July 3rd, 2018

Fernie Snowmobile Club Launches Fundraiser for New Wrangler’s Cabin

The Fernie Snowmobile Association (FSA) will build a new Wrangler’s Cabin this summer to replace the aging multi-use backcountry shelter. To support the new Wrangler’s Cabin project and other annual operating expenses, the FSA has recently launched a sponsorship and volunteer campaign called, “Let’s Raise the Roof.”


Fernie Snowmobile Club Launches Fundraiser for New Wrangler’s Cabin

Early July finds most sleds tucked in for the summer. Powder dreams are deferred until the first frost of fall. That is, unless you are a Fernie Snowmobile Association volunteer.

In this resource-extraction turned tourism-recreation shift-work town, the sledders never sleep. This is a town where snowmobiling burns like coal in the soul. Where summer is just another opportunity to get ready for winter. Khaki-clad fly fishermen float the famous freestone valley bottom. Mountain bikers hit the singletrack ride-and-repeat-button on the valley walls. And just a few ridges up and over from the modern hustle and bustle, the FSA is industriously building a new snowmobile cabin for winter recreationalists.


New Wrangler's Cabin


History of the Wrangler’s Cabin

The original Wrangler’s Cabin, located in the Morrissey Minnesota Flats area, was constructed to support the Elk Valley Wrangler’s Equestrian Club. It has undergone many patchwork renovations over the years by dedicated families and the Fernie Snowmobile Association in joint efforts to preserve the historic resource. It is currently used as a backcountry warming shelter for winter day users. When the snow melts, the Wrangler’s society uses the cabin to host youth horseback rides and overnight pack trips. The shelter has also been required on several occasions as an emergency base for organized backcountry rescues. It is open for public use year-round.


New Wrangler's Cabin

The original Wrangler’s Cabin.


However, during Winter 2018, the aging plywood-clad facility was deemed no longer compatible with user numbers. It was also determined to be well beyond any further repair efforts. As the only revenue-generating user group, the FSA is spearheading a rebuild of the facility in partnership with the Elk Valley Wranglers and the Columbia Basin Trust.


New Wrangler’s Cabin Design

The new Wrangler’s Cabin will utilize two modified sea-can shipping containers. Sea-cans offer a securable structure that is generally wildfire and wildlife resistant. In addition, they are cost-effective and long-lasting. The sea-cans will be clad with a mountain-modern exterior and interior finishings. A single-pitch roof and exterior porch timber are designed to withstand the on-average 29 feet of snowfall the valley receives each winter. The design will be similar to the three new staging area kiosks built by the FSA last winter. Blueprints are currently undergoing final engineering review.


New Wrangler's Cabin

The new Wrangler’s Cabin will use two sea-cans—which arrived in late June—for structure.


Wrangler’s Cabin Fundraising Objective

To keep trail use fees financially accessible for users, the FSA relies on injections from community partners. Dollars, labor or materials in-kind are typically donated for these supplemental infrastructure projects. Last year, the organization successfully partnered with the energy and tourism sector to purchase a 2008 Prinoth Bison snowcat groomer capable of maintaining their 160 km of managed trails.


New Wrangler's Cabin


To support the new Wrangler’s Cabin project and other annual operating expenses, the FSA has recently launched their 2018/19 “Let’s Raise the Roof” sponsorship campaign. The campaign details are available for download at The FSA will also honor work-in-kind from their trail users this summer. Furthermore, discounts on annual memberships will be offered in exchange for volunteer hours invested on project work party days!


– Nicole