ERICH LEIDUMS

What makes Fernie special to you? 

I grew up in a town similar to Fernie.  It was similar in the sense that on weekends the amount of visitors overwhelmed the locals.  Many loved to complain about the crowded shops, the lack of parking and couldn’t wait until “tourist season” was over.  I also learned that it was possible to embrace the visitors – welcome them and encourage them to enjoy, take care and love the place that we call home.

I have since grown and reflected upon my childhood experiences reveling in the fact that it makes sense to settle down and build a life in a place that so many people love to visit.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to strike the balance between life and work in Fernie and are required to reside in a not so sought after place!

Over the years as a paramedic I have connected with many people and families who have made Fernie their home for multiple generations.  Through these experiences and conversations I have been lucky to catch glimpses of the old Fernie.  I really enjoy how this town has a certain kind of “substance” to it that other tourist towns lack.  The diversity of the community members is just one of many reasons why I feel Fernie is a great town to raise our two boys.  I also am excited to begin showing my kids all of the reasons why this town is so busy on weekends!


What makes you proud to be Canadian?

I love that in many places in Canada you can experience 4 seasons. The changing seasons makes recreating and traveling through the vast wilderness and natural spaces that much more diverse and interesting.  I am proud that I enjoy moving throughout the Canadian wilderness regardless of the season or mode of transport. The diverse landscape has done a good job attracting a diverse group of people making Canada their home.  In a world seemingly becoming more and more fearful and disconnected I value that Canadians are still welcoming and open.


What is your Fernie story?

I came for the skiing 6 years ago.  I was a rambling, travelling, seasonal worker who spent his winters ski patrolling and summers paddling.  At age 25 there was no end in sight as to where I would rest my hat.  On Jan 17th, 2012, I experienced one of the most memorable days of my life.  Skiing 100cm of champagne powder as the first date with one of the most attractive and fearless skiers I have ever met was sure to leave an impression.  Even though I had fallen in love with the snow, a girl and the mountain, it wasn’t until the unexpected birth of our first child did I realize that Fernie chose me.

Things changed fast!  Everything happens for a reason and I could not be happier with the path I am on. Since that incredible first date, we have had two kids, purchased and renovated our first house and started a non-profit organization called Outdoor Connections.  Through all of this, I have managed to keep working as a ski patroller maintaining skiing as one of the top priorities of our family.

Although my life is drastically different from when I first arrived I am grateful to become a member of this community and contribute to the next chapter of Fernie as I write the next chapter of my journey.