March 23 (Fernie, British Columbia) —
After leaving Bozeman and the great snow at Bridger Bowl, we headed to Missoula for a down day to re-stock the fridge and take care of a few things. We stayed overnight in the Wal-Mart parking lot along with a few other RV’s. Although we were tempted to head to Libby, MT for Turner’s closing day or to Whitefish, we learned that Fernie in British Columbia had received 16″ of fresh and at 4pm we decided to head to Canada.
We crossed the border at about 10 pm. The Canadian border guard asked only a few questions — “How much liquor are you bringing with you?” “Sadly, only two Guinness and a couple of fingers of bourbon left.” “How long do you plan to stay in Canada?” “Hmmm, depends on the snow. A few weeks?” Despite our slightly shady answers revealing we hadn’t really planned our trip thoroughly (or, really, at all), he smiled and waived us through.
The drive to Fernie was a bit harrowing as the storm was still blowing. Near whiteout conditions at some points that were complicated by the fact that Canada apparently does not spend tax money on small things like painting lines on their roads (that said, national health care still beats lines on the road). But we parked safely just before midnight and slept well. In the morning, we were rewarded with this view out our back window as the sun rose:
Because there was so much fresh snow making the backcountry dangerous, we opted to ski in-bounds at Fernie Mountain Resort along with thousands of our closest friends (it was Saturday, we quickly realized). Although the resort was busy, we got first chair when they opened terrain that had been closed the day before during the storm.
Permagrins all day.
Fernie has some outstanding terrain and the powder was pretty fine — Polar Peak was our favorite and Snake Ridge was darn fun too. After a long day of skiing, we headed to Loaf in downtown Fernie (www.loafbakery.ca) for an excellent dinner and then crashed back in the public parking lot next to the town library.
Below are more shots of Fernie’s stunning terrain: