Newly Designed Ski Clothing is Available

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Colourful and smart looking clothing with a Fernie Nordic design can now be ordered online. Check out the design of jacket, pants and hat available in various sizes. All made in Canada by Apogée Sports. Please note that the online store will close on November 1st as these custom orders will take about 6 weeks to produce. Pay online and the delivery will be to your own address.

Visit the online store at Apogée Sports

Several sizing charts are shown on their site as well. Here are a few examples of these charts:

Volunteers at Work Party

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Fifteen volunteers with wheelbarrows, rakes and shovels showed up on Saturday morning at the Nordic Centre to spread wood chips in the staging area. The load of chips was donated by Rocky Mountain Lanscape Bark and delivered to the site earlier in the week.

This fresh layer of clean chips will even out the surface of the staging area before grooming starts. A part of the load was left for further repair along the Jackrabbit trails this week. All this work is going to improve the area for the upcoming crosscountry race planned for Wednesday October 27.

Our young Nordic Racers are full of energy

fernie nordic racers fall 2021

Aurélie and Louison from the Fernie Nordic Racers team are inviting more young racers to join this dynamic group of young athletes. They explain that the key benefit of the club is having fun while training for races.

“If you enjoy Nordic skiing, racing, and the outdoors, you should join the Fernie Nordic Racers. We are a very encouraging group of people, and we all support each other. Each athlete has their own goals to reach. You should join us and reach yours” say the girls.

The girls outline two good reasons for joining the club. They explain the first reason is “Fernie Nordic Racers is a wonderful group of athletes and coaches, that are always enthusiastic, and ready to train. Our coaches: John Shaw, Jeff Williams, Naomi Lentz, and Helen McAlister, coach a group of athletes ranging between the age 9 and 18 years old”, with coaching targeted to two age groups — under 12 and over 12.

The second reason is the comprehensive fall training program. Both groups meet on Tuesday with the under 12 group going for a 45-minute run on the trails around the Aquatic Centre while the older group trains with the Fernie Secondary School cross country running team. In addition, the older group also trains with the running team on Thursdays. “Our workout (as older athletes) is formed of a warmup (10-minute run + A’s, B’s, C’s), a running workout (hills, tempo runs, intervals, etc.…), and a cool down (5-minute jog, and dynamic stretching). On Fridays we have a dryland training with the whole team for 1 hour. We start with a 20-minute fitness game then we roller ski for 40 minutes. Sometimes the older athletes have a long and slow run, on Saturdays or Sundays. Some older athletes also use Training Peaks to keep track of training outside of practices. We also go training camps, which are fun and instructive,” say the girls.

Article by Aurélie Smithson and Louison Dubief

All about our last Annual General Meeting

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Over forty people came out in the sunshine for the Fernie Nordic Society Annual General Meeting on Sunday July 25th at 4 pm. It was a pleasure to be able to meet face to face once again after a year or more of meetings “by zoom”. Many thanks to all who attended. The minutes for the AGM and the Election of Officers are posted on the Fernie Nordic Society website.

Highlights of the meeting included:

  • the Directors’ Reports from “a season unlike any other” as we navigated our way through COVID policies and protocols lead by Jenn Heath.
  • our trails are our biggest asset and grooming them is our biggest challenge. Our contract groomer Mark and our team of volunteers led by Rick logged close to 600 hours of work to keep the trails in the best shape possible. We plan to increase the contract grooming for the 2021-2022 season to 6 – 8am, 7 days a week.
  • our membership doubled from the previous season to approximately 1600. Successful grant applications this season added approximately $44,000 in grant monies to our budget.
  • our toughest decision this winter was to cancel the SDP program. However, our kid sized gear was made available for rent to about 85 takers. We had a race program this year but no races to go to. Coach Jeff and the volunteer coaches focused on training, virtual races and time trials.
  • adult lessons were run by Tarah in smaller groups. With Tarah’s help we are hoping to grow and expand this program in the upcoming season.

There is an opportunity to join the Board this year as the Director of Programming. Please contact Megan at if you are interested in this position or would like more information. The board is transitioning to a strategic level with support from committees. We will be looking for volunteers for the grooming and race team committees.

Thank you once again to everyone who attended the AGM. We encourage you all buy your passes early for the next season. Follow the website at for up-to-date information.

Happy trails

Report by Jane Stevens

A Sport Made for Family

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Interview with Head Coach John Shaw

It’s a classic Fernie fall day and I am sitting at one of the picnic tables in front of the Nordic hut enjoying the view, the changing colours, and crisp air. This mid-day break from zoom calls is welcome as I wave to Johnny Shaw, who is hauling wood in preparation for winter bon-fires. The Fernie Nordic Society’s Race Team Head Coach has agreed to join me for a chat about how he and his family came to be among the founding members of the Society. As a newbie to both the Nordic sport and Fernie Club, there is no better way to immerse myself in both than a chat with Johnny.

Johnny never left Fernie after arriving for a one season visit in 1996. He came to learn to snowboard and quickly settled into seasonal residency with the purchase of a house. Sound familiar? Snowboarding morphed into telemark skiing and then alpine. He loved it, but when he and Virginia (a Doctor in Fernie’s healthcare community) welcomed baby Wes. Fatherhood required a pivot to accommodate paternity leave and napping schedules. A pair of classic fish scale skis and a Nordic chariot allowed for a daily rhythm of afternoon glides around the Nordic track near the Aquatic Centre (now the home of Fernie’s infamous jump park) and the Island Lake Lodge road. An interest initially piqued during a university cross country ski course while pursuing his Kinesiology degree at Lakehead University crystalized into a new found passion as Johnny realized the physical benefits of the sport. The fun of alpine skiing had some physical consequences that Johnny now saw healing as he benefited from the all body work out of Nordic skiing. “Why do Nordic Skiers chew gum” he asked me? So that they are using every single muscle while skiing! And for many, that can mean fitness with the curative effect of a balanced workout. Johnny was hooked! He could see now why Virginia had settled into the sport at McGill, while pursuing her PhD – one hour on skis had huge physical benefit and was easily accessible almost anywhere. In a mountain town, on a university campus or in the middle of the city.

As Johnny continued to look for family time with baby Marley and 3 year old Wes, and with a nudge to coach from Clark Weber, his role in the Jackrabbit program was born. Johnny & Virginia continued to love the Nordic family scene, and though they pulled back a bit from lessons until the kids were 5 or 6, they remained active and committed to getting outdoors together during Fernie’s long winters. The kids were generally keen to head to lessons, and Mom and Dad got fresh air and fitness.

Fast forward to today and a 15 year old Wes and 14 year old Marley are active in the race program and Dad is Head Coach. Mom enjoys balancing a busy career with her favorite winter sport and loves being a member of the support and cheering squad (and avid masters racer). I asked Johnny how Nordic skiing still works for them despite different goals, life stages and interest for a family of four.

Here is what I intuitively knew, but Johnny confirmed: Skiing with the Fernie Nordic club is accessible and flexible. You want to improve your skills – great? You want to compete – yep – let’s do it! You want a community for lifelong fitness and friendships – this is your place. You create your track and that is why it works. Each child and club member gets to personalize their goal.

Oh – and there are some benefits to being a smaller club – all ages in the race programs train together. This develops coaching and mentorship skills for the older kids and is inspiration for the younger ones. It also works across a variety of ages and skill levels because Johnny encourages them to compete against themselves and not each other. Words to live by!

Accessible, confidence building, fitness supporting and family fun – thanks for the inspiration Robinson-Shaw family. We’re in!

Article by Melanie Jeannotte