About the Fernie Snowmobile Association
British Columbia is a land of supernatural splendor, where the wild meets the wild within us. Fernie Snowmobile Association members are dedicated mountain enthusiasts at heart. We understand what a great opportunity and privilege it is to serve as stewards to some of the best sledding terrain in the Canadian Rockies. Our mission is to maintain, protect, and secure this recreational resource for the future of our community and its visitors.
As a backdrop for world class outdoor opportunities, Fernie attracts recreationalists from around the globe who contribute to our eclectic Rocky Mountain culture. Sledders, snowshoers, fat bikers, skiers and snowboarders all utilize over 114 kilometers of FSA maintained trails and three day use cabins as gateways to their mountain adventures. Snowmobiling’s growing popularity is creating vibrant experiences for residents and tourists alike, jobs in support sectors, and revenue to local businesses. The Fernie Snowmobile Association works cooperatively with other user groups, commercial businesses and government agencies to ensure balanced land use agreements that contribute to a safe and enjoyable mountain experience for all backcountry users.
The Fernie Snowmobile Association was formed as a unified voice on March 1st, 1990 to ensure the continuance of the sport of snowmobiling, to enhance the public image of the sport of snowmobiling, and as a social club for snowmobile enthusiasts. We are primarily a volunteer group that commits time, energy, and personal resources year round to support club efforts. Corporate sponsorship, organized events, trail pass sales, donations and annual government grants provide direct revenue which permits the continued organized efforts required for maintaining operations, trail networks, and cabin systems for the public.
The FSA is steered by a Board of Directors and supported by a strong membership base who meet once a month to discuss operations and direction. Member committees provide detailed task force functions and feedback on activities such as grooming, firewood stocking, events, signage programs, and cabin maintenance. Volunteers are always welcome!
The History of the Doug Dean Trail
In 2010, a few of the older members of the Fernie Snowmobile Association decided that it
was necessary to find a family friendly trail through the Rolling Hills to the Wrangler’s cabin.
As it was at the time, the route was difficult, treacherous, and near impossible for families in
the best of times and trouble when there were whiteout conditions. With more people
staging out of Coal Creek and for safety reasons a family friendly trail was deemed
A lot of talk was generated and finally Wayne Stamler, Jim Thorner, Monty Heather, Mike
Scarpelli and Doug Dean decided that it had to be tackled with sleds. The venture began on
Saturday, February 12, 2011. Seasoned riders, with years of experience struggled to find an
easy way. A second weekend was required and the route was no further ahead. Doug Dean
suggested that this had to be done in the summer by walking with a GPS and taking grades
to allow the SnowCat to be able to groom the trail.
On Monday, August 22, 2011 Doug Dean, with survey tape and a GPS in hand, made an
attempt to venture off the McEvoy FSR in the vicinity of the Wrangler’s cabin to begin the
family friendly trail. Immediately, creeks and drainages were encountered. The SnowCat
was basically limited to less than a 12% grade and that was a serious consideration. A half
day of walking and another half day walking back to the truck and the first leg was marked
with survey tape. The evenings were spent putting the track on Google Earth and checking
the grades and looking for the next days route. Six days in total to walk, flag, and assess
the grade. Some days started by removing the last days tape and doing it over due to
grades that were too steep or finding a better way to cross creeks and drainages. Volunteers
were busy with work and no one was stepping up, so it ended up being a one man job with
the bears/cougars looking on. Bears were sighted on numerous occasions.
On September 14, 2011 the Wrangler’s end was completed and ready for clearing. The next
day, the Rolling Hills cabin end was finished and ready for clearing.
Friday, November 18, 2011 permission came from NARCAN in Ottawa to cut the trail. Ten
days later, Monday, November 28, with the much appreciated help of Steve Temple and Jim
Thorner from Tembec for logistical support, a track hoe & operator (from Florentino
Construction), a safety supervisor (Joe Feeze), and a faller (Todd Hurley) were provided to
start the clearing. The snow was three feet deep and snowshoes were required for the faller
and a swamper (Doug Dean). The track hoe laid down the smaller trees and the faller cut
the larger trees falling them out of the way of the trail. The swamper carried the chainsaw
gas/oil and walked the trail looking for the survey tape. Walk in in the morning and walk out
in the evening taking 5 days to complete the work.
Monday, December 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm the rough work was done with the track hoe. On
Sunday, December 11, Wayne Stamler and Doug Dean started taking the SnowCat over the
trail and we got about one third of the way through. The following Saturday, a club work
party cut stumps and smaller trees and the SnowCat walked the rest of the trail and
intersected with the McEvoy FSR. A great accomplishment and a great family friendly trail
for all to use. President, Paul Kramer was instrumental in naming and suggesting signage be
installed in recognition of the work necessary to accomplish this feat.
The entrance into the Rolling Hills off of the Paiges FSR was accomplished with Mike
Scarpelli Construction and Excavating doing the upgrading of the existing road and laying of
culverts for drainage to access the Rolling Hills cabin site.
With the building of the Rolling Hills cabin in the years following, the Doug Dean trail has
been a very positive asset for the club and it’s members.