Types of Fun

There are many Fernieites who have left the city-dweller lifestyle behind for the adventure-packed, outdoor way of life this town has to offer. What was once a several-hour drive to access adventure has turned into a five-minute pedal from your house to reach some amazing terrain.

A common theme has become apparent in many chairlift chats - people come to Fernie for the deep powder and end up staying for the summer. Repeat. Coming here, I’ve developed my adventurous side and dived into different pursuits - ski touring, biking, climbing, and mountaineering - all things that were too far out of reach back home. I have had the best time of my life working hard and playing harder in these mountains.

I’ve had a number of unforgettable experiences in the outdoors and met exceptional people with extraordinary stories and perspectives, but if there is one concept that has really stuck with me, it was something I learned while ski touring with my buddy Sam. We climbed and skied down the summit of Mt Proctor, which was a long and arduous day; the crux being having to boot pack on ice with no crampons. He called it a Type 2 day.

Now, you might be wondering... a “type” what?

Upon further questioning, he explained that there were three types of fun…Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3. On a basic level, everything we do in the outdoors can qualify as fun, because it’s better than being at work, right? It was a new idea to me and it became a simple way to describe how an adventure went. I also learned that I needed Type 1 and Type 2 fun in my life to keep my mental health and body in check. Type 3 though… well maybe one or two of these in a lifetime will suffice unless you enjoy making news headlines.

It helps explain why the adventurer endures these big days; an ideology that helps the everyday person understand why some people like to suffer.

So, what the heck is a Type of Fun?
Fun / noun / what provides amusement or enjoyment

I scrounged the internet and found some non-peer reviewed articles from adventure-certified outfitters like REI and Teton Gravity Research* to explain what a type of fun was.

Type 1 Fun
The kind of fun that is fun the entire time you are doing it and is pleasant to reminisce about. Example activities: Powder skiing, drinking cocktails at the bar, lift-serviced mountain biking, fly fishing and hiking.

It sucks at some point, like going uphill or the weather turning but it is still all smiles later on - granted, usually on the descent. Example activities: Ski touring, trail mountain biking, hiking up to summits and rafting.

Type 2 Fun
Enjoyment in retrospect. It sucks the entire time but you get bragging rights at the bar later. The weather turns for the worst, you’re damp and cold, your gear failed, the snow turned to garbage, or all of them put together. It makes for a great story though!

Example activities: Trail to Ale, getting stuck bike-packing in sticky mud, marathon running, navigation fails, bushwhacking in devils club, camping in a lightning storm and no-fall zone sheet ice skiing.

Type 3 Fun
PTSD-inducing misery that will give you flashbacks for decades. It is never fun while you are doing it, but it’s a learning experience that allows us to appreciate the good times. You often feel like your life is threatened, it ends with a heli-evac and you make the news. Maybe after a (long) while, you’ll be able to crack a smile.

Ernest Shackleton practically invented Type3 fun during his failed 1914 expedition to cross Antarctica. Here, he and several members of his crew land the 20-foot rowboat they used to cross 720 miles of open ocean in 80-foot seas to reach the backside of an island that had a whaling station on it, portending a rescue. Unfortunately, they were on the wrong side, and had to cross 32 miles of glaciers, mountains, and ice that had never been mapped before, including a finish in a glacial creek, before reaching civilization. Serious Type III fun. - Taken from the TGR article (tetongravity.com/story/culture/the-three-and-a-half-types-of-fun-explained)

Make your days filled with Type 1, your heart and memories filled with Type 2, and hopefully you never experience a Type 3 day, but if you do, I am sure there is plenty to learn from it!

* rei.com/blog/climb/fun-scale / tetongravity.com/story/culture/the-three-and-a-half-types-of-fun-explained