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Welcome to 2013 Fernie’s Winter Festival March 1 - 2 - 3

Brought to you by the Fernie Chamber of Commerce

The Free Press ~ March 2013

e l u d e h e c d S nsi I


Griz Days


Welcome to the 2013, 36th Annual

Griz Days Festival The biggest and the best Winter Festival Griz Days 2013 More fun more festival


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oin us for a great winter party, Downtown Fernie and Fernie Alpine Resort. The breathtaking City of Fernie is home to the Griz, come and help him celebrate all things Winter. Live music, CP Rail Jam, entertainment for all ages and the legendary Extreme Griz competition – this year at Fernie Alpine Resort. Saturday sees the Parade a great family event. We want to make the festival an

experience where people come to meet, mingle and enjoy themselves. Check out the Griz flyer in your Free Press now, and be sure to take in as many of the events as you can – you will not be disappointed. Thank you to all of the partners and businesses that willingly show their support.

The Griz Days Committee

Griz Days Fun Get in on all the action March 1, 2, 3!

• Live Music & Concessions Downtown • Griz Days Craft Fair • Extreme Griz Competition

City of Fernie

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Griz Days



Come and Experience a Legend March 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 2013!


s the legend goes, a baby boy was born back in the year 1879 in the midst of a cruel and bitter winter. It is said that the baby was born in a grizzly bear’s cave high in the mountains. Sometime later the resident bear awoke, mean and ravenously hungry. A terrible battle ensued between the two - one fighting for his life and the other for his dinner. Well folks, as the story continues the town’s people went into the mountain that very next day to discover the source of all the noise from the previous night. They looked high and low on the mountain then known as Snow Valley. Once one of the men thought he saw a little boy wearing a bear coat and hat nimbly leaping from rock to rock on the lofty peaks. His friends all laughed at him and jokingly accused him of seeing

things and the incident was soon forgotten. Just recently some of our avid ski-tourers were ascending the peaks above the Resort Area in the midst of a heavy snow storm. While taking a short breather, they happened to glance upward upon the peak they were climbing. There on the very summit stood the most fantastic sight. While of standard height, this man had shoulders six feet wide and carried an enormous musket eight feet long! The bulk of this man’s 300 lbs. was made to look even more awesome by the bristly grizzly coat he wore. A bear hat was pulled down shadowing his eyes. As the skiers watched, he stood shooting that giant musket into the clouds and still more snow fell from the clouds. This, of course, delighted the skiers who loved that special brand of powder snow.

Mining Keeps Communities Moving Teck’s five mines in the Elk Valley produce more than just steelmaking coal. For generations they have supported families, helped to build communities and fostered economic growth. Have a safe and enjoyable Griz Days 2013 and look out for the Teck float in the Griz Days parade.

Teck is a proud supporter of Fernie Inspire the Race to Empower (FIRE). Local resident Grace Brulotte founded this adaptive ski school to give everyone access to the world-class skiing in Fernie. Grace Brulotte is pictured sit-skiing at Fernie Alpine Resort with FIRE instructor Jacob Liddy. Photo by Raven Eye Photography

The skiers schussed down the mountain and excitedly told everyone they met of their experience. Some of the town’s elders remembered the sighting of a little grizzly-clad boy so long ago and the discovery of massive bare-footed tracks high upon the snow covered peaks. In recognition and admiration of the man who became known as “GRIZ”, the town’s people held a festival. Sporting events, competitions, parades and gatherings. To this day this festival continues every March in tribute to our powder king. The best powder and packed snow conditions in the west also continue to blanket our mountains.

Griz ~ the legend


Griz Days


Brand new jail for Most Wanted fundraiser

By Nicole Liebermann he Most Wanted Griz Days fundraiser is back and better than ever! This year’s event will include the unveiling of the brand new Griz Jail. Electoral Area A Director Mike Sosnowski arranged the building of the jail and trailer and the entire project ended up being a true community effort, with several Fernie residents joining forces to help out. It was designed and built by Jack Cunliffe, hand painted by Rebecca Hall and Carmen Schorn, and the logos were created by Adam Rigby.


Throughout the weekend’s festivities, anyone found not wearing a Griz Days pin will be thrown in jail, and only released after their bail has been posted. Don’t forget to pick up your collectable pin, as they are the ultimate ticket to freedom during the celebrations. As long as you’re wearing your pin, the Griz Sherriff won’t arrest you, but beware the sheriff and his deputies if you’re caught without one – you might end up spending the weekend in the Griz Jail. Every year, all of the Most Wanted fundraiser money, along with partial proceeds from Griz Pin sales, goes towards a deserving charity organization in the community. This year, two amazing groups have been chosen: Fernie Friends for Friends and the Fernie Food Bank.

The Fernie Chamber of Commerce is proud organizer of the Griz Days festival. By working closely with a committee of dedicated people represented from the City, FAR, RDEK and businesses we are able to incorporate a number of events that showcase our winter spirit. The Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the committee, The City of Fernie, all other participating organisations and the business community. This year the proceeds of the Most Wanted and partial Griz Pins sales will support the Fernie Food Bank and Fernie Friends for Friends.

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Griz Days



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riz days is here – and watch out if you aren’t getting into the spirit! Fernie’s annual winter celebration will kick off on Friday, March 1 with some arrests! If anyone has a family member they feel is not taking part in the celebrations, they can report them to the sherriff, who will come round and arrest them. Call the Sheriff’s office at 250-423-6868. Anyone who isn’t wearing one of the Griz Days pins, which are available for sale around the town, may also end up locked up. The Sheriff also has warrants out for the arrests of several notable outlaws around town. If people want to keep these

“Most wanted” out of jail, they should visit their places of work and donate towards their bail fund, which will go to the Fernie Food Bank and Fernie Friends for Friends Society. Money from the sale of the $3.00 or two for $5.00 Griz Pins with a chance to win $1,000.00 will go to the Fernie Food Bank and Fernie Friends for Friends Society. The weekend will be packed with entertainment, including the Extreme Griz competition, the annual Griz Days parade, craft fair, a street hockey tournament, and the 30th annual Raging Elk Dummy Downhill at Fernie Alpine Resort. And much much more!.

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Griz Days


Griz Baby Crawl

ill Dummy Downh


Mini Griz

Griz Contestants


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Griz Days



Willard Ripley: the original Extreme Griz councillor and the owner of River City Woodworks. Turn the clock back 35 years and Willard was known for something else - being the very first Extreme Griz. The Griz represents Fernie’s best qualities – funloving, at home in the outdoors, and someone who will do anything to get to Fernie’s fantastic powder. In 1978, as a way to recognize the Fernie resident who best represented those qualities, the inaugural Extreme Griz competition was held. “Instead of having your typical winter carnival crowning of the Queen, they came up with this bright

idea to have the Griz competition, or a mountain man competition,” explained Willard. “They had a whole bunch

of events like snowshoeing, and beer chugging, and tall tale telling, and arm wrestling.” He went on to say, “The rules surrounding the competition were pretty loose, so it was a bit of a wild and western event. It was quite a bit of fun really.” Today, the Extreme Griz competition is still going strong. Every year, men and women from the community compete in contests like log sawing, axe throwing, fire lighting, and pancake eating. Come out and cheer on this year’s contestants as they battle it out for the title on Saturday at Fernie Alpine Resort.

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By Nicole Liebermann ong-time Fernie resident Willard Ripley is known around town as a city


Photos - Free Press files

2013 is a great time to join a golf course!! Join by April 5th and Save $180.00 by receiving 5 Guest Passes valued at $341.00 for only $161.00 The Fernie Golf & Country Club is one of the most scenic and friendly golf facilities in the Canadian Rockies. We have a fully stocked Pro Shop with all the big brands, Driving range, club rentals and Power Carts to help make your golf experience that much better!

Colour accuracy is ensured only when tinted in quality Benjamin Moore® paints. Colour representations may differ slightly from actual paint. Visit a participating retailer for exact colour samples. © 2009 Benjamin Moore & Co, Limited. Benjamin Moore, and the triangle “M” symbol are registered trademarks, licensed to Benjamin Moore & Co., Limited.

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Terry Parker Photographics

Rail Jam Friday & Saturday

Beer Garden Friday

Stay Downtown after the Parade for all the Fun

Parade Dummy Downhill Saturday Saturday 6:30 pm Sunday at FAR March 2nd

10 am-3 pm Wild Nature Tours Snowshoe Geocaching Sign in at Wildsight, 891 2nd Ave. 10 am-4 pm Griz Days Craft Fair at the Community Centre Entrance by Griz Pin Extreme Griz Pancake Eating Contest at 11 am 3:00 pm Free Brewery Tours at Fernie Brewing Baby Griz Crawl at 12:00 noon Company call to reserve 250-423-7797 12-6 pm 14th Annual Classic Canadian 6-10 pm CP Station Square Street Party! Street Hockey Tournament (Downtown by the Arts Station) At the back of Park Place Lodge - Griz Days Most Wanted arrests & bailouts Advance registration required - Live Music by Coal Creek Boys at the Pub. - Refreshment Garden 19+ Food & Refreshment garden. - Concessions 12-4 pm Extreme Griz Competition - CP Rail Jam Preliminaries at Fernie Alpine Resort hosted by Comitt Snow & Skate Advance registration required call sponsored by CP Rail 250-423-6868 6:30 pm Griz Days Parade Downtown Second Avenue Theme - “Light up the Night” ON THE STREET 7:00 pm 2013 Grad ‘Fun Fair’ Fundraiser at the Elks Hall

March 1st

live music Coal Creek Boys

Saturday March 2nd

CP Station Square Street Party! (Downtown by the Arts Station) - Kids Griz Dress Up hosted by PT the Clown - Live Music by 60Hertz - Live Music by Flatline - Fireworks display to the Black-Eyed Peas song ‘Light up the Night’ - Crowning of Extreme Griz Winners - Refreshment Garden 19+ Saturday - Concessions 8:30 pm - CP Rail Jam Finals hosted by Comitt Snow & Skate sponsored by CP Rail 7-10 pm


Sunday March 3rd 1:00 pm

Raging Elk Dummy Downhill – Fernie Alpine Resort



Griz Days

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Friends for Friends d an k an B d o o F e ni All proceeds to Fer

Griz Days


Are you extreme enough?

Coal Creek Boys By Nicole Liebermann aking the


Extreme Griz registration is now open


ountain men – and women – are being invited to prove the strength of their Griz spirit for this year’s Extreme Griz competition. This year most of the competition will be held at Fernie Alpine Resort, with pancake eating rounds at the Fernie Community Centre, and the crowning of the Extreme Griz winners on stage after the parade on Saturday night. Events this year include bear riding, a ski/snowboard race, snow shoe obstacle race, axe throwing, making a fire and boiling water, a pancake eating competition, karaoke at the Griz Bar and arm wrestling. It is being organized by three-times reigning champion Steve Ruskay who, after winning the competition three consecutive years, has decided to step down from competing and instead take on the role of Grizmaster to oversee events and ensure the standard of ‘Grizzliness’ stays high. “I am really excited to be working with the Fernie Chamber of Commerce and Fernie Alpine Resort to put together the competition this year,” he said. “We hope to boost numbers and get lots of people watching the events on the ski hill. Most of the events will take place around the base area, with some of them on the mountain itself. “The Extreme Griz crowning ceremony will take place after the parade and there are cash prizes for the first, second and third place winners of $300, $150 and $50.” Ruskay added that the Extreme Griz winner needs to reflect the values of the mountain man himself, and display a strong set of mountain survival skills.

“They need to embrace the spirit of the Griz, be fun-loving and at home in the outdoors. Most importantly they need to love Fernie powder.” • Registration in the Extreme Griz competition is free but there is a limited number of competitors so sign up early to avoid disappointment. Entry form at grizdays2013


downtown stage at Friday night’s street party is the Coal Creek Boys. Named after a long forgotten mining town just behind Fernie, the band features flavours of traditional, 70’s outlaw, and alternative country music. Drenched in the rich history of Western Canadian coal mining, the Coal Creek Boys draw their listeners in with a classic and upbeat country swing, and then deliver with impact. A story, or tale, directly related to historical events, truth, and of personal experiences. The band is made up of members from the Elk Valley, Cranbrook, and Southern Alberta. With over 45 original songs on their set list, Coal Creek Boys are also famous for their classic covers from Mississippi John Hurts, The Band, Bob Dylan, and Steve Earle. Get your dancing shoes ready and come out for a good time with the Coal Creek Boys on Friday night!

60 Hertz By Nicole Liebermann ootenay rock band 60 Hertz will be entertaining the downtown crowd following Saturday night’s Griz Days Parade down Second Avenue. The members of 60 Hertz have been around the music business for nearly as long as the ‘60’ represents. James Neve and Dave Birch have been playing folk rock and ballads together for 15 years and remained good friends and musical collaborators. The pair brought in lead guitarist Robert Young and drummer Marty Musser, both original members of earlier projects, to round out the band. 60 Hertz’s sound relates to a storied history with roots and folk rock as central genres, presented in an honest, simple, and personal way. Stick around for their performance after the parade Saturday night and enjoy rocking out with a group of guys who remain young at heart and love to stomp it out.



Griz Days


Bring on the Pain - Commit To Pain - CP Rail Jam By Angela Treharne he rail jam is the chance for Fernie’s most daring skiers and snowboarders to show off their freestyle tricks, right in the heart of the downtown core. Commit 2 Pain originally started in 2004 in the alley of the Royal Hotel with a 10 foot pile of snow and a very basic handmade jib that was definitely not ‘to code.’ The idea behind the event was to bring the action from the ski hill into town and allow competitors of all ages to come together in union to celebrate one of the great offerings of this fantastic town. Epic annual snowfalls allow Fernie an opportunity to create a snowy playground in any location, and with a lot of manpower, the foundation was laid for what has now become an integral part of Griz Days. With eight years of trial and error, creative design, support from the city, our local shops, and the citizens of the valley, it has evolved to great heights. Organizer Adam Laurin from Commit Snow and Skate has bigger plans for the future including incorporating other disciplines of the sports, including a big air, and a movement towards a slopestyle staged course that will combine both air features and jib features, allowing riders to showcase even more of their talents.


Photos - Free Press files

Sponsored by CP Rail

Stephanie Rogers and Mayor Mary Giuliano to lead the Griz Days Parade By Nicole Liebermann owntown Fernie becomes a celebration on Saturday evening as businesses and community groups march down Second Avenue in honour of the Griz. Leading this year’s annual Griz Days Parade is Citizen of the Year Stephanie Rogers and Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano. Owner of Stephanie’s Glass and Art Studio, Stephanie Rogers came to Fernie from Ottawa 21 years ago. She was awarded the 2012 Citizen of the Year award for her work fundraising for the A Clear View foundation, which was successful in bringing a mammography unit to the East Kootenay Regional Hospital.


Stephanie organized the first ever Breast Buddy Ski-athon last year as part of the Clear View campaign, raising funds and awareness. A member of the Fernie community since 1953, Mary Giuliano served as a councillor with the City for three terms and was elected the Mayor of Fernie in November 2011. She always has been and still is a very involved volunteer within the community. Marshalls Stephanie and Mary are excited to guide this year’s ‘light up the night’ themed parade. So bundle up the kids, and the grownups, and get ready to watch the floats as they glide down Fernie’s Main Street.

Photos - Free Press files

Griz Days



Hockey, but not as you know it by Angela Treharne ond hockey is to the NHL what bare knuckle boxing is to pro wrestling. Thousands of hockey purists descended on Plaster Rock, N.B. earlier this month to watch hockey in its most primitive form at the World Pond Hockey Championships (WPHC.) This year, the Fernie Griz team laced up for the second year in a row. The tournament, in its 12th year, saw 132 pond hockey teams from around the world converge on Plaster Rock for a weekend of hockey at its purest: outside, and on a lake! 24 ice surfaces had been carefully manicured in preparation of the over 5,000 people that showed up to Lake Roulston. The Fernie Griz is five buddies, one from Fernie, with a passion for the rough


and ready sport. Steve Ruskay, Curtis McLellan, Reid Smith, Matt Hopkins and Mike Gibson enjoyed every second of the weekend. “It was quite the time, to put it mildly,” said Ruskay, a Fernie Alpine Resort avalanche technician. The Griz started off the event with a visit to the local high school, where classes were canceled, and the gymnasium filled to watch the Griz take on a team of teachers and students at floor hockey. The Griz stayed to talk to kids, and sign a few autographs. The opening ceremonies were held inside at the local arena. The Griz mascot itself was there in full stride, as the Fernie Griz was the only team this year representing the province of B.C. The Griz drew a very competitive pool, and ended up with a 1-4 record. The Griz managed adversity well, but fell

Griz Days = Fun! Come and Help Celebrate

s t r a P o t u A Fernie No. 2 Manitou


Road • 250-42

Chili Supper Fundraiser

WHAT: Great Chili with all the fixin’s WHEN: Saturday, March 1 6:30-8:30 pm WHERE: Griz Days Street Party CP Station Square COST: $3 Bucks a Bowl

All proceeds to the Fernie Adult Lifeskills Program

short on the scoreboard, and missed the play offs. But they didn’t leave the tournament empty handed. For the second year running, the Griz showcased the nicest hockey jerseys at the tournament, and handed out the best team swag. The Fernie Griz was the only team mascot. And Griz shots will appear in many photos in living rooms around the world. The Fernie Griz will also live forever in the Submitted photo ‘Lager House’. A true hockey shrine filled with priceless hockey memorabilia; the Griz logo will be front and centre, just as the boys were at this year’s tournament.

Congratulations to “The Acadian Boys” of TracadieSheila New Brunswick on their championship win.


Griz Days


Island Lake Lodge: 25 years of powder heaven by Angela Treharne elebrating 25 years this year, Island Lake Lodge has been both a pioneer and trendsetter in the cat-ski game since 1988.


The world famous resort, just outside Fernie, started out as a pretty basic operation, with just one lodge. Cat-skiing was a new thing back then, and Island Lake Catskiing was one of the

Mark Gallup photos

first cat-ski operations in North America, accommodating only about a dozen guests. Now, 25 years later, Island Lake has expanded from its basic Bear lodge to include three more: the Red Eagle, Cedar, and Tamarack lodges. It can now accommodate 36 guests – three cats of 12 – and the rooms are almost constantly full in the winter. The Island Lake property has been under private ownership since the early 1900s. In 1994, Island Lake Mountain Tours purchased the land from Shell Oil Company. With the purchase of the lodge and land, Island Lake Mountain Tours became the only cat-skiing operation in British Columbia to own the land they operated on.

In April 2005, the property was purchased by the owners of Mica Heli Guides in Mica Creek, who continue to operate the resort. “People can cat-ski all over the world, but they come to Fernie for the quality of our powder,” said Mike McPhee, Island Lake Catskiing’s sales and marketing manager. “The local Micro climate is very unique and we get an unbelievable amount of snow. Island Lake Lodge offers a high-end product and high level of service, which keeps our guests coming back.”

Griz Days


Est. 1898

Rocky Mountain Optometry KOOCANUSA CAMPSITE & MARINA




Griz Days

We were there.

(Celebrating 115 years of serving the Elk Valley.)

Covering Griz Days since the beginning, 1978 Est. 1898

Special Features - Griz Days 2013