Well all I can say about Fernie is that it is fantastic, the skiing/snowboarding is great with the 5 bowls offering very varied runs/terrain with really good off piste, and tree runs. For the more adventerous the Cat-skiing is a must in back country.
We have been there at different times in Jan, Feb and March and only the notorious year 2005/06 when all of North America had bad snow when the conditions were like normal EU, even so you could still ski the whole mountain and this was towards the end March. The snow at Fernie is very dry and usually when it dumps fine powder, you can go to bed and it not be snowing and then 1-2 foot of fresh powder greets you in the morning, absolutely wonderful. The mountain is not like anything you experience in EU or other more famous CA ski resorts as it is rarely busy, I have been on a lower lift on a Monday morning at 9:30 in Feb and there was no one else on it, and a ski queue of more than 2 mins is a rarity. Weekends get busier with people coming in from Calgary but nothing compare to what you are used to.
We have been to Fernie 5 times and stayed in Park Place Lodge in the town, 10 mins to the ski hill by the ski bus, which is good value and comfortable and central for the town in the evening. We have also stayed at Lizard Creek Lodge, ski in/out on the mountain which is great with luxury and all the usual mod cons. The locals are very friendly and welcome there ski guests veeiwing them as an asset.
The cheapest way to get there is www.flyzoom.com, around £260 return from UK to Calgary if you book ahead and then $110CA return shuttle bus with one of the local companies. Cranbrook should be opening soon as an international Airport, which will make it only a 50 min transfer.
Fernie is definitiely expanding with a lot of investment over the last 2 years, a major road intersection from the highway up to the ski hill, the lost boys cafe up on the mountain at the top of Timberline Express quad, and further development planned on the mountain. I would get there ASAP and experience Fernie before it gets too well known and popular, it is our favourite, and we have skied at Whistler, Banff(Sunshine, Lake Louise, Norquay),Kicking Horse, 3-Valleys FR, and Flaine FR. Kicking horse is the only one that compares but it is a very challenging ski area.
To sum up love Fernie so much that we have bought a ski condo on the hill to use and rent out, see www.skifernie.biz , Fernie it is great value and fantastic skiing.