Fernie is full of passion. Arguably, first and foremost, many are die hard skiers or snowboarders and enjoy all the perks that come with having Fernie Alpine Resort in their backyard. However, outside of the resort there are plenty of other fun things to do and see in Fernie, B.C. If you’re looking to venture further into the Fernie culture, here are some suggestions to help you plan the perfect Fernie itinerary:
Ghostriders Hockey Game
Named after the Legend of the Ghostrider, the locals in Fernie are super into their hockey and extremely (borderline obsessively so) supportive of their team – similar to the rest of Canada. If you’re in town during a Ghostriders game it would be an outrage to not see it!
Check out the Ghostriders schedule on their website. Photo courtesy of Ghostriders flickr.
Read about the Legend of the Ghostrider.
Take a Hot Tub Time Machine Tour
That’s right, Hot Tub Time Machine. The popular 2010 John Cusack movie was filmed largely in Fernie, some of the filming locations include Main Street (2nd Ave), The Brickhouse on 2nd Ave, The Plaza at Fernie Alpine Resort. Stop by and see if you can recognize Fernie disguised as the fictional Kodiak Valley from the movie.
Visit the Miners Tour & City Hall
Fernie, like many B.C towns, owes a lot of their history to mining. Outside the architecturally pleasing City Hall is a shrine to the miners that made its history, paved with 300 bricks with the names of miners and mining families. Walk through the set up and read educational plaques and learn about history through interactive features.
Also nearby for a visit are the Fernie Courthouse, Museum, Arts Station and Heritage Library. More info.
Go for a Winter Bike
New this season, dedicated trails and rental bikes for Winter Fat Biking! Monster tires and low gearing means biking in the snow is easy and fun for both first timers and seasoned cyclists. Take a tour – the resort will offer rental bikes and tours/lessons with guides this winter. More info.
Eat Delicious Food
Like most cool little towns, Fernie has a thriving food industry. With many places to dine including some gems like The Loaf or The Brickhouse on ‘main street’ or Yamagoya Sushi. Stay tuned for another article featuring the best places to eat in Fernie!
Visit the Spa
With a few spas to choose from in Fernie, you can stay on mountain and enjoy the Lizard Creek Lodge spa or venture into town. What better way to feel great after a long day of riding the pow than to have a relaxing massage? For a full list of available spas visit the Tourism Fernie website.
Snowshoeing/Cross Country Skiing
Fernie Alpine Resort and the surrounding area has an extensive network of cross country ski trails and snowshoeing trails. The trails at the resort are regularly maintained (groomed & trackset) and are multi-use trails, free of charge. Snowshoe and Nordic ski rentals as well as guided tours are available at the resort, or roam around on your own and enjoy nature’s tranquility (maps and signage on the trails will let you know where to go). In addition, the Fernie Nordic Society maintains a great network of trails at the provincial park and golf course (membership or day use fee required).
Words by Cali Sammel
Photos by Fernie Ghostriders, Fernie Alpine Resort and Cali Sammel
Confession – before my wife and I had kids I would walk across a few football fields of parking lot to get to the lifts if it meant my efforts would be rewarded with fresh tracks. However now that I have a family, the expression “ski in-ski out” has the same dreamy connotations for me as the words “free beer.” Except unlike the latter, ski in- ski out actually exists. It took me just a couple of trips across the ski resort parking lot, with multiple pairs of skis stacked in my arms like firewood, while coaxing kids with promises of hot chocolate before even completing a single run, to truly realize that the way accommodation is situated in relation to the lifts can make a huge difference to the quality of a holiday at the ski hill.
That’s why, Fernie Alpine Resort got it right when they designed and developed the chalet style Lizard Creek Lodge, one of the first luxury boutique ski-ski out lodges in Fernie when it first opened in 2000. The Lizard is convenience defined. If you want, you could soak in the lodge’s outdoor hot tub and almost carry on a conversation with a friend about to board the Elk Chair a few ski lengths away. That’s how close and convenient Lizard Creek Lodge is to the action the slope. The lodge’s legendary great room is undergoing a transformation for this season, that will retain the space’s warm mountain aesthetic but with the added touch of an ice lounge and sushi bar.
Ski in – ski out also defines the aptly named Slopeside Inn near the resort plaza, and the Thunder Ridge Chalets, beautifully arranged in wooded settings next to the Elk Chair. And if you want an extended lunch or mid-day beverage, slide to a stop at the base area’s Mountain Plaza, warm up in Kelsey’s On The Mountain or polish the tables with the sleeves of ski sweater at the hallowed Griz Bar. Afterward, click into your bindings and slide down to the lift and hop on, or to the door of your lodge. It may seem like a small detail, but it’s one that counts. At Fernie you want to leave it all on the slopes, whether it’s exploring powder lines and steeps in the resort’s five Lizard Range alpine bowls, or lapping top to bottoms with the kids on the Elk Chair – after all who wants to schlep across parking lots, with tired kids in tow, when you can ski in and ski out. Words that are magic to any family’s ears.
Words by Andrew Findlay
Snow, that’s why! We’re off to a snowy start here at Fernie Alpine Resort, with the snow in fact first falling at the beginning of September right as we were closing down our summer operations! While it made a brief disappearance so far in October, it returned this week and is a great sign for the upcoming ski season.
It started with a brief dusting overnight the weekend
And continued into Tuesday!
So get ready to get in line for first chair! Opening date is tentatively scheduled for December 4th, stay tuned to our online events calendar for updates closer to the date.
Dogs have been man’s best friend since they were domesticated some 40,000 years ago. Since then their role in society has been shaped by their loyalty and ability to work closely with their human owners. Dogs have been used in avalanche rescue situations since at least the early 1900’s. With their heightened sense of smell, tracking abilities and agility outdoing all human efforts they are some of the greatest rescue assistants.
Meet our avalanche rescue dogs who live and train with lucky members of our ski patrol team. They are a vital asset when there is an emergency situation on the mountain and have helped out on more than a few occasions.
(ski patrol assistant – Forest)
Like many avalanche dogs, Tarn started training to be able to find people in an avalanche situation at just 8 weeks old. Now 6 years old (turning 7 in January 2016) him and his human assistant Forest are daily companions. They ride the lift together in the morning, (occasionally mixing it up with a snowmobile instead) and ski down to the base at the end of the day. On a usual day at work for Tarn, there’s time for a little bit of play at the patrol shack at the top of the mountain although he’s always ready for a rescue mission if need be. Watch our Youtube video to learn more about the ski patrol program at Fernie and to see Tarn working and playing around on the mountain.
(ski patrol assistant – Steve)
Another one of our veteran avalanche rescue dogs, Neko – now 5 years old, has taken part in several rescues. Working closely with his human assistant Steve, they have over 35 years of combined search & rescue and ski patrol experience.
Neko is an extremely friendly and personable dog, here he is (below) teaching us about his job during our Avalanche Awareness Days, held annually each January (and getting in a photo bomb while he’s at it). This season’s event is scheduled for January 16th, 2016, check out our online events calendar for more information closer to the event date.
And now introducing some of our junior program members, training to take their certification courses soon;
Mogul & Tabor
Mogul is a one and a half year old German shepherd (left) he’s in training to become an avalanche rescue dog and has his exam this January on Whistler. His human assistant, Megan Kelly, has been a ski patroller for nine years at Fernie. When not training, Mogul loves playing with his favourite toy a ball on a rope. You can see him and Megan from Wednesday’s to Friday’s at the top of the mountain practicing his obedience and having lots of fun! Tabor and his human assistant Sean (right) are training for his exam, coming up soon. This will be Tabor’s first winter season at Fernie Alpine Resort – welcome to the team Tabor! Tabor fun fact – him and Neko are half brothers!
Find out more about our Avalanche dog & ski patrol program at on our Ski Patrol page.
Did you know?
Cats also assist our team at Fernie, watch this super serious and definitely informative video here.
Words by Cali Sammel with contributions by Steve Morrison, Jeni Pearson & Megan Kelly.
Photos by Fernie Alpine Resort Ski Patrol & Vinnie Mo.
Feature photo by Dave Watts.
Have you ever gone on a ski or snowboard trip and looked around at the staff that you meet throughout your day and secretly say to yourself “I wish I could do that”. If you have ever debated spending a season working in the mountains, there is no better time to quit your day job, pack up your skis or snowboards, book a job fair interview and head on over to Fernie Alpine Resort.
If you still need a bit more convincing, here are 5 tempting reasons to help you make up your mind.
1) This could be your office
While your other friends are sitting in their cubicles staring at computer screens, you will be breathing in the fresh, mountain air.
2) New BFF’s
You will meet people during your time at Fernie Alpine Resort who will become life-long friends. Even though you came from different walks of life and different parts of the world, you are all here for the same reason. Thanks to that instant bond of the “love of mountains and snow” you will quickly become friends. You will work, eat, ski and party with these people for the next 5 months, and the good times you share will create friendships that will last long after your paths depart. Plus, after a season in Fernie you will friends and couches to crash on all over the world.
3) Staff Parties
As a staff member you will get to attend the infamous staff parties (so legendary that non-staff always try to sneak in) but you’ll have a front row ticket! Dinner, dancing, prizes, Griz Bar table sli…oops can’t reveal too many of the staff party secrets, you’ll have to experience it yourself.
4) Legendary Powder
Free skiing and snowboarding is what it’s all about. There is nothing better than the feeling of skiing or riding down the mountain through Fernie’s legendary powder…it’s the stuff dreams are made of and you are right here to experience it for yourself!
5) Live Your Dreams
Working at Fernie Alpine Resort is an experience that you will never forget. Do you want to keep your comfortable life or would you rather follow a passion and see where it takes you? Hunter S Thompson got it right when he said “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’ ”
So what’s stopping you?
Image this. Standing on the edge of a massive alpine bowl, peering down at the absolutely epic vastness of it and nearly drooling at the pristinely perfect powder it laden with below you. Now imagine not 1, not 2, not even 3 of these bowls but 5 huge alpine bowls (all in one spot) and you’ve got Fernie Alpine Resort.
Fernie Alpine Resort, located in Fernie, B.C, is one of those places people would refer to as a hidden gem. It hasn’t yet been discovered by the masses and as a result is a large ski resort, with a massive amount of terrain known for its uncrowded slopes (and of course for up to 37 feet of powder a season). Of the people who have been lucky enough to discover Fernie, or even luckier yet, to live in Fernie, most have a strong opinion of their favourite terrain to ride at the resort and why. Here are some tips on where to check out (but you didn’t hear this from us);
No, not the food. Currie Bowl is loved by the more extreme rider, drop into Currie for some of the best steeps on the mountain.
“I love Currie bowl for many different reasons. The famed Currie rope drop, the whole Concussion zone and Alpha Centari just to name a few. But the main reason is it accesses the Big 3. For me there is no better situation at FAR than being the first track down Skydive on a pow day. Top to bottoming that beast is the best feeling in the world. You definitely deserve some Griz Bar pints after picking off all 3!”
– Kieran Summers, Owner Giv’Er Shirtworks
You’ll be hard pressed to find a rider who doesn’t love White Pass or Surprize. Timber is laden with challenging terrain coming in through the trees but also has some slightly easier and wide open spots, like Shaky Acres. This bowl accommodates almost any skier/rider (plus you get to show off your skills for all those on the chairlift as you pass below) and everyone likes a show off, right?
“Timber is sick because of the trees that catch the pow pow, you can access in the trees from either Timber Chair or Whitepass chair. If you hit Whitepass chair and drop skiers right (lookers left) you can grab that pow hidden in the trees rapid fire over and over again, and it gets boring fast…….NOT.”
– Mark Kowalchuk, co-owner of Artschool Skateboards & Clayman Ltd.
Siberia Bowl is known for its long and vast runs, where you might not see another rider for days. If you’re looking for untouched, hidden powder, Siberia Bowl is the place to check out.
“A lot of people think that as soon as you get off the chair you should instantly go right instead of heading straight – they would be wrong.”
– Lynch from X92.9 Calgary’s Best Rock Alternative
Arguably the favourite bowl at Fernie Alpine Resort, Lizard is great for the thrill seeker. Home to the locals’ favourite area Easter Bowl, Lizard is also the location of the Headwall, where pro athletes gather each season in an epic race and compete for great prizes in the Monster Enemy Lines event.
“The lizard bowl is like falling for the girl in the hot miniskirt and realizing she’s as kind as the girl next door”
– Tyler, Fernie Ski Patrol
Cedar Bowl is a local favourite with lots of natural rollers and fall lines, providing amazing vista’s and views. Snake Ridge stays freshest the longest and you can get in some great long laps.
“Haul Back, Boom, Repeat!”
-Paul Whitham, Sales at RCR
With over 2500 acres of skiable terrain many of which are in the bowls, possibly the only problem you’ll run into while riding at Fernie Alpine Resort, is not having enough time to ride it all. But that’s okay, it’s just gives you another excuse to come back!
If you could design the perfect ski town it would look like Fernie. Except Fernie, tucked into the mountains of southeastern BC, comes by its charm naturally. Brick and wood heritage buildings, which hearken to the town’s rich mining history, line inviting downtown streets where boutique cafes and gear shops reveal Fernie’s modern incarnation as a ski and outdoor paradise. Gaze south from the town along the Elk River Valley and you’ll be dazzled by the tantalizing five-pack of alpine bowls – Siberia, Cedar, Timber, Currie and Lizard – that unfold from the rugged Lizard Range and comprise the diversity of terrain that makes Fernie Alpine Resort a bucket list item for skiers from around the world. Ten lifts service 10 square kilometres of terrain with a vertical drop of nearly 1100 metres, and home to an astounding 142 named runs. That doesn’t even include the dreamy glades and secret tree skiing stashes too numerous to be known by anything other than local names. And then there’s the snow. Nature pays special attention to the legendary Lizard Range, a magical piece of geology that puts the lie to the claim that it never really snows in the Canadian Rockies. Fernie Alpine Resort boasts by far the deepest snowpack of any ski area in the Rockies, with an average nine metres of annual snowfall. From my home on the West Coast of BC, I’ve monitored Fernie snow reports over the years with the intense envy that only numbers like “-10C” and “30 cms of fresh” can induce in a ski bum like me.
But Fernie offers more than alpine bowls and steep tree skiing. Some mountains simply work well for families. Fernie is one such resort. When you stay on mountain, you can park your car and leave it in the underground parkade, whether it’s Lizard Creek Lodge or one of the other on hill accommodations. There’s no dreading the morning ritual of herding gear and kids across endless parking lots before you even get a glimpse of a chairlift. Plenty of thought went into the design and layout of the Fernie base area, ensuring that condos and lodges were located within easy striking distance of the lifts and ticket office. Put simply, Fernie embodies the ski in, ski out ethic. Click in, and slide down to the lift; it doesn’t get any easier. Advanced riders can feast on steep alpine and sub-alpine terrain like Corner Pocket, a spicy couloir that deposits you atop Lizard Bowl, or Gotta Go a steep drop through glades that funnel into Currie Bowl. Kids and beginners can get their kicks on the lower half of the mountains on green circle and blue square groomers, or in the mini terrain park, never far from a hot chocolate or a soak in the hot tub back at the slope side condo or lodge, where you can
rehearse your favorite lines from Hot Tub Time Machine (in 2009 Fernie was temporarily transformed into a 1980s ski resort for the filming of this John Cusack sci-fi comedy classic.) On those days when the family needs to rest the legs, or simply wants the afternoon off, you can hop in the car and in 15 minutes be strolling along main street Fernie, perusing for deals in the ski and outdoor shops, or enjoying an espresso or gelato at the Beanpod. Or perhaps the adults will sneak away for a craft brew tasting at Fernie Brewing Company on the outskirts of town. There’s a synergy in the Elk Valley that brings skiers and riders back time and time again. Fernie Alpine resort and the historic town of Fernie don’t compete for the visitor’s attention; they complement one another, and enhance the experience of skiing at a world class resort and soaking in the ambiance of an authentic mountain town with a long history of skiing and adventure.
Photos by Henry Georgi & Robin Siggers
There is no denying it, Fernie is a town that likes to party. And party hard! Perhaps the only thing that outweighs fun in this town is the shared love of outdoor adventure. The last weekend in June is a prime example of the most fantastic collection of Fernie festivals, including the grand opening on Fernie Alpine Resort’s Legendary Summer, the Roll & Sole Trail fest and the Fernie 3! Keep the party going until Monday and top it all off with local jam night at the Kodiak Lounge.
Fernie Alpine Resort Opening Day
June 27th kicks off two months of summer fun at Fernie Alpine Resort. The bike park is one of the best in the country, while some of the newer summer activity features draw guests from all around including the Aerial Park and Zipline. With this season seeing a new trail connecting the resort to the town’s nearby provincial park (Old Growth Cedar Trail) the experience of riding the lift and hiking or walking down to the park below can’t be beat! More info.
Roll & Sole Trail Fest
June 27th – 29th
The Roll & Sole fest was introduced last summer by the Fernie Trail Alliance. A celebration of hiking, biking and running outdoors in Fernie! Participate with the whole family in events like the Bike Toss Challenge, Kids Scavenger Hunts or Obstacle course races. If competing isn’t your thing, stop by for the lunch social, beverage garden and live entertainment! More info.
June 26th – 29th
Known as Fernie’s biggest cross country mountain bike race, the Fernie 3 is a 3 day event of single track riding. A race catering to kids, new riders or veterans, every participant receives a collectible finishers tshirt! More info.
A visit to Fernie really isn’t complete until you’ve experienced the local culture, one of the best places to do so is in the Kodiak Lounge located in the Raging Elk Hostel. Finish off your weekend on Monday night instead of Sunday and check out the local jam night starting at 8:30pm. If you don’t want to leave after your time here, sorry, it’s not our fault it’s so awesome in Fernie.
Coming to town for the weekend? Book a spot at the sensible Fernie Slopeside Lodge and don’t spend a bundle on accomm (spend it on fun)!
Over the past few summers with significant improvements made to our bike park and through hosting some major mountain biking competition events, Fernie is becoming more and more known as a top summer biking destination. We couldn’t agree more as Fernie is named in one of the #bestincanada on WestJet’s blog.
“Besides the feeling of freedom that comes with cranking the pedals on a sunny afternoon, mountain biking is not too shabby and should get your priorities straight. So grab the handle bars as we check out the top 10 places for mountain bike vacations in Canada. The key is finding the right place to ride, but don’t worry- in Canada we are fortunate to have some of the best mountain bike destinations in North America. From single track to downhill crazies to rails to trails, there’s something for everyone in each one of these mountain bike destinations.”
Read more on the WestJet Blog