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Fernie RCR

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Just got back from Fernie Alpine Resort. What a change from a few years ago. The lifts are just as old and still add that rust color to your ski outfits. The ski patrol are closing more and more runs as soon as they get a few cm. of snow. My conversation with one of the patrols said that they need more patrols and better management. The hill has not been maintained and as a result many runs, glads are needing much more snow before you can let yourself go. Off to Revelstoke to check it out. Here it is the place to go.
post #2 of 29
That don't sound good.

Be sure to let us know how Revelstoke is. That's something to look forward to right there!!
post #3 of 29
Good timing on your report. I was just about to book a trip for me and the wife for Feb. I was looking for a place that had great groomed blues so she would have the best possible time. If Fernie's grooming is lacking, that may not be the best place. I was really intreagued by Revelstoke but got the impression that it was much less of an intermediate area than Ferni. Would really appreciate your report on their intermediate terrain and grooming.

Sorry for the hijack, but Loafer '81, were you on the hill yesterday? We went over to Saddleback for a few runs in the deep freeze - was -10 F at the base and -17F at the top with 25-40 mph winds. Even in Maine that is a frost day.
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
The intermediate runs are ok, however I did ski Revelstoke last year and would recommend that over Fernie. I have skied Fernie for over 15 years and will be moving to Revelstoke in a few years. The new chair (in the North Bowl) at Revy has opened up a lot of intermediate runs and glads. You can book on hill accommodations at Nelson Lodge which is now taking reservations, I think for Feb 15 and beyond. Rates are excellent compared to Fernie. I would assume it is because it is the first year with on hill ski in/out. Lift tickets are less expensive as well. Anyway hope this helps and have fun.

Peter
post #5 of 29
Fernie wouldn't be the best choice for an intermediate.

I think RCR is charging a bit much for tickets and passes, but hasn't fernie always been slow to open after big snowfalls? The snow pack this year is especially tough.

I was at Fernie on New Years eve, and had a lot of fun skiing off the Boom chair. I was back at castle today. They have been having the same issues with stability, and just opened the red lift for the first time in weeks.
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
I guess all resorts are having some challenges. Currie, Upper Cedar have not been open for a few weeks now. A lot of the guests that I ride up with are not too excited about the full price plus another $5 for the holiday period.
post #7 of 29
Thats a shame, I was there in 2000 and really enjoyed it. I did think it weird though that the local ski shop in the town was not open on a Sunday - and it was not a powder day. It was as if they had not made up their mind wether they wanted to be a ski town or not yet.
post #8 of 29
Part of the resort was recently sold back to Charlie Locke, a previous owner who left, stiffing most of the town for back bills. The place has some of the worst management in the business, and it appears to be just getting worse.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
Part of the resort was recently sold back to Charlie Locke...
Sorry, this is incorrect. Charlie has nothing to do with any resort other than LL.
post #10 of 29
FWIW I heard that the reason the patrollers were closing areas of the resort was because of the tremendous work load for avalanche control.

I could be wrong, but that sounds like a valid reason to be overly cautious.:
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldo View Post
Sorry, this is incorrect. Charlie has nothing to do with any resort other than LL.
Thanks, that makes sense....I didn't think he would show his face in Fernie.

RCR has pissed off the locals enough without his help. Next thing you know they'll ban a local journalist from the mountain. oops, they already tried that.
post #12 of 29
I was at Fernie about a week ago and when I got there they had 2 runs open off of the Timber chair, and the White Pass chair was closed.

Talked to a guy who worked their on the chair up and he told me that they were having avalanches in places that they've never seen avalanches.

They opened runs throughout the day, and opened the White Pass chair at about 2. They had ski patrol watching certain runs to make sure that nobody would duck the fence and go ski in them.

At the end of the day we heard 15+ explosions, and they had a helicopter watching for avalanche control.

I still like Fernie cause it gets great snow, but I really wish it counted towards my free days on my Louise Card
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Torture View Post
I still like Fernie cause it gets great snow, but I really wish it counted towards my free days on my Louise Card

You and me both!

I was thinking that it would be a decent day trip option from lethbridge, but it's pretty pricey, and when the snow is good, the highway is rough.
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
It's Jan 15 and they have not opened Currie Bowl since before Christmas. Folks from around the world can not experience what Fernie has to offer. I have been skiing here for over 20 years and each year it gets worse. Today we rec'd about 15cm overnight and all bowls were closed. They have also started to put up ropes on many runs which will cause more frustration. The patrolers who have been here for a while are also frustrated with the management and are slowing moving or changing jobs. Its too bad since it can be a great hill for skiing, old lifts and all. They are still one of the most expensive hills to ski. Now that Revelstoke is on the map, many folks have decided to try it out. When the on hill accommodations become available I am sure Fernie will lose many repeat guests. Fernie should take note from Whistler who bring in other avalanche expertise to assist when needed. Fernie is in big need at the moment.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by manchester81 View Post
You and me both!

I was thinking that it would be a decent day trip option from lethbridge, but it's pretty pricey, and when the snow is good, the highway is rough.
Have you been to Castle? One of the best kept secrets in the rockies IMO. It's really cheap for students too...they have a student rate and if you have a louise or sunshine card you get the half day price so it's only $38 for a day of skiing.

They need some new chairs though...but I love that you can ski a fresh line of pow at the end of the day because of the wind they get.


BTW I go to UofC, I can't respond to your PM cause I don't have 5 posts yet..

Quote:
It's Jan 15 and they have not opened Currie Bowl since before Christmas. Folks from around the world can not experience what Fernie has to offer. I have been skiing here for over 20 years and each year it gets worse. Today we rec'd about 15cm overnight and all bowls were closed. They have also started to put up ropes on many runs which will cause more frustration. The patrolers who have been here for a while are also frustrated with the management and are slowing moving or changing jobs. Its too bad since it can be a great hill for skiing, old lifts and all. They are still one of the most expensive hills to ski. Now that Revelstoke is on the map, many folks have decided to try it out. When the on hill accommodations become available I am sure Fernie will lose many repeat guests. Fernie should take note from Whistler who bring in other avalanche expertise to assist when needed. Fernie is in big need at the moment.
Yeah...I noticed that they were saying they got 30cm in the past 24 hours....I was wishing I had gone but if they didn't have anything open that makes me feel a little better.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Torture View Post
Have you been to Castle?
I have a pass to Castle. I am going tomorrow. The Red Chair has been closed for a couple of days because of wind, so it should be pretty nice up top.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbertoewrn View Post
It's Jan 15 and they have not opened Currie Bowl since before Christmas. Folks from around the world can not experience what Fernie has to offer. I have been skiing here for over 20 years and each year it gets worse. Today we rec'd about 15cm overnight and all bowls were closed. They have also started to put up ropes on many runs which will cause more frustration. The patrolers who have been here for a while are also frustrated with the management and are slowing moving or changing jobs. Its too bad since it can be a great hill for skiing, old lifts and all. They are still one of the most expensive hills to ski. Now that Revelstoke is on the map, many folks have decided to try it out. When the on hill accommodations become available I am sure Fernie will lose many repeat guests. Fernie should take note from Whistler who bring in other avalanche expertise to assist when needed. Fernie is in big need at the moment.
I have been skiing Fernie as well for over 17 years but respectfully disagree with some of your statements. I won't comment on managment or the work environment as I can't contribute here. I will say that the Avi conditions are the worst that we have seen in years. Up until the last 2 weeks, Fernie had like 60 cms (2 feet) of accumulated snowfall. Today they sit at over 250cms. With the faceted bottom layer and the 6 feet of dense snow on top, the snow pack is upside down. A recent anaology in the the South Rockies Avi bulliten suggested to imagine it as plywood sitting on marbles, sitting on popcorn and tilting it. Here is an excerpt from today:

"Basically the region has an unstable snowpack with facets and depth hoar at the bottom, a dense mid-pack , which is now getting incrementally loaded by storm snow. Not a good recipe!

On the divide the 150cm snowpack has facets and depth hoar (very airy and weak) below a denser 70-80cm slab with about 5cm of low-density (light) new snow on top. In the Fernie area the 200+cm snowpack has 30-60cm of low-density new storm snow on a settled, firmer mid-pack which sits on the very weak facets and a facet/crust combination. In both areas the wind and temperatures will work the soft surface snow into a soft slab or hard slab which makes the snow more likely to avalanche."

There have been reports of whumpfing triggering slides remotelty from 400 M (quarter mile) away. I seriously suggest anyone who intends any back country travel in the area to check out this report. If you still think that Mountain safety is over cautious, good luck to you.
post #18 of 29


Here is a pic from a slide triggered around Castle Mountain by one low pass on a snowmobile last week. This slope apparently has not been known to slide in the past. Just another example of what the resorts are faced with.
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Safety should naturally be first. But when they let first track skiers ski closed runs due to avi, then something is not right. You can pay for first tracks at Fernie. I guess $$$ is a little higher on the list then safety.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbertoewrn View Post
Safety should naturally be first. But when they let first track skiers ski closed runs due to avi, then something is not right. You can pay for first tracks at Fernie. I guess $$$ is a little higher on the list then safety.
No argument here.
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbertoewrn View Post
Safety should naturally be first. But when they let first track skiers ski closed runs due to avi, then something is not right. You can pay for first tracks at Fernie. I guess $$$ is a little higher on the list then safety.
In all fairness, they have one of the toughest avy situations in North America. If they can't get a helicopter up, they can't make it safe. The patrol works really hard and blasts the living crap out of that hill...they used to make the snow slide off the roof of my house in town.

That said, they have first tracks for special paying customers, as well as an "Executive First Tracks " session for the management to get to goods before anyone else. No wonder they don't get it opened sooner.

They would have a lot more powder available if they paid enough to better retain staff, and spent some money to actually cut some brush in the summer.
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
Agreed. I spoke with a patroller the other day and now the rule is if it snows 5cm they close Upper Cedar Bowl and the Access Road to the Bowl. If they get 10cm Lizard Bowl is closed. They now are closing runs that are not Avalanche, but have access to areas that cannot be seen by the towers. I agree that safety is priority one but closing runs because of the poachers does not sit well with many of the visitors. Anyway I think the patrollers are getting very fustrated with the whole situation and many have moved on to other hills/careers. Too bad they do a great job for low pay. I hope overtime they get some experience that can help run this hill as it use to when Heiko was the owner. Anyway enough said. Enjoy your winter
post #23 of 29
dumb swede already said everything that needed to be said...
you seem to have a bone to pick so please go to revy, from my deck/kitchen you can see stuff that has slid and as mentioned there are slides in places where there have NEVER been slides before...plus enough of your "poachers" have got themselves into trouble that the closure may seem warranted until the snowpack settles....

"when Heiko was the owner" man i love that, makes you feel like a local doesn't it....
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbertoewrn View Post
I hope overtime they get some experience that can help run this hill as it use to when Heiko was the owner.
Everyone, Heiko included, wish they ran the mountain the way Heiko did. Local, visitor, they all agree on that. I'm not sure I get your point, Waxman.
post #25 of 29
the point was/is that it is a tired argument from a different time Snow Valley was an Elk Valley hill with some Alberta/Saskatchewan traffic and one crescent of real estate on hill...
the "new improved" "super destination" "world class" FAR has all the trappings of a real estate oriented resort with a detached townsite
everyone wants all the whizbang stuff but without they want to have the "my own hill" feeling....
i don't think it happens happens anymore...
maybe i don't have a point i just love the RCR bashing, the skiing is okay given the conditions right now (no it isn't last year but that could change any day, as long as it isn't like february 2-3 years ago)...
really what did Heiko do other than open the hill and not have a workforce from Australia? yes he was on hill....something that can't be said for Murray that's for sure...
post #26 of 29
Personally, I would not book an overseas trip to Fernie if you are interested in skiing challenging terrain in deep snow, it's just too chancy in terms of conditions and snowpack stability. Kicking Horse and Revy are able to get their stuff open a lot easier (KH can control the ridges in white-outs with hand bombing and ski cutting, Revy same thing - Fernie needs the chopper to bomb the top ridges, can't fly in white-outs etc). Just go to Golden/Revy if you have to plan your trip way in advance.

I was in Cranbrook over the holidays and was planning on doing a few days in Fernie, but due to sketch snowpack and nothing being open I decided to do the long drive to Louise instead. When Fernie is good it's some of the best skiing in the world, and I have had some awesome days there, but other than day trips or last minute storm chasing I'd go somewhere else instead. This is not a dig on patrol was they are working their asses off with a terrible snowpack in a season with inbounds avy deaths in the news (not at Fernie) so I imagine it is super stressful especially with morons poaching. I'm sure stuff would open sooner if they had a bigger budget of course.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by gramboh View Post
Personally, I would not book an overseas trip to Fernie if you are interested in skiing challenging terrain in deep snow, it's just too chancy in terms of conditions and snowpack stability. Fernie needs the chopper to bomb the top ridges, can't fly in white-outs etc).

When Fernie is good it's some of the best skiing in the world, and I have had some awesome days there,

This is not a dig on patrol was they are working their asses off with a terrible snowpack

I'm sure stuff would open sooner if they had a bigger budget of course.
You sum it up just about perfectly.

I spent three winters there, and even monitoring patrol radio there was no way to know what would be open. The only thing for certain was that after a good dump, most of it would be closed. Tough mountain to do control work on.
post #28 of 29
Too bad they are having issues. It's a great hill! I can't wait to get back.
post #29 of 29
Skied there once about 5-6 years ago on a trip to Calgary and unfortunately the conditions were just short of horrible. It had not snowed in 2 weeks, and several days prior they had an ice storm. I was there only two days and the first morning they experienced a power outage on the mountain and only half the lifts operated.

I would believe with good snow the skiing there is probably terriffic.I sure missed good conditions when I was there.
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