SNOW SCENE: Festive Fernie a gift for holiday skiers and riders

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Every ski and snowboard area generally does a few special events for the holiday season.

Big crowds descend on the Canadian Rockies in late December, so there’s almost always going to be something festive happening.

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Nobody does the season quite like Fernie Alpine Resort, though.

From Dec. 22-Jan. 7, the resort will be transformed into a holiday wonderland, with everything from sleigh rides to night skiing to family crafts to skiing and photos with Santa to … well, the list goes on and on.

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“It’s about connection and celebration,” said Matt Mosteller, the senior vice-president of marketing and resort experience at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, the company that owns Fernie. “People get connected by the group showshoeing tours, the group fat-biking, the family ski bingo. And then, the celebration is obviously about all the traditions and fireworks and holiday crafts.

“The holidays have a tonne of stuff going on.”

Fernie Alpine Resort
A snowboarder drops into the Timber Bowl at Fernie Alpine Resort on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023. Photo by AL CHAREST /SPECIAL TO POSTMEDIA

Most people probably have the bulk of their holiday plans locked in by now, but the nice thing about Fernie’s jam-packed events schedule is that it goes every day and evening right until the end of the first week of 2024.

You don’t have to plan your entire holiday schedule around a trip. For families or groups of friends who might just want to slip away for a night or two, it’s easy enough to do, and the southern B.C. resort has a tonne of accommodation just steps away from the lifts. The Lizard Creek Lodge is a personal favourite.

There are a bunch of events centred around Christmas, such as Ski & Photos with Santa on Dec. 23-23, the holiday sleigh rides and several opportunities to do arts and crafts.

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But New Year’s is not being ignored. The resort is going all out to ring in the end of one year and the beginning of the next, with activities catered to families. There will be board games, night skiing, puzzles and family crafts and it all leads up to a big fireworks display at 9 p.m.

Fernie Alpine Resort
A skier enjoys the Falling Star run in the Siberia Bowl at Fernie Alpine Resort on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023. Photo by AL CHAREST /SPECIAL TO POSTMEDIA

Of course, we’re talking about a ski and snowboard resort here, so we can’t go much further without discussing the single most important thing that can make or break a holiday season: The snow.

And, well, there’s a lot of good news where the fluffy white stuff is concerned.

While November was generally a pretty slow month for snow everywhere in the Canadian Rockies, it’s picked up in a major way at Fernie.

Our photographer for the Snow Scene section, Al Charest, reported awesome conditions in the high alpine this week, and that’s confirmed by a snow report that indicates Fernie has seen 14 cm of fresh powder in the past week. The season total is now sitting at 253 cm.

Fernie has runs open in all five of its bowls and had 83 runs open on Wednesday afternoon.

That’s vital for this time of year, when skiers and snowboarders begin to flock to the mountains.

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“I would think it’s a ‘snow brainer’ to be at Fernie over the holidays,” Mosteller said with a chuckle. “It’s definitely starting off the season in a really positive way. The upper mountain is skiing incredibly well and it’s getting a regular refresh. Mother Nature is providing that seven-to-15 cm on a regular basis and a fairly large system is looking like it’s in the forecast for more snow for the next three to five days.

“That’s really a positive for holiday skiers and riders and with all five bowls open, all ability levels and the whole family can enjoy the skiing and riding experience.”

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Fernie Alpine Resort
A snowboarder drops into the Timber Bowl at Fernie Alpine Resort on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023. Photo by AL CHAREST /SPECIAL TO POSTMEDI

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