Fernie and Fernie Alpine Resort Winter Season
Imagine arriving at a crossroads and finding a sign that reads Powder Highway. What would you do? Well, you’d take that road, of course. Say it once or twice out loud. “Powder Highway.” It has an alluring sound, doesn’t it? A sort of “I dare you not to drive it,” quality that spells road trip.
There are few things I enjoy more than loading skis into the roof box, packing a change of long underwear, extra gloves and toques, bags of chips and whatever other road trip indulgences you desire, then hitting the highway. The Powder Highway cuts through the Canadian Rockies and Columbia Mountains, a region of such staggering density in skiing and snowboarding opportunities, be it resort, cat, heli and backcountry, that you’ll be struck with an option paralysis of the favorable kind; a too-much-of-a-good-thing problem that we skiers and boarders love to have. Assemble your favorite winter superlatives – steep, deep, blower, big vert, cruisy, epic, etcetera – and that pretty much sums up the Powder Highway.
At Fernie Alpine Resort, the lifts service five alpine bowls in the legendary Lizard Range of the Canadian Rockies blessed with snow as light as the down in your puffy jacket.
Kimberley Alpine Resort, a little off the beaten track, has always been a breeding ground of ski racing talent with its fall line groomers and spacious terrain.
At Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, the Eagle Express Gondola shuttles skiers and boarders to the top of the Dogtooth Range in the Purcell Mountains in a more than 4000 vertical foot butterflies-in-the-stomach ascent. From the top terminal, choose your adventure. A cruisy top to bottom groomer that will have the legs burning, or perhaps a boot pack to the top of Feuz Bowl or T1 followed by a drop into a spicy 45 alpine chute.
Then there are the towns, archetypal ski communities. Not cookie cutter prefab creations but towns with heart and history.
Fernie, with its main street lined in heritage buildings, steeped in the tradition of 19th century mining, where skiing has a long history dating back more than 50 years. Kimberley and its quaint Bavarian motif, also oozing with colourful mining and pioneering history.
And Golden near the confluence of the Kicking Horse and mighty Columbia River and at the foot of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, where a tradition of mountain adventure has its roots in the golden era of railroading in Canada when Swiss guides arrived in the late 1800’s to explore the vast wildness of Canada’s mountains, many of them settling in and around Golden.
While a love of skiing will lead you to the Powder Highway, the towns, real mountain towns full of real mountain people, will steal a piece of your heart. On a rest day, after exploring between Fernie and Kimberley, drive up the beautiful Columbia Valley, next to frozen lakes and wetlands that spring to life in summer. Pull into the HQ of legendary Kicking Horse Coffee in Invermere, where the smell of roasting beans drifts in the air. Fill up with a mug of Kick Ass coffee, relax, and dream about the turns and terrain that awaits at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. A little further north, slip into Radium Hot Springs, and watch wild Big Horn Sheep scale the surrounding cliffs. How many more reasons do you need to explore the Powder Highway? Next step – pack your ski bags, load the vehicle and hit the road – your idea of the perfect winter road trip will be changed forever!
Words: Andrew Findlay
Photos: Love Street Media, Raven Eye Photography, Antoine Caron Cabana, Henry Georgi & Tourism Golden
NEW this winter at Fernie Alpine Resort & Lizard Creek Lodge.
The Powder & Ice package!
This new vacation package bundles your accommodations with a day of Cat Skiing with Fernie Wilderness Adventures and 2 days of skiing at Fernie Alpine Resort!
You’ll stay at the 4.5 star Lizard Creek Lodge, a recommended property on TripAdvisor with a idyllic slopeside ski and ski out location at Fernie Alpine Resort. Debuted last season at Lizard Creek Lodge was the opening of the Ice Bar – enter the subzero room, made out of blocks of ice, and sample craft vodkas out of ice glasses. The new Ice Bar is a one of a kind experience not to be missed while in Fernie.
Let the Powder Fly and then hit the new Ice Bar!
With over 5,000 acres with a variety of Ridges to begin your descents from. The guides at Fernie Wilderness Company have a vast variety to choose from, the terrain ranges from ridges, valleys’ to spectacular gladed meadows. With the elevation at over 7,150 ft / 2170 meters the conditions keep the snow falling from the Coast and dry powder perfect for skier and snowboarders to enjoy world renowned Canadian Rockies.
Coming winter 2016, booking will be available soon.
Our winter Early Bird season pass sale ends on Saturday, June 25th, order your season pass or multi week ski school lesson online through the RCR Webstore before the deadline for the best savings of next season.
Don’t forget about those lessons! Get the kids in multi week programs or sign up for one yourself and brush up on skills. Kids & Teen lessons available as well as Ladies Clubs, the Breakfast Club and more for adults. View and buy ski school programs through the RCR Webstore.
NEW this year buy a $500 Food & Beverage card for just $399 when purchased with your season pass! Find out more about this new Member Benefit and all the others on the RCR Webstore.
That’s what the experts are saying. And while many people across Canada may be rolling their eyes, for winter outdoor enthusiasts it’s music to their ears.
What is La Nina anyways?
La Niña is the positive phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation and is associated with cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. (According to Wikipedia)
Okay, but what does that really mean?
According to Dave Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada – “In B.C. there is a high probability that we can expect a more frigid winter. A little cooler, a little bit more snow..”
Read more about what exactly La Nina means and more from Dave Phillips on the CBC website.
For a longer and even more scientific explanation of La Nina visit the Weather Network website.
La Nina = Happy Skiers & Snowboarders
Don’t forget to order your Fernie Season Pass before the end of the Early Bird Season pass sale on June 25th – order online through the RCR webstore now!
The World Ski Awards have released their 4th annual nominee list and Fernie Alpine Resort has been chosen as an option to be named Canada’s Best Ski Resort for 2016! Fernie needs your vote to win! Voting is now open and runs until September 23, 2016.
Vote on the World Ski Awards website today.
We’re proud to be recipients of the 2016 TripAdvisor Award of Excellence. Now in its sixth year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.
Thank you for your great reviews and helping Fernie Alpine Resort receive this prestigious award!
View our reviews or leave your own on our TripAdvisor page.
Monster Energy decended on Fernie Alpine Resort -March 18 & 19 for the Monster Energy Boarderstyle event. Boarderstyle is a mixture of a slopestyle and boardercross course with obstacles along the way. The first time the event has left Whistler – Fernie Alpine Resort was excited to be a national qualifier stop for this unique event.
37 men and women took up the challenge and raced down the custom designed course that featured berms, rollers, drops, a skim pond and a feature jump at the end. Although competitors raced each other in heats of 4, speed was not the only determining factor in who moved on each heat. There was a mandatory spin off the final feature jump for the men and women (while not mandatory) were encouraged to spin as well. The final jump at the end was judged and if the competitor closely behind you did a better trick off the jump they could bump you out of your spot so the jump was the final deciding factor.
The 30 men and 7 women were weeded down to 4 in head to head heats to make for an exciting final heat and race/jump to the finish!
The final results for the event were:
1st – Charles Reid
2nd – Mark Tremblay
3rd – Mark Sollors
4th – Jordan Howard
1st – Jamie Warner
2nd – Emily Park
3rd – Laurie Fichter
4th – Lisa Kotrys
Photos from the event can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/skircr/albums/72157666077591031
Thanks to Monster Energy and all the competitors and spectators that came out for the event. We look forward to seeing you in 2017!
I remember weekend ski trips to Fernie with great fondness but up until recently we hadn’t ventured beyond local hills near Calgary. I guess we thought that a big ski resort like Fernie would be intimidating as a family, that there wouldn’t be enough beginner terrain to ski, or that it was just unnecessary to travel three hours to go skiing when we had Nakiska Ski Area on our doorstep. On all accounts I was wrong and we’re already talking about how we have to go back to Fernie next winter (if not sooner) – and oh please let it be sooner!
Fernie Alpine Resort is located approximately three hours away from Calgary and is reached via a scenic drive through the Crowsnest Pass as you cross the border into British Columbia. Heading to Fernie is extremely doable for a normal two-day weekend with an after-work departure on Friday. It’s even realistic to arrive in Fernie in time to put the kids to bed at their normal bedtime. (To save time, pack or buy dinner to eat on the road so that you don’t have to stop along the way.)
While you can easily find a motel in downtown Fernie, we were able to stay right on the hill on our recent trip and we might be forever changed in how we plan future ski trips. We had comfortable ski in/ski out lodging at the Lizard Creek Lodge, located right at the base of the Elk Chair (a great chair lift for novice skiers.) We had a one-bedroom condo at Lizard Creek that had a pull out sofa in the living room, making it plenty spacious for our family of three. Our condo had a full kitchen (making breakfasts super easy to prepare before hitting the slopes) and we had a very comfortable living area with fireplace and television (should we have wanted one.)
This was our first time enjoying ski in/ski out accommodations and a mom could get used to such luxury! There was no driving to the hill in the morning, no sharing a crowded day lodge at lunch time, and no dilemma over what to do when one of us grew tired of skiing mid-afternoon (while other family members still wanted to do more runs.)
A typical day at Fernie with on-hill accommodations could look a lot like this (based on our personal experience):
- 8:00am – Enjoying a relaxed breakfast in the newly renovated “Cirque” restaurant in the main building of the Lizard Creek Lodge.
- 9:00am – In line and ready to head up the Deer or Elk Chair with the kids (both fantastic for novice skiers with plenty of green runs to choose from)
- 10:30am – Back to Lizard Creek Lodge to warm up and grab coffee in front of the fireplace in the main lodge (no crowded day lodge for us!)
- 11:00am – Heading up the Great Bear Chair to try some more challenging family terrain
- 1:00pm – Back to our condo for lunch and a bit of R&R before heading back out for more afternoon skiing on some bigger chairlifts (bring granola bars in your pockets so you can postpone lunch a bit later in the day)
- 2:00pm – Heading up the Timber Chair to try out the “Falling Star” run (one of the easiest intermediate runs on the hill)
- 3:00pm – Younger kids done for the day and heading to the outdoor swimming pool and hot tub at Lizard Creek with Mom, also tired. Older children and teens could still be skiing strong. In our case, Dad skiing hard till the hill closed
- 4:00pm – Quiet time back at the condo, games, books, and relaxation before dinner. This could also be a good time to try some cross country skiing or snowshoeing on the resort trails. (Something I tried out Sunday morning.) Alternately, it’s a great time to head back to “Cirque” for drinks and appies in front of the fireplace
- 5:00pm – Heading for an early dinner at Kelsey’s over at the main resort area (they had great kids’ meals and it was a bit more family-friendly than the more decadent “Cirque” restaurant in our lodge
- 6:30pm – Night skiing on the Mighty Moose Lift (open Saturday nights from 4-9pm and included with your day lift ticket at FAR)
- 7:30 – Trying out the new Ice bar in the Lizard Creek Lodge for some Vodka tastings (make sure you try the salted caramel – yum!!) – and kids are welcome to come in and watch
- 8:30pm – Kids heading to bed ,watching a movie, having down time in the condo… – adults enjoying a glass of wine in front of the condo fireplace (and our condo had two televisions so in theory, the kids could be watching a movie in the bedroom while Mom and Dad chill in front of the fireplace)
We had a blast at Fernie Alpine Resort and we were pleasantly surprised at how much beginner terrain there was at the hill! We could have easily skied on the Deer and Elk chairs all day with a couple runs down the Great Bear Chair and Timber Chair for more challenge. The terrain off the lower chairs was immaculately groomed and perfect for novice skiers, with Falling Star off Timber also nicely groomed (I headed here first thing Sunday morning for the most amazing experience flying down the fresh corduroy on my own private run – not another skier in site on the whole run.)
We’re heading to Kimberly Alpine Resort soon and can’t wait to try out another great family-friendly ski resort with ski in/ski out accommodations again. Fernie has changed our ski style as a family and it’s doubtful we’ll be satisfied to spend every weekend skiing close to home anymore. Ski weekends bring the family together and we look forward to more mini-vacations like this in the years to come.
Words & Photos by Tanya Koob
Read about her and her families outdoors adventures on her blog – Rockies Family Adventures.
Snow goggles are an important piece of your gear and they become even more vital in shifting light conditions, at high speeds and with gusting winds.
Fernie Alpine Resort can see a great variety of weather conditions, from snow storms to flat light and sometimes changing from overcast to bluebird during the course of a day.
We spoke with Field Reps from Oakley and Smith, two of the brands that we carry in our retail shop, to find out what they suggested when picking the perfect pair of goggles.
Reilly Forster (R.F.) is a Field Marketing Rep for Oakley and Matthew Rowley (M.R.) is a Field Services Rep for Smith.
Why are goggles necessary?
R.F. – Goggles are necessary to keep the elements out of your face so you can have a fun day at the hill.
M.R. – To help you see on the flat light days that Fernie is very accustomed to getting. To help you see those little ruts and bumps ’cause sometimes it can be tough to tell them apart from a nice groomed run.
How do you pick the right goggles?
R.F. – You definitely want to make sure you have a full gasket seal around the face, and comfort’s number one. Different models with different fits because everyone’s got different faces, you want to try it on and get a good fit.
M.R. – Something that’s going to fit with the helmet the best. Once you figure out which helmet you like and which is going to be comfortable, then it comes down to the fit of the goggles, so you don’t get any uncomfortable pressure on the nose. A lot of people do it backwards.
What is the most important factor in choosing a pair of goggles?
R.F. – We want to talk about lens story, Prizm is number one for us. We’re making a lens now that covers all environments, wear one lens in the morning, if it gets cloudy in the afternoon still keeping that same lens on. We make a couple of different lenses in a couple different colours.
M.R. – Fit. You want to get something that fits you the best. As common as it is to get oversized goggles, it doesn’t necessarily mean they fit properly. As soon as you start getting little gaps in the face foam and you start having air enter the inside of the lens, it’s going to change the dynamics of how it’s supposed to function.
What are the different features available in your goggles?
R.F. – Prizm’s the number one feature that we’re talking about. Light being tuned for each environment, sport tuning lenses for the goggles. OTG (over the glass) for people with glasses.
M.R. – Different lenses. You’re going to get two lenses with the Smith goggle, you’re going to have a sunny day lens to act like your sunglasses and block out most of the light. The low light lens that you’re going to get with that as well, they help give you the definition on the low light days.
What has recent technology done for improving goggles?
R.F. – There’s no more seeing in low light problems, increasing contrast and detail giving you greater vision so you can ride with confidence.
M.R. – Our 5X anti fog has remained to be really top notch, super hard to fog up. Our helmets are designed to be compatible with the goggles, and to help them function. You get the integration between the two so that it’s hard to get condensation buildup on really busy days.
How do the right pair of goggles enhance your experience?
R.F. – Lets you ride with confidence, when you ride with confidence, you start worrying about your riding technique, once that gets dialled in you start riding and having fun. Last thing you want to worry about is what lens I should be wearing, you want to worry about how to get to the lift first, and how to get to the top to have fun.
M.R. – Helps you be able to see all the definition, helps you have more confidence on the hill so that you’re not skiing timid, waiting for a bump that you can’t see.
Thanks to Reilly and Matthew for talking with us about their products! We hope this blog gives you a better idea of how to go about picking the perfect pair of goggles. If you have any questions, come talk with our professionals at the Sports Alpine Retail Shop and they can help you find what you’re looking for.
Interviews, Words & Photos: Jordan Johnson
February 18-21st Fernie welcomes top Junior Freeski Athletes for the Jeep Junior Freeski Competition Presented By Rossignol and Smith Optics.
For complete event information please head to our events calendar here: http://skifernie.com/events/jeep-junior-freeski-presented-by-rossignol-and-smith-optics/
Competition Start Lists & Results Are Available Below:
February 19th Day 1 – UPDATE: Day 1 has been postponed. All athletes will run qualifiers tomorrow (February 20th)
February 20th Day 2 – Click here
February 21st Day 3 – Click here
Complete Results – Click here
Video Day 1 (Weather Day) – Click here
Video Day 2 – Click here
Video Day 3 – Click here
Photos – Click here
Thanks to our sponsors: Jeep, Rossignol, Smith Optics, Helly Hansen, Dynastar, Kootenay Communications, Old Dutch, Sun Rype and Campbell’s