Member organisations

March Pow

Island Lake Lodge - March 19, 2018 - 21:23

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We want to hear from you!

Fernie Nordic Society - March 17, 2018 - 09:17

It is spring time and this means ... it is time for our annual survey.

If you have taken to the ski trails in Fernie this winter, the Fernie Nordic Society would like to hear your comments about this ski season. Take a few minutes to take our short survey HERE, only eleven questions, and you can even enter our draw for one of two free 2018-2019 season memberships. Let us know what you think, what you liked and what we should focus on next season. All our volunteers thank you for your input. Enjoy some great spring skiing!

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Island Lake Lodge Wins 2018 Employees First Award

Island Lake Lodge - March 12, 2018 - 17:50

We are incredibly honoured to have won this prestigious award. A huge thanks to all current and past employees of Island Lake for making the place so remarkable.

Below is the press release from go2HR

Island Lake Lodge Wins 2018 Employees First Award

Kelowna, BC – Island Lake Lodge has won the coveted 2018 Employees First Award, presented this afternoon at the BC Tourism Industry Conference in Kelowna. The award is sponsored by go2HR, BC’s tourism human resource association, as part of the 2018 Tourism Industry Awards.

The Employees First Award recognizes a British Columbia tourism industry employer who has upheld high standards of excellence in human resources and people management practices. Based in Fernie, BC, Island Lake Lodge runs on a grassroots, team-oriented organizational culture.

“At Island Lake we recognize how important our staff are to the overall success of the company. They are the very foundation of the brand and business and their stories are integrated into the overall story of the company,” said Mike McPhee, Island Lake Lodge’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “We have striven to be a modern employer with an offering of unique benefits, perks, flexibility, continual training / education and collaborative atmosphere.”

The company’s vision and values revolve around providing a safe workplace and a collaborative environment. Some examples include:

  • Extensive onboarding training at the beginning of each season, covering occupational health and safety, social media, guest services, and more;
  • Ongoing support for professional development, such as First Aid, WHMIS, avalanche training, Red Seal Chef training, and Serving It Right;
  • Weekly staff recognition, and end-of-season awards that include peer recognition;
  • Company perks and benefits including swag giveaways, staff meals, shuttle to work, catskiing trips and outings, and photos contests.
  • Open and ongoing communication including suggestion box for employees, regular teammeetings, and monthly employee newsletter.With such a dedicated focus on employee training and satisfaction, Island Lake Lodge has seen positive results as their retention rate steadily climbed over the years. In 2017, 90 per cent of staff had returned for the season.
  • On TripAdvisor the company is ranked #1 in the speciality lodging category in Fernie and awarded a Certificate of Excellence. It is not uncommon to see individual staff regularly recognized by guests in post-visit surveys.“Island Lake Lodge’s inclusive, team-oriented culture contributes to a high level of employee satisfaction, which in turn leads to high levels of guest satisfaction,” said Arlene Keis, go2HR’s CEO. “By providing a work environment that employees can grow, thrive, and take pride in, Island Lake puts their employees first and boasts an impressive retention rate, setting a fine example for our industry as an employer. We congratulate the Island Lake Lodge team on their achievements.”To learn more about the BC Tourism Industry Awards, visit About go2HR

go2HR is BC’s tourism human resource association, responsible for coordinating the BC Tourism Labour Market Strategy. go2HR provides tourism employers with resources in the area of recruitment and retention, as well as training and certification programs to develop relevant skills for prospective and current tourism and hospitality employees. For more information, visit


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Heck of a lot of snow out there! When do you think we will be on skinny tires?

Fernie Mountain Bike Club - March 12, 2018 - 11:08
Choices I will be on the gravel road as soon as I can! Not until June! Hoping for May! I will be starting to shovel in a couple weeks! Happy to keep the fat tires out as long as possible! Forget this, I am Utah bound!
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Sunday at the First Fernie Birkie

Fernie Nordic Society - March 12, 2018 - 09:46

Super amazing day! Thanks everyone for coming out for our first Birkie! 13 racers total, 8 doing 50 km and 5 doing the first lap of 25 km. The participants skied on the trails of the Elk Valley Nordic Centre and the Fernie Alpine Resort including a brief rest on a chairlift of the resort. Check the costumes out in the photos. Thank you to our partners at Fernie Alpine Resort for giving our racers a lift on the Deer chair. Special thanks to Wild Wolves Design for very cool medals and Erika Sowchuk for our new Birkie logo.

Results can be found at HERE.

Start planning your costumes for next year, we will see you then!

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Nordic challenge at Griz Days

Fernie Nordic Society - March 6, 2018 - 18:49

This was such a great weekend for the Fernie Griz Days. Some great weather plus some awesome powder just as the Snow To Ice(cream) Challenge got under way! Super turnout everyone! Huge thanks to our sponsors The Fernie Hotel & Happy Cow Fernie for the beer and ice-cream. Is there a better reward ? Thank you for the amazing prizes and rentals from GearHub Sports and prizes from The Guide's Hut !! A shout out to all the ambassadors who spent time at the Nordic Centre and the Golf Course and also to our amazing groomers throughout the community! Several of the participants who completed the challenge:

First, 24 people completed the challenge - lots more took part. Everyone did multi-sport and everyone wore plaid in some way shape or form - some more than others ! The helmet and goggles donated by GearHub Sports go to Lori George Kennedy! Also from GearHub Sports, a t-shirt and buff to Carrie Dixon, and a t-shirt and bag to Amanda Steeper. From The Guide's Hut a hat and FNS ski sleeves to Catherine Bodroghy, and a hat and FNS ski sleeves to Ute Hammer. A FNS toque, ski sleeves and Guide's Hut water bottle pack go to Garret Sowchuk, Thomas Lentz and our first finisher Julie Kelly!

And last, a huge Thank you! to all participants

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80+ cm’s this week!

Island Lake Lodge - March 2, 2018 - 22:48

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Island Lake Lodge - March 2, 2018 - 08:18

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Staff Profile – Executive Chef Keith Farkas

Island Lake Lodge - March 1, 2018 - 17:25

Executive Chef Keith Farkas has been leading the culinary team at Island Lake for several years now. He is known for inspiring his team to think creatively and outside of the normal lodge fare. His wife, L’wren, is the restaurant manager and oversees the Island Lake wine collection. Together, they make Island Lake’s culinary program a unique attribute that speaks to the surrounding old growth forest, dramatic peaks and “lodge life” that we are known for.

A quick Q&A with Keith Farkas:


Yes, I actually get asked this question a lot by our own team. Our philosophy is unpretentious; complex without being complicated. What does this mean? To me, it means seeking good flavours without being too fussy or overdoing it. It’s about simple pairings and seeking local wherever possible. Perhaps most importantly however, for dining at Island Lake Lodge, is that it’s as much about the incredible natural setting; the view and the calm atmosphere.


The honey we use at the Lodge is locally-produced from the bees of the Elk Valley and harvested by Elk River Apiaries. Our Elk Chorizo is reared and produced locally in the Valley. Our coffee beans are the “Island Lake Blend” from local coffee roasters, Zaltana. We source locally wherever we can; it’s important to us. Throughout the summer, I can be found most Sundays at the Fernie Farmer’s Market where I talk with the farmers, where I’ve developed a relationship with them. I like to know where our produce is coming from, the journey it’s had before I serve it at dinner.


Yes, we do. We pick stinging nettles from just outside the Lodge which we then use for soups. We forage lots of fireweed that is flavoured with pesto and served in our Market Salad which happens to be one of our dinner menu’s most popular items. We create a deliciously-sweet cedar syrup with maple, too. We will often use wildflowers from just outside our back door to garnish our desserts and cocktails. Foraging is important as it’s our connection to our landscape.


Of course. Lodge-made speaks to the elements of our dishes that are made right here at the lodge from scratch. From our house-made granola we serve at breakfast, to the condiments we create here in the Island Lake Lodge kitchen such as our own ketchup and mayonnaise. I believe in it, and I know it inspires our cooking team when they can have confidence in the fact that even the little details of our menu are created by hand.


The Bison Short Ribs! Due to the popularity of this dish with our guests, I’ve not been able to take them off the menu for years! The Market Salad is a popular one too. I like this dish for its simplicity, its flavour and its freshness. Also, the foraged fireweed that features as a key part of the salad; it’s delicious and our guests agree. I think it’s appealing that the salad is prepared from local ingredients.

Keith, on the right, with guest chefs Justin Leboe and JP Pedhirney

Justin and Keith harvesting Spruce tips

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February 26,2018

Island Lake Lodge - February 26, 2018 - 19:49

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Loads of fun at the Nordic Winterfest

Fernie Nordic Society - February 23, 2018 - 22:20

Last weekend was a great time for the Fernie Nordic Winterfest. It all started at the end of the regular ski lesson on Saturday morning.

Megan Lohmann said a few words in a short presentation about the 2018 Teck Kootenay Cup. This year the Cup was won by the young racers of our racing team with the help of many other club members and adults who have participated in the six races of the series: two races here in Fernie, two more in Kimberley, one at Nipika and the last one in Nelson. It is a great achievement as this is the third time in the last four seasons that Fernie takes the Cup home. Big smiles all around.

Next the young skiers participated in the annual Racing Rocks! event. The very young ones were busy with a scavenger hunt while the older kids skied the trails in a Barkley Marathon style event where each one had to bring a specific page from five books placed along the way. Lots of fun for all!

The Winterfest continued on Sunday February 18 at 11 a.m. with the 6th Annual Community Fun Race ski event. Twenty-four participants joined in several categories: a short distance for an easy-going ski and a longer one for the more competitive skiers. Some chose the skate style ski for speed while others went with the classic style. Coach Naomi did her run with the other skiers, then returned on the course pulling a chariot. The small passenger did not seem to mind the ride. And what about that best costume category?

A BIG Thank you! to Sam, the organizer of the Winterfest, and to the group of volunteers including Robert Holmes who made this weekend a success. Check out the event results are on this page

The next nordic event in Fernie is the SNOW TO ICE(cream) challenge during the Griz Days from March 1 to 4. Get set! Ready? All the details HERE

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February 22,2018

Island Lake Lodge - February 23, 2018 - 10:52

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Island Lake Lodge - February 21, 2018 - 09:21

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Harvey Hut “Cheers to Charity!”

Fernie Trails - February 17, 2018 - 19:05

The Harvey Hut rebuild project has been chosen to participate in Fernie Brewing’s “Cheers for Charity!” donation program. Harvey Hut burnt last September in BC’s worst fire season ever. Over $20,000 in supplies and thousands of volunteer hours were lost in the fire. From Friday February 16th until Saturday March 31st, all “Cheers to Charity!” […]

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Mid-season successes and more!

Fernie Nordic Society - February 15, 2018 - 21:35

It has been an absolutely incredible year for the Nordic Society. From record breaking membership, to our biggest skills development program ever, we are thrilled.

But the cherry on top (so far!) was the announcement of the results for the Teck Kootenay Cup circuit last weekend - the Fernie Nordic Racers brought home the Kootenay Cup!!! We were first place, with a total of 642 points. We had 145 race-starts over the 6 races this year and many podium finishes. All this for a team that has existed for just 4 years.

The dedication of Coach Jeff and Coach Naomi, the commitment of the parents and families of the racers, and the participation of keen Fernie Nordic members at the races contributed to this success (for the third time in four seasons, in fact!). The hours that our coaches and parents volunteers on a weekly basis is admirable and so very much appreciated.

What everyone that has participated in a race will tell you, is that the community of nordic skiers is unlike any other sport. The environment is supportive, fun and family-like. At the end of the day, we all love to get outside, work hard and have fun.

Congratulations to the Fernie Nordic Racers and EVERYONE that has participated in a Kootenay Cup race, or became a member of our club this year - you ALL support our ability to keep our trails and programs running.

Join us at 12 PM Saturday at the Nordic Centre as we celebrate the achievement. And join us for our Winterfest activities this weekend and find out what this community is all about!

from Megan

And here are a few photos from the race in Nelson last Sunday

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Staff Profile – Katie Hamar

Island Lake Lodge - February 15, 2018 - 11:36

Katie Hamar is the Sales and Event Coordinator for the lodge. Her professional and detail-oriented personality helps ensure all our events go off to the best of our abilities. She also leads our green sustainability committee and has a passion for mountain culture and the Island Lake property. Her positive and happy energy rubs off on all the staff around her and her smile is infectious. She is a valuable asset to the company. Here is a little interview we did with her recently.

Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick.

When did you move to Fernie and what brought you here in the first place?

I came for the 2008/2009 winter season to visit my sister and her now-husband who had moved here a few years prior. I promptly fell in love with the mountain lifestyle and officially moved to BC the following September; to Cranbrook where I would complete my BBA over the next few years. I wanted to finish my degree while living as close to Fernie as possible and Cranbrook was the best option. I spent most weekends and summers here. In May 2013, when I was done school, I officially became a Fernieite.

How long have you been working at Island Lake Lodge?

I started working for ILL in June 2013.

Which jobs have you been in for the company?  

I worked as a Guest Services Representative at the lodge front desk my first few years. When I was given a few extra responsibilities, a job title of Special Projects Coordinator was added. During this time, I also assisted Nicole, the then-Event Coordinator, with weddings. When Nicole moved away, I applied and got the job as Sales & Event Coordinator. I started working in this role in October 2016.

What is your favourite part of the job?  

I love working with people, both the public and ILL’s awesome staff. It’s rewarding to see the lifespan of an event from sale to planning to implementation. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy to see happy couples on their wedding day and I feel honored to be a part. I also like the challenge of having several simultaneously-moving parts to an event, the organization that that entails, and problem-solving. Plus, you absolutely cannot beat the view.

What is your favourite hiking trail and why?  

I love them all but I like Big White for the views and exhilarating scramble and the new trail, Goldilocks, for showcasing a new perspective. If you only have a couple hours, Tamarack Viewpoint is my favourite option for an incredible view of the lodge and Lizard Range. Heiko’s Trail is the ultimate Fernie trail. I can’t decide!

What is something people might not realize about your job?  

When I started in this role, I was surprised by how much goes into selling and planning large group events and tour operations. There are numerous steps to take and questions to field long before the group arrives. I also had no idea how many inquiries ILL actually receives. And, maybe this isn’t a surprise, but I continue to be so happy to hear how much people really love the lodge and how satisfied they are with their experiences there.

Do you prefer summer or winter these days? 

I am a summer lover but you also can’t beat Island Lake on snowy winter day. The excitement is palpable. It’s all good up there.

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Powder for Valentines day

Island Lake Lodge - February 14, 2018 - 15:25

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History – 1874 – Prospector and Trapper Michael Phillips

Island Lake Lodge - February 13, 2018 - 13:38

1874 – Prospector and trapper Michael Phillips was the first European to explore Island Lake and the Cedar Valley.  He named Lizard Creek for the “little green lizards” he found at the head waters. They were actually Long Toed Salamanders and the mountain range was later named the same. He is also said to be the first European to traverse Crowsnest Pass and the Elk River Valley.

Read a fascinating interview with him by The Fernie Free Press from 1905:  FFP – 1905-06 Michael Phillips Interview


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FT&STC Annual General Meeting

Fernie Trails - February 13, 2018 - 01:17

The Fernie Trails & Ski Touring Club Annual General Meeting is being held on February 22nd, 7 P.M. at the Silver Rock meeting room ( beside Dairy Queen ). The club has had a busy year and we look forward to recapping with everyone, new members welcome. Hope to see you there.

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Kimberley - another Punch Pass experience

Fernie Nordic Society - February 8, 2018 - 15:33

This past weekend we took a break from Fernie skiing and headed to Kimberley for two days with our BC Punch Pass in hand. Kimberley Nordic has a very active club ... we were told about 1200 members. They have approximately 30 km of groomed trails with a main loop much like the Galloway Loop at our Nordic Centre but with side trails and additional trails cut through the forest to connect the two sides of the main loop. On a clear day, there are beautiful views of Mount Fisher and the surrounding mountains. We skied the longest loops and some of the side trails on Saturday and Sunday or approximately 10-12 km each day. In terms of difficulty, the trails would be equivalent to the Galloway Loop. On the trail map, all trails have elevation profiles. Each evening, a fully lit night course was available if we had wanted to venture out.

The clubhouse which is approximately double in size to ours has a full kitchen to cook meals and heat soups. Hot chocolate and coffee is on the house! There is nice wood stove and lots of tables and seating areas. On the Sunday we were there, a full-on birthday party was underway. Fundraising activities are numerous but the special one is a gourmet ski event on Saturday February 24. For a set price, guests are invited to a night ski with several stops at stations that provide gourmet food to the participants. All you need to bring is a head lamp, cutlery and dishes. 
It was a great getaway with lots of reasonable priced accommodations and some fabulous restaurants to boot.

Jan K.

More info about the trails in Kimberley:

ed. Send us your own story or story idea to be included here. A junior reporter/writer would be a great addition to our website staff of one! Email

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