TEAM FBC MEMBER INTERVIEWS.
EPISODE 2, SUE FLEMMING
If there was ever a woman to exude the essence of true mountain living, it would be Sue Flemming. A woman who not only runs crazy distances, skis like it’s her day job, and loves to rip it up on a mountain bike – but she does it all with a smile on her face, and a zest for life that inspires everyone around her. In her words, she is “too busy running and biking over the hills to be considered over the hill!”
Originally from Alberta, Sue called Fernie home in the 90’s, before heading to the Land Down Under for work. Decades (and many travels) later, her passion for adventure called her back to Fernie to run, bike and ski her way through the mountains that stole her heart all those years ago.
When not traversing across mountains or travelling to distant countries, you’ll likely spot Sue reliving her escapades on a patio somewhere – with a crisp can of Project 9 Pils in hand, of course. And that’s what we call balance.
So let your hair down, grab a cold one, and join us for an inspiring, stoke-filled interview with none other than #TeamFBC athlete, Sue!
FBC: For starters, tell us a little bit about yourself! Where did your passion for adventuring begin and how did you find yourself in Fernie?
Sue: I’m originally a prairie girl from Edmonton who as a teenager made multiple trips to Jasper with my best friend. We would camp in the summer and sleep on her uncle’s basement floor in the winter to be able to ski as much as possible. Fast forward to the 90’s, after an 8 year stint working in Australia, my husband, two kids and myself found ourselves living in Fernie which I fondly called my happy place. Job opportunities then took us back to Australia and now after 25 years I am finally back in my happy place for good. I feel so lucky to live in Fernie and have a variety of activities to choose from. Whether it is 30 above or 30 below there is always something fun to do in our little valley.
FBC: Sounds like you’ve done a lot of travelling! You work in the travel industry, right?
Sue: I am a self confessed travel addict, so working in the biz was a no-brainer. I specialize in active hiking, biking and outdoor adventures. The pandemic has slowed things down, which was a nice break for me, but now things are ramping up again and I am back planning a few group departures to Italy and Africa as well as multiple bike trips for clients. I have the most amazing clients who are game to try almost any adventure I suggest – many have been working with me for over 20 years and we’ve become friends.
FBC: I’m sure you’ve had some pretty great experiences on all of your travels and adventures. Any that stick out?
Sue: Wow, too many to list but I’d say seeing the wildebeest migration in Tanzania was one of those “take your breath away moments”. Wildebeest are the funniest of creatures – you could have a herd as large as 5,000-10,000 standing on the banks of the Mara River looking to cross to the other side. They wait for one brave soul to enter the croc-infested waters then it’s game on and they all go. It may be two days or two weeks, and then one bewildered cow decides the grass is greener on the other side and they do it all over again.
FBC: Must be such an amazing sight to see! Apart from travelling, you’re a great runner too. Is that your favourite way to adventure through the mountains?
Sue: Running was something I had to do to chase a ball or end a triathlon, so I never really called myself a runner. About 7 years ago my good friend helped me train for a few Half Ironman races and we did all our running in the Edmonton River Valley, which has the most amazing trail network for a city. I think that was the big turning point – running more for pleasure than for speed and time. From there my husband, (who I really consider the runner in the family) asked me to join him on some ultra trail races and we’ve been doing them as a team or individually ever since. There’s something to be said about throwing away your watch and just taking in the beauty of your surroundings.
FBC: You’re amazing! Any big plans for the summer, or goals you’d like to reach?
Sue: We plan on keeping it pretty local this summer – running, biking and paddling around Fernie with our rescue dog Avi. We’re hoping this year she becomes fonder of the water and we can take her out on the boards with us. We have a few more team ultras lined up for August and September, as well as Stag Leap’s Lone Wolf race here in Fernie. Goals? Keep healthy and fit so we can keep running of course!
FBC: We’ll be right there cheering you on from the sidelines! Although it’s a little early to ask, do you have any winter adventures planned?
Sue: Skiing, skiing and more skiing. With the pandemic last year we had to curb our overseas travel which gave us the opportunity do do a ton of skiing. I met up with an old ski school buddy and had some stellar powder lessons so I hope to be putting all that technique into practice this year. We will start praying to The Griz early!!
FBC: You sure know how to make the most of every season, Sue! Do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share with everyone before you head off?
Sue: I am going to quote a friend for this one. “Use the resources you have available to do the things you want to do for as long as you can”. I will add to that to just keep getting out there, and doing what makes you happy. We only have one life to live so let’s make it a great one!
Ain’t that the truth! Thanks so much for hanging out, and sharing that #FernieStoke with us Sue!
To stay in the loop with Sue and all her runs, travels, and stories, check out her Instagram page @sueflemming58.