure projects at the hill. He was resort development manager for Heiko Socher’s company Snow Valley Ski Ltd., where he created the 1989 Revised Master Plan for the hill; and was founder and owner of Fernie Lodging Company Inc., a business that developed a variety of slope-side properties, including Timberline Lodges, Bear Paw Lodges and Snow Creek Lodge, and many rental cabins.

He recently sold Fernie Lodging Co. to Western Trust.

Delich was born and raised in Rossland, but moved east to Fernie in 1979 and initially worked as an engineer in the coal industry. In the next few decades, he would take on a variety of community projects and volunteer roles.

He completed renovation projects at the Fernie Family Centre and Fernie Catholic Church, and supported the Kindergym Program that was started by his late wife Joan Delich more than 40 years ago.

He was a founder and director of the Highline 100 cycling event, the 2012 Fernie Snow Valley 50th Anniversary, and the Fernie Skiing Heritage Wall of Fame celebrations.

He was a ski coach in Rossland and Fernie, and helped bring the Nancy Greene program to the local slopes.

He served as Chief of Race and as an FIS Jury Official at major downhill ski sporting events like the Panorama World Cup DH 1985, Calgary Olympics Men’s DH, Torino Olympics, U.S National Championships, Continent Cups in Asia, National Collegiate Athletic Association events and Kootenay zone races.

Executive Director Tourism Fernie Jikke Gyorki said in an e-mail, that Delich’s passion extended not only to projects but to people as well.

“Mike would also say hi on the street when seeing you and ask how your family was,” she wrote.

About the Author: Gillian Francis

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