And with that, our winter season has come to an end.
The 2020-21 winter was a unique one, to say the least. We are so happy that we had the opportunity to open and that you, our valued guests, were offered 123 days of skiing and riding.
Thank you for your patience and understanding this season. Thank you for following all of our safety protocols and respecting our staff and each other.
We all worked hard to get to the end of the season, and it was the combined efforts of our community, our staff and our guests that successfully got us here. We are grateful and hope that all of this translated to a great winter season for you and your family.
We are getting geared up for our Early Bird Winter Pass Sale for 21/22 – keep an eye on our website and social media for details!
Stay safe. Enjoy our wonderful outdoors, and we hope to see you on the mountain soon!
Andy Cohen & the Fernie Alpine Resort Team
FERNIE ALPINE RESORT ANNOUNCES OPENING FOR WINTER SEASON 2020/21!
Fernie Alpine Resort will open for skiing & snowboarding on December 10th, 2020 at 9 am.
Our team has worked tirelessly to prepare our operations for your arrival, and we are looking forward to kicking off the 2020/21 skiing and riding season. While we all share the joy for sliding on snow, this season will look different. We have put in place a comprehensive COVID-19 Safety Plan developed in collaboration with the Canada West Ski Area Association.
This set of rigorous procedures and operating plans is to help ensure our guests, staff and community have a safe winter in Fernie. Our plans have been reviewed by Interior Health, the Elk Valley Hospital and they lead the way in North America for Best Practices for Winter Operations 2020/21.
We understand that many of us in our community feel the uncertainty of this pandemic. We recognize that opening the resort will make some of us anxious and stressed. That is why it is everyone’s responsibility to follow the guidelines that we have put in place, as we all want a long season, and a safe skiing and riding experience.
Due to our safety protocols surrounding the COVID Virus and looking to create a safe environment for our guests, this season we will be closely monitoring lift capacity and ticket sales to help ensure that we can manage daily the number of people at Fernie Alpine Resort. Day lift tickets will be available at our resort ticket windows daily. On high demand days, only a certain number of day tickets will be sold – so one should use the opportunity to pre-purchase your lift tickets online to guarantee you get the ski day’s you want on those days. We do anticipate some periods of higher demand, so to avoid disappointment, it is recommended that you pre-purchase your lift tickets online and in advance as some dates may sell out.
Skiing and snowboarding provide a much-needed outlet in winter, providing mind and body benefit, and we are looking forward to sharing our wide-open spaces with each of you.
To adapt our operations for this winter, we have made many changes, including the following:
1. Masks are required to be worn throughout the entire resort, inside all buildings, in lift lines, while riding lifts, in shuttle buses, parking lots and our Plaza.
2. Reservations are required to dine in any of our indoor restaurants.
3. We have eliminated all outdoor shelters and gathering places, like the fireplace at Bear’s Den, Slopeside Café Patio, Yurts, etc.
4. Our lift loading procedures will ensure physical distancing.
5. We have eliminated touch points in systems and transactions.
6. We have eliminated bag storage in all buildings.
7. Seasonal lockers will be for ski/snowboard storage only, no boots or clothing.
8. Our teams are required to be fully outfitted in masks with filters, shields where needed, and Plexiglas barriers to protect all.
9. Dining spaces will be separated by Plexiglas where needed.
10. Washrooms will have reduced capacity to ensure no crowding.
11. Childcare will not be offered.
This season will look very different. By following these procedures and with your patience and respect, we will have a snowy, fun ski & snowboard season.
Please take the time to read the Know Before You Go section on our website for more information and any updates – https://skifernie.com/covid-19/winter/.
Please keep in mind that early season conditions do exist on the mountain. Take your time and continue to pray for snow.
If you follow us on any of our social media platforms, then you will see all that our Resort has to offer through the summer and winter months. What you don’t always see is all of the work that goes in behind the scenes to make it happen.
We have a lot of Crews – Trail Crew, Bike Trail Crew, Lift Ops Crew, Lift Maintenance Crew, Saw Crew, Brush Crew, Shop Crew, Patrol Crew – who all work together through the summer and fall to make it all come together.
This summer, our Trail Crew, who are the Swiss Army Knife of employees (they can do anything that’s needed on the mountain), have replaced the old wooden culverts with sparkly (👈 my word, not theirs 😉) new ones.
HISTORY LESSON – Back in the ’80s, to make a culvert the Trail Crew used their only machine, the skidder. They would find a couple of the huge old Larch trees (24″-36″ diameter) that were lying around in the forest and lay those along either side of the creek.
They would then place timber – mostly from Cedar trees (12″-16″ diameter) – across the Larch to cover the creek. They had a gin pole rigged on the back of the skidder so that they could pick the trees up and back them into place.
Along with a peavy, and some brute force, they could build a bridge over the creeks that would then be buried with dirt. Most of these culverts lasted about 30 years before the top logs began to fail.
That brings us to this past summer; it was noticed that the culvert near the Boom Chair was starting to fail, so our team went in, dug the whole section up, and replaced it with a new one. No trees were harmed in the making of this culvert.
One of the biggest changes happening at the resort is going down in lower Currie Bowl. This past spring, May 31st to be exact, we had very heavy rainfall that followed some very hot weather, and a consequential mudslide in Currie Bowl. As the debris flowed down, it damaged and plugged multiple culverts. Our Trail Crew, along with assistance from Fiorentino Bros and Ground Tech Engineering were able to get in there to repair the culverts.
Turning adversity into improvements, the spring mudslide remediation enabled us to improve the exit from Currie Bowl and widen the Gilmar trail.
As we move closer to winter, we will continue to bring you updates from around the resort, and the work that goes in before we can open our
Have you always dreamt of getting married in the mountains with breathtaking views all around you?
The world may have changed, but the magical mountain views at Fernie Alpine Resort have stayed the same!
We know that it’s an uncertain time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have your dream mountain wedding – it just has to happen on a smaller scale. Our team has worked hard this year adapting to the changes and developing protocols that are in line with the government orders to ensure that you, your guests and our staff stay safe while you and your partner celebrate the beginning of your new life together.
Your happily ever after starts here…
A highlight for us this year is the newly developed Elopement Package that caters to the small and intimate weddings. We understand the appeal of small, intimate weddings with only your closest family and friends in attendance. Rest assured that you can still have all that our magical mountain settings have to offer. We have loved seeing the creative ways that our wedding couples have brought together their intimate ceremony and have the mountain wedding that they have always dreamed of.
Our Wedding Guide provides you with information on all of the available options. Whether your wedding is intimate or extravagant, rustic or elegant, there’s a magical mountain setting to create the wedding of your dreams.
Our Catering Guide provides you with all the options available for your food and beverage needs. Have your heart set on something that’s not in here? We can get you working with our catering team to customize a menu.
We look forward to talking to you about all the options that we have available and finding what works best for you!
Our weddings are now booking into summer, 2022 with but do still have limited availability for next summer so please visit our wedding page, and contact Stacey Charest, our wedding coordinator, for more information.
Weddings & Groups Coordinator
Phone: (250) 430-7163
E-Mail: [email protected]
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