Each spring, in that unsavory time between winter wonderland and legendary summer, I gladly leave this snowy valley behind in exchange for desert single track, warm sun, and unfamiliar scenery. This it the best time to escape the tumultuous spring weather that drowns our valley town as we wait for mother nature to get to work so the Ferine Alpine Resort Bike Crew can start ours. Biking has given me a passport to travel the world, crossing items off my top ten-must-do-epic-seven-wonders-bucket list; however, like the wizard says – there is no place like home. The more I travel, the easier it is to appreciate the un-Googleable wonders right here in my own backyard. To hold you over until official trail work updates start, here is my secret list of the 7 legendary wonders of Fernie Alpine Resort. I invite you to escape here and try one…or try them all for yourself this summer.
1) Capture a moment of pure visceral flow – get on a bike! The resort makes it easy: ride the chairlift up and search for your favorite way down any of our 41 trails. My personal recommendation: a once highly- guarded Patrol secret blend – now an official Thursday Night Race series favourite lovingly called the “Hurtin’ Albertan”. Start with the cruise-y upper section of Mr Berms, switch over to Hornet at the second exit for a little technical riding, then over to Eville to finish with some flow.
2) The Elk Valley is home to many groves of ancient trees, many of whom had just sprouted when the Inca and Aztec civilizations began 800 years ago. Take a stroll out Red Tree Road with our very own legendary interpretative guide, Nature Bob. Learn how all things great and small, young and old, from salamanders to cedars seamlessly work together and how each day the forest can change to tell a different story…if you just take the time to listen.
3) The Leap of Faith obstacle within the Fernie’s Aerial Park is the ultimate comfort zone busting challenge. While there is an entire tree top network including obstacles of increasing difficulty (and with you safely secured to an overhead cable!) this 5 foot leap through the air between canopy platforms is a sure way to disprove any self imposed personal limits you have set. While pretty much anyone with a sense of adventure can participate in the aerials park or zipline, I recommend it as the ultimate first date or team building challenge.
4) A mountain full of adventures will certainly work up an appetite. Head to the plaza and grab yourself a Beavertail! A true Canadian desert, these addictive, whole-wheat pastries, are hand stretched, float cooked and served piping hot with melted butter and your choice of toppings.
5) Fernie is an ‘upside down mountain’ meaning that, thanks to folding and faulting from plate tectonics, the oldest layers of rock are up on our mountain peaks while the youngest are at the valley bottom. So, if you are looking for a beach vacation to an ancient sea bed, take a stroll to Polar Peak along the ridge walk trail. If you search closely, you can find fossils of ancient corals and bivalves along the rock wall to the East of the Lost Boys Café washrooms or along White Pass Way.
6) The next time you are our enjoying the view, take time to consider who is watching right back! You are truly a visitor in wildlife habitat at Fernie. Lucky guests may catch a glimpse of a black bear munching dandelions on an open ski run, observe playful columbian ground squirrels perched outside their burrows, you may hear an elk bugling, or see some cliff swallow chicks poking their hungry beaks from their nests. One of the coolest ways to enjoy the wildlife at the resort is with a kids “Howl at the Moon” overnight camp out at Lost Boys Café…leave your parents at home!
7) My all time favorite wonder of Fernie is the ability to wander. Fernie Alpine Resort is a small part of a network of inter-connected bike and hiking trails situated around a river flowing with its own adventure. While this wonder is about creating your own unique experience, I can set you off in the right direction by suggesting another Fernie staff favourite: catch the last chair ride of the day up the Elk, head out Boom Trail, onto the Gorbie Loop and exit out into the provincial park by heading out your choice of Verboten, Snake Bite, or Gorbie Road. Finish your trip with a dip of your toes in the Lizard Creek and then head into town for a post adventure.
The Fernie Alpine Resort Bike Crew has started summer trail work, keep checking back with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and our website for updates as well as photos of our work, or to share your personal favourite Fernie wonders with the rest of us.
Your Fernie Alpine Resort Bike Crew