(Map from Lethbridge to Fernie)
I'm off again, this time, to the beautiful resort town of Fernie, located in the south-east corner of BC. It's opening weekend at Fernie Alpine Resort and we're ready to shred some pow and snap some pics!
My girlfriend, Kirsten, who also doubles as our photographer and women's model from time to time, loads up the SUV as we roll down the Crowsnest Pass from Lethbridge, where she currently resides.
With our unofficial mascot, Rocky, in tow, we're on our way and the weather is great, albeit, we're getting a late start after arriving in Lethbridge at 9 pm Saturday evening. After quickly transferring our cargo from the car to the SUV, we're off and out of "the Leth" at around 9:15 pm and starting our trek to the hill!
Now, this is a pretty straightforward drive, no steep cliffs or traverses that some mountain passes have, but doing it at night on a two-lane highway, not the best. Toss in the fact it started to snow around the Crowsnest Pass, it made for the last 30-45min to be a bit dicey. Never the less, we arrived safe and sound at midnight, checking into the Fernie Slopeside Lodge, which was a great little budget spot to stay, stocked with a microwave, minifridge, coffee maker (good coffee too!) and two double beds, we were set.
(Rocky and Mike posing for a quick snap in front of the Fernie Slopeside Lodge)
We decided to pour a few drinks while unpacking, taking advantage of the quiet Saturday night of opening weekend, it was extremely peaceful and tranquil. After unloading our gear, we decided to take a stroll around the quaint village with Rocky and explore the surroundings. There was a light dusting of snow coming down, mixed with the 10+cm that fell the previous night, we knew Sunday was going to be a fun riding day!
(Shown above on Mike is our new Premium Merino Wool Toque)
Staying up a bit later than we'd probably liked, Exploding Kittens really got intense, we hit the hay anticipating an early morning and long day of riding.
Waking up was tough on such little sleep, but after crushing a coffee while walking Rocky, we were set to hit the slopes. Being that it was opening weekend, we thought it'd be slammed busy, but thankfully, we were two of only a handful of people up and going for the first chairs. The weather was beautiful, a bit socked in initially, but that cleared up to be a bluebird day after a couple hours.
(Kirsten enjoying the beautiful view on the first chair up)
We really lucked out, the snow was unreal, early season conditions were really not that barren as hazards were few and far between. A few protruding rocks and sticks, but nothing dangerous or unavoidable.
After a few runs down, we skied right to our door of the lodge and stopped in for a quick sandwich and drink. After another walk with Rocky, we were back on the lift for our next runs.
The weather cleared and the whole mountain was visible and stunning, the view from the top was beautiful! Fernie is a unique town, completely surrounded by mountains, 360* views waking up are gorgeous and something I don't think I could get tired of. As a resort town, they rely heavily on tourism year round, but I think they've got that on lock, with winter sports and a strong mountain biking scene in the summer, this is a must stop for those thrill seekers.
Doing a few more runs, we decided to swing by the Rusty Edge, which is a rather spacious and beautiful pub with great beers on tap, hearty food choices and a friendly staff. On the plus, they have a large patio and allow dogs to hang out, at least when it's not busy.
(Base Camp beer by Fernie Brewing Co., broccoli cheddar soup, the "Rusty Edge Cesar" and fries complete our afternoon snacking)
After a few drinks, we decided it was in our best interest to shut it down from riding, no point building up the liquid confidence and going back out and doing something outside of your skill set. If we're going to have some drinks, we're going to be responsible.
We hit up the hot tub for a relaxing soak before taking a much-needed nap after some tired ski legs.
Meeting up with some friends later on in the evening, we went back to Rusty Edge, as a few of them worked there and were off shift. We ended up spending the rest of the evening there, the atmosphere was great, some awesome drink and food specials and a good crowd. I'd highly recommend trying the Switch Back Beef Dip, it's phenomenal and enough for two people to share!
When all was said and done, we left the Rusty Edge, heading out for our long (insert sarcasm here) walk across the parking lot to our hotel room. We grabbed the little guy again for another walk, this time, there was no snow, but the village was beautifully lit up, quiet again and just peaceful. Rocky was loving running around in the piles of snow, burying his face and causing a ruckus. Then, it was time for bed!
Waking up for our 11 am check out was rough, mainly because of the delicious Fernie Brewing beers and maybe a few too many of them at that. We finally gathered ourselves and headed back for the drive home.
Before we could head out of town, we had to stop by the actual Fernie Brewing Co. brewery, located just on the edge of town and in a very modern, but rustic building. Inside, the staff were extremely friendly and helpful, sampling beers and just chatting about the goings of the brewery. Awesome experience, adding to that, I picked up a growler of Eldorado IPA to enjoy at a later time (it turned out it would be that evening on the couch).
Along the way there's a very interesting interpretation centre for an event that happened in 1903, in which a large, and I mean LARGE, a portion of a mountain broke away from itself, engulfing a large portion of the town of Frank. Known as Frank Slide, this tragedy claimed the lives of over 90 people, in a mere 90 seconds. Miners were trapped in the shafts, eventually digging themselves out of the rubble some hours later, but the devastating effects are still present, with the Crowsnest Highway splitting through the limestone rocks scattered throughout.
(A panoramic shot from the interpretation center showing the mountain and debris)
The Frank Slide Interpretation Centre is quite the place, with a very modern and visually impressive building, the exhibits are both eye-opening and impactful. There is a theatre room with two separate 30-minute videos, describing either the incident itself or the history of the surrounding area. It's definitely worth checking this place out, it was eye-opening to hear about it, and then seeing the path of destruction and just sheer amount of rubble left from over 100 years ago, it's something.
Anyways, I digress, this trip is all but over after the stop at the interpretation centre, as the drive from there was sunny and clear all the way to Lethbridge.
I think this is a good spot to leave it for this blog, one of much more to come from our partners, contributors, and friends!
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