Surviving Winter in Canada

You have arrived, and while are stunned by the beauty of the beautiful Elk Valley are completely under-prepared for the conditions. From the epic, overnight dumps of snow to the temps rising creating a slushy mess in town to said slushy mess freezing within hours creating a treacherous walking environment for all. Well, we have experienced it and are here to help! Here are our must-haves during your stay in Fernie and beyond.

1. A winter jacket.
Likely, you packed one for your trip or season in Fernie. But once here, realize it’s not quite enough. Fortunately you have options! Personally I have two jackets that can be paired or worn separately. A compact-puffy, which is my go-to and also a gore tex outer layer for those wet and/or windy days. Trench coats, especially if insulated, are also appreciated on the extra cold days!

2. Quality winter shoes or boots.
As described in the opening, conditions can be variable and change often in mountain towns. There are numerous options when it comes to what to wear on your tootsies… to keep them warm, to keep them dry, to keep you vertical. If you end up staying in Fernie for the long haul, you will likely acquire a range of footwear, but really a high-end insulated boot that is also waterproof will do the job and for those icy days, you can add cleats such as Yaktrax. When up exploring the trails, snowshoes are also a great addition and for the avid runner, gore tex runners with spikes are absolutely life-changing.

3. Toques. (Yes, plural.)
Ball caps don’t do the trick when it’s below zero and you want to keep your head warm and protected from the elements. Fortunately, toques (beanie, winter hat, knitted cap…) are a plenty in these parts with options for every occasion. The mountain adventure, morning coffee date, pre and post athletic class, night out on the town…  every colour and style you desire is at your finger tips in this mountain town!

4. Base layers.
A fitted bamboo, synthetic or merino wool layer against your skin is great at wicking moisture and helping you fight the temperatures. Merino specifically is great at trapping air to keep you warm, or if too warm the fibres relax to release this air to cool you down. It is also naturally antibacterial, decreasing the stink factor! From stylish to purely functional, you’ll find a variety of options throughout Fernie.

5. Accessories.
Mitts or gloves, chunky scarves, warm socks, a stylish pair of shades to reflect that glare from the snow or the sunshine on bright days, and an efficient ice scraper to de-ice your car on those frosty mornings are all must-have items to add to your list this winter season! It just takes scraping a windshield with a credit card, barehands freezing and the sun blinding you in the process, to understand why.

5. (Fernie-branded) travel mug.
Not only will a travel mug keep your beverage of choice warm (or cold) prior to or apres today’s adventures, it will decrease your need for single-use cups and lids and also take you back to your time spent in this magical community with every sip in future. Bonus: finding just the right reusable “Fernie” branded vessel for you is on its own a fun experience and a great way to learn more about this town and all it has to offer!

Take the time while here to explore the many shops along Main Street in the Historic Downtown, on 7th Ave just off the Highway, and also those gems just off the beaten path. Finding the items on this list will be easy, the challenge is making a choice between so many fantastic options. We wish you luck, and warmth during your stay in Fernie.

Photo by Matt Kuhn Photography