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Fernie v's Banff

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

This is the 1st time I have posted here - I hope I have put it in the right place!

We have the opportunity to ski in Fernie or the Banff area in March this year. I have skied the Banf area a few times but have never been to Fernie and wanted to get some views on how they compare. I just love the Banff area skiing but - I would like to try Fernie.

We are beginner/intermediate skiers, we probably ski 75% of the terrain at Lake Louise.  Are they similar mountains or totally different? I would welcome your thought. Price wise, the trips will cost about the same from the uk, we would just hate to get to Fernie and wish we had returned to Banff. Yep, catch 22!

We are not into snow parks or heliskiing etc but looking for a good lift system, plenty of intermediate slopes, few crowds and good snow.

I read somewhere that Fernie can be prone to rain - is this the case or equally as likely as the Banff area.

Many thanks in advance.
post #2 of 7
I've been to both, am an advanced skier and mistakenly took my low-intermediate wife and her advanced-beginner sister to Fernie a few years ago for a week.  I had a blast skiing most of Fernie.  They were stuck on a limited # of runs the whole week.  IMO there is a big jump from green to blue runs @ Fernie, and unless you are a strong / confident intermediate, I do not recommend Fernie.  I should've booked us a trip to Sun Peaks or Big White (less challenge for me, but better for them).  If you can handle 75% of Lake Louise you will find Fernie small and much less interesting.  IMO Fernie sucks for anyone < advanced or expert.  Town is OK but is no Banff.  Scenery is OK but pales compared to Banff.

Frankly, if you like to cruise you'd be better off @ Big White, Sun Peaks or even Panorama, all of which have much longer fall line intermediate runs than Fernie.
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndogandslats View Post

I read somewhere that Fernie can be prone to rain - is this the case or equally as likely as the Banff area.
 

In addition to the above comments, Fernie is very prone to rain after February whereas the Banff areas won't receive rain until long after they've closed (it's not unusual for Sunshine Village to get powder as late as May).  I've been rained on every time I've skied at Fernie, but earlier in the season Fernie can get epic dumps of snow rather than rain.  The time that you're planning on coming out will be hit or miss.
post #4 of 7
 Fernie will always be somewhat hit or miss, but it doesn't rain THAT often.

In a typical season,  Fernie is the better bet from december to mid february. They are often pretty equal until mid march, but from Mid March on, your best bet for snow conditions is Banff.

The best months to ski Sunshine and Lake Louise are March and April.
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndogandslats View Post

I read somewhere that Fernie can be prone to rain - is this the case or equally as likely as the Banff area.

Banff is further north, and the resorts are much higher.

The high point at Fernie is only 6316 ft. Sunshine's "village" is at 7,000 feet. The base of lake louise's summit and paradise lifts are at about 7,000 feet as well. 
post #6 of 7
FWIW and for NEXT YEAR, not this year...  Whitefish would be better than Fernie for your group.  Not many crowds and much more intermediate terrain.  Not far from Fernie.  Similar elevation to Fernie, about 500 feet higher.  In a normal year (not this year) most of our precip is in January but we are still going great until closing day in early April.  The best year to come is a La Nina year.  This year is an El Nino year, not a good year to come, although it doesn't mean it totally sucks, there's just better places to be than here. 

Of course, I consider Lake Louise to be arguably one of the most beautiful places on God's earth, even though it can be nice here as well.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for everones views - they were really valuable. The earliest availabity for us was mid March for Fernie and having read peoples views and a bit of a study of the resort it may be a little late.

We have just bagged a good deal to Lake Louise for late Feb/early March, not been there for 4 years so just cant wait to get stuck in!!

Thanks again - and happy skiing

N&K
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