Fernie Alpine Resorts recent announcement regarding summer operations with the exclusion of the Timber Chair have left many of their summer users feeling angry, ignored, and not valued.

This April a group identifying as “Bike and Hike Fernie” started a petition on Change.org with the objective of influencing Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR) to operate the Timber Chair this summer. See the details here.

FAR recently stated that they will not be operating the Timber chair this summer 2021. “We’re trying to make the best decision based on business levels and we’re unsure about the tourism economy from the pandemic. So with that uncertainty, we’re really only in a position to say we’re going to operate the Elk.”

“Bike and Hike Fernie” have responded, “In this announcement they have not addressed any of the concerns expressed in the petition. They have ignored their summer users voices. Read the details and support the petition here.

The petition currently has 1244 signatories. That is 1244 people who would pay for and use the Timber chair if it were to operate this summer at the resort. 1244 people who are not satisfied with the quality of FAR’s current services on offer. 1244 people who feel the crowds and lineups from last summer are not Covid safe and are not value for their money. 1244 supporters who see RCR Kicking Horse pouring time, effort and money into their bike park (which still operates 2 lifts for trail access), whilst Fernie falls behind – and not just behind other RCR resorts, but falls behind all other BC bike parks. 1244 supporters of FAR, who just want what they deserve for their loyalty and their money and their time.

So what does this mean for us? By all means, continue to let RCR know your thoughts and feelings on the matter. Through diplomatic wording, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) have said that while they continue to see profits from only running the Elk Chair during this pandemic, they will not be investing money to open the Timber chair. The resort has been profitable with the Timber Chair closed. RCR are content with how things are. Their summer users are not.

If RCR continue to ignore our voices, they do not deserve to have our business. The only way the parent company (RCR) to FAR will see the value in the Timber chair is to witness a decrease in revenue because of its closure. Avoid buying a pass this summer unless RCR answer our concerns appropriately – better value; better trail access; loyalty acknowledgment; better covid-19 safety by opening 2 chairs.

With an increase in mountain bikers and hikers in 2020 and a forecasted increase for Summer 2021, it was expected that FAR would be operating the Timber Chair. FAR is hosting the Dunbar Summer Series and Canada Cup Downhill this July and these racers will be using the Timber Chair accessible Canada Cup Downhill course.

Continuing to invest in recreation and trails is important to the community. Timber Chair accesses the best hiking and mountain biking at FAR and is an important tourism asset. As a bike park user I too am disappointed with the closure and was hoping for some compromise from FAR. Perhaps there is still hope that FAR will spin the Timber chair for hikers and bikers this summer.

Frustration with RCR is not unique to Fernie, in Quebec City RCR is currently in legal proceedings with the Quebec Government with regards to Mont-Sainte-Anne and recreation and trails. RCR’s management and investment in recreational tourism activities at Mont-Sainte-Anne are not meeting the expectations of the local population. The legal proceedings are aimed at temporarily regaining ownership of the land around the mountain that has not been acquired. These lands are used for cross-country skiing, mountain biking and camping. Read more here.

The Timber Chair user frustration has also been strongly communicated on FAR’s recent Instagram post launching their Summer Season Pass sales. See the comments below.

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