Why World Class Skiers Call Fernie Home – By Jack Viney
Fernie Alpine Resort has traditionally produced talented freeskiers and riders. With a bounty of challenging, steep terrain to keep even the hardcore among us happy, it is no surprise that the freeride world is familiar with some of our household names such as Luke Nelson, Jamie Rizzuto, Aaron Schmidt and Caleb Brown.
The Kootenays produce a special breed of skier and Fernie is no exception to this. Hard charging, adventurous and low key. Happier skiing their favorite resort lines or spending time on a skin track than in a terrain park, big mountain lines and fresh tracks is what these guys live for.
Caleb Brown is no exception to this. Don’t let his big grin and relaxed nature fool you, when it’s time to get serious in the mountains Caleb is a man not to be underestimated. Growing up in Fernie and representing Fernie Alpine Resort as one of their resort athletes, Caleb has a strong connection with the peaks in the Lizard Range, part of the Canadian Rockies.
I caught up with Caleb to talk about Fernie and to see why he still calls Fernie Alpine Resort home.
After taking time off the Freeride World Tour to get some perspective on the competition scene, the 2014 winter has still been keeping Caleb busy.
Just recently returning from an epic ski trip, filming with the Storms Cycles crew for an upcoming production. Caleb and three other skiers took a different approach to your everyday ski trip, travelling by Amtrak trains from Chicago to British Columbia, finishing their 18-day adventure in Whistler with the aid of a bus for the last leg.
Days skiing included cat skiing in Montana, backcountry sessions in Stevens Pass and some classic west coast Canadian Whistler slack country.
Huge cliff drops, deep powder tree sessions and back country booters were common topics when discussing the trip, getting me inspired to write a piece on Caleb. Not because he can do things on skis that many of us wouldn’t dream of doing, but because when it all boils down – he is a humble Fernie skier who lives for winter adventures in the town he grew up in.
“Travelling the world and skiing with some of the best freeskiers is an amazing experience! I am definitely lucky to have had those opportunities from a young age. When I do get to travel I am always excited to come home at the end of a trip. Finishing a trip can be a bit of a downer sometimes but I am lucky to always be excited to come home and ski my home hill. The terrain, the awesome people and the snow in Fernie make it the perfect place to live as a skier!”
Fernie Alpine Resort played a big part in Caleb becoming the skier he is today.
Entering his first freeskiing competition held in Fernie at the age of 14, Caleb got the taste for competition. Not knowing what the judging criteria was or what constitutes freeskiing, Caleb ripped a line down the familiar Big Bang terrain and found himself standing on the podium in third place! Following the junior circuit in BC and finally cracking the Freeride World Tour, other Fernie locals, Luke Nelson and Aaron Schmidt took him under their wings and showed Caleb what this level of competition was all about. Finishing 19th in his first year on the World Tour and following up with a 15th place the next season – he is no stranger to performing when it counts.
Taking some time off competing, Caleb is skiing better than ever and loving every minute of it! Hearing these stories and to see the enjoyment that he gets from coming home and spending time in the resort and surrounding backcountry, it is obvious Fernie is special.
“Competitions, film shoots and countless hours on skis would not be possible without my sponsors! I would like to thank Fernie Alpine Resort and Island Lake Lodge for giving me the perfect training grounds. Dynastar, Look and Lange for their support from day one. The North Face, Smith Optics, Discrete Clothing, Ice Breaker Merino, and Cast Binding Systems for the epic gear and my hometown sponsor GearHub Sports!”
Follow Caleb in his Fernie and future adventures via his blog, “Chasing the Dream” https://freeskiercalebbrown.wordpress.com/
See all his shots on Instagram @calebwb and follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Caleb-Brown/291607337525259 .
Caleb ripping Fernie Alpine Resort – Kyle Hamilton
Storm Cycles crew – Trent Bona
Jack Viney – Tourism Fernie.