Fernie Alpine Resort
Fernie Alpine, at the center of the Canadian Rockies and just 5 minutes from the mountain town of Fernie, has been hosting visitors as a winter destination since the 1920s. The resort gets more than 30 feet of snow each season and boasts 140 runs along 2,500 acres of skiable terrain -- meaning you’ve got plenty of options, whether you’re looking for black diamond runs or beginner slopes. If you’re lucky, you may even catch sight of the Griz, the local folklore hero who was said to have defeated a bear as a baby and became a hulking, 300-pound mountain man and whose nickname is honored throughout the town with bars and annual festivals.
Best run: The black diamond Morning Glory weaves through stashes of powder and untouched spots across the mountain. It’s located in their Siberia Bowl, and is best tackled in the morning (when the light is best). If it’s views you want, though, you’ll need to run a tougher course on Mama Bear or Papa Bear -- both of these black diamond runs start above the cloud cover and will give you the best glimpses of the mountain. Almost any run will get your heart pounding though, as the mountain has a 3,550-foot vertical rise -- the highest in the Canadian Rockies region.
Best après: Located at the Lizard Creek Lodge (a ski-in/ski-out option for accommodations at Fernie), Cirque Restaurant and Bar is an upscale restaurant with modern decor offering everything from a butternut squash risotto to mussels in a cider cream sauce, complete with craft cocktails. Griz Bar, however, is an après-ski establishment that’s been around since 1962. Definitely order the Mogul Smoker -- a hot chocolate cocktail made with rum, Kahlúa with coffee, and whipped cream to warm up and relax after your day on slopes.