by Rebecca Edwards
2012 is a special year for fans of Fernie, as we celebrate Fernie Alpine Resort’s 50th anniversary.
Anyone on a ski vacation in Fernie this winter can look forward to a number of special events to mark the milestone, including ski heritage week in March.
Watch this space for more details in coming weeks on the celebrations.
Fernie’s Olympic-sized beginnings
Fernie Alpine Resort is now famous around the world for its five alpine bowls and epic powder snow, but did you know its location was first chosen as a potential host site for the 1968 Winter Olympics?
In 1960 the Fernie Chamber of Commerce led a community campaign to bring the Games to an area of the Lizard Range near Fernie which was known to get high volumes of powder snow each winter.
Maybe you’ve heard of the other small towns bidding for the Games – Banff, Rossland, Manning Park and Garibaldi Park – which later became Whistler.
Both Fernie and Canada were unsuccessful with their bids – the Canadian Olympic Committee backed Banff but the International Olympic Committee eventually gave the Games to Grenoble, France.
1962 Fernie Snow Valley ski hill opens
The community of Fernie continued to dream of building a world-class ski resort at the site where Fernie Alpine Resort stands now, and Fernie Snow Valley ski hill opened in 1962.
At that time it had one 4,500 ft t bar running from the bottom station of the modern-day Deer Chair up to the Bear’s Den where the Elk Chair now ends.
The first 1250 shares in the community ski hill were sold at $100 per share and the hill was controlled by a volunteer board of directors.
Fernie Alpine Resort today
After 50 years Fernie Alpine Resort has over 2500 acres of skiable terrain, 142 named runs, five alpine bowls, state of the art snowmaking and grooming equipment, and its own base village area with ski in-ski out accommodation, hotels and restaurants.
With the new Polar Peak Lift set to open during the 2011/2012 season, Fernie now boasts the most snow, most ski runs and biggest vertical in the Rockies.
If you haven’t already booked your ski or snowboard vacation in Fernie’s 50th year, check out Fernie Lodging Company’s special deals and promotions on ski in-ski out accommodation at Fernie Alpine Resort. http://www.fernielodgingco.com/accommodation/specials