Three years ago we started a new family tradition of heading to Fernie, BC after our Christmas celebrations wrapped up. Not only does it help us recover from the holiday chaos but it gives us a chance to reconnect as a family, slow down, and spend our days outside. Plus, Fernie Alpine Resort offers great activities for young kids on New Years Eve—and you don’t have to wait until midnight!
Our biggest draw to Fernie are the countless outdoor activities in and around town. We always make downhill skiing a priority and for the first week of the New Year, the hill also offers night skiing from 4-9pm on the Mighty Moose for $20 (or free with your daily lift ticket). Since our kids get exhausted and tend to take extra long afternoon naps, this is a great way to squeeze in some runs later in the day. Plus, if your kids are still buzzing, the hill also runs nightly activities for kids 6-12yrs during the holidays including pool parties, movie nights, crafts, and cookie making.
One of our trip highlights and greatly anticipated events is the New Years Eve celebration geared towards kids. Throughout the years they’ve offered games, scavenger hunts, crafts, sledding, outdoor bonfires, and an awesome fireworks display that kicks off at 9pm. The fireworks are always superb and it’s cool to hear the booming echoes off the mountains. Round up some friends, grab some hot drinks, and make sure to check it out!
The town also links to some great venues and trail networks for xc skiing, snowshoeing, and fat biking. Fernie Alpine Resort has a great multi-use track and hourly/daily rentals are available on hill if you want to experiment. Elk Valley Nordic Centre, Fernie Golf and Country Club, Island Lake, and the Montane Nordic Trails are also great options and offer scenic views. The Montane Trails also have options for snowshoeing and single track fat biking. We’ve taken our Chariot on the multi-use paths there and stopped for lunch at the new Montane Hut where you can take in some great views of the valley and warm up by a wood burning fireplace.
If you’re looking for some more adventurous options, there’s also plenty of options for snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, and hiking.
This year we experienced some exceptionally cold weather and couldn’t get outside for a couple of days. Normally we go to the Fernie Aquatic Centre for days like this but since half the town had the same idea (there was a 1.5hr wait to get into the pool!), we explored and found a hidden gem in Sparwood, BC. If you can handle a 20 minute drive, the town of Sparwood has an awesome leisure centre including kids play area, pool, water slide, and ball pit. We had an absolute blast and will definitely use this place as a pit stop to burn off some energy before driving back to Calgary.
Aside from the abundance of outdoor activities, the town of Fernie offers a laid back atmosphere and the people are grounded and friendly. You don’t have to push your way through crowds of tourists and the pace is relatively low key (unless you’re trying to get a table around dinner time!) For the most part, you’ll find sport shops, galleries, eclectic trinket shops, tasty restaurants, and local coffee hangouts lining the main drag. Going for a stroll to check out these places is the perfect balance after spending a day playing in the snow. Sometimes, we even hit the town first to chow down at our favourite breakfast restaurant—the Blue Toque Diner (check them out on Facebook). It’s in the Arts Station and has an awesome breakfast menu and tasty bowls for later in the day. Other favourites are Big Bang Bagels, Nevados for après-ski margaritas (that’s a thing right?), and Yamagoya Sushi.
Fernie definitely has something for everyone—both on snow and off. I also highly recommend it as a travel destination in the summer if you like paddle boarding, mountain biking, and fishing (you’ll have to stay tuned for a summer review!).
If you haven’t already, put Fernie on your list of travel destinations for 2018!
All posts are my own opinions and experiences.