Snowminds January 22, 2024

Follow the journey of Nikolaj’s ski season in Fernie, from fun nights out in town to epic days on the slopes, this is a tales of how this charming ski resort, became his second home

 

More Than a Destination: How Fernie Became My Home Away From Home

Charming, down-to-earth, and friendly—these are the ways I would describe Fernie as a town, looking apart from the skiing. This is what makes Fernie such a special place to me; you’ve got a young vibe in town, where everyone feels like a local, and the guys driving the bus are your buddies you go shred with in your spare time. I started my time in Fernie knowing only two people, from a previous season in Whistler, yet it didn’t take long before I felt at home in this charming little town in the Canadian Rockies.

The kind of place where a Friday night can be an eventful time in one of the amazing bars or spent by the campfires with a good group of people and a guitar.

Me on the left, with all my friends from Fernie

Me on the left, with all my friends from Fernie

The Social Pulse on and off the Mountain

When shredding knee-deep powder and seeking a break on the hill, my go-to spot was always the Bear’s Den. It’s the perfect little place to grab an affordable lunch; usually, a hot dog and a hot cocoa, was the combo I used to recharge before I would head back on the slopes.

Fernie Town has a lot to offer when you’re done having the best time riding powder on the hill, the good times doesn’t stop here. There’s plenty of good pubs to grab a few beers with your riding buddies. A personal favorite for my crew and I was the Kodiak lounge, by the raging Elk hostel. This homey, fun decorated, and affordable bar would always deliver excellent service from the sweetest Bartenders. In addition to the cheap beers and fantastic atmosphere, the Kodiak also hosts some of the top events in town. Whether it’s Monday jam night, pool competitions, Thursday karaoke, or Ladies’ Wine Night, the Kodiak ensures great nights.

Another highlight when doing a ski season in Fernie is Hot dog day, perhaps the most epic day of the season in Fernie. It’s a massive dress-up affair where everyone on the mountain dons their best 70s and 80s ski attire, creating a nostalgic atmosphere that takes you back in time. It’s like stepping into the scenes of the movie Hot Tub Time Machine. Since this movie was filmed in Fernie its an absolute must-watch before you go.

(Fun fact: If you’re riding the ELK Quad chairlift, keep an eye out for the hot tub, adding an extra layer of excitement to the experience).

 

The legend of the Griz

Now, you can’t mention a ski season in Fernie without diving into that incredible champagne powder generously provided by the Griz at the Lizard Range. Fernie isn’t your typical resort where you anxiously wait for good powder days, eyes glued to the snow forecast, the Griz has got your back. The legend of the Griz is a half-man, half-grizzly bear who roams Fernie Alpine Resort. He is armed with his powder gun, ensuring there’s an epic amount of snow for you and all the other powder hounds who’s doing a ski season in Fernie.

Powder skiing in Fernie

Powder skiing in Fernie

Exploring Fernie and beyond

Fernie Alpine Resort offers a great amount of amazing and gnarly runs, perfect for skiers and snowboarders hungry for challenges and room to progress. This is precisely why Fernie was a golden opportunity for me. In my second season, I was motivated to conquer some double black diamonds and truly elevate my skiing game.

Fernie is a sizable resort, but it doesn’t boast the sheer magnitude of Whistler, St. Anton, or those huge ski areas. And you know what? That’s a fantastic thing. It gives you the chance to discover your favorite spots, and truly make the most out of those magical days when it’s dumping down. But when the hunger for exploring came, we loaded up the cars, and headed to either Kicking Horse, Kimberley, Revelstoke, Panorama, or Castle Mountain. This is a golden opportunity to visit other Snowminders and have them show you around their local mountains.

View at Kicking Horse

Lunch with a view at Kicking Horse

Beyond the slopes

On a restoration day in Fernie, there’s a great amount of fun activities to dive into. My friends and I used to indulge in games of disc golf, rent fat bikes for a delightful ride to Montana Hut (which offers a stellar view over the town and the breathtaking mountains surrounding it). On one memorable occasion, I found myself in a pick-up hockey game on a frozen lake. That was undoubtedly the most Canadian experience ever. They invited me, assuming I could play, and we quickly discovered the vast difference between the average Danish hockey player vs a Canadian. This didn’t matter in the end. Everyone was more than happy to let me join, and to my surprise, I even managed to score a goal—a moment that stands as one of the greatest sporting achievements in my life.

However, if you’re more of a hockey spectator like me, fear not. There’s always the opportunity to catch a game and cheer on the local hockey heroes, the Fernie Ghostriders.

My overall experience in Fernie was incredible. Since leaving this charming town in the Canadian Rockies, it has held a special place in my heart. I initially came for the skiing, and it not only met but exceeded all my expectations. Fernie turned out to be so much more than just a ski destination. So, if you’re thinking of becoming a ski instructor in Canada, I fully recommend choosing Fernie as your resort of choice.

 

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