Now This is the Way to Spend a Winter’s Day
Whether you’re here for a short or a long time, one thing is for sure - you want to experience the perfect winter’s day. For obvious reasons, there are varying opinions on just what this day would entail… so we got in touch with three avid winter recreationalists, each with their own passion and they gave us a run-down of what this day would look like from their perspective.
Justin Bohm - Sled Guide and Avalanche Educator, Elk Valley Snow Shepherds (EVSS) and VP, Fernie Snowmobile Association (FSA)
My ultimate Fernie winter day? I would Carpe Diem with an early alarm clock and a strong cup of Nespresso before snow-blowing 30cm+ pow with my border collies… this is Fernie after all. Enter the second cup of coffee savoured while reviewing the weather, bulletin and InfoEx. Since it’s my perfect day, we’d be looking at deep snow with good stability for our EVSS guide team and PM FSA grooming staff operations. If Mother Nature didn’t feel like delivering, it just means I have to work a little harder and smarter out in the field today to get the job done.
Load up the Dodge, press play on my favourite Spotify Playlist and roll out to the staging area. Quick check in with the trailhead kiosk staff to make sure FSA operations are dialled. Then I put my guide ‘helmet’ on and meet today’s clients. Safety chat, rescue practice, fingers crossed no-one forgot anything… then it’s go-time!
The best mornings are breaking trail through new snow blanketing fresh corduroy grooming as the sun rises, anticipation building for the powder feast we are about to devour once we dip off trail and reach our prescribed riding zone. The only better feeling than catching nice turns for yourself is watching someone else hook into a deep one for the first time. The day is full of great riding, spreading the two-stroke cold-smoke Fernie stoke, and hopefully building skills, confidence, and backcountry literacy along the way.
The day slips by, equalling the sum of ridges gained and lost multiplied by smiles per gallon. We’ve barely stopped for lunch and now we’re headed back on fumes to the Park Place Pub for a calorie refuel. Even a rough day can end well – fixing sleds in the shop over a six’er of FBC tinnies or heading out for a midnight refuel rendezvous with the groomer on a big powder day. Ready to rinse and repeat all over again tomorrow.
Dylan Siggers - Powder Enthusiast, Photographer and Videographer
Historically, when it comes to powder skiing, the early bird is destined to get the proverbial worm. But for me, my ultimate day of skiing in Fernie doesn’t start until 1 pm.
See, I like to do most of my sleeping during the morning, and so does my dog. So once Lucy and I crawl out of bed around 10, my wife is ready for breakfast. We will usually head uptown for our morning routine of Valley Social and Big Bang Bagels. Or if we’re feeling fancy, breakfast at the Blue Toque. By this time, the local faces we bump into have the usual conversations, “oh did you guys ski already today?” to which we sheepishly reply, “...no not yet.” Around 12:30 we’re on our way to the resort. Me with my ski boots already on and Sophie getting her snowboard boots laced up as we cross the west Fernie bridge. We’re right on schedule, 1pm.
First lap, Corner Pocket. At this point, the next storm is beginning to roll in, and it’s already snowed 10cms since everyone who showed up at 9am left at 10:30. And the flakes are huge. After we swerve our way down the right-hand side of Lizard Bowl, we get a feel for the snow and what elevation is skiing the best. Turns out, it’s all of them. We meet up with our Floridian roommate Local Dave, who has been here since 9, but ain’t leaving ‘til the lifts stop spinning and decide that Stag Leap is going to be “insane.”
After spinning three more top to bottom laps using the New Side to access the Old Side from the very tip-top, we’re done. It’s 4:20 and we’ve just finished skiing what is now knee-deep blower all the way down Easter proper. There’s not a single person in sight and the flakes at this point are damn near the size of butterflies. The phone dying in my pocket is buzzing, it’s my dad calling to let me know he’s predicting at least 60cms overnight, and he’s never wrong.
No trip to The Northern tonight, it’s going to be double overhead tomorrow.
Derek Bird - Winter Trail Groomer and Avid Fat Biker
Being surrounded by the mountains means that the sunrises happen later, but the sunsets early. This means, you can sleep in and still catch the sunrise, but you have to be efficient with your time to get maximum chubbing - the local term for shredding on a fat bike!
Alright, so you caught the sunrise and now it’s time to check the weather forecast. Tut tut, put your phone down; you’re in the mountains, look out the window! Oh ya, partly cloudy and -5, primo!
To truly start the day… food and a good cup of organic joe (or a fancy mimosa if you so desire)! Off we go up town to the Blue Toque. A local favourite known for their unique twist on your conventional breakie providing options for meat lovers and vegans a like. Remember the mimosa, well this place has an extensive menu for you!
Now that you’re fuelled and warmed up, it’s time to hit the trails! But first, call Spa 901 to see if you can book their Hot Pools and Infra-Red Sauna for the inevitable tired legs at the end of the day.
First off head to Montane to get the blood flowing. Pedal up the Fernie Inclusive Trail to the Montane Hut and take in the spectacular views. Keep pedalling up Roots towards Uprooted and then the real fun begins. Once you reach the Hyperventilation sign keep going up and go down Ruby’s Way back through Montane in to town.
While in town, head to Big Bang Bagel for the best bang in town! The Mr. Fernie is a crowd pleaser and yes, we are still talking about Bagels! Full of carbs, protein and fat so you are ready for the next pedal!
Either pedalor hop in the truck and head over to Mt Fernie for a more challenging but very rewarding climb up Phat Bastard and down Red Sonya. If legs, stamina, and time permit, head back up Phat Bastard and down Blue Betty.
Truly exhausted and hungry again, head to the Himalayan Spice Bistro for some Himalayan Cuisine. My favourite is the Butter Chicken and for the Vegetarians – the Malai Kofta.
If you were lucky enough to book the Spa 901 – make sure you get there before they close, your legs will thank you for it.
The true story behind this photo taken last February at Fernie Alpine Resort.
Photo by Nic Genovese