Top Ten Family Winter Fun

Vince Mo

Fernie’s contingent of families has been on the rise in recent years, and with it has come an amazing array of programming and events specific to kids and families. This provides a great resource not just for those residing here, but those visiting. Educational programming, outdoor pursuits, arts and culture opportunities, and a whole lot of fun await you and your family on your visit to Fernie. Here are our top ten for you to explore this winter!

1. Swimming. The Fernie Aquatic Centre is a multi-purpose indoor facility that is great for all ages, with four bodies of water including a pool for small children, rope swing and a slide, sauna and steam rooms, pool-viewing area, and fitness centre. Visit fernie.ca for more information.

2. Hit the Slopes. Fernie Alpine Resort has a myriad of opportunities for kids of all ages. Children under five can receive a Tiger Pass for just $20, which offers full mountain access. The Magic Carpet is a great place to start, with the Mighty Moose next in line. The Winter Sport School has lesson programs for all ages, and day care is available on mountain. A popular evening choice is night skiing Fridays and Saturdays 4-9pm. Skifernie.com

3. Nordic Skiing. There are various options depending on the level and length of time you and your family would like to be out on the trails. The Fernie Golf and Country Club offers a shorter, flat route perfect for a quick escape or those just learning. Montane off Coal Creek Rd. offers groomed trails as well, with undulating terrain. There is also the option of skiing up towards or to Island Lake Lodge, starting from the lower parking lot. Fernie Alpine Resort has well-maintained trails, with shorter or longer loops. And the Elk Valley Nordic Centre offers numerous trails and loops, with more vertical with the Fernie Nordic Society hosting many events great for wee ones throughout the winter season. Fernienordic.com.

4. Tobogganing. Sitting at the base of a valley, Fernie has some hills and when they are covered with snow, they offer a whole lot of opportunity. One of the more popular areas for tobogganing in town is just behind the Dirt Jump Park, adjacent to the Aquatic Centre. There is a parking area located just below, where you can set up your tailgate snacks and hot chocolate, and kids can walk as high as they like on this fast slope! Alternatively, find a small hillside to your liking and have your own private tobogganing fun!

5. Snowshoeing. Kids and adults alike enjoy exploring the wilderness while walking through fluffy white powder, and Fernie has a large supply of wilderness waiting to be shared! There are fantastic options for kids, including the walk to Fairy Creek Falls from the Fernie Chamber of Commerce, or the Sherwoody Lookout loop at the Mount Fernie Provincial Park. There are also trails available right in town, including Old Stumpy, which takes you behind the Fernie Golf and Country club, or the many available in the Ridgemont or Montane trail networks. If at the hill, Fernie Alpine Resort has a frequented snowshoe trail just off the lower parking lot that is a lot of fun! For a guided tour, visit Wildnaturetours.ca.

6. Indoor Climbing. A great indoor option to break up your time in the great outdoors! There are two climbing walls in Fernie, one located at the College of the Rockies and the other at Evolution Health and Fitness. Both walls are available for you and your family. The College has set times with the opportunity to book a specific date and time. 1-866-423-4691

The Rock Garden at Evolution has a schedule, which includes family climb time, preschool climbing, and No School Fridays Kid’s climbing. Evolutionhealth.ca

7. Community Programming. We are so lucky to have an abundance of family programs available in Fernie, including Kindergym at the Fernie Family Centre, Toddlertime and Storytime at the Fernie Heritage Library, and Parent and Tot Fun Time at the Knox United Church. All of these programs and others are either free or carry a small fee for you and your children. Ekkids.ca.

8. Skating. There is nothing quite like skating outdoors. In town, skating on the Annex Pond, Maiden Lake or new rink at the Fernie Court House (weather dependent) is a popular pastime. If it’s more of an indoor day, the Memorial Arena hosts public skating regularly. There is also drop-in Adult Shinny, Skate and Shoot and Youth Shinny. Visit Fernie.ca for further details.

Perhaps after skating, your kids are keen to take in a game. Fernie’s Junior B Hockey Team the Ghostriders play regularly throughout the season. Visit our events calendar to see when they hit the ice during your stay!

9. Art and Culture. Fernie is home to some beautifully restored buildings housing some of our best assets. The Fernie Arts Station hosts new exhibits each month, and has an array of events and programs throughout the winter months, including those catered to younger audiences. Theartsstation.com

The Fernie Museum has a permanent exhibit This Is Our Fernie on the main floor that is interactive and a great way to spend some time with the family learning about our rich and dramatic history. It also hosts rotating exhibits on the 2nd floor, along with special events. Ferniemuseum.com.

Last but not least, the Fernie Heritage Library. This is a gorgeous building, worth visiting to just explore and enjoy a moment reading a book with the family. There are also regular programs hosted weekly for all ages, events such as the popular Booked! Fernie Wrtiters’ Series, and much more. Fernie.bc.libraries.coop

10. Movie Time. The Vogue Theatre is also a beautiful historic building in downtown Fernie, showing first-run movies at 7pm nightly, with 9pm screenings on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, as well as feature $6.50 2D and $8.50 3D matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. Also, the Vogue regularly hosts film festivals, special screenings and the monthly Indie Films Fernie organized by The Arts Station. The theatre is also home to Fernie’s only arcade with more than 50 games available for party rentals. Ferniemovies.com