This beautiful little city in the East Kootenays offers more than just the mountains

On the eastern edge of B.C., a mere 11-hour drive from Vancouver through gorgeous mountain-lined highways, you’ll find the ski town of Fernie, British Columbia.

While the winter activities here in the winter are obvious, and numerous, (skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cat skiing, even trail riding with winter bikes), there are lots of other things to see, eat and experience in and around the town.

Here are my top six reasons to visit Fernie...


1. The Blue Toque Gastro Diner

Blue Toque Gastro DinerChristine McAvoyI was lucky enough to be staying with locals (resident Fernie stoke-folk band Shred Kelly) who gave me some great tips on where to eat in town (and there were many I didn’t get to). Every person I met said I needed to eat at the Blue Toque and I quickly learned why. The menu not only covers meat-eaters and veggie-folks, but also caters to food sensitivities, all while creating incredibly tasty, eco-conscious food. I debated for a long time what to try, but ultimately went with the “Eggs Canadian” with garlic sautéed spinach and mushrooms on English muffins with white cheddar sauce. Delicious!


2. Fernie Brewing Company

Fernie Brewing Company 1000x667Christine McAvoyI’m no stranger to the beers of the Fernie Brewing Co., but I was excited to check out where they were made and to taste some straight from the source. I went with a paddle of some old favourites ( “What The Huck” – Huckleberry Wheat Ale) and tried some new brews I hadn’t had yet (“The Griz” Pale Ale). Even cooler, the proceeds from each paddle they sell in the tasting room goes to charity as part of their “Cheers To Charity” program, which has produced $50,000 (since Dec 2013) for local charities. I’ll drink to that!


3. Spa 901

Spa 901 and writer1000*667Christine McAvoySet downtown in a renovated schoolhouse from 1908, you’ll find Spa 901. Stepping in from the cold to a place of total comfort, and a very friendly staff, was such a pleasure. It was still very cold outside (around -20), so the outdoor hot tub with its jets was a very welcome relief, as were the infrared sauna and relaxation rooms, all of which guests have access to during their appointments. I was treated to a “Guinot Double Ionization Facial,” which helps with skin maintenance and is customized for each customer's needs. Winter tends to dry my skin out and I left with a hydrated glow and feeling very refreshed (and finally warm again!).


4. Clawhammer Letterpress & Gallery

Clawhammer Letterpress & GalleryChristine McAvoyI’m very old school and still love paper and postcardsI still send snail mail whenever I travelso when I heard there was a gallery downtown that does letterpress work, I had to check it out. Owner Michael Hepher was kind enough to let me poke around his studio, open some drawers and check out some of the fantastic work he’s done. If you’re looking to take home a piece of Fernie with you or gift one to someone else, one of these prints is a sure bet. I’ve already started writing in the notebook I took home with me.


5. Ice Bar at Lizard Creek Lodge

Ice Bar at Lizard Creek LodgeChristine McAvoyLocated right on the mountains in Fernie, the Lizard Creek Lodge boasts a very unique activity within its bar areaan Ice Bar that serves Canadian and international vodka. The 20 types of vodka are located in a specially built bar made of ice, that is kept at -13 degrees. The rooms lights make it feel like a party, and you’ll be kept cozy with the poofy Helly Hansen jackets while you sip some chilled vodka flights. I went with the “Shadow In The Lake” vodka from Legend Distilling, which is located in Naramata.


6. Cirque Restaurant & Bar

Cirque Restaurant & BarChristine McAvoyMere steps from the Ice Bar, also located within the mountainside Lizard Creek Lodge, is Cirque Restaurant & Bar. I cozied up in the lounge near the large fireplace, incredibly hungry from my day of running around town, and enjoyed a delicious dinner and glass of wine. I considered all the incredible options on the menu, but finally decided on the chicken ragu, of which I ate every single bite. I wish I had more time to lounge at the bar, especially for an après-ski one day, but alas, it was time to leave.


Fernie.townChristine McAvoyFor more information on places to stay and even more things to do, check out the Tourism Fernie website.