Willi Vogl, a ski industry legend and the Canadian face of Warren Miller Entertainment, dropped in to check out the Spring skiing in Fernie this week.
Willi, who was “practically born on skis”, has been involved in the ski business for decades, and for the past 15 years has produced the Warren Miller film tour across Canada. Of course, he has traveled extensively and been featured in Warren Miller films themselves, in addition to producing segments for the famous ski flicks in such far-flung locales as China and Antarctica.
Willi is widely recognized by those ‘in-the-know’ as a tough and sometimes controversial judge of ski resorts. His annual ranking on Warren Miller’s website, skitheworld.com, had Fernie as seventh in the world, just behind international destinations like Whistler, Vail, and Aspen.
So how did Fernie’s Spring skiing stack up for this veteran?
“Fernie’s terrain is phenomenal. The pitches are long and steep with world class tree skiing. I can see why skiers everywhere are talking about Fernie,” he said.
Willi also took the time to sample some local Fernie flavor in places like the Wood, the Old Elevator, the Fernie Meat Market, Jamocha’s, Lizard Creek Lodge and the Blue Toque. The beauty of the Historic Victorian Downtown was of particular surprise to Willi and he was impressed to hear that a revitalization project was to be completed this summer in time for Fernie’s 2004 Centennial.
“This place is perfect for a movie set,” said Willi. “Great skiiing is only part of vacation and Fernie’s great restaurants and unique shopping make this place a must visit.”
As Willi himself has said, the bottom line when it comes to skiing is that he has been just about everywhere, and based on his recent experience of all Fernie has to offer, there’s no doubt that this world traveler will be back again.