2018 Ski Guide: Fernie Alpine Resort
Where to eat (Sushi? On the mountain?), stay and play at this modern mountain resort in Fernie, B.C.
January 26, 2018
A historic mountain town founded in 1898 and built on mining, Fernie has turn-of-the-century charm infused with a modern sensibility (hello, kombucha and sashimi), all wrapped in the tight embrace of the Rockies. Towering high above the main street is the Headwall, a snowy swath of a rock face. Just below, between multiple ridges, are the five steep-and-deep bowls of Fernie Alpine Resort. Reign over it all by skiing (if you dare) from the top-of-this-world 2,000-plus-metre Polar Peak.
Learn to navigate those tree runs between bowls and hone your shreddin’ skills in First Tracks’ Steep and Deep camp (with stellar instructor Johnny Krasny). Nearby, there’s also the swish base of Island Lake Lodge’s cat-skiing operation (with a standby/day-ski list).
The first must-stop is right at the bottom of the ski hill: the Griz. The name stems from a legend about a mountain man and embodies his rough-and-tumble spirit (a local is crowned honorary Griz each year). Stay awhile and after a few Lone Wolf IPAs by Fernie Brewing Co. you might join in the naked table slide: a late-night tradition in which people slip ’n’ slide down the lacquered surface of a 25-foot-long communal table made from a single felled tree—in the buff.
In the town’s heritage buildings, within blocks of each other, are the Valley Social (for a flat white or kombucha), the Brickhouse (for a post-slide Buck Naked burger) and the Loaf (for wood-fired pizza), but there’s also sushi in these mountains. Line up with locals for Yamagoya’s coast-worthy sashimi and famous Fernie roll.
Stay at the base of Fernie Alpine Resort at the all-in-one Lizard Creek Lodge, where you can gear up, ski in/out and partake in another round of après at the Cirque Restaurant and Ice Bar. Or settle in at the log-cabin-luxe Island Lake Lodge, nestled in another valley with its own all-in-one set-up—from spa to cat-ski.
Vital Stats: Fernie / Fernie Alpine Resort (since 1963)
Elevation: 2,149 metres
Vertical drop: 1,082 metres
Runs: 142 (30% easy, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced)
Longest run: 5 kilometres (Falling Star)
Average snowfall: 11 metres
Terrain: 1,013 hectares