|Snow ghosts at Fernie - by Abby Dell Photography/courtesy of Fernie Alpine Resort|
|Pool and hot tub at Lizard Creek Lodge, overlooking the Elk Chair - Photo courtesy of Fernie Alpine Resort|
|Lizard Creek Lodge - Photo courtesy of Fernie Alpine Resort|
|Fernie Village - Photo courtesy of Fernie Alpine Resort|
|My family pounding the powder - by Louise Hudson|
|New Ice Bar Fernie at Lizard Creek Lodge - Photo courtesy of Fernie Alpine Resort|
With a gorgeous suite on the ground floor at Lizard Creek, we had a fabulous few days staying at the 4.5 star lodge, whose decadence starts with its position a snowball’s throw from the Elk Chair and extends to its décor, amenities and fancy fixtures. Definitely the swankiest condo-style rooms I’ve experienced so far this winter, they have cushy heated floors, a dedicated washer-dryer room, big bathrooms en suite for each spacious bedroom, a huge kitchen with full-sized appliances, and a lovely living room with fireplace and view-encompassing balconies.
|Need these notice boards when it's dumping in Fernie! By Louise Hudson|
Novelties attracting attention this winter at Fernie include the Powder & Ice Package which combines catskiing capers with Ice Bar bevvies. Partnering with Fernie Wilderness Adventures, these day trips are based from Lizard Creek Lodge with hotel pick-ups available. Safety briefings at 8am precede loading up the snowcat and heading out into the backcountry. "You step out of the snowcat after ascending the mountain and our guides begin a quick orientation to ensure your comfort with our safety procedures and equipment," Media Manager Scott Martin explains. The first "dream run" sets off a repeat pattern for the entire day. "A cool mountain breeze brushes against your face as you stare down the mountain at the lead guide, drifting effortlessly through the deep powder," Martin describes. "Your hands feel shaky and your heart is pounding so hard you're worried others can hear it. You briefly imagine your poor coworkers answering emails, stuck in an office as you are visually engulfed in Canada's purest beauty. You take a deep breath and push yourself forward...Bliss!" Photo sharing over homemade soup back at Base Lodge tops off the signature day and then it's back to the Ice Bar to celebrate with a champagne toast.
Ski touring is trending right now and Fernie is right on it with new Backcountry Overnights, including a basics course for all the skills and techniques needed for safe and successful ski touring. Participants top off the energetic experience with après ski at The Griz Bar, which is famous for its flamboyant drinks, authentic atmosphere and weekend bands.
|Skiing with Fernie Wilderness Adventures - Photo by Olivier Gosselin|
|Soaking in the view|
Photo courtesy of Fernie Alpine Resort
Heard of Uptracking yet? It’s the latest term for skinning up the mountain to hidden stashes. Fernie has put together new Guided Uptracking Tours to complement their Backcountry Basics program which gives a great intro into the use of ski touring equipment, snow safety, uphill travel techniques and more. "I would recommend this program for anyone considering skiing sidecountry as the first step and it is so much fun with the added bonus of great exercise," ” says Powder Matt, whose enviable job is Sr. VP of Marketing & Resort Experience for Resorts of the Canadian Rockies which means he can ski Fernie, Kimberley, Kicking Horse and Nakiska whenever he likes!
Key when you are starting out is to get as much education as possible, he says, and to go with people who have experience. "For sure take an avalanche safety training program, ask lots of questions about safe route choice while in your class and with your experienced friends. Get educated, go with experience and practice what you have learned regularly," he adds.
For Powder Matt, uptracking is all about the silence of nature. "Very few sports, can match ski touring’s powerful mix, incredible beauty, peace and massive fitness benefit. We enjoy touring within the boundaries of Fernie Alpine Resort as there is so much to explore and you always find fresh tracks long after the storm."
|The long and winding road - credit Powder Matt Mosteller (@PowderMatt)|
The Backcountry Basics course is becoming very popular with more people wanting to explore the side-country or slack country around, or in, ski resorts. Fernie's 2500+ acres of terrain, provides a massive variety for endless exploration, says Matt: "Ski touring as a family for me has the added benefit of complete peace, sharing discussions on route-finding and spending loads of time doing snow safety training together adds another great way for us to spend more time in the mountains ‘togethering’. Nature is powerful, you feel small in her presence, we need this humbling benefit regularly in today’s busy world."
|One of the benefits of uptracking - credit Powder Matt Mosteller (@PowderMatt)|