Member organisations

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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Daily Photo

Island Lake Lodge - February 7, 2018 - 14:55

Stellar day above the clouds. Photo by @markgallup

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Scot Schmidt Profile

Island Lake Lodge - January 28, 2018 - 16:38

Scot Schmidt is one of those quiet reserved guys who does not draw a lot of attention in a crowd. He tends to be the laid-back people-watcher in the corner. This is in contrast to the place he holds in the history of the snow industry and to many other professional athletes at his level. If you are a non-skier or if you happen to have been living in a cave for the last 25 years, Scot has the distinct industry title of “The Original Freeskier.” He is recognized by most as being the first big mountain pro skier who managed to make a living jumping off stuff and shredding powder. Back in an age when ski company sponsorships revolved around alpine racers, ski ballet and moguls, Scot sought a different path and defined a niche that has since become the standard for pro ski athletes around the world. Part of his legacy was created and documented at Island Lake Lodge, where he became a shareholder, director and regular Lodge fixture.

Part of the path Scot carved in the early ‘90s was through his ski movie segments. At a time when household VCRs were exponentially increasing the reach of  “Ski Porn,” snow video stars were able to bring the “radness” right into your living room. This changed the game. Freeskiing pros had a medium, locations became household names and filmmakers could make some money. After filming several movies with Warren Miller, Scot hooked up with a young upstart filmmaker with a unique perspective on the world. Greg Stump captured Scot’s effortless big mountain style, added cutting-edge music—all while following a more “interesting” plot-line than the average ski movie. Scot’s laid back, friendly style not only looked good on film but probably contributed to why he has been on The North Face ski team for 30 years now. In an industry full of egos, short careers and overhype, Scot is still skiing 100 days a season and not taking himself too seriously.

Scot is still a regular at the Lodge and comes at least once a season. It is most likely that he has skied more days at Island Lake than anyone other than some of the long-term ski guides. He can still be found relaxing by the river rock fireplace in the Bear Lodge after a good day on the slopes, quietly contemplating and taking in the après scene.

A few quotes from others: 

“Scot definitely pioneered the role of pro freeride skier in North America; he basically helped create the career I have. He also opened the North American industry’s eye to the potential of freeriding, plus he is a total shredder and pushed the progression and style of the sport.”  – Eric Hjorleifson; Pro Skier

“Scott was a huge part of starting the freeskiing movement in the ‘90s and was basically the man to watch during that time… I loved watching his pow segments from the Greg Stump movies!” – Ian McIntosh; pro skier

“I think Scot was the Kelly Slater or Shawn White of his day… His style was the main thing that impacted the industry and it’s still alive in a few skiers today. Proper style indeed.”  – Eric Crosland, Sherpas Cinema


Photo: Mark Gallup


Photo: Aaron Whitfield


Photo: Mike McPhee


Photo: Mark Gallup


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Craig Kelly by Mark Gallup

Island Lake Lodge - January 20, 2018 - 10:12

Craig was known as a world champion. A legendary snowboarder. The Master. An Icon.

After nearly 15 years of hotel rooms, trains, planes, and automobiles. From Greenland to Chile and everything in between. Craig Kelly to me was a confidant, a brother, and a friend.

To me, he was “Smelly Kelly” who never used deodorant. He always farted when he woke up in the morning. I could never turn my back on him because he was a trickster. He introduced me to avocados and he loved eating butter tarts when he came to Canada.

One time when he returned to Fernie after a trip to Japan, he walked in the door and I said, “How was Japan?”. He said, “You treat me like a rock star, I’ll act like a rock star”, and that was it. We just went up to Island Lake and did our thing. He breathed easy and was content. He was back where he belonged.

His transition from competitor to backcountry soul rider was natural. I think an important element of his plan was to find balance between making a living and managing his public image. Island Lake was the perfect platform for his transformation. In interviews, he often talked about balance in his riding but balance in everything was paramount for him; a life lesson he continues to teach me today.

– Mark Gallup

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Staff Profile – Marie-Hélène Jodoin

Island Lake Lodge - January 18, 2018 - 15:10

MH, as she is affectionally known around the lodge, has been a staff staple for over a decade. She is one of the seasoned snowcat driver team – driving snowcats for guests in search of powder.  This job requires a high level of confidence and experience as the snowcats drive on snow roads in some very challenging conditions… in all weather. In summer, MH is part of the Island Lake trail crew, which maintains and builds hiking and bike trails on the property.  This past year the all female trail crew completed a brand new alpine trail called Goldie Locks. The trail was very difficult to build as it navigates a high mountain pass, builder fields and steep terrain. In addition the crew had to hike up the to trial in the alpine every day. Whether winter or summer MH is an integral part of the lodge team and her infectious laugh, sense of humour and positive attitude make everyone around her smile.

Here a few questions and answers with MH

  • Where did you grow up? I grew up in Montréal, Qc.
  • When did you move to Fernie and what brought you? My dad who travelled a lot had a framed aerial picture of Vancouver and it’s surroundings mountains in the living room.  I always looked at it knowing I needed to explore that place on earth, so I did.  After hitchhiking for 2 months in British Colombia with my best friend I knew that BC was the place I needed to comeback too.  Fernie seemed liked a quiet town with a good average snowfall.  I moved to Fernie 14 years ago
  • How long have you been working at Island Lake Lodge? I’ve been working at Island Lake for 11 years.
  • What do you like the most about driving snowcats? I love the different challenges we can have with driving and blading depending on the type and amount of snow and the type of slope.  You can get stuck, you can dig yourself into a hole quickly, you can drive in a total white out or out on a narrow road.   It’s such a powerful machine that you have to drive with finesse.
  •  How is it to drive the new Pisten Bully Snowcats? They feel pretty darn good and smooth.
  • What is something that people might not realize about your job? You need to be able to drive yes, but you also need a good sense of orientation, of keeping calm and in control in stressfull situations and to be in a good physical shape as we do a lot of lifting.  We lift skis 17 000 times per season from in and out of the ski box.
  • How long were you and the trail crew working on our new hiking trail?  We have been working on the new hiking trail Goldie Locks for 2 summers, finishing it this Fall just before the snow fully covered the terrain.
  • Do you prefer summer or winter these days? I don’t prefer summer or winter.  I love them both for all the different fun things you can do.


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Avalanche on Tunnel Creek Access Road

Fernie Trails - January 18, 2018 - 12:10

An Avalanche Canada MIN report was posted this week regarding a Class 3 slide that covered the Tunnel Creek access road. Last week’s high avalanche cycle and special warning from Avalanche Canada saw naturual size 3.5 avalanches occur throughout the Lizard Range. The Tunnel Creek Size 3 slide (probably Jan 10 as it had 15cm […]

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To Sovereign Lake with a Punch Pass

Fernie Nordic Society - January 17, 2018 - 18:58

This short piece was submitted by club member Jan Kron following her latest ski excursion

This year we decided to break up winter a bit by buying the BC Punch Pass offered by Crosscountry BC.  There are 3 different options when buying the pass but we chose the ‘Ski twice at a total of 7 different British Columbia Nordic Centres’ for $89 each. Our first venture is a trip to Sovereign Lake Nordic Club with the reputation of being one of the top clubs in BC. Sovereign Lake has 50 km of daily groomed trails (105 if combined with Silver Star Ski Resort trails) and about double the membership of Fernie.

On our first day, Saturday, the parking lot was full by the time we got there at 10 a.m. The punch pass is new to the BC Nordic Community so we were pleased that the ticket office knew all about it. The signage at the Centre is superb so we had no trouble finding the route to the only hut away from the clubhouse called the Black Prince. Wanting a good workout we chose the longest route, a 12 km trail that turned out to be mostly uphill. It was comparable to skiing up to Island Lake Lodge with a bit more uphill and no gourmet lunch as a reward. The cabin, a lovely old log cabin that is a bit bigger than Fernie’s warming hut, was packed with the lunch crowd. Strangely the cabin is at a lower elevation than the clubhouse despite the fact that all the difficult trails seem to have a lot of uphill climb to them.  It seems everyone takes the shorter, relatively flat route up to the cabin., a trail a little longer but comparable to our Cedar Loop. We took an intermediate route back to the clubhouse encountering along the way several groups of various types of lessons, something that this club is noted for.

We had two picture perfect days of skiing at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre and would recommend it as a great winter getaway. Our next stops: Kimberley, Nelson and Rossland combined for February, followed by Nakusp, Golden and Revelstoke together in March.


For more info about the BC Punch Pass, visit our page here

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Pow turns with pals

Island Lake Lodge - January 12, 2018 - 13:21

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Friends on a Pow Day

Island Lake Lodge - January 12, 2018 - 12:52

There are indeed friends on a powder day! Our pals from The North Face dropped by in late December, 2017 for some friendly pow laps in our terrain. Watch athletes John Collinson, Rob Heule, Austin Smith and Alexandra Armstrong shred Island Lake for the camera of Dylan Siggers. The North Face


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Island Lake Lodge - January 8, 2018 - 11:17

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Join Now!

Fernie Mountain Bike Club - January 6, 2018 - 11:10

Did you know your FMBC membership is based on a calendar year? Now that is it 2018 make sure you buy your membership and enjoy the trails in the winter and summer! Sign up is easy, visit our webpage to become a member. 

Categories: Member organisations

Winter Grooming Etiquette

Fernie Mountain Bike Club - January 6, 2018 - 11:07

Winter grooming is in full swing by our amazing dedicated volunteers. Look for groomed trails in Ridgemont & Montane.

Please respect the grooming and their time by observing the tire pressure etiquette. Allowing the trails to firm up after a groom or not riding when soft will keep the trails in awesome shape.  Ride when frozen! 

In Montane be sure to follow the signage for multiuse trails and do not bike on the Nordic Trails. No biking is allowed at the Elk Valley Nordic Centre. 

Get out there and have fun! 

Categories: Member organisations

Kootenay Cup in pictures

Fernie Nordic Society - January 5, 2018 - 17:53

The Nordic Centre was a very busy place last weekend with two days of races of the Kootenay Cup series. Sixty-one racers braved the cold on Saturday and forty-nine did it again on Sunday in even more frigid temperatures. The young and adult racers came from Rossland, Nelson, Invermere, Golden, Canmore, Montana and Fernie for the event. Can you recognize the local participants and racers from Fernie?

Big thanks to photographer Ryan Schultz for the great pictures taken during both races days. The photos may be found HERE, HERE and HERE. Check out his Facebook page too.

Race Results

Results from Saturday race (click to open)
Results from Sunday race (click to open)

The event could not happened without the numerous volunteers from the club. Huge thanks to them! We also had support from these great sponsors: Teck, Fernie Auto Parts, Happy Cow Ice Cream, Fernie Mountain Bike Club, EK Zone Canadian Ski Patrol, Fernie Rentals, Super 8 Fernie, Fernie Lodging Company, The Cedars, Starbucks, Clawhammer, Galloway Lumber Co. and Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.

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Final 2017 Avalanche Bursary Recipients

Fernie Trails - January 2, 2018 - 11:54

The Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club (FT&STC) is pleased to announce the final recipients of an Avalanche Bursary for 2017. Simon Pollock (Above right) is a 22 years old from the small town of Elora, in Southern Ontario. He is now living in Fernie attending the College of the Rockies, studying Mountain Adventure Skills […]

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