Downhilling with Samantha Sedlowsky
Summer in Fernie is mountain biking. Or hiking, or fishing. Or trail running, or paddling, or tennis, or... The possibilities to get out and enjoy the great outdoors really are endless.
But let’s get back to mountain biking. With over 109 trails to choose from in town and at FAR, Fernie provides the full spectrum for mountain bikers. However, it’s not always the easiest sport to get started in. Roots, rocks, logs, skinny trails – it can all be a bit intimidating to someone new to the sport. Luckily, Fernie is blessed with amazing bike coaches to help newbies gain skills and confidence, and progress intermediate and advanced riders to reach their personal riding goals.
Just a few hours with one of these professional coaches can make a huge difference to your riding enjoyment! Fernie Alpine Resort offers a multitude of programs for both downhilling and cross country riding, including Discover Mountain Biking, Kids Freeride Camps, Ladies Downhill Weekends, Weekday Trail Warriors Camps and more. New this year – check out the Peak to Park to Pint Tour, consisting of an afternoon downhill ride from the top of the chairlift (Elk or Timber), through the Mount Fernie Provincial Park, and on to a local watering hole to enjoy a sampling of cold beers from the Fernie Brewing Company.
Samantha Sedlowsky is one of our talented veteran coaches who can help take your riding to the next level. Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Sam and her family relocated to Fernie in the fall of 2012 and have never looked back!
Why did you move to Fernie?
We moved to Fernie because it has it all. The best biking and skiing anywhere! It’s also a wonderful place to raise our son and the community is beyond amazing.
What did you do before coming to Fernie?
I worked in Oil & Gas in Calgary.
Where do you currently work in Fernie?
I work for Nonstop Ski & Snowboard year round and in the summer I also coach mountain biking for FAR, Fernie Bike Guides, the College of the Rockies and the Trek Dirt Series.
Tell us a bit about your mountain biking background.
I’ve been mountain biking since the early 90s and downhilling since 2000. Biking has changed a lot since then! In the early days I loved to ride the Edmonton river valley and Jasper but I remember riding Fernie for the first time in 1999. We weren’t able to ride at the resort because we missed closing day by one day! I remember thinking how challenging everything was, but also that Black Forest was the prettiest place I’d ever been. I still think that fairies might leap out at anytime when I ride from the resort through to the provincial park.
How long have you been coaching mountain biking?
This is my fifth season!
What is the best thing about coaching mountain biking?
There is a lot! I meet amazing people from around the world and get to share a sport I love. I get to show off a town I am proud to call home and that I believe is the best mountain biking in the world (no bias!). It’s a privilege to help people do something they never thought they could do but I also love giving a little tip that helps a long time rider progress their skills.
What is / are your favourite trails to ride at FAR and in town? Why do you like these trails?
Picking a favourite trail at FAR or in town is really hard! It depends on my mood and who I'm riding with! Mr. Berms to Trac3 to Duff Dynasty has it all (but I also really love Aggravated Assault). If I’m leaving the resort though, pedaling home via Black Forest to Megahurtz to Old Goat to Happy Gilmar is the perfect end to a perfect day. In town Stove/Mushroom Head/Red Sonya is my favourite, and if you still want more you can always go back up Phat Bastard for Black Betty!
What’s your favourite way to spend a day off?
I’m learning to garden!
What’s your overall impression of mountain biking in Fernie?
I really can’t stress enough how much I love this community and our devotion to mountain biking. I just came home from the Little Critter Race at James White Park where we had 46 kids under eight years old; watching the next generation ride at such a young age makes me so happy! I was a part of Little Women on Wheels this June where we had a dozen young women out to ride each week, just having fun and ripping the trails! Fernie Women on Wheels is seeing the biggest turnouts ever each Wednesday, and the same goes for the SCOTT Thursday Night Race Series and the Toonie races.
Get your season pass, join the Fernie Mountain Bike Club…. get out and ride. And don’t forget to thank your trail builders!