Fernie Alpine Resort tucks into the southeast corner of British Columbia. It’s grown from a small community ski hill to a skiing and snowboarding resort that encompasses five giant bowls strung along the Lizard Range. In March, the resort is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

When the community of Fernie built the ski hill in 1962, it was known as Fernie Snow Valley. It opened Jan.10 when the daylodge was completed. The community ski hill boasted one rope tow called Rabbit Ridge and one T-bar known as the Elk lift. Those lifts were eventually removed to make way for other lifts and amenities.

Fernie map

Fernie has grown to put lifts in five bowls aross the Lizard Range in British Columbia. Photo by Becky Lomax.

The number of lifts has grown to 10 with the Polar Peak chairlift added this winter. Resorts of the Canadian Rockies purchased Fernie in 1997 and renamed it Fernie Alpine Resort.

The resort is planning a number of events to commemorate the anniversary in March. A ski racer reunion and fun race is scheduled for March 17 with alumni from the the Fernie Ski Club, the Elk Valley Racers, Fernie Snow Valley Racers and the Fernie Alpine Ski Team. On March 24, former ski instructors from Fernie will ski in garb and gear from the past 50 years.

A Ski Heritage Week is also planned for March 21-24. The week features events such as a screening of a film, “Salute to Powder Pioneers.” Main Street in downtown Fernie will also host a street party, a thank you from the ski area to the community. The week caps with a torchlight parade and fireworks, followed by a party in the Griz Bar.

Fernie Polar Peak Chair

The latest addition to Fernie was the opening of the Polar Peak Chairlift this winter. Photo courtesy of Fernie Alpine Resort.

Special lodging deals are available at participating hotels in Fernie for Ski Heritage Week. Lodging is available at 10 percent off, and lift tickets can be added to the package for 25 percent off. Ski Heritage Week lodging deals, which are valid March 18-25, 2012, start at $65 per person per night, based on double occupancy.

For more information on Fernie Alpine Resort’s 50th anniversary, look here. For information on lodging deals during Ski Heritage Week, look here.