As snowstorms pelted British Columbia’s [R146R, Fernie Alpine Resort] this winter, crews battled the elements to finish up the new Polar Peak lift. The chairlift opened for skiing and snowboarding on Jan. 14 accompanied by an onslaught of powder.

“Everyone was so stoked about the new Polar Peak lift,” Vice President Matt Mosteller said. “There was tremendous energy in the lift line as skiers and riders got their first chance to experience it.”

Fernie Polar Peak Chair

The new Polar Peak lift is for advanced skiers and riders. Photo courtesy of Fernie Alpine Resort.

The Polar Peak lift is a fixed grip triple chair. It transports skiers from Curry Bowl to the top of Polar Peak in five minutes with an elevation of 2,134 meters (7,000 feet). A prominent peak atop the spiny Lizard Range, Polar Peak yields impressive views of the rugged mountains surrounding Fernie and the valley below.

Opening weekend for the lift, however, did not give skiers and riders the mountaintop views that one can see from the summit when hiking in summer. But the tradeoff was powder. A storm cycle dropped 60cm of snow over the weekend.

“The only thing that everyone missed was the spectacular views, but that was okay as we were in a huge snow cycle,” added Mosteller.

The addition of the lift extended Fernie’s vertical higher to 3,550 feet. The lift also added 22 new runs — all for advanced skiers and riders. The new runs comprise a combination of ridges, chutes, and alpine bowls.


The section marked in black on the trail map denotes the new Polar Peak terrain. Map courtesy of Fernie Alpine Resort.

The Polar Chutes yield about 1,000 feet of 40-degree slopes. Many runs peel into wide-open alpine aprons of snow. Due to the alpine terrain, crews did not need to prune out trees for the new runs.

The new lift will also aid Fernie’s ski patrol in doing their avalanche control work. It should allow for faster lift openings following storm cycles.

For more information, go here.