After my sister disappeared to do a season in the relatively unknown Canadian resort of Fernie, I decided I had to check it out, escape the crowds and to see what all the fuss was about. And I was not disappointed! A small mining town with a mountain most suited to intermediate/expert skiers, there is so much to love about Fernie – not least the epic amounts of snow it gets most years (more about this below).
I stayed at Lizard Creek Lodge which is right by one of the main chairlifts that whisk you up into the mountains. It was a fantastic choice of accommodation with hot tubs for each building, as well as an outdoor pool (heated!) and an ice bar for vodka tasting. There is also a ski hire shop on site, so no need to trudge over to the centre of the village.
The skiing in Fernie is something else – I was there in late March/early April 2017 and was treated to three significant snowfalls during my 10 day visit – my holiday was a powder skiing nirvana! Most of the runs are for intermediates and there are plenty of expert runs that go through trees and down gorges and chutes – these runs are un-groomed but are still patrolled by SOS making it some of the most adventurous ‘on-piste’ skiing I’d ever encountered. For beginners, there are plenty of green runs around the base of the mountain and there is a small freestyle park and ski cross course as well. Like many Canadian resorts, the lifts are all open chairlifts so wrap up warm if you’re there between December and March!
Another great thing about Fernie is the amount to do off the slopes (I would recommend hiring a car for the duration of your trip). Being only one hour from the USA border, we took a trip to Whitefish, Montana to experience some skiing over there – it was only 2 hours total drive from Fernie and it was great to be able explore another resort in a different country!
I also took a trip up to Island Lake Lodge, a beautiful wooden lodge high in the mountains that is only accessible by snowmobile or piste basher. Most people travel up here to do cat-skiing but we decided for the more gentle approach of snow-shoeing and a leisurely lunch which was absolutely delicious and so peaceful none of us wanted to leave! In town, there is a local brewery that does tours and beer tasting as well as walking trails along the river – although you may see warning signs about aggressive moose!
If you are looking for a ski experience that is completely different from a European holiday then I couldn’t recommend Fernie more highly – I’ve never experienced anything like it. From all the incredibly friendly locals to the epic snow, I can’t wait to go back!
The price for a group of 4 adults travelling to Fernie for 10 days in January 2018, staying in a 2 bedroom condo at Lizard Creek Lodge (room only basis), with return flights from London Heathrow and private resort transfers is £1,540pp. Why don’t you escape the crowds next season?