The small mountain town of Fernie can be reached in a 3-hour drive from Calgary, driving south into British Columbia through the Crowsnest Pass. It’s a reasonable distance for a long weekend ski getaway, and many families even consider Fernie Alpine Resort their “local hill” driving out most weekends after work on Friday.
Raising the Bar with Ski In, Ski Out Accommodations at Fernie Alpine Resort
We like staying at the Lizard Creek Lodge, just a short walk away from the Elk Chair. Highlights of ski in, ski out lodging at Lizard Creek include:
- A slope-side swimming pool and hot tubs
- On-hill restaurants and pubs (all family-friendly, and some with live music in the afternoon if you finish skiing early)
- First access to the slopes in the morning! Stay on the hill to get the best grooming, first powder tracks, and be in line for first chairlifts (which you can do even after sleeping in and having a leisurely breakfast)
- The ability to return to your condo for lunch, avoiding the crowded day lodge. We also like having our suite nearby in case members of our family finish skiing early in the afternoon and want to chill in the hot tub or relax in the room the rest of the day
- You can cook your own meals to save money (something that’s not always possible in a regular hotel room down in the town)
- Condos at Lizard Creek have actual bedrooms with closed doors. This means you won’t be hanging out in the hallway or the bathroom waiting for the kids to go to sleep at night in your hotel room. Rent a 2-bedroom suite at Lizard Creek, and you might even be able to bring friends if there’s a pull-out sofa in the living room
- Saturday night pool parties for the kids! Parties include supervised time in the outdoor swimming pool, a bbq dinner, and a movie. And, while the kids are entertained, you can have a romantic dinner with your partner at the decadent Cirque Restaurant with Vodka samples at the Ice Bar after. (Note there is an additional cost for the pool party and families must register in advance)
- Enjoy free night skiing for the kids on the Mighty Moose platter lift every Saturday from 4-9pm. This is something my son has enjoyed while staying on the hill (that we wouldn’t likely drive back for if staying in town.)
3 Reasons to Fall in Love with Skiing at Fernie Alpine Resort
- Fernie is an excellent hill for novice skiers: There are two dedicated beginner chairlifts accessing the easiest green and blue runs on the mountain which are mostly all groomed with gentle slopes. The novice terrain located off the Deer and Elk Chairs is fun for the whole family, and the runs are a decent length to really get some solid turns and practice in.
- Fernie has amazing opportunities for progression: When you’ve mastered the Deer and Elk chairs with the kids, ride up the Timber Bowl Express Quad where you can warm up and enjoy the views at the Lost Boys Café. Then, ski down “Falling Star,” one of the easiest intermediate runs on the hill with consistent grooming first thing each morning. There are a few steep pitches (and one narrow section,) but it’s the easiest choice on the upper mountain. – And if you make it to the top of the White Pass Quad, you can enjoy the entire 5 km descent off “Falling Star,” the longest run on the mountain. Beyond “Falling Star,” there are always other groomed intermediate runs spread around the hill each day as well.
- Skiing at Fernie is FUN: My son loves the terrain park off the Deer Chair (one of the best I’ve seen for all levels of skiers and riders) and has a lot of fun on the Minute Maid kids’ trails, also off the beginner Deer Chair. The kids’ trails are narrow tree runs that resemble a luge track, excellent for those with short skis. Another run to look for is “Holo Hike” off the Elk Chair where you get to ski through two tunnels as you make your way to the bottom. It’s an easy groomed run and is usually my favourite way down off Elk.
We’ve always had a fantastic time in Fernie, and our Fernie ski getaways are a winter highlight.