Articles about Fernie and Fernie Alpine Resort
RCR is proud to partner with MND Safety Solutions on a Remote Avalanche Control System (RACS) for the installation of an O’Bellx hydrogen exploder for the Dancer 5 slide path off of Polar Peak at Fernie Alpine Resort.
The O’Bellx Unit will provide the Fernie Alpine Resort Snow Safety Team with a remote control device to stabilize the Dancer Slidepath which runs from the top of the headwall off of Polar Peak, down into Lizard Bowl. This will improve safety for our Ski Patrol and provide confidence for opening the Lizard Bowl.
If you grew up skiing on tall, imposing mountains where sliding the upper reaches was your childhood dream, there was likely no more a mystical a character to you than the ski patroller. Effortlessly moving through the wildest terrain, rescuing anyone who gets in over their head, and safely bringing down avalanches, the ski patroller is the apex beast of the mountain hierarchy. The job is one of prestige, skill, and authority. It also used to exclusively be the dominion of men, but times have changed. At Fernie Alpine Resort, those stalwart soldiers of the slopes are increasingly women, and they’re some of the strongest and most talented patrollers in the history of the mountain.
We rounded up four of the ladies keeping Fernie Alpine Resort safe this winter so you can know just a few of the folks who’ve got your back out there. Don’t forget to tip your toque.
Megan’s going into her 14th season at Fernie. These days she’s the assistant ski patrol director, but she started at the bottom of the ranks right out of university. Originally from Ottawa, when she was 20 she gave up nursing school and instead entered the Mountain Adventure Skills Training program at College of the Rockies (which has a campus in Fernie), and then graduated through Thompson Rivers University.
“Something like 15 ski patrollers in the last 13 years have come from that program,” she says. “It’s a big feeder for us.”
She was drawn to patrolling by the outdoor environment and the ongoing challenge of it. She loves long ski tours and the dynamic of the backcountry, and those are elements of her work now. She says one of the tricks of being on patrol is managing the seasonality of it, but Megan did so for years by working as a hiking guide in the summer. Other patrollers pair the job with a trade like being a carpenter or electrician, but Megan works year round at the resort now.
“I worked my way up for 10 years,” she says, “through the levels. We have level one, level two, level three, level four, and I kind of got stalled out at level four. Above that, you go into forecasting or management, and I knew I wanted to go the management way. So in about year 10, our patrol director at the time stepped down and I interviewed for assistant director, and got the job.”
One of the other benefits of being a level-four patroller is she can have an avalanche rescue dog now, too. Hers is named Mogul and is a central part of the team. To keep things balanced off slope, Megan also teaches dance classes and volunteers for Search and Rescue. But the number one thing she wants people to know about the job is it’s more than that, it’s actually a life.
At 25, Justine is one of the younger patrollers on the team. But she’s a veteran on skis, having earned her chops racing right underneath FIS level throughout her youth. Because Fernie hires patrollers through ski tryouts, she was top of the recruits list with her standout technical abilities on snow.
“I always knew that I wanted to be on patrol,” she remembers, having grown up in nearby Calgary. “But for a good period of time I put it out of my brain. When I was a kid on the lift there was some old guy that took me up the chair because I couldn’t put the bar down. I said, ‘Being a patroller would be so cool one day, you get to throw dynamite and ski fresh snow.’ He said, ‘Yeah, if you want a career flipping signs it’s for you, but it’s an old boys club and you’ll never throw an explosive.’ And I truly believed that for a very long time.”
That is, until she tried out, made it, and then was absorbed into a community of mentors who gladly helped her get all the certifications. The attitude at Fernie is to hire the right attitude; the rest of the skills can be taught, and Justine’s picked up hers in a hurry.
“I have definitely thrown a lot of explosives,” she says laughing.
It’s not something she thought her degree in biology and statistics would ever lead to, but now her dream job’s got her thinking more about becoming an avalanche forecaster.
Connie was born in Scotland, grew up in New Zealand, where she skied on Mount Ruapehu until she was 12, then her family moved to Vernon, B.C.
“As soon as I was done high school I moved back to New Zealand for a season,” she says, “then Fernie.”
She was 18 at the time. She spent a season teaching skiing, but found it wasn’t for her. So she tried out for patrol, too. With a background in racing and freestyle, her skiing turned heads right away. It’s not surprising given she’d also just finished 9th in North America for her category in the qualifier competitions for the Freeride World Tour (FWT).
Landing a patrol job seemed like just as big a challenge, but she nailed it.
“I always put the patrol at Fernie as idols,” she explains. “It always seemed like a dream job to make avalanches happen and get to ski fresh snow and help people enjoy the mountain.”
After just one season, she’s still blown away at the support she’s found since she made the cut. “Everyone wants you to succeed,” she says excited.
And while she wants to continue competing in FWT qualifier events, she also wants to keep learning on the job, and the two skill sets seem to go really well together.
“I’d say managing emotions and your tiredness is the biggest thing I learned on patrol,” she says. “There were times when I was really tired and had to be able to keep that under control and work through it. Obviously all the avalanche stuff and the science and the shot placement and route finding, too. After that, I found I was able to look at lines differently. A big thing with the FWT is you have to pick your line from the bottom. Now I can find contours or different lines that I wouldn’t have thought of.”
Also originally from Calgary, 28-year-old Olivia started out in nursing school, too, but managed to finish her degree in Montreal before the mountains stole her away from the city.
“I honestly thought when I graduated university I’d move back to Calgary, become a nurse, live the city life weekend-warrior type of thing,” she remembers. “But I have these five crazy uncles on my mom’s side that were volunteer patrollers at Sunshine and Norquay in the ’70s and ’80s. They had the craziest stories ever when I was a kid and it sounded like a hilarious thing to do for a season. I graduated from university, went travelling and did a winter season in Wanaka, New Zealand, and really wanted to come back do a ski-bum year. One season turned into four, and ongoing.”
Along the way she also found her way onto the patrol team, where she says she immediately found her people and her place in the world.
“Most of us could not hold down a nine-to-five office job even if our lives depended on it. We’re all too high energy,” she jokes.
Like Megan, she also works year-round at Fernie, spending her summers in the bike park. Her training as a nurse has helped her adapt to some of the more demanding rigours of the job, but being outside and working with likeminded people is what compels her to stay. She’s also become enthralled with the dynamics of avalanches.
“Now that I’ve been here long enough, I’ve started to do a lot of the Canadian Avalanche Association courses. I’ve fallen in love with the snow science side of the job. It’s pretty cool making avalanches. Watching everyone ski powder all day because you’ve made the resort safe is a pretty awesome feeling. I work with a bunch yahoos, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyone I work with is so fun and super welcoming. I feel like I could trust any one of them with my life, which is what you actually have to do.”
Why take the chairlift if you’ve got an e-mountain bike! New this summer, we now allow uphill bike traffic (e-mountain bikes* or regular mountain bikes) on our specified uphill route at the Fernie Alpine Resort Bike Park.
E-mountain bikers will love the convenience of quick laps on this uphill only route, which accesses the Elk Side downhill trails as well as Lower TNT (from Rock Landing only) on the Timber side. Your laps can be short – deke off at access point A to rip down Honeybee, Eville, Holo Bike and Phat Larry’s – or take the longer pedal on up to access point B or C to access the rest of the DH trails in the bike park. Of course, those who like to pedal under their own power are also welcome! It’s a great way to stay and get fit, and enjoy the adrenaline of our DH trails too!
Uphill riders MUST have a valid Uphill E-Bike/Enduro ticket, or mountain bike season pass/day ticket in order to access our bike park trails. Please visit Guest Services to purchase your ticket.
Please note that the uphill route is open only during regular bike park hours:
Monday – Friday: 10:30am to 4:30pm (to 7pm on Thursdays)
Saturday & Sunday: 9:30am to 4:30pm
Please visit our website’s bike park trail map to see the new uphill route.
6 breathtaking views and awesome adventures you won’t believe are less than a days drive from Calgary
If you live in Calgary, you’re actually pretty lucky to! Being able to live in a beautiful urban area surrounded by gorgeous mountains is certainly something to be thankful for. On top of the views, being so close to seemingly endless outdoor adventure and activities are an accolade many cities don’t have to brag about. If you’re looking for outdoor fun while maintaining social distance, here are a few suggested short staycations to consider.
Views from town and the top of the mountain
Our first location is one that is already many Calgarians’ favourite short trip to make, Fernie, B.C. An easy 2.5/3 hour drive from the south end of Calgary along the Cowboy Trail you’ll drive right into Fernie’s town site, where you are literally surrounded by mountains on all sides. Continue through the town to Fernie Alpine Resort and you will not be disappointed. The views of the Lizard Range from the base of Fernie Alpine Resort are breathtaking enough, but by taking a ride on the Elk Chairlift you’ll get a view of the valley of Fernie, B.C that can’t be matched.
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Whether you take a hike or go by bike, be sure to stop, take a moment and soak up those views 👀 #HiFernie 👋 📸 on 07.06.20 . . . . . . . . . . #lovefernie #ferniealpineresort #fernie #bikefernie #hikefernie #ferniebikepark #ferniestoke #kootrocks #canadianrockies #photooftheday #hellobc #getoutside #kootenay #explorebc #explorekr
Hiking & Via Ferrata at Kicking Horse
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Pictured: if the stories your parents told you about their commute to school were true. 📷: @ajsergent . . . . . #thishorserules #goldenrules #goldenbc #kootrocks #explorebc #beautifulbc #beautifulbritishcolumbia #britishcolumbia #explorecanada #canadianrockies #rockymountains #purcellmountains #hikebc #hike365 #hellyhansen #feelalive #photooftheday #getoutside #kickinghorse #kickinghorsemtn #liveyouradventure #whererockies #exploremore
Continuing on, let’s go to Golden, B.C, home to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and just a 2.5 hour drive from Calgary’s north side. One of the unique aspects of Kicking Horse is the view of 6 National Parks from the peak of the mountain. And guess what, the peak of the mountain is easily within your reach! Kicking Horse has gondola accessed hiking and dining that offer some of the most stunning views you’ll find. And if you’re looking for something a little more to get the adrenaline pumping, the views from Via Ferrata are intense not just due to the views but due to the fact that you’re dangling off the side of a mountain or the suspension bridge (all while harnessed in of course).
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Cruising up Terminator until the end of the month. 📷: @alpinewithv . . . . . #thishorserules #goldenrules #goldenbc #kootrocks #explorebc #beautifulbc #beautifulbritishcolumbia #britishcolumbia #explorecanada #canadianrockies #rockymountains #purcellmountains #viaferrata #photooftheday #getoutside #kickinghorse #kickinghorsemtn #liveyouradventure #whererockies #exploremore @hellobc
Hiking & Biking
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When it rains look for rainbows. 📷Leanne Albertson . . . . #mykimberley #kimberleyalpineresort #agoodplacetobe #kimberleybc #instadaily #photooftheday #eastkootenays #kootrocks #rainbows #thatviewtho #rainyday #destinationbc #explorebc #visitkimberley #kootenaylife #views
People love to describe Kimberley as a hidden gem in the rockies – and that’s exactly what it is. You’ll need to turn off the main highway to find this town but trust us, it’s worth the time. Not only can you hike up the ski hill at the resort to take in some of the gorgeous views of the town from the top of the mountain, but Kimberley, like the others above have an array of trail networks in and around the towns. One of the places that is a must do while in Kimberley is the short walk to the Marysville waterfalls, it’s another one of those hidden gems you don’t expect to find so easily and is definitely worth the short trek out to it!
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There is something so calming about watching a waterfall. 🎥@shannonbjarnason . . . . #marysvillefalls #waterfalls #calming #mykimberley #agoodplacetobe #kimberleybc #instadaily #videooftheday #tourismkimberley #kootrocks #powderhighway #destinationbc #explorebc #eastkootenays #beautifulbc #kootenaylife
Places to stay along the way
Even though you can easily visit any one of these towns and get back to Calgary in a day, staying overnight is always a nice option to have!
✅ Gorgeous slopeside mountain views
✅ Outdoor patios & in hotel restaurants offering take out
✅ Outdoor pools & hot tubs
✅ Close to all activities & adventures
✅ Convenient and safe – all our suites have full kitchens
Both of our feature properties at Fernie Alpine Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort feature all of the above, making either location a great basecamp for your quick getaway or longer staycation.
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It's a beautiful day in the mountains to enjoy some downhill biking and then relax by the pool! Our pool is open to our guests on a reservation basis. Please speak to front desk agents for more information. . . . . . . . . . #lovefernie #lizardcreeklodge #cirquerestaurant #ferniehotelpool #ferniealpineresort #fernie #ferniestoke #kootrocks #kootrocks #canadianrockies #photooftheday #hellobc #canadianskiresort #kootenay #powderhighway #explorebc #explorekr #ferniehotel #fernieonmountainaccomodation
We realize this can be a difficult time to consider travelling, before heading out on your trip check on the Alberta & British Columbia government website for any guidelines or restrictions at your time of travel. To see what safety procedures and routines we have put in place visit our resort or hotel websites.
Fernie Alpine Resort COVID information.
Feature Photo by Powder Matt
As our Summer Season opening was announced last week, I want to take a minute to tell you where we are as a resort and how we got here.
First of all, everyone at Fernie Alpine Resort shares in the admiration, respect and concern for our medical community and essential workers. Many of us have spouses, partners, parents or kids who are working long, stressful hours to help make sure we are safe and cared for if needed.
The last two and a half months have been the strangest in my 48-year career, and we all know how much the stress and uncertainty have affected our families and our community.
After deciding as a company to cease operations on March 16th, our community, our team and frankly the entire mountain tourism industry have worked tirelessly to get to the exciting announcement that we will be opening for summer operations on June 27th.
All of us at FAR want you to be able to enjoy the mountains, lakes, rivers and pathways that define our home. Our team put their efforts into high gear to figure out a way forward since that crazy day in March and now feel we have a summer program we can be proud of while ensuring the safety of our guests and our staff.
Some things will be very familiar at the Resort while other aspects of our summer operation will feel different, even strange. But rest assured, with an abundance of caution and a goal for a safe, sustainable program, we will offer Mountain Biking, Hiking and Sightseeing seven days a week from June 27th to September 7th. Legends Mountain Eatery will be open for dining and relaxing, and Bike Rentals and Retail Goods will be offered.
We will continue to confer with Fernie’s local Health Care community about our operations and ensure that we are in step with their needs and guidelines.
Opening a mountain resort during these times is a complicated, challenging exercise, one in which every aspect of human interaction needs to be thought through.
Some of the changes you will encounter this summer are:
- When you arrive at the Plaza or Lizard Creek Lodge, you will see signs and team members asking you the basics: Are you experiencing symptoms of COVID-19? Have you been out of the country in the last 14 days? Do you live or work with anyone who has any symptoms?
- The purchasing of lift tickets, food and bike rentals will be handled at our ticket windows or Guest Services Desks in the plaza.
- You will be able to purchase meals and drinks at the ticket windows and receive a voucher to give to your server at Legends. These will already include taxes and gratuities.
- Our vast selection of seasonal gear will be available in the Retail Cabin, now reserved for you to have the time you need to make the best choice in apparel or equipment.
- You can buy your lift ticket and bike rentals at the ticket window and hand over your rental voucher in the bike shop, now located in the Slopeside Deli.
- You will be riding the Elk chair by yourself unless two or more people from the same household are together.
- Your tickets will be scanned through a distance and barrier system.
- Line ups will be spread apart to meet provincial health guidelines.
- Thursday Night Races will go ahead. The event will take longer so that we can ensure safety but will still be super social and fun!
- We do expect there to be longer wait times during busier periods and hope that you understand the necessity of this process. Our commitment to providing top-notch trails will remain the same.
- Dining and drinking will be offered both indoors and outdoors, and tables will be spread apart to ensure our guests and staff safety.
- If dining at Cirque Restaurant or Legends Mountain Eatery does not fit, we can deliver delicious meals, beverages, beer, wine, liquors and a complete menu of groceries to your home, condo or room. Our delivery staff are waiting to hear from you! We will deliver your order at your direction to ensure you are safe while visiting us. Our menus will be available on our website. You will be surprised at the depth of choices, but again, our primary goal was to make sure you are safe and comfortable.
The smiles will be real, the appreciation great and the welcome warm. We are proud to be a part of this community, and we will always be there.
We do anticipate that changes will continue to happen and will adapt as necessary.
We look forward to a great, safe summer and know that the Ski Season is just around the corner.
All the best!
Andy Cohen and the Entire Team at Fernie Alpine Resort
Fernie has always been strong in community spirit. The majority of people that you ask in town will tell you that they moved here for the snow but stayed for the community. When the threat of COVID-19 first arrived in Fernie, it didn’t take long for the townsfolk to stand up. We have come together and, through many community initiatives, to support those in need, the best we can.
Help If You Need It
The taskforce, Elk Valley COVID Support Team, was created to help keep our community stay safe by minimizing social contact while providing essential physical, emotional, and spiritual support to those who are isolated or quarantined due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They aim to ensure people’s essential needs are taken care of including:
– Picking up and delivering groceries and medications
– Emotional support through phone call check-ins
– Pastoral care such as pastoral counselling, prayer and grief support
You can visit their website www.evcst.com for more information, to volunteer or donate.
I love seeing all of the brilliant ways our local businesses have come up with to move their stores online, by phone order, and even providing delivery.
Many of our restaurants are now offering take out services and freezer meals. If you are able, this is a great way to continue to contribute to the local economy and take the worry out of what’s for dinner tonight.
Fernie Catering Co has been curating goods from the local food community to create Artisan Food Baskets. They are amazing! What’s included changes every time, but you can follow along on their Facebook page to grab one for yourself and support local businesses.
Shred Kelly hosts a weekly Saturday Night Cocktail Party on Facebook Live. Every week features different musical guests, and for one hour, they shower us with good times, funny chat and great music.
We may be a small city, but we have a mighty music scene, and these talented artists are working hard to continue to bring live music to our ears.
It’s a wonderful way to feel a sense of togetherness, have a virtual drink with your buddies, get the kids dancing, and feel like you ‘did something’ on a Saturday night!
The Stream Fernie – Online Events Calendar Facebook page is a great resource that has brought all of the live streaming events, activities, parties, classes, etc. together in one place. From trivia to online exercise classes and library programs, everyone is sure to find the next fun event to attend.
Can you hear the cheers and horns? From Isabella Dicken Elementary’s teacher parade to the Fernie Birthday Train, you will often see, or hear, the spirit of the community. Having a birthday in isolation can be lonely, so the Fernie Birthday Train is rallying members of the community to join in and help make everyone feel special on their big day.
They also organise drive-by appreciation for our essential workers to show gratitude and love by driving by our grocery stores, hospital, ambulance and police station. What an awesome bunch of people!
Lifting spirits is so important during this uncertain time and I love seeing so many windows (on both houses and businesses) adorned with posters and decorations that do just that. I especially love seeing The Loaf’s window display which was painted by the Gadd family. It is a great way to put a smile on your face.
Need More Info?
Tourism Fernie has a list of our local businesses stating whether they are open, closed or have adjusted hours and online/pick-up purchase options. You can find it here.
It is inspiring to see how we can band together and bring strength and hope to the town.
Brighter days are coming.
Further to our March 15th decision to suspend Ski Area Operations, after careful consideration of the quickly changing circumstances around Coronavirus (COVID-19), Resorts of the Canadian Rockies has made a decision to suspend ski resort operations for the remainder of the 2019/20 ski season at our Western Canadian Resorts, including Nakiska Ski Area, Fernie Alpine Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Here at RCR our number one priority is the safety, health and well-being of our Guests, Team Members, and the Communities which we live, work and play in. As tough a decision as this has been, we feel it is the right thing to do under the current circumstance.
In an effort to limit social interaction we will not be opening our guest service and ticket offices for the time being, both at resorts and our Calgary office. For questions regarding purchased products please email the address below (In response to this situation we are receiving an overwhelming volume of calls and emails, your patience is appreciated as work respond to these requests).
We sincerely apologize to you our guests for this inconvenience. As always, we truly appreciate the support which we receive from you and thank you for that. We will look forward to welcoming you back to our resorts and Mountain Communities in the future.
President/Chief Resorts Officer
Resorts of the Canadian Rockies
Dear Valued Guest,
After careful consideration of the quickly changing circumstances around Coronavirus (COVID-19), Resorts of the Canadian Rockies has chosen to suspend ski resort operations effective at midnight, Sunday March 15th, for a one-week period. This suspension will be in effect at all of our Western Canadian Resorts, including Nakiska Ski Area, Fernie Alpine Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Here at RCR our number one priority is the safety, health and well-being of our Guests, Team Members, and the Communities which we live, work and play in. As tough a decision as this has been, we feel it is the right thing to do under the current circumstance. We sincerely apologize to you, our guests for this inconvenience.
As always, we truly appreciate the support which we receive from you and thank you for that. We will evaluate a possible re-opening date for our resorts later in the week, and will look forward to welcoming you back to our resorts as things permit.
President/Chief Resorts Officer
Our Sports Alpine Rental Shops offer a variety of High-Performance and Mid-Performance skis and snowboards from Rossignol, Dynastar, Head and Burton.
We also have a selection of snowshoes, cross-country skis, telemark skis, and winter fat bikes for rent.
Check out the video below to see what our Rental Shop has to offer for your next adventure!
Life in the mountains is filled with beautiful moments, and every now and then, there are those times that you will never forget.
The best run of your life, the sweet, sweet feeling of the perfect pow turn, the first time you successfully went down a black run, standing on top of a ridge and seeing for miles and miles… those memories will forever be with you.
They help shape who you will become, and often, they will inspire a lifetime of adventures in the mountains.
Recently, Isla Gray, a 10-year-old shredder who spends a lot of time here in Fernie, wrote a school assignment on just that feeling, and we are excited to share it with you here. She did an excellent job of describing the feeling you get when you step out of your comfort zone and create a memory that will last forever!
By: Isla Gray
I peered fretfully down the narrow, steep chute. A dusting of powdery snow covered the run. I was vibrating so hard because I was slowly slipping down the slope. My hands clutched my poles tight. I took a deep breath and set off down the slope.
Earlier that day, I was skiing with a big group of people when they decided to go to Anaconda Glades. My parents asked me if I wanted to do something easier. With a look of determination glinting in my eyes, I told them, “ I want to do what everybody else is doing.”
To get to Anaconda Glades, you have to cross a long bumpy traverse. The traverse itself scared me out of my wits. I was shaking so hard I nearly fell off the narrow, bumpy ski tracks. Mainly out of fear, I clutched my poles in a death grip. Finally, we got to the top of the second chute along the high ridge. From here, you could see the town of Fernie, a glistening patch of light in the fog.
I looked down the run and came to the verge of tears. I didn’t even realize the soft powder pockets hidden along the run, only how steep it looked. At that point though, I had no choice but to set off down the run.
My skis made next to no track through the fresh snow. The steep chute was almost as narrow as my skis and I was having trouble turning. Anaconda really was like a snake, winding through the forest. Deep down in my stomach, I no longer felt like crying but enjoying myself.
After the first part of the run, it opened up a bit and the snow got less heavy. The fog had also lifted and the sun shone weakly through the grey clouds. I was glowing with happiness, so awed at what I had accomplished. All in all, doing Anaconda Glades was a good choice.
Twelve hours later it was my favourite run, although I had, at that time only done it twice. Along with Diamond Back, Morning Glory and Anaconda is a black run. They are the reasons I am such a good skier today.
Keep up the great writing (and skiing!), Isla! We hope that you continue to love life in the mountains.