Fernie At A Glance:
Summit Elevation: 7,000 ft
Vertical : 3,550 ft
Ski Acres: 2,500+ acres
10 lifts, 143 runs, 5 high alpine bowls, and glades
A Resort of the Canadian Rockies, and a Vail Epic Pass partner
Fernie Alpine Resort in beautiful British Columbia is worth a ski vacation, ideally as part of a ski safari to nearby sister resort Kimberley and Kicking Horse on the Powder Highway, or to Banff Alberta’s skiing Sunshine and Lake Louise.
Fernie doesn’t get busy like ski resorts of Banff or Whistler, since its 3 hours south of Calgary. Fernie isn’t fancy either. It’s wholesome, with hearty terrain, and a less hurried vibe, and a convenient compact mountain village for slope side lodging, just a few shops.
Fernie is substantial – 2,500 acres – its big mountain skiing. We love Fernie’s long groomed runs, like 5-kilometer Falling Star skiers left in sunny eastern Siberia Bowl. Fernie only grooms about 30% of the 143 trails nightly. You can ski laps on the mid-mountain speedy Great Bear quad on undulating trails Dancer, Bow, Arrow, Bear, or traverse skiers’ right out Cedar Bowl to ungroomed vast wide-open snowfields which would be epic on a powder day. The Haul Back T-Bar and Boomerang triple bring you back to the central skiing.
Timber Bowl has a few great groomed cruisers and fun glade runs served by the high speed White Pass Quad, this is a popular ski hub. Currie Bowl is next with steeper black diamond trails- chutes and glades off Currie Headwall – with phenomenal views of the towering Elephant Head and Polar Peak above.
Polar Peak chair is Fernie’s highest lift served summit at 7,000’ – its often wild, windy, extreme skiing with extremely amazing views riding the 5-minute elevator shaft chair. The Peak is all double black diamond au-naturelle terrain, except for one advanced cat track back down. Ski the chutes Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear and Goldilocks if you have the porridge in you.
Fernie’s scenery is phenomenal, from the slopes, from the mountain village and from downtown, you can see all five separate ski-able bowls, a dramatic high-alpine semi-circle of soaring peaks.
Fernie is fun too – with genuine local vibe, and entertaining legends of Griz – the mythical mountain with a powder keg gun that creates snow. Griz is celebrated with effigies of burning skis to bring a snow early season, and a spring ski party and bed races downtown Fernie.
The snow? Locals proclaim “The Fernie factor” – that cold Arctic air and Pacific moisture merge on Lizard Range, producing more snow than forecasted, they swear it’s light and fluffier.
Après ski The Griz Bar is #1. A casual upstairs bar in the Village has basic ski eats – nachos, etc, and live bands on weekends. Rusty Edge is another relaxed slope side bar and eatery for ski to lunch or dinner.
The Ice Bar at Lizard Creek Lodge is a more sophisticated place to chill – literally! Brought to you by Stoli vodka, Helly Hanson jackets are provided for your cool vodka flight in a sparkling -10C igloo style lounge within the hotel. Of note: Wednesday the $30 Ice Bar experience is half price. It makes our Top Canadian Après Ski Experiences list.
The place to stay at Fernie, on mountain, ski in ski out, is Lizard Creek Lodge. We enjoyed our condo suite with a full kitchen, gas fireplace and private balcony. We loved being able to walk to the main Lodge for dining at Cirque – an elegant mountain view dining room and bar with cozy fireside couches where we could sit for après ski happy hour. A Neve Spa, plus outdoor heated pool and three hot tubs are amenities, plus ski lockers. We even had our skis expertly sharpened and waxed overnight, ready for First Tracks the following morning. You’re a short walk to the ski village or two ski turns down to the Elk lift. See our review of Lizard Creek Lodge at Fernie.
Fernie’s historic frontier town is just ten minutes down Elk Valley for après ski, shopping, cool bistro dining like Brickhouse in an old bank, and fascinating mining tours and museums.
Fernie Alpine Resort is on British Columbia’s famous Powder Highway -a dramatic route through Canada’s most impressive mountain ranges – the Rockies, Kootenays, Monashees, Selkirks, and Purcells, linking ski resorts Panorama, Kimberley, Fernie, Kicking Horse, and Revelstoke, Red and Whitewater in a big loop. Fernie is also near Island Lake Lodge -a luxury cat skiing retreat.
“Skiing is a dance, and the mountain always leads.”