While trail running is an increasingly popular year-round sport, there’s no doubt it comes into its own during the three non-wintry Canadian seasons. Give or take the odd snow flurry. Just like in many other areas of your life, while spring takes seemingly forever to roll around, before you know it, it’s fall. Cue drilling spikes into your sad looking, under-used trail shoes. Sound familiar? Well here’s a little lowdown of some of the local-ish to Fernie trail racing opportunities, to help get a few races on the calendar and set some much-needed goals…
Born and brewed in the mountains, Fernie Brewing Co. is a go-to accompaniment to delicious food and a dash of adventure. Luckily, with a wide variety of beers to choose from and a vast array of Fernie adventures, there are no shortage of options.
Want in on the act this summer? Here’re a few key tips to help you start off on the right foot, and get yourself to both the start, and more importantly, the finish...
#FernieStreak / Fer•nie•Streak / verb
Nordic Ski, Bike, Run or Hike, outside, for a minimum of 30 minutes, every day, for the entire month of January. Clothes optional, but highly recommended.
How does one streak? Simply fill in your daily dose below, join the January 2019. #FernieStreak
There’s nothing much more curious to many than the desire to run. Up mountains or down mountains, early in the morning or through the night, in the scorching heat or in a torrential downpour.
Five hours in and the sun is out in full force. Your mind is whirling, your muscles are firing and your fingers are like cocktail sausages. But for some reason it feels just right. You feel strangely free. Free from everyday life, reality, decisions and time.
Regardless how high your winter stoke gets, no one can disagree that summer’s arrival is a welcome one. Long days and clear skies. Cold beers and sundrenched decks. Single track and trail running. Matches made in heaven. And summer in Fernie offers it all.
If you haven’t been inspired to purchase a new grippy, rock-shield, cushioning, minimal, no-rise-low-rise, supportive, performance, semi-firm ride trail shoe by this point in the August edition of the Fix, there is pretty much no hope for you. But I shall continue, as by the end of this, you’ll be a runner.
Photo by Raven Eye Photography
Fernie lends itself to new adventures and activities. In terms of the great outdoors, there is everything you can imagine, squeezed tightly and conveniently into this great, yet relatively small valley. So it goes without saying that you’ll try something new from time to time, out of intrigue, or because someone you know seems to love it beyond your comprehension, whether you’re a fresh-faced newbie or a long-term local.
Despite the weather taking a slight nosedive, October did not disappoint in ensuring an action packed sporting calendar. Covering a range of events, it just goes to show how dedicated Fernie is at making the most of every last bit of blue sky. Or just donning a wetsuit and battling the elements regardless.
You only have to walk the length of 2nd Ave to see every second window advertising one race or another. The race scene is everywhere and there is an abundance to choose from, whether you’re a 65yr old taking up a new sport, a 30yr old downhill bike fiend, or a 4yr old child who can’t as yet tie your own running shoes. In short there really is something for everyone.
It is hard not to be inspired by the abundance of athletes in Fernie and their amazing accomplishments, but you can find inspiration in many levels of success. I’ve always said that it is just as impressive to see someone cross the finish line in record time as it is to see someone limp across the line just under the course cut off, bleeding and bruised. Someone who has been out the most number of hours, has gone through the most devastating lows imaginable and still has the will to keep moving. It has the power to bring an entire crowd to tears.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with her, when she was a kid, she wouldn’t even run for a bus!” My dad’s favourite declaration when the topic of his daughter’s relatively recent running obsession comes up. However it’s true, I didn’t want to run for a bus. I also have vivid memories of my tennis coach shouting “move your feet Abigail!” and I always came last in the school cross-country. Always. In short, I was blessed with flat feet and unashamedly a zero desire to run. Anywhere.
There’s a fresh scent that comes with April. You can smell the warmth, good cheer, not to mention the incessant BBQ’ing, the occasional whiff of muddy grass and, if you’re really lucky, the remnants of well-fed Fernie dogs, so watch your step. April is a month that is invariably filled with those last few warm ski days, increasing favourable temperatures and a change of scene.
It’s been a long time coming and despite a number of mid-winter spring-esque days to really throw you off, spring is officially in the air. March is a month of adventures, warm sunny days, goggle tans and afternoons on decks. Idyllic skiing to say the least and this month’s Sporting Heroes adventurists are equally excited by the change in season and what lies in store.
Photo by Megan Walsh
By the time February rolls around, you’re knee deep in winter. Either you’re an avid snow enthusiast and have fully embraced it, or you’re tolerant and have succumbed to its demands. Either way it’s here to stay and what better way to enjoy it, than to explore all that Fernie winter has to offer. Believe me, you’ll be busy until spring, as there’s a lot.
Photo by Lucas Jmief
January drops like a bang, in a flurry of tight waistbands, New Year’s resolutions and snow. It’s a month where all those things set-aside in December in favour of festive feasting and general ridiculousness, are now lined up waiting for your attention. But of course, there’s fresh snowy, crowd-less skiing to be done.
It’s only fitting, with the forthcoming opening of the ski hill that December’s focus is a snow-related sport. After all, it’s what most people come to Fernie for. Then just a few days into your first epic season, you are nothing short of smitten. And inevitably, thus starts the task of figuring out how to stay for season number two.
Photo by Alain Leger
I’m not sure if it’s a British trait or not, but it seems that writing a sporting and seasonally appropriate column tends to lead to me opening with a weather related comment. Or perhaps it’s because we live in Fernie, where the somewhat dramatic change of season clearly decides your outdoor pursuits.
Although it spells the close end of summer days, September is a popular month with warm temps, trees turning and great biking. If you’ve had sole responsibility of little people for the last few months then September might be your clear winner for a different reason entirely. But whilst kids are heading back to school, many are gearing up for race month. And September it seems is the month of Triathlons and Duathlons.
With running and biking ticked off the list, this month we’re stepping aside from the more mainstream sports and honing in on a water-based activity that many a Fernie’ite likes to attempt. From what I’ve heard, it’s hard to grasp and even harder to perfect. There is one Fernie local, who now resides in nearby Cranbrook, has no such issues. Accomplishing, competing and hitting the podium are just the start of things to come.
Like the weather in Fernie, which changes month to month, (although of late seems to have been stuck in a rather damp rut), this month we move from one popular Fernie sport to another. July it seems it’s all about biking, and in fact has become a month that promises a plethora of biking events all over the map, with just a hint of sunshine. Or at least we can hope.
Last year's Banff to Jasper team at the finish!
It’s pretty much a given that as summer excitement builds so do peoples’ exhilaration for all things outdoors. This is no more apparent than here in our active and supportive community, where I’m regularly amazed by people’s energy, efforts and endurance. Whatever sport, activity, event or challenge residents of Fernie choose to channel their energy into, a couple of things are certain: no one is going down without a fight and it’s never too late to start.
This month I yet again had my eyes opened to another service here in Fernie that I knew very little about and had previously never personally come across. Which, considering the service, to a certain extent, is a good thing. However, this month I discovered that as a community, we are in very safe hands, twenty-seven pairs of hands in fact, all passionate about serving this community and beyond. I met with Unit Chief Blake Elford from the Fernie Ambulance Service to find out more about him and his twenty-seven unsung heroes.
How does the BC Ambulance Service operate?
April’s heroes, in a slightly tedious-link sort of way, stem from pizza. Pizza being utterly delicious must surely result in some pretty special heroes. This month is also the month of all things green, so it seemed fitting to highlight some special green heroes. I found some in the form of Dawn Deydey and Megan Walsh, who over the past six years have developed the green initiative, beyondrecycling.ca, into the fantastic and hands-on educational program it is today.