- By Matt Coté

A place of immense beauty and adventurou­s terrain, B.C.’S Fernie is ready for her closeup—even if it does have to wait until next season.

Megan Kelly carries herself with an open warmth that’s wholly uncharacte­ristic of her profession. Fourteen years deep into her career, she’s now the assistant ski patrol director of Fernie Alpine Resort’s mountain safety team, one of the burliest mountain squads in Canada. Traditiona­lly the province of hard-nosed autocrats— especially in the Canadian Rockies, a cold, cruel, and jagged range—kelly is no less seasoned or tough, she simply has the confidence to wear her truer self on the outside. “I love to dance, I love to do yoga, I love to do bar ballet,” she says. “Bar ballet is how I got my ski legs, it’s basically what ballerinas use to get strong. Lots of squats, lunges, jumping. Lots of abs, arms, it’s a great workout.” On top of being in charge of about 50 other patrollers and an elite volunteer on the town of Fernie’s search and rescue team, Kelly also teaches dance classes on the side, and is mom to a six-year-old avalanche dog named Mogul, whom she unabashedl­y lathers with public displays of love. In a world wrestling with tradition, identity, and expectatio­n, she’s one of those rare characters defying convention without even thinking about it. “You expect to ski every day, and throw bombs, and maybe save lives,” she ponders when pressed. “But what I didn’t expect was how close you become with your team. Patrolling is a family. We have 53 people who work here and we’re totally different. We have Type A personalit­ies, we have the quiet reserved people, but patrolling brings us together.”

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