Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR) is set to open this Friday, and will be open seven days a week throughout the season. Although only a portion of the resorts 3,550 ft of elevation will be open to skiers and riders this Friday, they will get a great opportunity to stretch their legs at the start of the season and just before this weekend’s potential snowstorm.
“The exciting part is that we are opening top to bottom skiing on the Elk side of the resort,” said Matt Mosteller, ski blogger and Vice President of Marketing & Sales Resorts of the Canadian Rockies in an interview with The Free Press.
“Lift operating will include the Elk Chair, Bear Chair and Mighty Moose, and will provide 2500 vertical feet of skiing conditions. What’s also really exciting is that we also potentially have a major snowstorm that will hit starting this weekend through the next week.”
Mosteller noted that FAR’s opening day is more than just about the skiing and snowboarding. It’s about the mutual respect that skiers and riders share.
“Opening day is always a big tradition; it’s a big local traditional and an important local tradition. At the heart of it all, it’s the essence of all the skiers and snowboarders getting together and kicking off the season. The high fives and big smiles of people and the people that come back year after year to make this tradition happen.”
The mountain doesn’t just get itself ready for opening day either. The staff has been piloting groomers, blasting snow cannons and all played a part in the preparation for opening day.
“In the bigger picture I think that this really [is the] kick off to the ski season. We are really stoked to get this party started. And we know on behalf of our staff, who have all worked really, really hard, to get the mountain ready, we are very fortunate and thankful for all their efforts,” said Mosteller.
According to a Nov. 30 press release, FAR has received 116 cm of snow, with 14 cm dropping in the past week. The settled snowpack at the Bear Plot is currently at 67 cm. The first day of operation will provide access to mid-mountain on Bear and down the Lizard Run to the base.
There is currently good coverage with loose packed and machine groomed terrain. For up-to-date conditions, go to Fernie Alpine Resorts website.
The resort will have be busy with events this winter. Ranging from the kinky rail jam, Kokanee Snow dreams, and the Raging Elk Dummy Downhill there are events planned in hopes of attracting many skiers and snowboarders.
“We have a bunch of incredible events happening throughout the winter, over 100 events, just a massive schedule of stuff,” said Mosteller.
Opening day is a big tradition for the community of Fernie. First chair is at 9 a.m. on Friday morning.
First chair alone is an event upon itself. Local powder-hound Greg Barrow has set up early and the night before, to ensure a spot on the first chairlift up the mountain.
“Typically, we have an event that surrounds first chair itself at Fernie Alpine Resort. And that has even been written up in the Globe and Mail and other media outlets. The opening is about Greg Barrow, the owner of the snowboard shop Edge of the World, who has been pitching tents to get first chair for dozens of ski seasons. He has had first chair at Fernie for 14 years straight. He has a whole strategy about being first on opening day. There is a celebration on that piece alone. He is a cool guy, a really passionate individual,” said Mosteller.
“It is about that passion, the celebration. ‘The celebration of snow,’ we call it.”