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Notification Alert

THE GUIDE TO POLAR PEAK

Welcome to Polar Peak, Fernie Alpine Resort's most exhilarating and challenging skiing and snowboarding destination.

This guide will provide valuable information to help you navigate this complex and ever-changing environment.

Polar Peak proudly stands at a breathtaking 7,000 feet (2134 meters) above sea level, offering an impressive vertical descent of 3,550 feet (1052 meters) from its peak to the base. This awe-inspiring landmark opened to the world during the winter of 2012 as part of Fernie Alpine Resort's 50th Anniversary celebrations, quickly becoming the ultimate destination for seasoned skiers and snowboarders who crave the ultimate thrill.

Prepare yourself for an extraordinary adventure like no other. Polar Peak is an exclusive domain for experts, featuring 22 runs, of which 16 are designated as Expert (double black diamond) and 6 as Extreme (triple black diamond). The terrain's allure lies in its raw and untamed character; there are no cat tracks or easy descents to rely on here.

This Guide intends to prepare you for a safe, exhilarating adventure - and one that you can talk about with friends and family at the greatest après bar in the world, the legendary Griz Bar.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

All runs off Polar Peak are extremely steep, exposing you to intricate and high-stakes terrain, including cliffs, drops, ice, rocks, and ever-changing snow conditions. The risk of an uncontrollable fall on a steep, continuous pitch is ever-present. Polar Peak is the epitome of Alpine. You can expect white-out conditions, and visibility can change at a moment's notice. This makes the already challenging terrain, much of which include a blind entrance, even more difficult.

To preserve its natural terrain, Polar Peak remains ungroomed. Be prepared for variable snow conditions, and always exercise caution as you navigate this challenging landscape.

OPEN
Terrain listed as Green is open to public
CLOSED
Terrain listed as Red is closed to the public
STAND BY
Terrain listed as Yellow is under assessment.

ASSESSING YOUR ABILITIES

It is imperative that you are honest with yourself when evaluating your skills. Polar Peak is not the place for doubt. You must be fully confident in your ability and experience before navigating this big mountain terrain. If in doubt, we have a progression suggestion noted below.

Each person who skis/rides Polar Peak should only be responsible for themselves. Do not rely on the help of others in your party. Ensure you possess the skills to venture into this terrain safely. 

One of the skills that everyone must know is how to self-arrest. Having the ability to control your position on the slope is imperative. Doing so limits your chances for injury to yourself and others and simplifies the retrieval of your equipment while limiting exposure.

When you ride in steep terrain, can you maintain control and still follow the Alpine Responsibility Code?

If you're uncertain about your abilities, don't hesitate to seek advice from a knowledgeable member of Fernie Ski Patrol.

SELF ARREST VIDEO EXAMPLES

CHECKING THE CONDITIONS

Before embarking on your Polar Peak adventure, check the lift and terrain status to see if it’s open.

Keep in mind that the Polar Peak Lift may close at any moment due to snow and weather conditions. Stay updated by consulting the resort's website or the Ski RCR App.

Abrupt weather changes can significantly influence your experience, so equip yourself with the appropriate clothing for the conditions.

As with any time you are preparing to hit the slopes, your equipment should function as intended. This becomes extremely important in the unforgiving terrain. Check your gear!

THE TRAIL MAP

Find the Resort Trail Map here!

Get the Polar Peak Trail Map here!

DISCOVER THE ZONES

Let's delve into the specifics of each of the three zones within Polar Peak.

THE POLAR CHUTES

The Polar Chutes - The Polar Chutes are deceptively steep (We are finding out how steep), offering a 300m vertical descent to Currie Bowl. The fall line hazards include rocks and cliff bands. The North Side is off-limits and is marked with boundary ropes, netting and signage to warn of fatal falls. Please respect that edge and stay well away when skiing/riding towards the entrance of the Chutes.

All of the Polar Chutes are accessible from below the ridge. The farther off the ridge you are, the more manageable the terrain becomes to navigate across to Mama Bear and beyond. Ski Patrol will try to use high-visibility stakes to mark the middle of the run when visibility becomes challenging. Stay close to these stakes to ensure you follow the intended run.

The Chutes hold snow lower down but do have wind-exposed sections. Below the chairlift at Tower 7 is an unskiable rock band to avoid.

Papa Bear is a great option to get back to the Polar Peak Chair. If you ski lower on the ridge, you likely won't be able to traverse back to the chair.

THE WEST SIDE

The West Side gives you access to the Clown Chutes, Polar Circus, Polar Coaster, and the lower Currie Headwall Fan.

The Clown Chutes - Crusty, Bozo and Sideshow Bob’s are narrow chutes with steep entrances. A few short, tight turns will lead you to the lower bowl below the Currie Headwall. Be cautious of cliffs and rocks.

With the right weather pattern, these chutes can have some of the best wind-sifted snow that we have at the resort.

THE CURRIE HEADWALL

The Currie Headwall is Triple Black Diamond terrain. It is extremely challenging and is for extreme skiers and snowboarders who can navigate steep slopes with mandatory cliffs, rocks, and varying terrain. This is the most challenging terrain that the Resort offers. Accessing the Currie Headwall involves a 10-20 minute hike from the top of the Clown Chutes.

Everything mentioned above in this Guide is amplified for the Currie Headwall. It is steeper, it is narrower, it is extreme. Being able to navigate blind entrances, mandatory airs, and large cliffs is a must.

If we open The Currie Headwall, the visibility will be good. Please use our observation zone located next to Tower 2 of the Polar Chair to scope out the zone. Stop, watch, and become familiar with this complex terrain.

Photo: Jonnie Merrill skiing Currie Headwall for Line Skis

SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

Before taking your first run on Polar Peak, it's crucial to gauge your abilities and set realistic goals for your adventure. We recommend the following run progression:

First, try steeper runs elsewhere on the mountain, like Big Bang (Timber Bowl - Run #4) and the Knot Chutes (Timber Bowl Run #107). If you handle that well, advance to the Saddles (Lizard Bowl - Runs #93 to 96), where you can explore exposed chutes and practice alpine entrances and route-finding, especially in low visibility conditions.

A "no-fall zone" signifies extremely steep terrain that may result in long slides with severe consequences below, such as cliffs or rocks. Falling in such conditions can lead to increased speed, making it nearly impossible to stop.

Preride, Reride, Freeride: Familiarize yourself with the terrain by scouting your intended line before riding it. If you're uncertain about the route, it's best not to proceed.

Remember that Polar Peak runs will always be there for future attempts, so choose a day with good visibility and soft snow conditions to increase your chances of success.

These steps will help you gauge your readiness and make safe choices when skiing at Polar Peak.

TO THE PEAK

Polar Peak promises an adrenaline-fueled adventure for those seeking a challenging skiing experience. However, safety should always be your top priority, as it is ours.


Assess your skills, stay informed about current conditions, and take the necessary precautions to ensure a memorable and safe day on the slopes.


Embrace the exhilaration of Polar Peak at Fernie Alpine Resort, and may your journey be filled with unforgettable moments.


Be safe, and enjoy the ride!

RCR is inclusive. Harassment and discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated.
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