History of Fernie, British Columbia
Prospectors looking for gold discovered coal in the Crowsnest area of Southeastern British Columbia more than 100 years ago. In 1897, William Fernie reported a major discovery, which led to the formation of the Crows Nest Pass Coal Company. The mining community that emerged in 1897 was named Fernie, in honor of the miner whose efforts helped to establish the new industry.
An extremely interesting legend concerning Fernie follows:
William Fernie, founder of the city, met a tribe of Indians during one of his prospecting trips. He noticed one of the Indian chieftain's daughters was wearing a necklace of shining black stones. Knowing that these stones were coal, William Fernie asked as to their source. The Indian Chief agreed to show Fernie where these had been found, upon condition that the prospector would marry the Indian maid. After learning the location of the coal deposits, William Fernie refused to marry the Princess.
This angered the Indian Chief and he laid a curse upon the valley stating that it would meet with Fire, Flood and Famine.
As a reminder of the curse, the Ghost of Mount Hosmer can be seen each sunny summer evening on a rock face high above the city. The "ghost" is a spectacular shadow in the form of a rider on horseback.
The first fire that occurred in 1904 destroyed a large portion of the wooden business section of the city. The largest disaster, however, came on August 1, 1908, when a forest fire practically destroyed the City of Fernie. Soon, Fernie was rebuilt. In 1916 disaster struck when the Elk River overflowed its banks and flooded sections of West Fernie. The near famine conditions of the Great depression made Fernie people believe the curse would never end.
On August 15, 1964, members of the Kootenai Tribes, headed by Chief Ambrose Gravelle, known as Chief Red Eagle, assembled in Fernie for the ceremonial lifting of the Fernie Curse. Mayor James White made amends with the Chief by smoking the "Pipe of Peace" with Chief Red Eagle.
• North American “Resort of the Year” – UK Skiing and Snowboarding Guide (2004)
• Ranked 9th out of the top 25 resorts in North America- Skiing Magazine (November 2003)
• Ranked 10th out of the top 25 resorts in North America – Skiing Magazine (November 2002)
• Ranked #6 for Powder Snow in North America – Skiing Magazine (November 2002)
• #8 ranking in the world – Powderhound Magazine (Australia)
• Best Ski Town across Canada - Ski Canada Magazine’s Best of Canadian Skiing Awards 2003
• #4 in Canada for Powder quality – Ski Canada Magazine’s Best of Canadian Skiing Awards 2003
• #7 in Canada for Powder Quantity – Ski Canada Magazine’s Best of Canadian Skiing Awards 2003
• Canada Cup Mountain Bike Event of the Year 2002 – given by the Canadian Cycling Association
• Voted “Most Improved Resort” award for 2003 - The Good Skiing & Snowboarding Guide 2003 – (September 2002)
• Fernie Alpine Resort fourth place rating for the Top Ten North American Resort Off-Piste category – Skiing Magazine (November 2001)
• #3 in the Top 10 Guide to the Best Ski Destinations – CNN.com (February 2002)
• Explore Magazine (Nov/Dec 2001) rated Fernie as the number one resort in Canada!
• Service Dog of the Year to Keno – Purina Hall of Fame (April 2002)
• Best Bet for Powder – Ski Canada Magazine (Winter 2002)
• Best View from Downtown – Ski Canada Magazine (Winter 2002)
• Best Little Town in BC title – BC Parks & Recreation (2001 & 2002)
• Most Explosive Resort – Ski Canada Magazine (2001)
• North America’s Coolest Town – Rolling Stone Magazine (2000)