Catskiing in Fernie, BC
Fernie offers two great opportunities for Cat Skiing adventures - Island Lake Catskiing and Fernie Wilderness Adventures.
Island Lake Catskiing is situated in the Lizard Range with over 7,000 acres of private bowls, valleys and gladed forest. At the heart of it all sits Island Lake Lodge and the beautiful Island Lake.
Geisha Bowl is one of the largest bowls, spanning from Spineback Ridge to Faceshots Bowl. Photos of Scott Schmidt and Craig Kelly on classic lines in Tua East, Holy Land and Snowboard Heaven were made famous back in the day. The Three Bears may be the most recognizable peaks, but they also provide great skiing. From the highest drop offs, you can ski to the depths of the Cedar Valley for 3000 feet of vertical. Some of the classic lines are Upper Hunters, Thirst Quencher, Nonstop and Stump Fluff. Cabin Bowl marks the east boundary of the Island Lake ski terrain in the Lizard Range and is where you can drop into chutes, do some good tree skiing or ski to the valley floor when conditions are right. Classic lines include Cabin Drop to Cabin Corner or the skier’s right side of Aunt Matilda’s.
Northwest of the Lodge is Lizard Pass and the Wolverines. They provide a variety of skiing options from steep trees and long run outs, to a boot hike up Wolverine Three. Little Woody, Moraine and Siko Bowl are some of the favourites. Faceshots is two drainage's west of Island Lake Lodge. It was previously thought a cat road would never make it up that bowl, but Island Lake proved them wrong.
North facing Baldy Backside is best known for its steep lines and cold powder. Classic lines include Left Hook, Howling Coyote and Elevator. Baldy Front Side offers great storm skiing, while sunny days offer incredible views. Run after run of ridgelines and glades can be had from the three peaks. With close to 2000 vertical feet, many runs ski right to the backdoor of the Bear Lodge. Other popular lines include Sunny Side, Swiss Ridge and Sore Foot.
Mt. Fernie is the pride of Island Lake’s glading program. Great skiing can be found on the north side of the mountain and on the longer south facing runs with almost 3000 vertical feet on Hot Tub Chutes. Popular runs include 5 Star, Hot tub Chutes, Telifun and Tres Hombres.
Last year Island Lake Catskiing and its sister company Mica Heli Skiing partnered with Sherpas Cinema to produce a half hour TV show called The Balance of Powder, which will be syndicated across North America this year. The partnership also included Island Lake and Mica being featured in the new feature length film from the Sherpas titled ALL.I.CAN showing across the globe this winter. You can pick up a free copy of The Balance of Powder at the Island Lake offices downtown on 2nd Ave.
Outside of catskiing, Island Lake also offers opportunities for cross country and snow shoe enthusiasts along with day skiing at certain times throughout the season. If you’re interested in exploring the terrain at Island Lake, put your name on their skiing list.
For more information on Island Lake, call or visit their office located in downtown Fernie. 602a 2nd Ave,1-888-422-8754 or 250- 423-3700.
Fernie Wilderness Adventures (FWA) is a small family-owned operation and was established in 1986 by Kim and Deb Serovic. FWA started modestly with Kim offering fishing tours on his days off . In 1995 the duo turned decided to concentrate all of their energy on FWA and resigned from their other employment. This was also the year that the cat skiing operation got its start. It was a small start with the purchase of a 1960 snowcat that could hold only three guests. In the later part of the year tragedy struck when Kim drove up to see only glowing embers where the lodge and bunkhouses once stood. The community and their loved ones came together and a beautiful, new, rustic cabin was built.
Word travelled of FWA’s catskiing and their bookings grew. To accommodate the growth Bombardier snow cats and Mckenzie River drift boats were purchased, and additional staff was hired to continue Kim and Deb’s vision for FWA.
Escape the crowded ski hills and experience quiet, undisturbed calm of drifting down a Canadian mountain in deep powder. Terrain at FWA is predominately glade tree skiing with occasional tree bands leading into open chutes suitable for advanced, intermediate to advanced type skier or boarder. Depending on the group and conditions of the day, you can expect to get 8-10 runs, which is approximately 10,000-12,000 vertical for the day. Each of their three cats are heated and hold twelve people. The trip includes a full day of Catskiing, use of avalanche transceivers, and lunch. Snacks are always available between runs.
FWA boasts its non-intimidating fashion, affordable prices, down to earth mentality, deep roots in the Fernie, expansive knowledge of their surroundings, and staff that share a passion for extreme adventures. For more information visit www.powdercatskiing.ca or call 1-877-423-6704/250-423-6704.