Deep snow and vast mountain terrain

Hate following in someone else’s tracks? Then you’ll love Fernie, B.C.

by Kirsten Armleder

A group of snowmobilers on top of a mountain.
The new Elk Valley Snowmobile Club held its first poker run in mid-March 2013 in the Harvey Pass area. photo courtesy Dan Rotella

Fernie, B.C. is synonymous with deep snow. As one of the first places in the East Kootenay to see winter arrive and the last to see it leave, this city brings in sledders by the dozens.

Along with consistent snowfall, Fernie offers a wide variety of mountain terrain—from tree-lined meadows to big alpine bowls. In fact, there is so much riding available that some of the snowmobilers who live there decided it was necessary to form a second club.

The Elk Valley Snowmobile Association (EVSA), which is basically an offshoot from the Fernie Snowmobile Association, was started last season. According to the EVSA’s president Dan Rotella, the club was successful in solidifying its directorship and establishing itself as a fun, non-profit, family-oriented group.

To celebrate its start, the club held a poker ride in the Harvey Pass area in mid-March and Rotella was impressed with the turnout. He said about 50 riders showed up for it.

“A lot of the people who came weren’t members and hadn’t even heard of us before,” he said. “That was a great promotion for us and we, of course, had our portable barbecue there, which was a hit.”

All revved up

The club will be holding another poker run this winter. The EVSA has also applied to government agencies for permission to groom and maintain a couple of trail systems in the Elk Valley area.

“We are planning for a fun-filled season,” said Rotella. “We hope to be holding several barbecues and a poker run, along with some charity events, because that’s what we’re all about.”

The club welcomes new members and encourages anyone coming into Fernie and the Elk Valley to visit the club’s website and contact them for more information, if needed, on where to ride.

Fernie’s most popular areas can be accessed from the Fernie Snowmobile Association’s Coal Creek staging area, which is only 15 minutes from the City of Fernie. For trail and grooming information, see the Fernie Snowmobile Association’s website.

Friendly Fernie

There’s no escaping the mountains in Fernie. Even when sledders return from their adventure to have a bite to eat, they’ll find themselves being watched by the imposing faces of the rugged Lizard Range.

The city itself is unique in that its roots are undeniably planted in mining and the forest industry but its culture and lifestyle points more toward its designation as a resort-oriented municipality. Along Fernie’s small and historic downtown core are outdoor adventure stores, speciality shops, eclectic restaurants and funky places to enjoy a pint. And, of course, if you happened to blow a belt that day or require a spare part for tomorrow’s adventure up the mountain, there are two sled-related shops in town to assist your needs. 

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