Two years ago I finally made that road-trip journey in British Columbia. In a car packed to the hilt, four of us drove into Fernie at dusk and headed directly to the Brickhouse, a local institution, where, within an hour, we were chatting with a local patroller, a city council member, and a pair of shop owners.
Fernie Alpine Resort is best known for its light, fluffy powder and vast terrain. It has entire runs through old-growth cedars, great views across the river valley of the Rockies, and a massive rock headwall that acts as a backdrop behind the five named bowls. But even that is selling it short. What hooked me was more than the world-class skiing—it was the laid-back culture of this mining town-turned ski mecca.
The ski resort was founded in 1961 and still maintains an old-school, dirtbag mentality: “keeping rippers ripped.” Everyone in Fernie is there to have a good time; nobody cares what you’re wearing or how fancy your skis are. And while you’ll find world-class amenities like high-speed lifts and great dining, it’s with a simple, friendly, relaxed feel.
That same attitude translates off-slope, whether you’re making tracks in the snow on a fat bike, throwing curling rocks, or skating at the outdoor rink. Post-activity, you can check out the Ice Bar at Cirque Restaurant, or keep the festive mood going during the popular Griz Days festival.