It’s pretty common in Fernie to see the same faces at multiple events, especially when it comes to volunteers. These people are dedicated and passionate, wanting not only to be part of the excitement but also in ensuring these events continue to take place and are the best they can be. If you know Lori Bradish, it comes to no surprise to you that she is one of these people.
Lori is a born and raised Fernie girl, “I’m a Turyk,” she tells me. “Max Turyk was my dad.” I had no idea! Her parents moved here in the ’50s from the Rossland/Trail area, and her dad took the position as the first principal at IDES. “My mom worked for Linda Socher for 25 years up on the mountain, in the winters.”
After high school, Lori went to post-secondary school and then travelled. When she and her partner (Eddie, who she met skiing in Fernie) decided to get married, they moved to Fernie and bought their house at the ski hill. “And we’ve been there ever since.” They raised two kids, with Lori being involved and volunteering with all of the clubs and sports they participated in. “Schools, FAST, soccer… it was enough. I was home a lot because Eddie works away in the oil patch for three weeks a month,” she tells me. With two kids of my own, I look at her as superwoman. “We’re hopefully closing in on retirement!” Cheers to that!
Lori’s first taste of culture in Fernie was working with Laura Nelson at the Museum. “I started volunteering there during the huge renos for the Museum Project, then when it was over it morphed into contract work,” she says. Lori was instrumental in creating the first ski exhibit.
Once she finished working with the Museum, she admits to it opening her eyes to seeing all that there is out there in the community. “There are so many organizations, and a lot of them need help!” The word had also gotten out about Lori’s ability. Soon, businesses and organizations were knocking at her door to help execute events. She has worked with the Golf Course to help their 100-year celebration event, has been a big part of the Chamber of Commerce’s Griz Days festival, is on contract with Fernie Pride to plan and host the Elk Valley Pride Festival.
“What I have benefited from is helping bring more and more of these types of activities that people want to see in the community… and I love organizing a party,” Loris says. “Someone asked me when I was working at the Golf Course, what do you call yourself? I said I am a party planner! It’s fun, and I get to meet so many different people.”
Lori also likes to see how these events can evolve and become more well-rounded, partnering different people and organizations within the community. For example, Griz Days has partnered with the Fernie Nordic Society the last couple of years to include the Snow to Ice challenge, and the Fernie Golf Club hosted a snow golf tournament that weekend as well. “I like helping these events grow and become more attractive to a wider audience. You can’t ask each event to be all things to all people but for example the Wednesday Socials… you add the food trucks and the market… suddenly you attract different people.”
This applies to Lori’s theory about Fernie as well. In the past, Fernie might have been known as a ski town but things are changing. “Not everyone wants to go skiing or go mountain biking, and we need to offer and develop other areas of our community. The growth has been quite dramatic when it comes to arts and culture. More and more we can round out our culture, and become known as a place you can do everything.”
Lori doesn’t have plans of slowing down, “I’m going to continue to party plan!” She sees the power of the volunteers in this community and loves coming up with ideas and approaching different groups of people or organizations to see how they can work together. At the end of the day, while Lori does enjoy a good party at the heart of it all is helping her community. A community she grew up in, raised her kids in, and hopefully soon will retire in!
Thank you, Lori. For helping to fill in the gaps, rounding out the Fernie experience and ensuring we all have a good party to attend, no matter the time of the year.
1. When did you first arrive in the Valley and what brought you here? I was born in the Fernie hospital which was located at Park Place Lodge. I was destined to hang out at the Pub!
2. Who did you first meet? Some of my first buddies were the Caufields and Tombossos. Growing up on 4th Avenue, there were a ton of kids.
3. Do you remember your first general impression of Fernie? There was always something to do. And forever generation.
4. What keeps you here? Family, friends, landscape and my community.
5. Do you have a favourite Fernie memory or pastime? I loved skiing as a teenager and built a jump on the Bear! After I hit it doing a front flip I lost my toque and a bunch of people called out, “its a girl!”
6. What time of the year do you love most in Fernie, and why? I love the fall the most when it’s still warm but the Tamarack trees have turned golden.
7. Where do you see or hope to see Fernie in five years? Much the same. I love that there is such a housing boom right now. But I don't think it's going to translate into a huge change in the community. People are here for the lifestyle and I believe it will be sustained.
8. How do you start your day or what is one of your daily rituals? Wilson walking (my dog) through the meadow in my back yard.
9. Tell us something people might be surprised to learn about you. That I love my Ducati Monster.
10. Quote to live by: Leap and the net shall appear.