A thick blanket of snow fell on skiers and snowboarders alike on Sunday at Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR) as people hit the slopes for the seventeenth annual Community Appreciation Day.
Snow enthusiasts had both the Griz and FAR to thank for the powder packed day; the Griz, for generously dumping so much fresh snow over the weekend and FAR for offering free lift tickets to all residents of the Elk Valley.
On top of the free lift tickets, FAR also handed out BBQ vouchers to everyone walking through the plaza. The vouchers were valid for a hot dog or burger for lunch and the proceeds from the BBQ went to a local charity, just as it has in previous years.
This year, the charity was Fernie Friends for Friends, an organization that helps individuals and families in Fernie who are undergoing cancer treatments.
Although the Community Appreciation Day is certainly a fan favourite in the Elk Valley, FAR is committed to serving their community in many different ways.
“Every day our team makes a difference,” said Matt Mosteller, vice president of marketing and sales for Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. “We are so proud of them. It takes a community to build a strong team and at the core it is our people who make a difference.”
One of the main ways that FAR is making a difference in the local community is through their Summit Fund. According to Mosteller, the fund was started “to support the community of Fernie and the Elk Valley as this community is the foundation that supports and cares about our team.”
The goal of the Summit Fund, according to the FAR website is to “provide donations to a wide variety of local causes that provide a positive and long term impact on a wide variety of people.”
To date, the Summit Fund has provided over $400,000 to assist hundreds of non-profits and volunteer groups in the Elk Valley. These donations are mostly cash, although some are in-kind donations as well.
“A vibrant community is not by accident but by countless hours of tireless volunteers and non-profits doing their good work,” explained Mosteller. “We realize these non-profits need tremendous support – primarily cash to keep going.”
The list of organizations and projects that have found support from the Summit Fund is long and inclusive. Cultural and historical events and programs, sports events, and organizations supporting every age and ability are represented in the list.
“It is a gift to live, work and play in such an amazing place,” said Mosteller. “A place filled with passionate and caring people. But even in such a beautiful place there are people in need, people who are sick, people without food, so it is imperative to assist and do our part to try and make each day better for less fortunate.”
Despite being a few minutes drive out of Fernie, FAR is very much a fixture in community life in the Elk Valley. Even for those who don’t enjoy skiing or snowboarding, the impact FAR has had on the community is huge.
The people at Fernie Alpine Resort are passionate about the outdoors, about their community and about how the two intersect in innumerable ways. This devotion to empowering our community to be better is evident in all the ways they strive to make the Elk Valley a happier and healthier place to live.