What’s happening on the Galloway Lands?

What’s happening on the Galloway Lands?

Update from FNS Board of Directors re: Galloway Lands Application

As committed to at our Annual General Meeting this summer, we are providing an update on the application for the proposed development of the Galloway property.

Last year, the FNS Board was informed by the Galloway property landowner that a conditional offer had been received for the Galloway property. We were then contacted by Reto Barrington of Handshake Holdings confirming his intent to apply for rezoning and apply for a residential development on the property. Note that the ‘Galloway Lands’ referred to include the land on which the Grunt/partial Runt and Galloway Loop exist as well as the connecting trails to the Fernie Alpine Resort.

At the AGM we:

  • Provided Mr. Barrington’s letter assuring no change or interruption to the 2021/2022 ski season;
  • Committed to continued engagement and partnership with the landowner;
  • Committed to providing formal application information to our members once released by the Regional District of East Kootenay.

Last month, we received a package from Development Services at the RDEK with the attached application for the ‘Galloway Lands’ development and were encouraged by the RDEK to share the application and process with our membership.

The RDEK also provided us with the following general timeline for the formal process to be communicated to our members:

  • RDEK sends referral packages out to other agencies for comment – October.
  • Public “open house” or some sort of similar consultation event hosted by the applicant – late November, early December.
  • Bylaws presented to the RDEK Board of Directors for the first time – January 2022, and if advanced, a public hearing to be held late January.
  • If the bylaw is advanced to a public hearing, the RDEK will collect formal public comments on the proposal at that time.

Any changes to these timelines or formal dates established for Open Houses, etc. will be communicated to our membership.

The FNS Board of Directors wishes to reiterate the role we play in this process, and the role/opportunity of our greater membership in reviewing and participating.

  1. These lands are private. FNS continues to work with Bud Nelson as the current landowner for our continued access, which is also supported and confirmed by Mr. Barrington as per his letter provided at our AGM. It is a privilege, not a right, to have access to this property and we are very grateful for the ongoing partnership with the landowner. We are thankful also for the partnership with The Cedars and Mount Fernie Provincial Park for the access via the Mount Fernie Provincial Park corridor.
  1. The FNS Board are reviewing and discussing the application with a focus on compatibility with the experience we aim to provide our members and visitors. It is our understanding that it is the intent of the Galloway Lands developer to retain public access for nordic skiing as part of the development, with a covenant to be placed on those trails for continued public access.
  1. Our primary concern is to ensure that trails in which we invest public and membership funds for maintenance, grooming and programming are compatible with our primary mission of the FNS, which is: Providing exceptional cross country skiing opportunities for residents and visitors of all ages. Through this lens we are seeking to understand how an exceptional experience can be maintained from an operational, programming and user perspective. This includes considerations of road crossings, maintaining safe public access, trail connectivity and environmental stewardship.
  1. We have met with the consultant for the Galloway Lands application for a preliminary discussion on some of the considerations regarding continued trail access for FNS members and the general public, and will continue to engage as additional information is released by the developer. We will participate in the Open House to be hosted in the near future and encourage our members to participate through that process.

Read the Application for Land Use Amendment from Handshake Holdings Inc.

You can open THIS LINK or click on the image above to read the document. Or right-click to save it to your device.

Volunteers at Work Party

wood chips rocky mountain landscape bark

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

A Sport Made for Family

johnny and wes

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

Trail Conditions – November 22, 2021

lizard creek loop

None of the nordic trails in the Fernie area are open or being groomed at this time.
The Fernie Nordic Society manages the grooming of trails at the Fernie Golf Course and Elk Valley Nordic Centre. Remember to subscribe to our emails so you do not miss our announcements and subsequent grooming reports – see box on this page.
The information below is now outdated as it is our last grooming report from April 2021.

A Membership or Day Pass required to ski at the Nordic Centre and the Golf Course. No dogs on groomed trails please.
Maps and directions are shown here

Elk Valley Nordic Centre

Cedar & Lizard Lookoutgreen easygroomed and track setlast groomed April 2
From Hut to bridgegreen easygroomed and track set April 2
Runt & Gruntblue challenginggroomed and track setApril 2
Galloway loopblue challenginggroomed and track setApril 2
Lizard Creek loopblack more difficultnot groomed
FAR connector & Boomeranggreen easygroomedMarch 29

The skate lanes were groomed on Friday. The trails are now very icy and classic skiing is not recommended. Grooming has now ended. Thank you to everyone for this great season!

Groomer Mark is refreshing the trails each weekday. Do not forget to 👋
Please be aware that the hut will stay CLOSED during this winter.

Fernie Golf Course

The trails are now CLOSED for the remainder of the season.
Level of difficulty: Easy green easy


Other locations where one can ski in the Fernie area are listed below. Please note that these trails are dog-friendly and operated by other organizations.

Fernie Alpine Resort

The Silk and Manchuria trails were groomed on Friday.

Off-leash dogs are now allowed on the trails if they are still under ‘vocal control’. A map and directions to trails are found here
The FAR snow report is here

Fernie Dyke

No more grooming is planned.
Level of difficulty: Easy green easy

Montane

Trail grooming is expected to happen daily and when there is some new snow.

Find map and directions to trails here
Watch for updated info about the trail system on this page

Anyone may text updates to 250-430-2719 at any time.

Winter Programs for Adults

adult skier

The club has expanded its winter programs aimed at adult skiers. Coach Amy returns with her ski program of group and private lessons for adult skiers starting in January 2020. Coach Tarah has set up a Masters program for more experienced skiers and it starts in December.

The following pages show all the details.

For the Adult Ski Program: https://www.fernienordic.com/adult-lessons/
For the Masters Program: https://www.fernienordic.com/masters-training/

Finally, the continuing physical training program for our 50+ members returns on December 1st. Coach Jeff supervises the program. Read more about it at https://www.fernienordic.com/mmr50plus/