Nordic Loops for Everyone
Nordic skiing seems to grow exponentially with each year. Perhaps it's the growing Fernie Nordic Society, with nearly 1200 annual memberships and 1000 day use trail passes sold. Or it could be the numerous locations one can get out on Nordic skis.
From the City of Fernie groomed trails along the river, to the Fernie Nordic Society maintained Fernie Golf Course. From the Coal Creek Heritage Society maintained Nordic trails leading to the Montane Hut, to the quiet short and long Nordic skiing loops at Fernie Alpine Resort. And then there is the Elk Valley Nordic Centre, at the hub of it all with lessons for all ages, short, medium and long distances and many hills and corners to keep you on your toes.
So, yes. There are options, which could be challenging. Here are some of our favourites to try out this winter!
WITH THE FAMILY
We have had some great adventures cross-country skiing with headlamps along the Dyke to the fire pit behind the Fernie Golf Course. These trails are flat and not track set and are fantastic with kids! Pack the hot chocolate and snacks and make an evening out of it.
Parking: Maiden Lake
Distance: 4km Round Trip
Park at Maiden Lake and take the Dyke Trail north along the Elk River, passing the RV Resort and making your way behind the Fernie Golf Course. Turn left off the dyke (if you have reached the train tracks, you have gone too far) and stay left until you reach the firepit. Dogs are welcome!
FOR THE CLASSIC SKIER
Fernie Alpine Resort has a lovely trail system that leads deep into the woods and makes you feel immersed in nature. They climb and descend at a gradual rate which allows a nice rhythm and are wide enough to allow other trail users to pass.
Parking: Parking Lot 4 at Fernie Alpine Resort
Distance: 5 or 10km
Difficulty: Intermediate / Advanced
The catch with the ski hill is the hill from the parking lot to the trails, but once that is behind you, the gliding gets easier. Once you reach the top of the ‘hill’ from the parking area, turn left and keep climbing a bit, then take a right up Manchuria. When you come down a hill at a junction, turn left on Silk Trail for the 5km option, or continue right onto Scandia Loop for the full 10km. Dogs are welcome!
FOR THE SKATE SKIER
When it comes to skate skiing, it is all about the grooming. Who knew you could get so giddy over fresh corduroy? The Elk Valley Nordic Centre grooms regularly so typically is the ‘go-to’ for those concerned about conditions (and who like to glide!). No dogs, please.
Parking: Mount Fernie Provincial Park Distance: 7.5km
Difficulty: Intermediate / Advanced
Beginning from the Nordic Hut in The Cedars, head down and stay right, crossing the Teck bridge. Climb to the right up The Runt and stay right on the Galloway Connector. Stay right onto the Galloway Loop, continuing until you reach the Connector trail again. For the adventurous, head down the Grunt for a fast descent, for those who want to keep their speed checked, take the Runt back down. After crossing the bridge, take a quick right up the Lizard Lookout and stay right to complete the Cedar Loop. Stay right and continue back to the hut! Extra challenge: to make the ski longer, the Galloway Loop is great for… loops!
FOR THOSE SHORT ON TIME
You need to get the dog out for some exercise. You had a long day at work. You were a bit too sore to ski powder, again, but a little movement will help you recover. We’ve got you! In town we have two locations to access for a quick ski, any time of day.
Fernie Golf Course (Not Dog Friendly)
Parking: Fernie Golf Course Parking Lot Distance: 5km
Walk to the clubhouse once parked and put on your skis. Head down the hill and stay right until you reach a Y. Turn left, and continue along this trail staying right (crossing one road – we recommend removing skis) and continue until you return to the Y. If that went by too quickly, repeat.
Montane (Dog Friendly)
Parking: New Montane Trailhead Distance: 8km
Difficulty: Easy / Intermediate
From the parking area, follow signs for Montane Green (Nordic Only loop). At junctions, stay left and continue until you reach the beautiful views from the Montane Hut. Then enjoy the fast and flowy descent as you make your way back to where you started!
For more details on Nordic skiing in Fernie, visit FernieNordic.com. Purchase a membership or day-use trail pass on this site!
Photo by Vanessa Croome