Gimme Shelter

Author: 
Terry Nelson
In: 
Outdoors

Could there actually be any better purpose in life than to provide shelter for someone in need?

The member clubs of the Fernie Trails Alliance have ceaselessly worked to provide warm places to hunker down after an outing on any one of the many trails in the region, that access powder skiing fields, alpine mountaineering ascents, smooth Nordic pursuits, and splendid forested hikes.

The Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club, founded in 1991, celebrates its 25th year of providing shelter for people exploring the vast outreaches of the Elk Valley. From the humble beginnings of the first Thunder Meadows shack cabin, to the upscale log cabin, to the now seemingly luxurious mountain getaway, the evolution of the Club’s hut provision continues, including the recent addition of the Tunnel Creek Cabin, with all of its fancy additions, and now the recent construction of the Harvey Pass Warming Hut.

With the exception of the Harvey Pass Hut, which is not for overnight use, the other cabins can be booked for extended stays, by checking in at the Guides Hut in downtown Fernie for reservations.

Many thanks must go out to the many volunteers who donated money, time and materials to bring this project to reality. Special thanks to Todd McDermid for his skilled and determined participation in the construction efforts, and to the Fernie Snowmobile Association for its significant contribution. Many others have given financial assistance, and many hours of time to make this multi-purpose facility comfortable for all.

Not to be understated is the welcoming Montane Hut, situated on the Parastone Property, overlooking the sprawling Lizard Range. This hut, which is also provided thanks to the FTASTC, can be accessed by following the Montane trail for approximately 5km to the south of town. The trail to the hut is track set for Nordic skiing in the winter, and a wood stove can be stoked up to warm your bones before heading back out onto the trails. Multi-use trails meander through the forest for dog walkers, snow bikers, and snowshoers, so no one is left out in the cold.

The Fernie Nordic Society, with the help of many appreciated volunteers, is celebrating the completion of the Elk Valley Nordic Centre Hut. This architecturally fashioned building fits nicely into its surroundings in the Cedars Subdivision, adjacent to Mount Fernie Provincial Park.

Access is from the overflow parking lot at the Park, and is a short walk, slide, or roll up to its door. The Nordic Centre Hut becomes the race control office during the many scheduled loppets, is a refuge for the chilled Nordic skiing public, is being used for club member meetings, and can be rented for special occasions. Overall another success story by this highly motivated group with a purpose of providing quality Nordic opportunities for Elk Valley residents and its visitors.

The Fernie Snowmobile Association maintains a number of huts in the region. Notably the new Coal Creek warming shelter in the Rolling Hills area, which complements the Wranglers Cabin, and Ram Creek Cabin. They make for well-established, well-situated places to get out of the cold.

Either for social get-togethers, overnight stayovers, or as remote emergency shelters, these back-country amenities are indispensable features on our landscape. Enjoy yourself out there this winter, and feel free to donate to any of the local clubs that are purposed with the task of maintaining these great shelters along the many trails of the Elk Valley.