This year’s Griz days are in the early planning stages, but the one thing you can count on no matter what the theme, it will be a great party!
Now in its 43rd year, Griz Days will again offer many of the activities locals and visitors alike have come to love. As the Griz roams the community, he will be cheering on competitors in a variety of competitions, with venues spreading out from the downtown core to Fernie Alpine Resort.
In the past, events have included the Baby Griz Crawl, the Junior Griz Training and the Extreme Griz challenge which culminates in the crowning of the King and Queen of the Mountain.
The Griz Craft Fair at the Fernie Community Centre is always a much anticipated event, where talented locals show off handcrafted wares and baked goods.
Saturday’s festivities focus in Station Square in downtown Fernie. Starting in the late afternoon and continuing into the evening the square will be the venue for a variety of activities including live music, food trucks, a beer garden, and, of course, spectacular reworks.
One of the most popular events, the Griz Days Parade, will be the highlight of the evening as it winds down 2nd Avenue in the early evening. Each year the parade gets bigger and better, attracting more participants for this crowd favourite.
The Dummy Downhill, held at Fernie Alpine Resort on Sunday, is a chance for the more tactile and creative to see if they can build the ultimate ski jumping machine. These creations, built from cardboard to paper mache to wood, slide down a steep runway on skis or snowboards in an attempt to y the highest and go the farthest – and to have the most spectacular crash. It is the perfect ending to a weekend filled with fun and festivities.
Legend of the Griz
According to local legend, Fernie was not always blessed with an abundance of powder. It took a local man, a hero in these parts, to coax the snow out of the sky, gracing the region with an astounding amount of snowfall annually. That man is known as the “Griz”.
The tale of the Griz begins in 1879 when a local man claimed he saw a boy dressed in bearskin coat and hat, but none of the townsfolk believed the man’s tale and the sighting was nearly forgotten.
Years later, the Griz was once again spotted. Backcountry skiers ascending the peaks of the Lizard Range near Fernie Alpine Resort spotted the Griz lumbering through a snowstorm and wielding an eight-foot musket. No longer a boy, the witnesses said the Griz was a man of average height, but with shoulders six feet wide. As the skiers watched in awe, the Griz pointed his musket to the sky and red off a shot, prompting a massive snowfall.
In his honour and to celebrate the snow, the people of Fernie hold a festival every March known as “Griz Days”. If these celebrations are pleasing to the Griz, he blankets the mountain with Fernie’s legendary powder:
For more information on Griz Days, the events and the venues, visit Ferniegrizdays. com or drop by the Chamber of Commerce.
See you there, and may the Griz smile on all of us!