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Snow Valley to Alpine Resort - Robin Siggers
Photo by Henry Georgi
As we celebrate five years, our ski hill celebrates 50. Thus we thought it fitting to feature a resident that has been and still is heavily involved with the ski hill. Robin Siggers has been working at the hill since 1976! “Thirty five years, that seems like a lot!” he says.
Robin was living in Whistler when he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to support his skiing habit. “So I went and got my level two instructors – to seek my fortune in the ski industry,” he says with a smile. It just so happened that after passing the course he was riding the T-bar at Sunshine Village with Richard Lochlan who was there recruiting ski instructors with Dave Rogers. “He offered me a position teaching so I loaded up and came to Fernie… and was blown away,” he adds.
After working as a ski instructor for two seasons, there was a large inbound avalanche that resulted in Fernie Snow Valley increasing its safety crew from one person to four, “and I got on that crew in 1979,” he remembers. Robin remained in this position for, which grew to encompass snow making and then moved into Operations Manager in 2000.
“Working as an avalanche forecaster, every day I just couldn’t wait to get to work. Now it’s more interesting but there’s a bigger scope of responsibility. It may not be at the same level as a forecaster – that’s probably the best job in the world. But it’s interesting and challenging,” Robin says of the change in roles.
Early in Robin’s career (1979) he met a young woman on a ski holiday. “It was love at first sight,” Robin admits. After she went home to Manitoba, they continued to talk over the phone and within a week Robin went to pick her up. “And that was it,” he adds. Helen and Robin were married and raised a son in Fernie. “Living and raising a family here is awesome. It’s such an easy place to live – a stress free kind of lifestyle in so many ways. When Dylan was ten years old he could go to the hockey game with his friends, and we felt comfortable letting him roam!” Robin feels lucky that Dylan knows how good he has it. “When he was five years old we would be driving to school and he would say, ‘I just love it here.’ Now we go ski touring together and that’s just one of my favourite things to do,” he adds.
Robin plans on continuing to work at the ski hill as he still feels passionate. “Like any job it has its good days and its bad days, but whenever I think about doing anything else and realize that I couldn’t go skiing every day I know what a great job it is,” he says.
Congratulations on being with the ski hill for 70% of its 50 years, skiing the peak will be a great way to celebrate!
1. When did you arrive in Fernie and what brought you here? 1976, and I came here for the legendary powder, which definitely didn’t disappoint.
2. Where did you first live in Fernie? I first lived in the King Eddie Hotel (where Island Lake Office is). It was kind of expensive ($30 a month) so I moved in with four guys in West Fernie, one of them was Mitchy. Rent was $100 and we split it four ways.
3. What was your first impression? This place was awesome – they have a bank, grocery store, there’s a real town here! And everything you need is right here within a block. And the ski hill was unbelievable - we had that place to ourselves.
4. What keeps you in Fernie? I came for the winter, stayed for the summer. Love the summer here now!
5. Do you have a favourite Fernie memory? Riding the Bear T-Bar one day, I never saw another person for an hour and was by myself doing laps. It was dumping snow so hard you could hardly see. Being there by myself, it was amazing. I’ll never forget it.
6. What is your favourite time of the year in Fernie and why? Summer, because it’s not cold.
7. Where do you see Fernie in 5 to 10 years? Well, I really don’t see it a whole lot different. That’s one of the things that’s so great about this place - it doesn’t change that fast. The pace is slow and it’s a bit retro. Below the radar if you know what I mean, and I think that’s what people like about it.
8. How do you start your day or what is one of your daily rituals? I get up around six, and I bring my wife a cup of coffee in bed so she can plan her day, and then I figure out what I’m going to play at today.
9. Tell us something people might be surprised to learn about you. I’m not really that bad of a guy. I can play the clarinet. I don’t know!
10. Quote to live by: Sometimes it’s better to want what you have than have what you want.