Anatomy: Fernie's Polar Peak

With the installation of the Polar Peak chair this fall, Fernie Alpine Resort opens up new cliff- and chute-studded terrain in a zone that, until now, saw only occasional action as bootpack-accessed spring skiing.
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Fernie Polar Peak

The Polar Chutes are the first lines skier’s left off Polar Peak. Work them in sequence, right to left, to milk the best vert. Start in the open face and connect it with more-technical chute variations lower down, or stay in the open alpine bowl. Beware of traverse tracks near the bottom.

Farther down the ridge, lines are shorter but they offer cliffs and mountain-goat skiing. The landings to these airs have a smooth pitch and are fairly forgiving, especially after a big storm. This area is the opening-day venue of Fernie’s annual big-mountain competition.

To get back to the Polar Peak chair, you will have to crank a hard right and cut out of the fall line near the trees. On deep days, you’ll probably just want to keep skiing to the bottom. The 3,550 vertical feet of face shots will be worth the three chair rides back to the top.

Currie Headwall

Though shorter in vertical than the Polar Chutes, the shots in Currie Headwall filter right back to the Polar Peak chair for easier laps. The gut of the bowl will have the mellowest descent, but steeper, wide-open terrain flanks both the left and right of the pitch.

A gate far skier’s right on the headwall accesses techy big-mountain terrain. The pitches are short and rocky, with several options in full view of the lift line for attention-seeking huckers. Go left from the top of the lift and keep your speed up as you descend the ridge. Some sidestepping will get you to the drop in of your choice.

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Inside Line

The new lift would theoretically offer easy access to Lizard Headwall, the finals venue for Fernie’s freeski comp. The terrain’s closed for now, but locals are already speculating.

Parts of Hollywood’s latest iteration of the ski comedy, Hot Tub Time Machinewere filmed in Fernie.

It takes a few lifts and a long traverse, but a journey to the steeps and sparse glades of Snake Ridge in Cedar Bowl is worth the effort.

Cap a day of powder laps in Currie Bowl with some Bombay chicken or pad Thai from The Curry Bowl downtown.

Don’t miss stopping by Fernie Brewing Company to sample a pint of its gold-medal-winning Sap Sucker maple porter.

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