Celebrating 50 years of lift access skiing in Fernie

Around Fernie, Heiko is a legend and well known for a good reason. He’s the creator and builder of Fernie Snow Valley, or as it’s better known: Fernie Alpine Resort.

Legend has it that Fernie’s story actually started way back in 1879 with the birth of The Griz who is credited with bringing the plentiful powder (up to 42 feet in a season) year after year. Jump ahead to 1962 when a donation of land from Galloway Lumber came and with many hours of volunteer work done by many dedicated individuals and businesses, the Fernie Snow Valley Ski Resort officially opened for the first time on January 10th.

On opening day, there were 2 T-Bars and the present Day Lodge. The Rabbit Ridge Rope Tow was located between the Griz Inn and the bottom of the present Cornerstone Lodge location and the Elk T-Bar was from the present Deer Chair location to the top of Elk Quad Chair location.

In 1969, the Lizard and part of Cedar bowl opened as well as the Bear T-Bar. It wasn’t until 1978 that the first snow cat was introduced to Snow Valley. From 1985, when the present Boomerang Triple Chair opened to the opening of the Elk Quad Chair in 1989, Fernie was slowly starting to build a name for itself.

In the seasons of 1984/85 and 1988/99 Fernie had record snowfalls, and then in the season of 1990/91, Fernie saw 1,179cm of fluffy white goodness, which helped Fernie acclaim it’s title of legendary powder. In 1997, Snow Valley was purchased by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, and with the purchase came big changes. A new name, Fernie Alpine Resort and the Timber Bowl Express Quad Chair, White Pass Quad Chair and Timber, Currie and Siberia Bowl opened. And now, 14 seasons later, with the opening of the Polar Peak lift (providing even more accessible terrain), Fernie has become a internationally known destination and acclaiming more titles from National Geographic including: Best Winter Trips 2012 and landing on the list for Top 25 Best Ski Towns.

To celebrate 50 years of legendary powder and skiing, Fernie Alpine Resort is hosting a number of activities from March 19 – March 24. Throughout the week celebrating Fernie Snow Valley & Fernie Alpine Resort’s history, legacy and pioneers from the community that made it all happen.


  • Ski Canada Magazine Ski Test at Fernie Alpine Resort
  • Tuesday

  • Ski Canada Magazine Ski Test at Fernie Alpine Resort
  • Wednesday

  • Salute to Powder Pioneers – Classic Ski Films Showing at the Vogue Theatre.
  • Thursday

  • The Fernie District & Historical Society Museum presents “Powderful History”, a celebration of Fernie Skiing pioneers social.
  • Friday Join key ski industry leaders and media as they discuss what the next 50 years look like. Two panel discussions will be taking place in town Friday afternoon:

  • Panel 1 – Resort & Industry Leaders – Discuss the Mountain Resort real estate market.
  • Panel 2 – Top Ski Media & Industry Leaders – Discuss what’s next for the sport – a look to the future for the sport of skiing.
  • The night culminates with a street party in downtown Fernie!
  • Ski Canada Magazine Ski Test at Fernie Alpine Resort
  • Saturday

  • Ski Heritage Week culminates with a 50th Anniversary Celebration & Party up at the resort, including Ski School Alumni Reunion, glowstick parade and fireworks, and a party at The Griz Bar.
  • The Red Tree Lodge wants to help celebrate 50 years of lift access skiing by offering our 3rd Night 50% Off special. Enjoy our unrivalled amenities, including hot tub, swimming pool, games room, free movie rentals and more. Call us today at 1-800-977-2977 to book your next vacation and come see what Fernie has to offer!

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