Preparing for Opening Day
It’s a spooky scene when I pull up to the 7am morning meeting, as Mountain Operations Manager. As everyone gathers outside the maintenance shop, a thick mist and dim light shrouds the crew. Conversation mills around their exceptional weekend adventures. Priorities become the topic. Opening day looms on our calendar. Anticipation creeps in, looking forward to the soon-to-come silent fall of hundreds of centimetres and that gentle caress of floating through deep soft snow, connecting with friends on a spiritual level as you enjoy your common love for winter.
For us, with anticipation also comes preparation. What do we need to do this week? This small crew represents over 150 years of hard-won experience working at Fernie Alpine Resort. These folks know their jobs.
“We need to work in a top-down mode,” the crew agrees.
Tyler says he’ll take his crew to Polar Peak to work on the gen set room, and we will fly the new generator up next week. He’ll also finish building the new Timber sign and Tamarack deck.
Blair and Alina plan to start mowing seven-days a week with the mower cat.
Gen and Ugo will touch up the Rails and paint the new and improved Giant Cannon. “The Cannon will be awesome,” Ugo says. “Great, and we’ll be getting the snowmaking systems ready this week,” Siggers replies.
We’ll place the winter order of bamboo, rope, signage, explosives, transceivers and first aid supplies. Maze gates are sent out for repairs, and public benches are repaired or replaced. The base area signage upgrades can proceed now that the Electrical Team has completed the locates. Brushing and saw training is complete, so Fraser and Johno will take “The New Guys” cutting brush.
The Polar Peak Web Cam will be mounted and tested asap. Blasting and First Aid courses are coming up.
It’s Oct 13th, and the alarm bells are going off in Siggers’ head. Pretty sure we are forgetting something.
Walking through the maintenance shop, Robin sees that the bays are full. Dave is servicing the Loader, installing a new engine limit alarm, and fitting the plough blade. The grader front end sits in an exploded state as Dan is busy reassembling the new parts. Shane is tinkering with the BobCat. “Is this the new one?” Robin asks. “Yep, this machine is a bit bigger, and the snowblower should work great on the residential walkways to clear those ‘Big Dump’ days,” he says with a grin. I see that the new cutting heads have been installed on the mower cat that sits on the hoist.
“These look great, Shane. These will do a great job. Thanks!” Snowmobiles, ATVs and other equipment are scattered about getting the once over.
The mist is lifting, the day bursts out in a clear blue sky and radiant gold foliage, and the air is crisp. Emma’s getting social media photos to feed the Winter Stoke that’s rising like the Moon.
So much to do, so little time, but what a treat it is to look forward to winter in Fernie.
Tentative opening day at Fernie Alpine Resort is December 3. Follow along as the team continues to prepare for this winter season @ferniealpineresort on social and visit skifernie.com for additional details.
Photo by Nic Genovese Photo