Fernie, BC | March 24th to 28th

After leaving Seattle, I headed east towards Spokane, WA, then on to northern Idaho before turning north towards British Columbia, Canada. The skiing up this way is unbelievable. More snow than you can imagine. My first stop was at Fernie, they've received nearly 1100cm this season, (Thats around 36 feet of snow) and I arrived in the middle of a storm. A couple of inches were in the forecast, but they received nearly a foot of fresh during this cycle. The locals might call this #FernieFactor, yes.
On my drive north on 95 from Idaho. After crossing the border, I saw a few cars that had slipped off the road, and I was very aware that I had to drive cautiously. I stopped at each accident and made sure that everyone was okay. This was not the usual rubber necking. In an accident out here, you want to make sure that everyone is okay as assistance might be quite far away. Fortunately, everyone was fine and assistance was in route.
I arrived in Fernie to a mixture or rain and snow. Kinda a bummer, but I had a feeling that the snow up top would be good. I was right, it was.

I took the "Timber Bowl Express" to the "White Pass Quad" and traversed over to #27/28 "Concussion" and "Toms Run" Steep and deep glades. I loved it. Without knowing the mountain, I was still finding plenty of great skiing. It was dumping. It also seemed that they were under reporting the snow, which was fine with me. According to the locals, it was busy, and yes, it was as busy as a Colorado mid-week powder day, but not what I was used to on the weekends in Colorado. The lines lasted less than 5 minutes, and there were so many easy hike to trails that I felt as if I was alone.

Later in the afternoon, just before the lifts closed, I hiked up to the "Knot chutes" a quick 5-10 minute hike, with some incredible powder turns. At first, I thought that no one had seen the line, I then realized that it was snowing so hard and blowing snow in that I lucked out on some late day pow turns. Incredible, snow was spraying over my head at 4pm on a weekend.

I drove into town and found a place to stay, the "Raging Elk." While I'd become accustomed to my truck, I was unsure of where to park, and for $25CAD for a night, a bed, a shower, and an attached bar & restaurant with breakfast was a deal.

I settled in and grabbed my computer for some journaling. I was able to quickly write my piece, "Outside of my comfort zone"
At the time, I really was. Perhaps I still am, and maybe I'm becoming more comfortable. Time will tell.

A small group of people had gathered at the table by me. After an hour or so, one of them came over to ask me what I was up to. She was curious if I was a blogger or a hacker. I laughed and shared my post with her just before I published it, perhaps that made it easier to share. Opening up to a stranger before opening up to the world...

I still had quite a few days ahead of me here, but I was already loving it. I learned from her that Fernie is a mining town. Most places I've visited make their money from ski tourism, and while skiing is big in Fernie, it's apparently not the driving force behind their economy. I was also surprised to learn that most of the mining goes to create steel. Fernie also has some of the only Cedar trees this fear east from the Pacific. Both of these facts are according to locals and I've not researched, but they are interesting nonetheless. One of them even commented that "Environmentalists often criticize them, but the steel they are mining go to create the reusable bottles and goods that they use" Perhaps not everything is as bad as we think... "Everyone has a story"

They also asked me, as an American, what my thoughts were on the issue of gun violence in my country. One of them even joked, "There aren't any mass shootings in Colorado, right?" My heart sank. While this is an issue that I feel I can debate in my homeland, it became a lot harder to discuss on foreign soil. I was completely unprepared, I had no words. I put my head down and wished that I had an adequate response, I didn't.

I never wanted to make this blog political, but when someone commented, "I don't understand what is going on in your country" (referencing the second "amendment" and how we can't "amend" it) and I agree with them, what can I say? At the very least, I compared it to a drivers license, why can't the restrictions at a MINIMUM be the same? I was at a loss for words and desperately tried to change the subject. The few times I've visited Canada, I never expected to feel like such a foreigner on such close land, yet here I am. The people here are so kind, and yet I'm feeling so far away from home at the same time.

Enough for the heavy discussion, for now. Tomorrow would be a powder day, and I was going to get after it. Here's a view from the top the next morning. The skiing was awesome, and I still had a couple of powder days ahead.

More on my visit to Fernie in my next post. This place is awesome. #ferniefactor