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The Best of Fernie, B.C., in 3 Days

Chase some of the greatest powder in the West in this cute Canadian ski town

Looking toward red brick buildings, trees strung with lights and snowy mountains in the distance on Main Street in Fernie, B.C., Canada

Fernie, B.C., is known for its legendary powder. But you don’t have to be a seasoned skier to enjoy all that this Rockies town has to offer. Here’s what to do on a long weekend in and around town.

Day 1: Find your après-ski groove at Cirque Restaurant & Bar

Stone fireplace at Cirque Restaurant at Lizard Creek Lodge in Fernie, B.C., Canada

Pick up a rental car at Cranbrook’s international airport. From there, it’s easy highway driving through big-mountain country to Fernie. After checking in to your hotel, head to Cirque Restaurant & Bar at Lizard Creek Lodge to soak up the après-ski atmosphere beside the grand river-rock fireplace.

Stay for the Canadian-meets-European cuisine—try the bison carpaccio or elk-meatball tagliatelle—then slip on a thick jacket to step inside the on-site Ice Bar, kept at -10ºC, and taste a vodka flight in a bar made entirely of ice.

Day 2: Ski, then shop Fernie’s downtown

Drink menu and cocktail garnished with lemon slice on table at Fernie Distillers in Fernie, B.C., Canada

Stop for breakfast at Big Bang Bagels, a local institution, before driving to Fernie Alpine Resort, about eight minutes from town, for a morning on the slopes. Not to worry if you’re a newbie; the resort has excellent instructors for private or group lessons.

In the afternoon, explore Fernie’s historical downtown. You’ll find specialty shops like Beanpod, a bean-to-bar chocolatier, and plenty of history involving prospecting, mining and bootlegging amid the charming red-brick architecture and easily walkable streets.

Take a break at Fernie Distillers to sample small-batch Prospector Gin and No. 9 Mine Vodka in the custom tasting room. Then walk around the corner to Nevados, a 110-year-old theatre turned cocktail destination, for Latin American tapas, margaritas and music.

Day 3: Head out in a snowcat and try out a fat bike

Group of three people in winter clothes fat biking across snowy field in Fernie, B.C., Canada

Start the day with a cappuccino at The Valley Social before driving to the Island Lake Lodge parking lot near Mount Fernie Provincial Park, where you can arrange a pickup by snowcat. Enjoy the ride as you look for moose in the old-growth forest.

While this backcountry hotel is known for catskiing, where you’re taken to unspoiled slopes by snowcat, it also offers a winter snowcat-and-lunch program that includes time to snowshoe or cross-country ski (or go to the spa), followed by a gourmet lunch at the lodge’s Tamarack Dining Room.

Back at the parking lot, drive to Fernie Alpine Resort, rent a fat bike (like a mountain bike, but with wide tires for snow) and work up an appetite on more than 10 kilometres of groomed, tree-lined trails. Wrap up with a burger and craft beer at Legends Mountain Eatery.

When to go

Fernie is a year-round destination, but if it’s powder you seek, the winter season typically lasts from December to mid-April.

Where to stay in Fernie

Best Western Plus Fernie Mountain Lodge offers a cozy atmosphere and special rates for CAA Members, and it’s walking distance to downtown.

Ready to head west?

Find out how CAA Members can save at Best Western Plus Fernie Mountain Lodge and on car rentals to get from the Cranbrook airport to Fernie.

For more great winter vacation ideas, check out five of the best ski towns in Canada.

Image credit: Courtesy of Tourism Fernie