Fernie, BC holds a special place in my heart. 

I have experienced memorable moments and unforgettable firsts in this charming mountain town. 

Tucked in British Columbia next to the Alberta border, Fernie is where I learned to ski when I was 5 years old, where I learned to snowboard when I was 12 years old, and the first place my husband and I went on a snowboard vacation together.

Now, I have another first to add.

Etta, my oldest daughter, and I went on our first mother/daughter vacation in Fernie!

Fernie Ski Resort

Not only was I able to share with her the magic of snowboarding some of Canada’s best powder at Fernie Alpine Resort, we also discovered stunning cross-country ski trails to explore, enjoyed the downtown shops and restaurants, and bonded at the hotel by sliding down the waterslide and soaking in the hot tub.

I am excited to share with you a little more about Fernie, including why I love the area so much, activities to do in Fernie, and a few itinerary ideas!

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Tourism Fernie. I set up my own itinerary to explore the area and all opinions and recommendations are my own. 

Things to do in Fernie, BC in the winter

Skip Ahead

About Fernie, BC

6 Activities To Do in Fernie

Fernie Alpine Resort

Where to Eat

Where to Stay

Itineraries – 3-day & 5-day

Gear Rentals

About Fernie, BC

Fernie, BC is a quintessential Canadian mountain town, and popular vacation spot, located one hour west of the Alberta border.

What makes Fernie so special?

Nestled in a valley surrounded by the Canadian Rockies, there are no shortage of mountain views whether you are skiing the slopes, exploring the historic downtown, or relaxing in a hotel room.

Despite its population of about 6,200 residents, the touristy town caters to visitors and has many unique shops to explore, trendy restaurants and cute cafes to enjoy, ample accommodations to reside in, and endless activities to try. 

Fun fact: With its proximity to the province of Alberta, Fernie follows Mountain Standard Time and not Pacific Time. 

6 Activities To Do in Fernie in the Winter

Cross-country ski 

cross country ski in fernie

Fernie is well known for their downhill skiing and snowboarding, but they have an abundance of cross-country ski trails that are well groomed by locals in the area. 

I had never experienced cross country skiing in Fernie before this trip with my daughter Etta. 

Skiing the trails was one of our favourite activities to do together. On the Elk Valley Nordic Centre Trails we had a blast maneuvering over all the hills.  The views on Cedar Loop combined with the rolling hills made it my favourite trail. 

Located near Fernie Alpine Resort, these trails are relatively challenging and are intermediate to difficult.

When volunteers are available, the new warming hut will be open. This is the perfect spot for a break after exploring the trails. Enjoy a sip of hot chocolate next to a cozy heated wood fireplace.

Elk Valley Nordic Centre Fernie

Beginners will enjoy the easier trails that can be found at the Fernie Golf Course

There are trees that provide shelter on windier days but on a clear day you will also be rewarded with spectacular mountain views. 

Tips: Stop by the Visitor Centre located off the #3 before entering the North Side of Fernie for more tips on places to explore. 

Snowshoe on one of the winter hiking trails

Snowshoe Fernie

Hiking is not only an activity for the summertime! 

Transformed into a winter wonderland, the hiking trails in and around Fernie maneuver through trees blanketed with snow and deliver spectacular views of the frosted mountains. 

Snowshoes are often needed to venture out on Fernie hiking trails because of the large amount of snowfall in the area. 

Mt. Fernie Provincial Park has an extensive trail system to explore.

There are a few access points and parking lots for these trails. 

They can be accessed off Mt. Fernie Park Road  in the parking lot just past the Cedars, a community of houses. This is also the location for the cross-country ski trails. There are two other parking lots, one further down on the right that connects to the north trails or one further down Mt. Fernie Park Road near Gorby bridge.

An easy, more popular trail in the area, is the trail to Fairy Creek Falls. The 5 km round trip trail has 100 m of elevation to a frozen cascading waterfall in the winter.

Skate the large NHL-size skating rink surrounded by mountain views

In 2017, a large, NHL size skating rink was unveiled in the downtown of Fernie next to the Leisure Centre. On a clear day, you can enjoy 360-degree views of the mountains while playing shinny or leisurely skating. 

There is a large storage container on site with seats inside so that you can get your skates on. A porta potty is also available near the rink and the Aquatic Centre has amenities as well. 

Check out their hours operation here.

Shop in Fernie’s Historic Downtown

Gear hub Sports Fernie

Not all ski towns have such a bustling downtown, and the character brick buildings make wandering through the town of Fernie extra special. 

There are unique gift shops to explore like Coal Town Goods, a number of art shops including the Fernie Arts Co-Op, specialty stores like Le Grand Fromage for unique cheeses, and Beanpod Chocolate, Gelato, and Coffee for hand-made chocolates. 

Local gear shops for top-of-the-line ski and snowboard equipment can be found at Gear Hub Sports. 

Etta and I spent a whole morning walking the downtown, checking out the shops and choosing a lunch spot (so many options!). 

That morning, Etta also added another Husky Dog stuffy to a growing collection. We purchased an eco-friendly Husky dog stuffy that she soon named Fern, after the Town of Fernie. 

Go swimming and water sliding

waterslide at stanford resort in fernie

You do not need to forgo the pool, and hot tub if you choose an accommodation without those features. Families can enjoy the pool (including a small leisure pool for children), whirlpool, hot tub, and diving boards at the Fernie Aquatic Centre.

Staying in the Stanford Resort in Fernie with a waterslide and an outdoor hot tub is an easy way to keep the kids entertained without having to add in another activity.

Etta and I stayed at the Stanford on our recent trip. Each of our days ended with 30-45 minutes swimming and hot tubbing. Needless to say, she was ecstatic!

Ski or Snowboard on one of Canada’s premier mountains

Fernie Alpine Resort

Fernie Alpine Resort is one of the top mountains to ride in Canada. Crowds disperse on the vast mountain terrain, making it easy to find fresh powder to shred on a snow day. 

And… Fernie is blessed with a TON of snow each year, making it one of the best powder mountains in Canada. 

Beginner, intermediate, and expert riders will have fun tearing down the mountain on their skis and snowboards. 

There is something for everyone from the five bowls to explore, shoots to send, stunning glade riding, and wide, low grade beginner runs. 

For Beginners

Fernie Alpine resort deer chair

A challenge for many beginners riding in the mountains is finding terrain that is long enough and at the appropriate level to develop their skills. Unfortunately, many beginners in the mountains have accidentally found themselves on ski runs that are too challenging for their comfort.  

But…beginners don’t need to worry about getting stuck on overly challenging terrain at Fernie. The mountain is set up perfectly for new skiers and snowboarders!

It is easy to learn quickly off the Deer Chair which ventures a quarter up the mountain to easy green runs that allow ample time to practice skills. 

This area is where I learned to ski at age 5 in a single run.

When I was older, I went on to teach my brother how to snowboard off the Deer chair. If the chairlift is too intimidating, there is also the Mighty Moose magic carpet to start on. 

Hot Tip:

Purchasing tickets online ahead of time will save you 20%! 

The Mighty Moose Magic Carpet is free for kids under the age of 18 and there is a reduced ticket for adults. 

Where to Eat

Chilango Fernie restaurants

The town of Fernie has so many delicious restaurants and cafés to be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Before Etta and I left on our trip, I did a ton of research to decide where we should eat during our stay. 

Standing out from our visit was the Neapolitan pizza we enjoyed at The Loaf.  Etta devoured an upscale pepperoni pizza while I indulged in the Mediterranean with olives, feta, and peppers.

If you enjoy ethnic food as much as my family, there are quite a few options including the authentic Indian food at Himalayan Spice Bistro and the Mexican food at the trendy new restaurant Chilango.

I should note that Chilango happened to be mine and Etta’s favourite dining out experience. The food, the setting, the staff, and the service was amazing.  

Learn more about our experience at Chilango and 5 restaurants in Fernie you need to visit in our post “Best Fernie Restaurants you NEED to check out!”

Where to Stay

Hotels in Fernie for families

Stanford Resort is an affordable option for families close to the ski resort and boasts a waterslide, free breakfast that includes pancakes and waffles, and a variety of rooms including 2- and 3-bedroom townhouses. Located by the river, on a clear day the inn provides panoramic views of the mountains.

It was serendipitous that Etta and I unexpectedly stayed in the same hotel my husband and I stayed in on our first snowboarding vacation together many years ago. 

When I stayed with my husband, we thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor hot tub.

Through the eyes my daughter, we experienced the fun of the large waterslide! We enjoyed that waterslide three out of the three nights we stayed at the inn, followed by a soak and a chat in the outdoor hot tub. 

If you are planning to ski and snowboard during most of your visit, there is beautiful ski in ski out lodging located on the Fernie Ski Resort for a first class ski vacation. 

Book well in advance because these sell out quickly each year. 


Itineraries to make planning your trip to Fernie easier! 

3-day Itinerary

Day 1: 


Enjoy swimming at your hotel.


Grab Take out from Himalayan Spice Bistro.

Day 2:

Ski or Snowboard at Fernie Alpine Resort

Hot Tip: 

Book your pass online for 20% off your lift ticket.

Beginners can book their lessons here.


Intermediate or experienced riders enjoy lunch at The Lost Boys on the mountain at the top of the Timber Bowl Express chairlift.

Beginners can enjoy lunch at Griz Day Lodge or Legends Mountain Eatery in the ski resort village area. 

*If you want to pack a lunch then you can eat it in the Griz Day Lodge.

For dinner, dine in or grab take out from The Loaf!

Day 3:

Visit the Downtown Shops

Eat lunch at Big Bang Bagels

Go Cross Country Skiing (at Elk Valley Nordic Centre), Snowshoeing (Mt. Fernie Provincial Park), or Skating (NHL size skating rink next to Aquatic Centre)

Enjoy dinner at Chilango Mexican Restaurant

5-day itinerary

Day 1: 


Day 2:

Ski or Snowboard at Fernie Alpine Resort

Hot Tip

Book your pass online for 20% off your lift ticket. https://tickets.skifernie.com/product/lift-ticket-full/ 

Beginners can book their lessons here. https://skifernie.com/purchase/telus-winter-snow-school/ 


Intermediate or experienced riders enjoy lunch at The Lost Boys 

Beginning Riders enjoy lunch at Griz Day Lodge or Legends Mountain Eatery. 

*If you want to pack a lunch then eat it in the Griz Day Lodge.

For dinner, dine in or grab take out from The Loaf

Day 3:

Visit the Downtown Shops

Eat lunch at Big Bang Bagels

Enjoy a swim followed by a skate at the Aquatic Centre in downtown Fernie

Enjoy dinner at Chilango Mexican Restaurant

Day 4 and 5: 

Explore the trails while cross country skiing at the Fernie Golf Course or on the Elk Ridge Nordic Centre trails. 


Snowshoe to Fairy Falls or in Mt. Fernie Provincial Park. 


Spend another day at the Fernie Alpine Resort

Grab take out or dine in at the Himalayan Spice Bistro

Gear Rentals

Gear Hub Sports Fernie

Do not have your own gear?

No problem!

Rentals are available if you want to try out the various outdoor activities. 

Gear rentals for all activities can be found at Gear Hub Adventure Rentals or found at Fernie Alpine Resort


Fernie Alpine Resort

Fernie truly is a magical place to visit and one of Canada’s finest gems. 

There are so many activities, and the downtown is bustling with activity that makes it a fun place to spend the day. 

I made incredible memories with Etta and I cannot wait to bring the rest of the family back to enjoy a winter vacation with all of us.

Things to do in Fernie BC

I have been writing about snowboarding with kids for a few years now! Check out our other snowboarding resources.

snowboarding tips

Curious to learn a little bit more about our family? Read more on our About Us page!

Meet the Mangs

BIG NEWS… We launched an app!

Enjoy hiking with your family? We launched an app called TrailCollectiv to help families get outside, find trails, and connect!

Download it on the Apple Store here and on Google Play here.

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