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  • History of skiing in Fernie
  • History of skiing in Fernie
  • History of skiing in Fernie
  • History of skiing in Fernie
  • History of skiing in Fernie
  • History of skiing in Fernie
  • History of skiing in Fernie

Legend has it; Fernie’s story starts way back in 1879 with the birth of The Griz.

The Griz is credited with bringing the plentiful powder (up to 42 feet in a season) to Fernie year after year. With snow comes skiing. In Fernie folks started hiking up the local mountains to ski down long before the first lifts were installed.

Read more about the legend of the Griz.

Fernie's Ski History Timeline

1950’s

  • The Fernie Ski Club installed and operated a Handle Tow lift on the south face of Mt Procter, which is behind the present location of the Fernie Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Centre.

1960-1961

  • A Handle Tow was operated in Liverwurst Bowl for one season. Present location of Island Lake Catskiing
  • Fernie Chamber of Commerce started the process of bidding for the 1968 Winter Olympics. They were unsuccessful in the end but it laid the foundation for skiing in Fernie. Read story of Fernie's 1968 Olympic bid.

Summer 1961

  • A-Frame Lodge under construction at the present Day Lodge location of Fernie Alpine Resort
  • Rabbit Ridge Rope Tow & Elk T-Bar installed

1962

  • With the donation of all the land by Galloway Lumber and many countless volunteer hours, Fernie Snow Valley Ski Resort officially opened January 10th
  • Day Lodge construction completed
  • Two lifts operated. Rabbit Ridge Rope Tow was located between the Griz Inn and the bottom of the present Cornerstone Lodge. Elk T-Bar was located at the present location of the Deer Chair and went up to where the top of the current Elk Chair.

1968

  • Ski School started on weekends by Mr Heiko Socher’s wife, Mrs Linda Socher.
  • Rabbit Ridge Rope Tow moved
  • A-Frame ski shop opened offering ski school, lift tickets and rentals

1969

  • Lizard Bowl and part of Cedar Bowl opened
  • Bear T-Bar opened at the present Bear Express Quad Chair location

1970

  • 2-Season Motel (20 units) opened – the first on-hill accommodation at the present Griz Inn location. It was one of the first ski-in ski-out lodging properties in the Rockies

1973

  • Mr & Mrs Heiko & Linda Socher became co-owner shareholders, owning 30% of the ski resort

1974

  • 2-Season Motel burned down
  • First of five expansions of the Day Lodge (North Side)

1975

  • Deer T-Bar opened on the present Deer run

1976

  • Weasel Handle Tow opened at the south side of Lizard Bowl

1977

  • Construction started on the Tamarack Building
  • Griz Chair opened at the present Lizard Lower run location
  • Avalauncher was introduced

1978

  • Tamarack building completed and opened
  • Griz Chair Towers 12 & 13 were wiped out by avalanche (Feb 13)
  • First Griz Competition held on the Griz Weekend in March
  • Griz Chair Towers 12 & 13 cast in concrete and Griz chair reopened in March

1978-1979

  • First snow cat was introduced

1979

  • Weasel Handle Tow motor caught fire and burned

1981-1982

  • Construction began on the Timberline Village Subdivision (52 houses)

1982

  • Griz Inn built the second on-hill accommodation
  • Second expansion of Day Lodge  and Tamarack building (south side)
  • First inaugural Powder-Pedal-Paddle Race

1984/1985

  • 1,050cm of total snow fall recorded

1985

  • Boomerang Triple Chair installed

1987

  • First Dummy Downhill Race

1988/1989

  • 1,160cm of total snowfall recorded
  • Access road from Highway 3 to resort was reconstructed, current Ski Hill Road

1989

  • Elk T-Bar moved
  • Elk Quad Chair installed
  • A-Frame ski shop move to present Bear’s Den location
  • Pizza Pit opened at present location of Cornerstone Lodge
  • First Timberline Condominium (Pine Lodge) completed by Mr Mike Delich

1990

  • Face Lift Handle Tow installed, replaced Weasel Handle Tow
  • Wolf’s Den Lodge opened (renamed Slopeside Lodge in 2013)
  • Deck, cooking facilities, fire pit and roof constructed at Bear’s Den

1990/1991

  • 1,179cm of total snowfall recorded

1991

  • Rabbit Ridge Rope Tow towers used and site grounded for Mighty Moose Platter
  • Timberline Village construction completed, all lots sold

1992

  • Further expansions of Day Lodge and Tamarack Building
  • Stag Leap & Sky Dive runs cut

1993

  • Deer T-bar closed. Moved and renamed Haul Back T-bar
  • Deer Triple Chair opened

1994

  • Further subdivision development (Highline, Timberline’s Spruce Lodge)

1995

  • Development of road to Timber Bowl
  • Signed 50 year Crown Land Plan with Province of BC based on Master Development Agreement in building construction of 4 chairlifts in Currie, Timber, Siberia Bowls plus lodge on top of Timber Express

1996

  • Italian Restaurant ‘Gabriella’s Pasta Place’ opened
  • First runs in Timber Bowl and Siberia Bowl cleared

1996/1997

  • Cat-skiing operation started in the new bowls
  • 1,108cm of total snowfall recorded

1997

  • Resorts of the Canadian Rockies Inc. (Skiing Louise Ltd, Owner Mr Charlie Locke) purchased Fernie Snow Valley Ski Resort, and renamed it Fernie Alpine Resort
  • Highline Village construction completed and all lots sold

1998

  • Major expansions:
    • Timber Quad Chair and White Pass Quad Chair opened
    • Timber bowl, Currie bowl and Siberia bowl opened
    • Lizard Creek Lodge, third Timberline Lodge (Aspen Lodge), 12 Polar Peak Lodges, Stone Creek Townhomes and Thunder Ridge Chalets completed

1998/1999

  • Mini Moose magic carpet opened
  • Cornerstone Lodge, Kerrin Lee-Gartener’s Snow Creek Lodge and Cedar Ridge Townhomes completed
  • Pizza Pit moved down to the Wolf’s Den Lodge where Gabriella’s Pasta Place had moved to
  • Resort Centre and Mountain Pantry added below Gabriella’s

2000

  • Bear T-Bar removed and replaced by Great Bear Express Quad Chair

2001

  • Lizard Creek Condominiums, Bear Paw Lodges and Snow Creek Cabins completed

2002

  • 4th Timberline Condominium completed (King Fir Lodge)

2011-2012

  • Celebrated 50 years of skiing and riding at Fernie Alpine Resort
  • Opened Polar Peak Triple Chair, bringing the most runs and the most vertical in the Canadian Rockies to Fernie Alpine Resort!

Thanks to Fernie Alpine Resort, Mr & Mrs Socher and Mike Delich for the timeline history.

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