Dec 04, 2008
Perhaps you've heard the fervent whispers about Fernie already: You'll find some of the steepest terrain you'll ever see in-bounds, and what's out-of-bounds is free for the taking too. The snow is unbelievable-deep and light and almost magical. The terrain seems unlimited-if you see it, and can get to it, you can ski it. There are no crowds, so you have the mountain practically to yourself. Of course, all this tantalizing lore is shared with the necessary forewarning, 'We're only telling you this because we know you'll keep it to yourself.'Fernie, tucked into the craggy Lizard Range of the Canadian Rockies, is several hours from civilization and caters to a casual crowd that comes here for one thing and one thing only: the allure of the mountain. It can easily be lumped in with other resorts known to worship the zen of skiing: Red Mountain, Alta, Snowbird, Crested Butte, Jay Peak. In fact, it is reminiscent of Red Mountain and Rossland, only a bit more grown up. Much of the mountainside village is just a few years old and includes lodging, restaurants, apres-ski bars, coffee shops and a grocery store. Fernie, owned by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, has plans for expansion both in the slopeside village and on the mountain. Fortunately, there isn't a lot of room for village expansion, so this resort should stay as intimate and laid-back as it is right now. The turn-of-the-century coal mining town of Fernie is just 3 miles away. The main street, 2nd Avenue, is actually parallel to the road you'll travel on into town. Fernie burned down twice during the early 1900s and, when it was rebuilt in 1910, builders were required by code to use brick and stone. The result is a colorful blend of shops, restaurants, clubs and bars.Fernie is ripe with legends, including the powder-making Griz, honored with an annual winter carnival, and the curse-bearing Ghostrider, who appears in the shadows of Mount Hosmer. Ask any local, they love to share their history.