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Fernie vs Banff (for a season, not just a vacation)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 


I am looking into completing a season in either Banff or Fernie. So, I am looking for great skiing area's but also a decent liveable town. I am an intermediate skier. I've looked at similar threads but they're all about staying for a week or two. I feel as though I have mustered enough information in terms of skiing, weather and conditions at both these places, so I am looking more for recommendations about which place to live for 6 months +. I'd be arriving anytime between May and August/September 2015. So let's say, price for a room and the amount of competition I'd be up against in securing a room, past time activities during winter months, places to eat, places to party, cost of living etc. 

I'd also be interested in skiing at other slopes whilst I'm there so, which has the most ski areas surrounding it? I would probably rent a car so driving isn't an issue. I know at Banff you can get 3 ski areas under one ticket which is really appealing. 

After I do a season here I am most likely doing a season in Alaska so, I'd like my time in Canada to be more about socialising and partying yet still have the great ski/boarding it has to offer.

I'd still be open to other places in Canada, e.g Quebec but it'd need to live up to the party atmosphere I'm looking for. I've done a season in Queenstown, New Zealand and really enjoyed it, if that helps you know more what I'm after.

Thanks in advance for your advice!

post #2 of 6

Please eliminate Eastern Canada because if you come half way around the world to ski in Canada you want to be in BC or Alberta.


Town Vibe

Banff is much more high end than Fernie which is more rural small town British Columbia with a whole lot of Aussies, Kiwis and Swedes thrown in, at least in winter. Fernie is a little 'touristy' but Banff takes 'touristy' to a whole new level. 



The hill is 10 minutes max from Fernie and lots of folks hitch a ride. Lake Louise and Sunshine are much further down the road and that could be drag to drive every day. Norquay is close to town but not on the same league as LL and Sunshine



Fernie gets more - LOTS more



Toss up as both Fernie and Lake Louise have lots of terrain to push your limits. IMHO Louis has better cruising terrain



I have no idea as I live up the highway from Fernie in Sparwood.


I'm sure others will share their thoughts. You can have an active social life just about anywhere if you find the right people 

If you come to Fernie you should check out Castle 2 hours east and south.


Vibewise Castle is to Fernie as Fernie is to Banff

post #3 of 6

The town of Banff is way too busy with tourists in the summer and as Castle Dave said, in winter there is a daily commute to the skiing of about 3/4 hour to Lake Louise and I think about 20 or 30 minutes to Sunshine.


According to a Fernie local that I talked to a few summers ago, the population is about 5k in summer and 10k in winter. As a former mining town Fernie is much more livable and funky and not as fancy a place as Banff.


Once you have made a decision, check the resort's web site in spring or early summer 2015 for early discounted 2016 season pass sales.


I don't know apartment rental prices in Fernie or Banff, but at my local mountain, Sun Peaks, a year-round basement rental suite starts at $800-$1000 CDN and might include utilities.


Hope this helps, and welcome to EpicSki.

post #4 of 6

What is your primary interest, skiing or partying? The answer to your question could be much different depending on your answer to mine.

post #5 of 6

Between the two Banff is much more "Queenstown" than Fernie - I'd class Fernie as more like Wanaka or Methven in vibe - or that's my experience 10 years ago

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your replies, it's much appreciated!


I have a feeling I'm going to do the whole thing backwards in terms of busy tourist periods. Most likely Banff for winter, Fernie for summer for the bike trails. This being said I am also planning on a season the following year at Alyeska in Anchorage, Alaska. So I think it would be wise for me to get some debaucherous behaviour under my belt in Canada and then relish the uncrowded resorts of Alaska. 

Still, I have plenty of time to make my mind up but I doubt I'll decide until last minute (spontaneity and all that).

Again, thanks for the replies :)!


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