Troy Nixon may be a newer resident to Fernie, but he has swiftly become well-known through his extensive involvement in the community.
Troy, his wife Tara and their three boys were living in Calgary, travelling to Fernie once the weekend hit. They did this for three years. Tara, a Gastroenterologist, was contacted to help find a locum for Fernie’s gastro specialist. “I said to her, why are you looking? We should do it,” Troy tells me. And after what was probably a brief consideration, the couple decided to make the move to Fernie “for what was supposed to be a year… but we knew that would change,” he adds. “It’s just where we want to be.”
Once here, it didn’t take long before Troy to work his way into the community’s heart. As an avid biking family, he naturally gravitated towards the Fernie Mountain Bike Club and became a member of the Board of Directors. With an extensive background in fundraising for organizations in Calgary, he decided to organize the Trail Razr – a fundraiser for the amazing trail network in Fernie. It was hosted at the Fernie Golf and Country Club in 2015, and was a great success raising much needed funds for the Fernie Trails Alliance. He then decided to organize the Wam Bam Dirt Dump Jam in 2016, which was deemed another popular and successful event over the Labour Day weekend. This year, the Trail Razr II took place, raising additional money and awareness for the trails. Troy also was part of the team who brought national athletes Catharine Pendrel and Sandra Walter to Fernie for the amazing High Roller weekend.
Most recently, Troy has become very involved in Fernie Freestyle. When asked how he got involved, he states that they are his son’s sponsors. “When we moved here, Andrew got into it. I kept my head down for a few years, but this year everything changed,” he tells me. Troy realized that the club needed better facilities. “Which includes a mogul course/pitch and an air site for Slopestyle,” he adds. Fernie Freestyle has always had a lease agreement for land at Fernie Alpine Resort, previously located on Falling Star and then on Kodiak. Last season, the club hosted its first competition in February with 80 participants. “We had a drought in January, so we had to scrape the Bear Central to build up the mogul course and make it to a rectangle. It was a lot of digging,” Troy says. Then it snowed 20cm the day of the competition, and continued to snow nearly every day that week. “We had 140cms in 12 days, and trying to maintain it for the club was a lot of work.”
Troy decided to pitch the idea to Fernie Alpine Resort of a permanent mogul course for the club on that location. “It’s high-profile, doesn’t conflict with FAR operations, we don’t have to worry about closures, and it’s a well-protected area with a good slope,” he says. After last year, they knew they could do it and FAR got behind them. Part of this project is developing the land itself to decrease the work during the ski season. “We pushed all the dirt, and dirt doesn’t melt,” he tells me. The land was surveyed this summer, and construction completed this October due to set backs with the fire ban. An integral person in this process was Scott Walker, from Okotoks. A volunteer with the Freestyle community, he had helped last year with the comp, worked on world cup events in Calgary, and is well known in the industry. Passionate for the sport, he came on board to help with this project.
When asked why he does it, he quickly answers, “I want to help make Fernie a better place, and I think I can do that through my energy and time. One mogul course at a time, one board meeting at a time, one event at a time.” He adds that, “Fernie has been super duper awesome. We love it. It’s the place that you always excited to go home to. That’s how I feel. Coming home to anywhere else would be disappointing.”
Troy plans to continue doing what he’s doing, jumping on opportunities when they present themselves or if he sees anything he thinks could be interesting for Fernie. For now, he is excited about the upcoming ski season and the new mogul course at FAR, “It’s going to be one of the best mogul pitches in Western Canada!”
We’re looking forward to it, as well Troy! Thanks for all of the hard work.
1. When did you first arrive in Fernie and what brought you here? My friend Donna Biddel invited me to come down and stay up at the Ski Hill, when Ben was in Kindergarten… that was 12 years ago!
2. Where did you first live in town? Alpine Trails.
3. What was your first impression? We loved it.
4. What keeps you here? Everything… mountain biking, skiing, the people, the community, the schools.
5. Do you have a favourite Fernie memory? Skiing Stag Leap in December last year, powder up to my waist.
6. What is your favourite time of the year in Fernie and why? Spring because of the biking. December because of the skiing. Too hard of a question.
7. Where do you see Fernie in 5 to 10 years? Moderate growth, with the same general feel. I hope it doesn’t change its authenticity.
8. How do you start your day or what is one of your daily rituals? Latte.
9. Tell us something people might be surprised to learn about you. I still play Lego with my kids.
10. Quote to live by: It ain’t going to build itself.