Snowmobiling in Fernie
Fernie, BC is rapidly becoming one of British Columbia’s ultimate sledding destinations. Legendary snowfall, five distinct riding zones, staging areas just minutes from your door with local amenities and attractions for every type of rider – wide open adventure awaits!
The Fernie Snowmobile Association (FSA) has been the voice for organized snowmobiling in the Elk Valley since 1990. This volunteer organization works diligently with government and private landowners to secure access to backcountry terrain in addition to providing services and amenities for a wide variety of trail users. Offering over 150km of groomed trails nestled around three warming cabins, the FSA trail network serves as a gateway to thousands of acres of additional backcountry sledding terrain. Trail maps, riding area details as well as a grooming schedule, event and trail pass information are available online at Ferniesnowmobile.com.
New for 2017-2018
- With support from outstanding local partners, the FSA has purchased a larger snow-cat groomer with tiller to enhance the quality of the main Coal Creek and Morrissey trail loops and will be adding an extra day of grooming to the weekly schedule (Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat evening).
- Annual membership and day tickets now include Corbin riding areas, offering sledders additional alpine terrain on the western flank of the BC/Alberta border and faster access to existing FSA terrain for those travelling from the east.
- SledFest 2018! A full weekend of sledding events Feb 16-18, including the Thunderstruck film premier and fundraiser, Corbin Vintage Sled Ride, and the always popular Snow Drag races!
First Time Sledding In Fernie
Park at either the Coal Creek or Morrissey staging areas and cruise 15 km of grooming up to either the Rolling Hills or Wranglers Cabin. It is also possible to make a 33km loop and visit both cabins. Facilities are equipped with BBQs, wood stoves, outhouses and open meadows beside each cabin, suitable for novice riders to play in or as a starting ground for those new to the area.
Intermediate Tree Hustlers
Head up Morrissey to the Wranglers Cabin, stoke up the wood stove for the next riders and refuel yourself with a quick snack before snagging early morning powder turns in the meadow beside the cabin. Ascend the pipeline trail over the steep Double Hills to reach the Notch for some banger sub-alpine bowl and glade riding.
Advanced Big Mountain Braapers
If you are looking for open alpine terrain, rocky drops, and technical climbs consider heading out Hartley, Ram, or Corbin. There is a warming cabin about 50km from the Ram staging area. No overnight use is permitted. Large avalanche paths, challenging access routes, and solid route-finding skills are par for the course for these areas, but riders are commonly rewarded with deep snow and stunning scenery.
Know Before You Go
- Get the Gear: All sledders riding in Fernie should be equipped with an avalanche transceiver, shovel, and probe with sufficient clothing or other equipment to survive an unintended night outdoors. Avalanche equipment and airbag refills are available at GearHub Sports. Professional snowmobile repair service, rentals, sleds and accessories are available at Ghostrider Motorsports.
- Get the Training: Elk Valley Snow Shepherds offers a variety of snowmobile specific avalanche training courses through the season in addition to guiding services to take your riding farther. Weir Boondocking offers riding clinics designed to advance and refine your skills with a focus on using techniques to improve rider ability and boost confidence.
- Get the Forecast: Avalanche Canada provides updated bulletins, weather, and field observations for the Lizard Range and the South Rockies riding regions. Be sure to check out the educational and entertaining AvCanada South Rockies Field Team conditions reports on YouTube and Instagram.
- Get the Picture: Understand where you will be sledding and note the changing hazards throughout the day. Don't hesitate to adjust your riding plan accordingly to more conservative terrain choices.
- Get out of Harm's Way: Practice safe travel techniques and hazard management skills. Only one rider on a slope at a time, watch your buddies from a safe location, do not group in exposed terrain or in avalanche run out zones.
2017-2018 Trail Passes
- Annual Primary Member $175
- Annual Secondary Member add-on $60 each
- Annual Youth or Senior $30
- Day Pass $25
- Day Pass Youth $10 (New for 2018!)
All off-road vehicles in BC require provincial registration and insurance, plates must be visible at all times; passes should be on your person or membership decals affixed to sleds. The Elk Valley has several access management areas established to protect wildlife corridors, sensitive ecosystems and to provide opportunities for non-motorized recreation areas. Be sure to check the RDEK regional access management maps available online before you head out exploring.
Nicole Matei works at Fernie Alpine Resort, is a talented photographer and a snowmobile enthusiast and guide with Elk Valley Snow Shepherds. Elkvalleysnowshepherds.com