It’s been one of those winters at Fernie Alpine Resort.
While snowfall in some places across the continent has been hard to find, that just hasn’t been an issue at Fernie.
Quite the opposite, actually.
Instead, Fernie seems to have received unending refreshes of powder. The snow’s fallen early and it’s fallen often.
And as of Wednesday, there was nowhere within a reasonable driving distance from Calgary where there was more snow.
“It’s been spectacular,” said Matt Mosteller, the senior vice-president of marketing and resort experience at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which owns Fernie. “Over 500 cm to date, which probably puts us at the most snowfall of any ski area that’s within the drive-market for Calgary. It’s been happening on a regular refresh and this weekend is calling for even more snow.
“The weather’s changed back to a more favourable storm cycle for the Powder Highway, so Fernie is just an incredible place to ski right now.”
The numbers back that up.
With 8 cm of fresh snow falling in the past week, the season total at the Southern B.C. resort is now sitting at 514 cm. We’ve looked, and nowhere else in the region has that much.
So you can understand if there’s a real sense of excitement at the resort, especially because we haven’t even gotten to the stretch of winter where Fernie usually gets hit with its biggest snowstorms.
Conditions are already great, but the best may still be yet to come.
“It’s typically February and March that are our highest months for snowfall,” Mosteller said. “And we’ve already had an incredible start to the winter, so it’s amazing.”
And while conditions are great, Fernie isn’t the type of place that just relies on Mother Nature for a good time.
It’s famous for packing its calendar with events to make a day skiing or riding on the mountain just a little more fun.
In the next couple weeks alone, there’s a whole variety of events catered to just about every visitor.
The Raging Elk Kinky Rail Jam Series will be going down for the second time this winter from Feb. 4-12, with skiers and snowboarders showing off their best tricks in the park and then posting them online for a virtual competition.
There’s also a Big Gay Ski Day on Feb. 9, with the Fernie Pride Society hosting a social afternoon of skiing and riding in conjunction with the Queer Out Here conference for the 2SLGBTQ+ community and allies.
And from Feb. 11-13, there’s going to be a Jeep Junior Freeski competition, where top skiers and riders between the ages of seven and 18 can develop and showcase their big mountain skills in a fun and supportive environment.
There’s a lot more, too, as well as a massive mountain with great conditions for skiers and snowboarders of all shapes and sizes. With its five bowls, Fernie is certainly famous for having some truly gnarly terrain, but as Mosteller explained, that’s not the whole story.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize those five alpine bowls offer a whole variety of skiing for all sorts of abilities,” Mosteller said. “With the base area, the Deer Chair and the Elk Chair both providing great intermediate and beginner runs. People think Fernie is just for the experts, but it has a lot to offer for everyone.
“It’s a winter playground for your friends or family.”