Fernie Resort developer

Passing Date: 
Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fernie Alpine Resort developer Heiko Socher, 86, died October 8, 2016. Born in Berlin, Germany, Socher immigrated to British Columbia as a teenager shortly after World War II, and studied forestry at the University of British Columbia, where he joined the ski team and the outing club. With the club, he became an expert backcountry skier in the mountains of Garibaldi Provincial Park.

After settling in Fernie in 1966, Socher got involved with the small locally owned ski hill, Snow Valley. With his wife Linda, he founded its first ski school. In 1972, they acquired 30-percent ownership of the lift operation, and Socher took over as manager. He cleared the trails, selling the timber and removing stumps so the area could operate on a minimal snow base. He built the base lodge, put up new lifts, and marketed the resort across the region. Fernie Snow Valley achieved a reputation for great powder and steep terrain.

In 1997, Socher sold the ski area to Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, and retired. He remained active in the community, building hiking trails and helping to preserve Fernie’s historic downtown district. In recent years he helped to develop plans for a proposed major resort, Heaven’s Gate, rising from a gondola station in downtown Fernie.

He is survived by his wife Linda and their children, Ralf and Elke (husband Bruce) and grandchildren Jex and Kida.

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