The first flurries of snow are making their presence known on the mountains and with winter in mind I would like to honor some of my favorite unsung heroes - our four-legged friends the dog. Specifically Lily, Mojo, Farley and Tarn.
During my first season in Fernie I took lots of time to make myself ‘snow aware’, taking a recreational avalanche course, talking to experienced skiers and getting information from ski patrol.
On the first weekend of December people in town are busy trying to find outfits and accessories for THE winter event in Fernie… if they secured a ticket that is. It started with the Red & Black Gala in 2008.
I’ve been looking forward to November for ages. As soon as I first heard about the special event that’s being planned for this month way back in June I thought it was a great fit for November, which may seem to some like an entire 30 days of the witching hour. As darkness descends on Fernie and we watch the snow flicker and fall, what better way to bring the light into our lives than with a lantern festival?
I may have grown up in Fernie, but when I moved back after being away nearly ten years I felt like a newbie. There was a large portion of Fernie’s population that I had never met, who were being referred to as the “New Locals”.
You’ve made it to Fernie, by one varying form of circuitous transportation or another. Whilst others headed to Whistler, you picked a destination that although increasingly popular in your small hometown, is unknown to most Canadians you’ve so far met. But trusting the Fernie rumors and with work visa safely stapled in passport, stuffed somewhere in your 80L backpack along with the rest of your life, you arrive in the valley. Snow Valley.
When people meet a “born and raised” local, they automatically say, “Wow, Fernie has probably changed a lot since you were a kid.” And typically the response is, “Actually not much has changed,” and it’s never thought of again.
At about 7:30 in the evening Tuesday after the September long weekend, I was walking the couple blocks to my house after shopping at Overwaitea. The sky was half dark and the sun still reflected off the clouds over the Lizard Range.
What did you get up to last month? Did you go to the Demolition Derby? Visit the last Mountain Market of the season? Take part in the Dirt Diggler or Project 9 races? Run for a Tears and Gears team? Take your dog on the Paws for Cause walk? Watch an Indie Film? Or maybe pressed your apples at the Eco Garden?
I tried to count the number of events we had in one year here in Fernie and got lost once I started getting in to triple figures! We really are spoiled for choice and entertainment here - It’s quite extraordinary.
Coming across the finish line, caked in mud and happy day one of the TR3 was over, I was instantly greeted by my family… and Mark Lento. Well isn’t that sweet, he came out to cheer me on. It wasn’t until later that my dad informed me that Overwaitea was an official sponsor of the TransRockies start in Fernie and was handing each and every racer a gift bag at the finish line. Wow, Mark stood there from 9am to 4pm handing out bags in the pouring rain? Impressive.
One thing that many people notice about our town is the number of babies, preschoolers and expectant mothers on our streets every day. Whether it’s the great air or the active lifestyle or the sense of community, it’s clearly a popular location for raising children.
So far this year, communities throughout BC including Fernie have seen an increase in the number of bears in residential areas. This can be attributed to a combination of factors. Productive berry crops the last couple of years have resulted in an increase in birth rate and black bear population. It is not uncommon to see a female bear with three cubs. With more people choosing to visit and live in bear country and sharing habitat, it is especially important that we make an extra effort to ensure peaceful coexistence.
I asked Christian Hawkins, a five-time racer, “How scared were you the first time you dropped off the ramp?”
“And the second time?”
He shrugs his shoulders. “Not at all.”
So here’s the scene. .
You climb onto “The Ramp” with your cart. “The Ramp” is a trailer with four painted wood and metal ramps dropping steeply off the downhill side. Each individual ramp has side rails to keep you on track and a metal stop bar sticks up in the middle. You put the nose of your cart against the metal stop bar on your assigned ramp and slide into the seat.
Now that biking season is well and truly here I’m constantly amazed at the extensive network of trails that surely makes Fernie one of the best mountain bike destinations in the world.
Every time I climb a trail I have plenty of time to wonder, “How did these trails get here?” and “How come they look so good?” - the answer to that is, of course, a whole community of unsung heroes.
Chris Moulton and hockey go hand in hand. Heading to a Ghostrider game in High School, you knew you would see Chris at some point. Whether he was at the door, selling 50/50 tickets or helping out the team, there he was and with his loud and witty personality he was hard to miss. At the time Chris was working for the Ministry of Children and Family as a childcare worker, but as a director on the Ghostrider board and a huge hockey fan he did “every odd job imaginable” for the local hockey team.
Fernieites are often asked what their favourite time of year is. If you’re not from Fernie, you might be surprised to learn that fall wins hands down every time. And if asked which is their favourite fall month, my guess would be September.