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4-3395-Fernie-Alpine-Resort
Skiing powder, Fernie Alpine Resort
(Dave Heath photo)

Fernie Alpine Resort

Geography

Fernie Alpine Resort's ski runs spread like a spider's web across the western slope of the Elk Valley.

The boundaries of the resort contain 1,013ha/2,504ac of diverse terrain, including five major bowls. Above, jagged peaks form the spines of the aptly named Lizard Range.

Mountain peaks rise steeply on both sides of the Elk Valley, which is a vital transportation corridor for motor vehicles and trains. The Crowsnest Pass, the most moderate of the three Rocky Mountain passes in the region, tops the Continental Divide just 50km/30mi from the City of Fernie.

This century-old mountain town is just a few minutes north of the resort, occupying a large flood plain in a wide section of the valley. The Elk River, a wilderness river well known for fly-fishing and river-rafting, runs right through Fernie.

Climate and Weather

Fernie Alpine Resort's mountain locale can make for some unpredictable weather. Lounge in a t-shirt one day and wake the next to a blanket of fresh snow. About 20 minutes south of Fernie, Highway 3 passes through a small tunnel. Locals report there is often precipitation on one side of the tunnel and none on the other. The Fernie side certainly receives significantly more snow and typically has lower temperatures.

Starting in October, average temperatures of below 0°C/32°F begin. It is no surprise that Fernie Alpine Resort receives 9m/29ft of snow – enough to bury a three-storey building. The warmest months are July and August, with average temperatures of 26°C/79°F and 25°C/77°F respectively.