When more than half a century of active coal mining came to an abrupt end in the 1950s, Fernie (pop: 4,200) set about creating a brand new identity for itself – as a mecca for outdoor recreation.
People come here for the powder – an average winter will dump almost 9m/29ft of the stuff on Fernie Alpine Resort. Winter offerings include skiing and snowboarding, cat-skiing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
In the spring, when snow reluctantly retreats from the Elk Valley in the Kootenay Rockies, new possibilities are revealed. These include fly-fishing, hiking, river rafting and mountain biking.
Situated about halfway up the western slope of the Crowsnest Pass and surrounded by snowcapped peaks, Fernie has a timeless charm. The main street, for example, is comprised of end-to-end heritage buildings that have changed little in a century.