Art and Entertainment

I must begin with a small request: please forgive me if I become a little over enthusiastic with this month’s events; allow the odd yippee and permit me at least one woohoo. In March I will become a fully fledged Canadian and it seems the whole of Fernie wants to celebrate with me in true northern style. It might not be Canada Day just yet, but for Fernie, March could be called Canada Month. From our beloved annual winter festival to Canadian film and provincial hockey, March is one long Canuck party. It’s time to giv’er.

Winter in Action

Fernie is home to a host of many amazing winter activities, each with a different challenge. Here, Luke Nelson climbs one of the waterfalls in the Morrissey region during a cold spell in November.

Photo: Todd Weselake,

This is big mountain rider Ryan Johannesen shredding a very technical line at Island Lake Catskiing. This spine to cliff feature in on the aptly named Spineback Ridge just under Papa Bear Peak.

This month photographers submitted shots depicting Fernie winter in action.

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If the hills were alive with the sound of music, what kind would tickle the Griz’s pelt? It’s hard to imagine him being classy enough for jazz, and Latin rhythms would be too steamy for Fernie’s snow deity. He’d look too cute with a ukulele and too silly with a kazoo. No, I picture the Griz at home making fuzzy notes on an electric guitar or bashing away on some drums—a real rock ‘n’ roll man.

March 1: Caught in a Utah canyon, Aron Ralston was faced with an unthinkable decision: die or hack off a limb and—maybe—survive. It’s a story that broke out of the pages of adventure and outdoor magazines into the larger media landscape because it’s a story that both amazes and disgusts. It’s a story that makes you wonder what you would do to survive. Although Ralston’s ordeal is the stuff of inspiration, it is not the kind of tale that is necessarily easy to translate onto big screen.

There are many bitter sweet romances that have been shot for the silver screen. Who, for example, could forget Casablanca, the film where Rick (Humphrey Bogart) refuses to renew his love affair with Elsa (Ingrid Bergman) as an act of kindness toward her ailing husband. There is also Remains of the Day, a great film featuring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. It is a sad tale of unrequited love between a butler and a housekeeper in a wealthy English home.

Well, this recent run I had with Canada Reads 2011 is something I sure never envisioned for myself. During the week of debates, I had a moment in the studio at the Toronto CBC when I was chatting live with Daybreak South while my cell phone rang off the hook because the National Post book editor was waiting for me in the lobby. Who to talk to first? CBC or National Post? Nice problem to have. I would like to give a heartfelt thank-you to CBC and Georges Laraque for introducing these “problems” into my life.

Nathon Birch, Artist

Painting is an odd career in a lot of ways; some aspects of it are incredibly self-centred, self-gratifying: I paint the types of scenes that interest me on my own schedule and in the style that suits me. I do work that hardly ever feels like work but instead has always had the demeanor of some type of glorified, obsessive play. It’s a job that encourages introspection to an almost narcissistic degree and rewards it with praise and attention.

Nathan Birch is our featured artist this month. Enjoy his amazing art and his journey with painting.

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Free Ski Comp at Fernie Alpine Resort

From national and international ice stars to extreme sports adventurers and even an Olympian and Paralympian, there's no limit to the sporting heights that can be reached if you start out in the Elk Valley.

Portraits - Fernie Photography

My mother has always been my biggest inspiration. She puts so much energy into every climb. Now into her fifties she still pushes harder and climbs better than most people half her age.

Photo by Martina Halik

While looking for a forest fire in the East Kootenays, we stumbled upon this old abandoned cabin. I started taking pictures from the outside of this cabin then passed my camera through the window to Brad who was standing inside the cabin and he snapped a pic of me standing on the outside peering in.

Photo by Brad Zuk
Portrait of Allegra Newill

One of our favourite "Through the Lens" to date, these are beautiful and interesting portraits by local photographers. And this selection just skimmed the surface! Next month's theme: Winter in Action.

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January gets all of the pressure to switch things up, to make fresh starts. The challenge is to carry that initiative into February and beyond. One way to avoid slipping into the same old ruts, however, is to always have something new to look forward to.