Fernie’s abundance of natural snow makes the cross-country skiing excellent! There is XC sking at the Fernie Golf Course, Island Lake Lodge, Fernie Alpine Resort, Montane Fernie, and the Elk Valley Nordic Centre at Mount Fernie Provincial Park. Whether you own your own equipment and are just looking for a map, or are looking for information on guided tours and equipment rentals, Fernie has what your looking for.
Fernie Nordic Society
The Fernie Nordic Society is transforming cross country skiing in Fernie. With more than 200 members of all ages and backgrounds, including 80 kids, the primary goal of the Fernie Nordic Society is “to provide low cost winter fitness activity to it’s membership through high quality groomed trails and programming”.
Fernie Trails & Ski Touring Club
Fernie Trails & Ski Touring Club operates three backcountry cabins and builds and manages trails for skiing, biking and hiking.
Elk Valley Nordic Centre
This facility is new and offers Fernie’s best XC skiing experience. Norwegian trail designer Reidar Zapf-Gilje designed the facility and is known as one of the best Nordic trail designers in the country. These trails are for Nordic skiers only, please use the other facilities for dog walking and non-xc ski activities.
This facility is new and is groomed by the Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club. There are xc specific and multi-use trails and a warming hut.
Fernie Alpine Resort
The XC trail system at Fernie Alpine Resort offers great skiing. The terrain is hilly and forested and offers an excellent workout and wilderness adventure. It is groomed several times per week and generally has excellent skiing for both skater’s and classical cross country.
The trail head is located in the back-end of parking lot three. From there, follow the trail up the incredibly steep hill that joins the main trail system.
A word of caution. These trails are multiple use. You may run into mountain bikers, runners or snowshoe tours on any of the trails. If you bring your dog, please use a leash and clean up.
Access (Silk) Trail – 1 kilometer: This trail starts from the trailhead at the shop and climbs for approximately 1 kilometer to the start of the Silk trail. It is a gradual climb that ends a bit steeper than it started. If you are learning to skate ski, it is usually enough to make you want to climb back on the couch you were trying to avoid.
Silk/Manchuria Loop – 4 kilometers: This 4 kilometer loop has a two different personalities depending on the way you do it. To take the upper trail, Manchuria, seems to be the easier of the two ways to go. You start off climbing a rather steep grade but it quickly levels off before dropping down through some fun S turns to the halfway hut. Following the Silk trail back to the trail head is generally a gradual climb with a few shorter pitches thrown in to keep you entertained.
Starting with the Silk trail provides a fast and fun glide downhill before a short steep hill to the halfway hut. Manchuria from here, switch backs and climbs a steep and continuous grade for half its length before leveling off. As a general rule though, the Manchuria section of the route sees little traffic.
Scandia Loop – 5 kilometers: From the halfway hut, the Scandia loop winds along the hillside and tends to be more broken than the Silk/Manchuria loop. Short up hills break up the down hills and near the apex of the loop, the trail could be described as actually rolling with small, two stride hills. This is not to say the loop is easier mind you. In either direction, the hills are generally longer and steeper than on the Silk/Manchuria loop. Winding through peaceful stands of birch and aspen, with scenic views of the Elk Valley, make this trail worth the extra effort. Plus, a short jaunt through the forest at the apex of the trail brings you to the Birch Meadows bed and breakfast which serves lunches and hot soups on the weekends between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm.
Fernie Golf Course
About 12 km of groomed tracks are available on the golf course. There is little change of elevation on these trails so it is optimal for beginner skiers. The start of the trails is at the Clubhouse of the golf course where you will find ample free parking. The trails are jointly groomed by the Golf Course and by the Nordic Society volunteers on a regular basis. The management of the golf course has specified that NO DOGS be allowed on these trails.
Island Lake Lodge
Island Lake Lodge is private property and catsking is their business. These are multi-use trails and everyone needs to be respectful of the landowner and other users. The trails at Island Lake Lodge are frequently groomed however there is no track setting. Snowcats and snowmobiles travel the road frequently and please park in the designated area. Enjoy their hospitality and beautiful nature! Download Island Lake usage overview here: Island Lake trail policy
The Fernie Dyke Trail
The path along the Elk River on the dyke winds through the centre of Fernie. It is not groomed regularly but it is well used by hikers, snowshoers, cross-country skiers and dog walkers. Outdoor enthusiasts with dogs are welcome here. Part of the trail is groomed by Nordic Society volunteers.
The trail is accessed from the large parking lot next to the Marks-Canadian Tire building on the North side of town. It extends to the east and also to the west around the Annex neighbourhood.
Cross Country Trail Safety
– Be cautious of snowmobiles and snowcats on the Trail.
– Travel on the trail at night is not permitted.
– Please keep dogs leashed, or at the very least, under control. Snowmobiles and wildlife are a threat to your dog’s safety.
– Please take responsibility for your safety on the trail and consider the consequences of your actions.
– There have been numerous moose on the access road and trail. Please follow safe wildlife practices including:
– Keep your distance – many wild animals can be dangerous, respect their space.
– Stay alert – many incidents between people and wildlife occur when they meet by accident.
– Caution around young wildlife – mothers are often very protective and can be quite aggressive.