Fernie Alpine Resort BC Review
Fernie Alpine Resort is a great all-round ski holiday destination. It is growing in popularity particularly amongst adventurous ski and snowboard fiends because it’s not too crowded and pretty good for powderhounds. “Growing in popularity” and “not too crowded” may seem like an oxymoron, but Fernie manages to find the right balance between being somewhat undiscovered and being developed. Another drawcard is that Fernie is the quintessential Canadian ski resort with a laidback friendly culture, making it great for relaxed powderhounds as well as families.
Fernie Ski and Snowboard Terrain
Fernie has a reputation for having the best powder in the Rockies. The snow often has the dryness of Rockies powder, but it falls in higher volumes than that found when you ski Banff. With an annual average of 8.75 metres of snowfall, the Fernie locals pay tribute to “Griz” the legendary powder king.
The Fernie ski terrain
has five large bowls that contribute to the 1,013 hectare (2,504 acre) playground, and 857 metres of vertical; enough to get the heart racing without making the legs weary. Fernie has a terrain park and an even spread of trails for all ability levels, and diehards have off-piste runs including the alpine bowls, steep glades and various slack-country options.
The resort has invested in ongoing improvement of the ski area including glading and some lift infrastructure development. However there are only six chair lifts and lots of traversing is required to get to the goods, so a little more enhancement wouldn’t go astray.
Where is Fernie Ski Resort?
Fernie Alpine Resort is located in the Lizard Range of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The name of the mountain range is extrapolated out to various trails and spots around the resort including the Lizard Bowl, Lizard Traverse, Face to Lizard, and Lizard Creek Lodge. Thankfully there are no runs called Drain the Lizard!
Fernie ski resort is away from major cities “out in the sticks”, which keeps the international visitors at bay to a degree. The ski resort is located in the East Kootenay region of the southeast corner of British Columbia in Canada in the “powder triangle”, an area renowned for abundant dry powder.
The turn-of-the-century mining town of Fernie is 5km (3 miles) from the ski resort, about 60km away from the Alberta and U.S. borders.
The Calgary International Airport is 3.5 hours from Fernie and there are shuttle options to get to the resort. Cranbrook airport (Rocky Mountain airport) is 1.25 hours away, and Kalispell in Montana is 2 hours away.
Fernie Hotels and Accommodations
The slope-side mountain village at Fernie is modern and it continues to develop, but it’s still reasonably small with a couple of après bars, one ski shop and several restaurants. The village has ski-in ski-out accommodation within condos and hotel style accommodation.
The other option for accommodation is in the town of Fernie, with the advantage of better access to a range of dining and nightlife options. Fernie hotels
cater for a range of budgets and there are also two hostels for the economically oriented. For those without a car, there are shuttles or taxis to get between the town and the ski area.
For more information, see the Fernie accommodations
page or click here for accommodation listings
The culture of Fernie Alpine Resort is somewhat international with a mix of overseas guests and staff. The vibe is generally laid back although it seems to change between the weekdays and weekends. During the week there’s a grungy young relaxed culture, and on weekends there is a metamorphosis into that of a yuppy crowd as the Calgarians swarm into Fernie to stay in their condos.
Why Ski or Snowboard at Fernie?
Apart from the great snow and varied terrain, there are various other activities at Fernie to complement the perfect ski vacation. Some examples of things on offer are snowmobiling, sleigh ride dinners, snow-shoeing, ice-skating, curling, and cross-country skiing.
The nearby cat skiing operations - Fernie Wilderness Adventures
and Island Lake Lodge
– are another highlight of Fernie. Snowcat skiing
is must do for any powderhound visiting the Fernie area. All that fresh powder is enough to make a powderhound drool!
Multi-Resort Tours that include Fernie Ski Resort
||BC Powder Triangle Tour | 9 or 13 Days
Experience the some of BC's best powder skiing destinations including Fernie, Red Mountain & Whitewater (PLUS Kicking Horse for those on the 13 day tour).
||Pure Powder Adventure | 9 Days
Check out some of Canada's best powder skiing destinations including Sunshine & Lake Louise (Banff, Alberta) & Fernie, Castle Mountain & Kicking Horse in BC.
Cat Skiing Operations near Fernie Ski Resort
||Fernie Wilderness Adventures (FWA)
FWA has some spectacular terrain with steeps, tight trees, cliffs and natural obstacles to huck-off. But don't let that scare you; it is also well suited to intermediate skiers & boarders.
||Island Lake Catskiing | LUXURY
Cat skiing at its finest! Luxury cats, luxury lodges and beautifully gladed runs. Don't leave your wife at home for this one; it is very cruisy skiing in deep powder and deluxe all the way.