Fernie Alpine Resort at night
Photo:Henry Georgi/courtesy, Fernie Alpine Resort
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Snowfall: 348 inches
Area: 2,504 acres
Vertical Drop: 2,816 feet
The first newspaper article I ever published was about a secret Canadian powder stash called Fernie. I think I used the phrase "pillow drop" at least ten times. Back then, in 1996, Fernie was an undiscovered gem in southeastern B.C. And while it's far from hidden these days, it's still remote enough3.5 hours from Calgary on dry roadsthat midweek crowds are nonexistent, and a night out on the town involves many a Kokanee and rounds of billiards at the Royal Bar (God save the Queen!). Capped with unskiable granite cliffs that limit alpine access, Fernie is not as terrifyingly steep as Blackcomb or Jackson, but the rolling expert terrain and springy powder in the trees is matched only by Island Lake Lodge, the nearby cat-skiing operation. Since rain can be an issue down low, go in January or February, when temps are the coldest and the rain/snow line dips below the mountain's base.
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