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Fernie vs. RED for BC resort + cat ski

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi all - I'm looking to decide on a destination for a 4 day trip in BC.  This will be my first time there (live in California).  I've done a bunch of research to try and find a place offering a combo of advanced/expert resort skiing + a lower cost single day of cat ski.  I'm torn between Fernie + FWA for cat vs. RED + a few options for cat (on mountain, Big Red Cats, Wildhorse, or Valhalla).  Any key things to swing the pick?  We'll be a group of 4-6 guys.  All skiers.  Like steeps, food and drink too.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by VIX View Post

Hi all - I'm looking to decide on a destination for a 4 day trip in BC.  This will be my first time there (live in California).  I've done a bunch of research to try and find a place offering a combo of advanced/expert resort skiing + a lower cost single day of cat ski.  I'm torn between Fernie + FWA for cat vs. RED + a few options for cat (on mountain, Big Red Cats, Wildhorse, or Valhalla).  Any key things to swing the pick?  We'll be a group of 4-6 guys.  All skiers.  Like steeps, food and drink too.

Thanks!

Haven't been to Fernie but if you add Whitewater and Nelson to the Red equation you can't go wrong. 45-60 minutes apart and if it hasn't snowed in a while then wh2o will maintain its snow better. Both areas have excellent terrain but if it were me I'd pick Nelson over Rossland for access to more cat ops although I'm not sure how many of those ops besides Valhalla do day trips as opposed to overnight lodge trips. Valhalla has awesome terrain and generally great snow but it the nature of day cat ops and the travel into and out of the cat terrain cuts back on the skiing time compared lodge based ops. I really enjoy both red and wh20 but the snow is generally better at wh2o. I've heard great things about Fernie so you probably can't go wrong there either.......great problem to have
post #3 of 16

They're both really nice areas.  But for a short trip,  I would probably focus on Red/Whitewater.  There are a lot more cat/heli ops and conditions are a little more consistent.

 

Southwest has a fare sale thru Feb. 11th,  that ends tonight.  OAK - GEG direct,  with great times for $200 is a no brainer.

Reserve a mini van and nothing else till a week out.  Then if it conditions don't look promising, you can cancel and you won't be out a dime.

If it looks good, start calling ops and see who has seats.

 

If you can swing it, a nine day trip, Friday to Sunday night gives you a lot more options.

post #4 of 16

Red is probably a better bet as it has more cat ski options if you can get a single day. Since Fernie is on your list don't forget  Castle as they also have a cat ski operation. It's actually based at the ski hill so no commuting plus it's relatively cheap and is based on single days. Intermediate pitch but lots of fun. BTW Red and Fernie have lots of short steep terrain but Castle has the longest continuous steeps on North America starting at 38 degrees and 2000 vertical.

Fernie and Rossland are about the same for food and drink but Nelson is better. At Castle it's pizza with the lifties at the end of the day then across the parking lot to the hostel/hotel and go to bed 'cause you're beat from skiing. 

 

FYI http://www.epicski.com/a/unofficial-guide-to-castle-mountain-resort 

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Castle Dave View Post
 

Red is probably a better bet as it has more cat ski options if you can get a single day. Since Fernie is on your list don't forget  Castle as they also have a cat ski operation. It's actually based at the ski hill so no commuting plus it's relatively cheap and is based on single days. Intermediate pitch but lots of fun. BTW Red and Fernie have lots of short steep terrain but Castle has the longest continuous steeps on North America starting at 38 degrees and 2000 vertical.

Fernie and Rossland are about the same for food and drink but Nelson is better. At Castle it's pizza with the lifties at the end of the day then across the parking lot to the hostel/hotel and go to bed 'cause you're beat from skiing. 

 

FYI http://www.epicski.com/a/unofficial-guide-to-castle-mountain-resort 

 

 

Okay Dave I officially hate;) you for taking me to that guide for the first time.  The video is awesome and any place that touts it's attitude as "burning fossil fuels and drinking rye" combined with that mountain needs to go on my bucket list....which is already too long.   Work is really getting in the way of my bucket list.....

 

Nice guide....how have I missed hearing more about Castle for all these years.

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post

 

Nice guide....how have I missed hearing more about Castle for all these years.

Not to worry - most Canadians have never heard of Castle either.

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post
 

 

 

Okay Dave I officially hate;) you for taking me to that guide for the first time.  The video is awesome and any place that touts it's attitude as "burning fossil fuels and drinking rye" combined with that mountain needs to go on my bucket list....which is already too long.   Work is really getting in the way of my bucket list.....

 

Nice guide....how have I missed hearing more about Castle for all these years.

 

Castle Mtn.= The greatest mountain in North America that no one has ever heard of.

post #8 of 16

I think Fernie/Castle is a great option if the OP was taking a longer trip as I suggested. 

For a short trip he'd have to fly into FCA and then he'd lose the flexibility of Southwest airlines.

post #9 of 16

 I agree. I would fly southwest to Spokane and do the Red Trip. You can Fly in and out in 

on Evening flights and get maximum ski days for a short trip. Much less cost and more  flexibility

 

 I would do a longer trip at another time and hit up Fernie, Castle, Banff, Revy, Kicking Horse, etc. 

post #10 of 16

FWIW X3 ^^^

post #11 of 16

Flew into Spokane and went to Red/Whitewater/BRC for a quick trip last year, and enjoyed the whole experience (even though it was 5*f the whole time). Town of Nelson is cool.  Even hit a Trail Smoke Eaters minor league hockey game, which was a blast.  Red has so much terrain that if they get snow, you really can't hit all the stashes in 2 days.  Whitewater was a nice 1 day treat with better snow than Red, good scenery, and great lodge food.  BRC terrain was just OK, IMO, but the outfit was well/professionally run.  We had a blast and would definitely do it again.

 

For a longer trip, would love to hit Whitefish/Fernie/FWA (or Island Lake), and Castle.  Maybe next year. 

post #12 of 16

Wildhorse out of Ymir south of Whitewater may offer "reasonable" standby day rates. They are definitely a bit of a shoestring operation, so they can be more flexible than some of the larger operators.

 

You should be aware that, if the snow is good, the cats for most operators will usually be running full, especially in late Jan, Feb, and early March. Even if they have an empty seat or two, they may have locals ready to snap them up (i.e., give me a call if you've got a seat).

 

Red nominally has more terrain than WH2O, but WH2O usually has better snow, and some excellent sidecountry. Don't go alone; bring beacons, probes and shovels; pray you won't have to use them.

 

 

Just out of bounds at Whitewater

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the tips.  After much coordination with the rest of the group (complicated because some from SF and others flying from Los Angeles), we landed on a trip to Revelstoke mid Feb.  Flying into Kelowna.  I'm psyched to check out Revy.  Now that I've learned so much about BC resorts, I definitely want to get there more often.  I like the Spokane to Red and Whitehorse options and Calgary to Fernie/Castle options and finally KHMR.  Maybe we'll squeeze in a KHMR day trip off of Revy.  It's only a 5 day (3 days of skiing/2 travel) trip so not sure how much we'll venture away from Revy. 

 

Anyway, thanks for the info here.  I hope to get to these resorts soon, and some cat or heli.  That pic of WH20 is awesome.

 

Cheers

post #14 of 16

VIX, if you are looking to do some cat skiing on this trip there are some day cat skiing operations that will pick you up at your hotel/motel in Revelstoke. K3 is one such operation.

 

Under no circumstances should you go cat skiing with RMR's (Revelstoke Mountain Resort) cat skiing op as they are right next to the lifts and lots of skiers hike up above the Stoke Chair, traverse over and ski lines right where people are paying big $ to supposedly ski exclusive cat skiing terrain.

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 


Thanks for the heads up DanoT.  Much appreciated.

post #16 of 16

Another big prop for K3 catskiing (http://www.k3catski.com/) - they have pickup right from Revy (town or resort) and run an excellent, low-frills but high quality operation. It is not the experience of 5 days at Chatter Creek, but they often have room for day-trippers and WAAY less $$$, the terrain and quality of snow is right up there with anyone else around.  Highly recommended!!

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