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Est. 1898

BC’s First Family Day!


d o o w r a p S e i Elkford - Fern

After the cold come in and get WARM with US. Our 28 person Hot Tub boasts spectaular mountain views and our Steam Room is sure to warm you to the core.

Aquatic Centre 250 Pine Ave. 250.423.4466


Drop in for some sweeping and sliding in the simplicity of the game, and also the fact that someone who has never slid a stone of urling dates back nearly 500 years held a broom before can come along and have to medieval Scotland. just as much as someone who has curled all Kind of like bowls on ice, players their lives. take turns sliding heavy polished granite Whatever your sporting ability, age, or stones along the ice, or ‘sheet,’ trying to get as fitness, you can curl. close to the target as possible. Fernie Curling Club holds a drop in night Team mates help the stones along by every Thursday for such beginners to have a sweeping the ice in front of the go. Come along at 7 p.m. with $10, and the sliding stone with only other thing you need to bring is a clean brooms. pair of shoes for the ice. Brooms are provided, Part and so are the ‘sliders’ that strap to the sole of of the your shoe so you can slide along the ice. appeal The Fernie Curling Club also has a bar is on site with some of the cheapest prices in town. Maintaining the curling club is expensive, and needs the support of the community, so get on down, have some fun and keep curling around for Photo by A. Treharne another 500 years. by Angela Treharne



he weekend has finally arrived and you’re determined to get out with the family — above all, you’re desperate to leave your daily routine behind. The problem is you can’t decide on what to do. So why not escape into the wilderness? You’ll discover all sorts of entertaining winter pleasures. You might enjoy a short walk in the woods or a longer outing on snowshoes, cross-country skis, or a snowmobile. Special equipment can be rented from outfitters or sports shops in town or at outdoor recreation areas. Use shovels and scrapers to create a skating rink on a pond. Then get out the skates and hockey sticks and have a great time on your very own rink! Little ones will love making the most of snow banks. Snowmen, slides, and castles will thrill them. And when evening falls and you’re sitting at home, you’ll feel as if you’re in paradise.



561A 2nd Avenue • Fernie 778-519-2296

Open Tuesday – Saturday until 3:00 am

Late night growlies? GRABBA KEBAB!! Beef Donair, Shawrma Chicken, Falafel Take out only




Elkford hosts the 17th annual Wilderness Classic Sled Dog Derby

by Nicole Liebermann


lkford is celebrating its 17th annual Wilderness Classic Sled Dog Derby during the B.C.’s first Family Day Weekend from February 8 to 10. Originally scheduled for January, the Sled Dog Derby was postponed because of icy conditions. Now happening this weekend, Elkford is ready to host competitors and spectators from all over the globe for a world-class competition. Sled dog teams hailing from B.C., Alberta, the Yukon, and the U.S. come out every year to race in the derby. Featuring seven different dog-sled races, a skier-dog skijoring competition, and a snowshoe

biathlon, the event is jam-packed with activities sure to keep the whole family entertained. The festivities kick off Friday night with the opening ceremonies and a mushers meeting. The races will be happening all day Saturday and Sunday, with a dinner and silent auction on Saturday night, and an award presentation to wrap everything up on Sunday afternoon. There will be a concession open during all of the outdoor events to keep onlookers supplied with warm beverages. Bundle up and head out to Elkford this weekend to experience the excitement! For more information and the full event schedule visit

Photo by J. Jensen

Snowmobiling can be a fun winter activity for the whole family

by Angela Treharne


hen you’re thinking of a fun winter activity for the whole family, snowmobiling might not be your first thought. But the Elk Valley is a great place to try the fun, fast sport. The non-profit Fernie Snowmobile Association has fun events throughout the winter to get people involved, such as the poker run and drag races during the annual Griz Day festivities. A lot of money is raised for charitable causes. The trails are not just for beginners


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and families though. It is easy to reach more challenging terrain for the more serious and advanced snowmobiler from the Coal Creek to Morrissey trail. Last winter, a new staging area was built at Coal Creek. Snowmobilers at the staging area can check their transceivers are working. Anyone interested in trying out the snowmobile trails around Fernie should have a look at the Association’s website www.ferniesnowmobile. com where there is also a regularly updated grooming schedule, letting you know which trails have just been

groomed. People can pick up a trail map at the Fernie Chamber of Commerce, The Stanford Inn, The Park Place Lodge, Smitty’s, The Best Western, 7-11, Ghostrider Motorsports on Shadow Road and other locations around Fernie. Ghostrider Motorsports also rents snowmobiles and gear. In Elkford there is a variety of terrain including groomed and ungroomed family trails, alpine areas, and highmarking bowls. The heart of the trail system is the Round Prairie staging area located 4.5 km north of town. Elkford is snowmobile friendly allowing riders to access the trail system right from their hotel provided each machine carries on-road insurance, a licence plate and a free RCMP-issued permit. Sledders with loud machines are

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advised to trailer to the staging area, area riders value this unique privilege and very much understand how easily it could be lost. Family trails generally run up the Elk Valley, which stretches more than 60km north from town to the Alberta border. The north valley trail system also accesses the Aldridge Creek trail which leads to the Fording Pass into Alberta. This is a high steep pass that traverses avalanche zones so definitely not a beginner ride. There are also some excellent bowls on the BC side of the Fording Pass. By far the most popular riding areas are the meadows and alpine bowls at Koko Claims just a few km west of the staging area. Rec society volunteers groom the 12 km of main trunk trail weekly. The “Claims” main trail is also the gateway to infinite family riding on unploughed forest service roads in

Clip out & bring in for off your choice of Goretex shell, splitboard or new pair of skis.

the Bull River valley to the west. The only limitation to how far you can go on those trails is how early you get up in the morning, and the amount of fuel you can carry. The bowls at Mear Lake and Smith Basin in the Koko Claims area are accessible by intermediate riders. The trails into Tundra and The Gorge are for advanced riders with bigger machines. The amazing valley that is Wayne’s World can be accessed by advanced riders in late winter. Elkford trail maps may be obtained by purchasing a trail pass at one of the following Elkford Locations: High Standard / Race Trac Gas Station, Mini-Mart / Fas Gas, Chamber of Commerce Visitor Info Center, Hi Rock Inn. In Sparwood there are also extensive trails and maps can be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce, gas stations and other town outlets.


COUPON EXPIRES Feb. 20, 2013 at 6 PM


Phone 250.423.3650 • 671 Second Ave Fernie



Big Mountain CATS AND POWDER HOUNDS Battle at Fernie by Angela Treharne


n bounds skiing is fun, and family friendly, but for those who don’t want to chance icy conditions, the only way to go is cat-skiing. Even if it hasn’t snowed for weeks, the guides at the cat skiing operations will make sure every run you take is pure powdery bliss. While cat skiing is not the best choice for the beginner skier or snowboarder, the guides can accommodate for all abilities from intermediate to expert, so don’t be intimidated. Anyone that enjoys cruising perfect powder will be in heaven, and the guides will make sure they show guests the best way to get down the slopes for their ability. And you can feel confident that you will be safe in their hands. All guides are trained to read the terrain and conditions and safety is always top priority. You can rest assured, a day catskiing will you all the fun of the wild,

untouched back country, with the safe environment of inbounds skiing.

Every run you take is pure powder bliss So book yourself the ultimate skiing vacation today and be confident that, no matter what days you choose, there will be waist deep powder waiting for you to carve up.

Fernie Wilderness Adventures “Fernie’s Deep White Secret” is fast becoming one of the most sought after experiences. Located only 20 minutes out of the town of Fernie, you can explore what all the hype is about. Offering single day catskiing, which includes lunch, beacons, safety briefing and a slideshow of the photos shot from your day, or longer trips, this is something that anyone from intermediate (comfortable on a blue run) to the expert powder hound can enjoy. For more information go to, or call 250-423-6704. Island Lake Lodge - Island Lake Lodge Catskiing has been an industry leader for 20 years. The magnificent peaks of the Lizard Range in the BC Rocky Mountains tower over 7000 acres of bowls, valleys and gladed meadows. Come and experience the legend! Call or drop by the downtown office for details. 602a 2nd Ave, 250-423-3700.

Fernie Snowmobile Assn. • • • •

Maintaining back country access Trail grooming – Coal Creek & Hartley Lake Back country cabins – Wranglers, Rolling Hills, Ram Creek Events – family rides, poker runs & snow drags

by Angela Treharne


eed an excuse to get out with a friend and explore every corner of Fernie Alpine Resort? Want a chance to win $2,000 worth of Helly Hansen gear at the same time? Then grab a partner and bring the battle to the mountains on February 9. Helly Hansen's Big Mountain Battle is going into its fifth season and is once again bringing the challenge to Fernie, for the fourth time. The team-based event, which is open to all ages and levels, sends teams off all over the mountain, in search of checkpoints. Each team of two must cover all of the checkpoints, lifts, runs and hikes around the mountain in a three hour time period,


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Best Western Fernie Ghostrider Motorsports Teck Coal Park Place Lodge

City of Fernie Maxam Bulk Services Fernie Real Estate Scotia Bank

Falkins Insurance Elkview Lodge Intermountain Specialties Stanford Inn




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Thank you to our Corporate Sponsors:

while being tracked by GPS. With two different courses, intermediate and advanced, there is a challenge for everyone. The intermediate course is great for families or solid intermediate skiers and riders. The intermediate course will be the same as the advanced one with fewer checkpoints and hikes. For those that want the challenge of completing all the requirements on the team card, take on the advanced course for your chance to snag all the Helly Hansen gear, plus entry into the final battle in Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado. Registration is $80 per team ($40 per person) before February 8, and will be $10 more per person on the day. Register for the event at

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The Fernie Guide is now available at over 100 locations throughout Fernie and the Elk Valley!


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Rediscover the joy of skating


hether it’s for sport, play, or a romantic interlude, skating is still a favourite activity when winter comes blowing in. Indoor and outdoor municipal arenas offer public skating sessions for a minimal cost, but Mother Nature can also provide magnificent skating rinks on well-frozen rivers, lakes, and ponds. Wherever your town clears the ice for skaters, you will find enthusiasts trying out their twirls and spins on the ice. Hockey nuts will speed by, practising their sprints and stops, but don’t mind them! Even families with young children can find space to fall safely.


Public skating times are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 – 8:00 pm and most Sundays from 3:00 – 4:45 pm. Public swimming times are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays 6:30 - 8 pm, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 6:30 - 9 pm, Saturdays again 2:00 - 5:30 pm and Sundays 2:00 - 4:30 pm.


Public skating times are Fridays 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm, No school Fridays 12:00 - 12:45 pm, Saturdays 2:00 pm to 3:45 pm and 6:45 pm to 8:15 pm and Sundays 2:15 pm to 4:00 pm There is free Public Skating Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30 am to11:15 am. Public swimming times are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 6:30 1:00 pm and 3:30 - 8:00 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays 2:00 - 8:00 pm

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250-423-0007 592 - 8th Avenue, Fernie, BC

Be sure to dress for the weather, including a pair of wellfitting skates. A good pair of socks designed for winter conditions is essential — while the upper body might stay warm with a heavy parka, toes can still freeze. When shopping for skates, choose a pair most suited to your needs: figure skates are designed for acrobatic moves, hockey skates for speed, and recreational skates are specifically designed for the outdoors. And make sure, of course, that you choose a size that allows for a couple of layers of warm socks!

Call for Daily Specials


Public skating times are Mondays 1:00 - 3:00 pm, Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:00 pm, some Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 1:00 - 3:30 pm, some Fridays again 2:00 4:30 pm Public swimming times are Thursdays 6:00 - 8:00 pm, Fridays 1:15 - 3:15 pm, Saturdays 2:30 - 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm and Sundays 1:00 - 5:00 pm.

Winter in the Wild


February 15, 16 & 17

Friday, February 15 Torch Light Parade Light up Your Snowman Contest * Saturday, February 16 Pancake Breakfast Hockey Day in Canada - Hugh Twa Memorial Day Sled & Skate Party Story Time Paint Ball Snow Ball Tournament * Sleigh Rides Coffee House & Craft Fair Turkey Toss Sunday, February 17 Toonie Swim Preschool Pizza Party & Dance * Est. 1898

For information contact Debbie or Jody at 865-4010 (* Pre-registration required)



Toboggan anyone?


he Elk Valley gets blasted with snow in winter and there are many ways to enjoy it. For most Canadians, their first experience of sliding on snow probably involved a toboggan or sled. It’s cheap, easy, and super fun for kids. Go out and grab a toboggan or sled. There are many different types out there, from the classic wooden variety, to the crazy carpet and GT snow racer. There are plenty of gentle slopes out there just waiting to be slid down, so get the family together and go for a slide. Don’t forget to pack a thermos of hot chocolate to warm up cold hands and faces.

Everyone is welcome to come out and enjoy Elkford’s new outdoor skating rink. by Jenna Jensen


n keeping with their outdoor lifestyle and encouraging open air activity, Elkford has recently installed their first outdoor skating rink located in the soccer field next to the Leisure Center. “This was something brought to Council,” says Randa McDonald, District of Elkford Communications and Marketing. “People have been asking for an outdoor rink, and upon installation in December, there has been a great deal of positive feedback,” she says. Since the rink has been complete it has been really popular, and used a lot by people of all ages. Outdoor lighting has just been installed, so skater are now able to use the rink during dawn and dusk. “It is really fantastic to see so many people enjoying

Walk on (frozen) water! by Angela Treharne


he network of mountain biking trails found throughout Fernie make for exceptional snowshoeing in winter months. Don’t let your feet sinking into metres of snow stop you from getting out for a hike. Pop on the snowshoes and walk on top of the snow! Snowshoeing has been around for thousands of years. And, obviously, the art of snowshoeing has become more sophisticated over time – now it’s considered a winter sport. From the early wood-frame to the aluminum-frame models, snowshoeing has garnered quite a following throughout the world. Modern day snowshoeing is made up of casual snowshoers who hike trails for pleasure, the snowshoeing enthusiasts who trek through the backcountry, and the competitors who race.

Elk Valley residents have fun on Elkford’s outdoor rink

The sport is easy to learn, inexpensive (compared to other winter sports), poses little risk of injury and is a great way to exert energy during the cold winter months. There are many different types of snowshoes available, some are best suited for those wanting to climb hills, while others are fine for just walking around Fernie’s golf course, where it is mostly flat. The trails around town are also a great and easily accessible starting point. Head to the trails in Mount Fernie Provincial Park or Elk Lakes Provincial Park if you are a little more experienced and fit. If you do venture out into the backcountry, it is a good idea to educate yourself first about avalanche hazards and backcountry safety. Visit the Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club website at for more trail options.



hinny Hockey is a very popular, fun and energetic program that is a must for the guy or girl wanting to play hockey on a drop in basis. Recreational Shinny Hockey is great exercise before you hit the ski hill and it can be worked into a busy schedule or shift work. Full equipment is required and no contact is enforced. In Fernie, shinny hockey takes place Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 8:45 am to 10:15 am. On no school Fridays Youth Shinny is 10:45 am to 11:45 am. In Elkford shinny hockey for over 14s is Thr\ursdays 1 to 3 pm, Fridays 11 - 12:30 pm and Saturdays 4 - 5:30 pm. Ladies shinny is Tuesdays 10 - 12 pm. In Sparwood it is Thursdays 9:30 to 11 pm for over 19s, Wednesdays 3:45 to 5 pm for after school, and there is also hockey for preschoolers on Wednesdays 5:00 to 6:00 pm.

the rink,” says McDonald. the Christmas break there skaters on it all the time. People from Sparwood even drive up to come and go skating,” she says. The District of Elkford reminds people that the rink is self regulated and it is the responsibility for skaters to wear proper protective gear and be conscientious of others on the ice. General daily rink hours are: Shinny - 10 am - 1 pm, Public Skating 1 pm - 7 pm and Shinny again from 7 - 10 pm.

“Over were


Free Press files

Marian B. Gravelle Notary Public

• Property Transfers • Will Preparation Sparwood Office: • Leases 114 Centennial Square Toll Free:1-800-668-7729 • Mortgages & Mobile Fax: 250-425-2204 Home Transactions Fernie Office: • Affidavits & 78 Ridgemont Drive Miscellaneous Notarization Phone: 250-423-2161 Fax: 250-423-6149


Fernie’s Winter Festival March 1 - 2 - 3

Griz Days 2013 promises to be Bigger & Better than Ever!





and Island Lake Lodge for the best trails outside town. The golf course is fairly flat, and suitable for beginners. Island Lake Lodge and Fernie Alpine Resort are more challenging. Within town, trails along the river dikes and through city parks offer even more options. In Elkford, skiers can start downtown to access trails running along Boivin Creek. There are two ski cabins for resting and warming up, located on Boivin Creek, one about 3 km (1.8 miles) out of town and another at 7.5 km (4.5 miles). And in Sparwood, there is also a great network of trails, within the community and in the immediate surrounding areas. Get out on the boards for classic cross-country skiing and skate skiing, on the trails located just above Sparwood Heights.

by Angela Treharne


kiing doesn’t have to be downhill! Cross country skiing is free, great exercise, and there are extensive trails in Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford. There are three main styles used in cross-country skiing: classic, skating and telemarking. The skating technique is only suitable for use on prepared trails (pistes), firm and smooth snow or snow crust and frozen snow-covered lakes or rivers. Skating is faster and different muscular exercise than classic skiing, except in extremely cold conditions where classic skiing may approach skating in speed. Most people in the Elk Valley use classic skis. In Fernie, head to the golf course, Fernie Alpine Resort

A day of family fun at Wapiti Ski Hill

by Nicole Liebermann


ernie Alpine Resort isn’t the only ski hill to boast epic powder in the Elk Valley. Elkford’s Wapiti Ski Hill is ready to show the community what they’ve been missing at their first-ever annual Family Fun Day. Taking place during B.C. Family Day Weekend, Family Fun Day is Saturday, February 9. The festivities will offer something for everyone, with a wide variety of activities like powder 8’s, slalom and downhill races, and a snow snake search for the younger kids. Hosted by Wapiti Ski Club, several community sponsors have come

forward to help out, including the District of Elkford, The Free Press, BearsPaw Contracting, MorJerky, and Teck. Gearhub will also be on hand to hold a demo day, giving skiers and boarders the chance to try out new gear. After taking a few laps of the hill, be sure to enjoy the silent auction, raffles, concession, and hill top barbeque. Known as Elkford’s hidden gem, Wapiti Ski Hill is run entirely by volunteers, so come out and show your support this weekend! All of the fun will be happening from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information visit

Est. 1898

Serving the South Country, Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford since 1898


The Race is On! To the

17th Wilderness Classic Sled Dog Derby

February 9th & 10th, 2013

NEW LOCATION - 6kms north of Elkford on Hwy 43 - Round Prairie Staging Area Friday February 8th 7:00pm – 9:00pm Local

Mushers Meeting @ United Steelworkers 7884, Union Hall @ 12 Water St.

8:30am – 3:00pm 9:00am 10:30am 11:00am – 3:00pm 12:00 noon 1:00pm 2:00pm 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Concession Open at Race Site 4 Dog Sprint Race Start 6 Dog Sprint Race Start Snow Shoe Biathlon at Race Site Junior Division Race Start 10 Dog Sprint Race Start Skijoring Race Start Wilderness Classic Dinner & Silent Auction (Everyone Welcome) Chinese Buffet @ C&F Restaurant Mountain Meadows Golf Club House

Thank you to a few of our many Sponsors:

Saturday February 9th

Est. 1898

Sunday February 10th

8:30am Concession Open at Race Site 9:00am 4 Dog Sprint Final Heat 10:30am 6 Dog Sprint Final Heat 12:00 noon Junior Division Final Heat 1:00pm 10 Dog Sprint Final Heat 2:00pm Skijoring Final Heat 3:00pm Award Ceremony at Race Site (All events subject to change without notice.) For Tickets, to Volunteer, or for More Information email:

Guardian First Aid Service LTD

Special Features - Smilt It's Winter  


Special Features - Smilt It's Winter