Skiing In Canada

Jan 10th, 2006, 05:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1
Skiing In Canada

We're currently planning a trip to ski in Canada in February this year. We have a friend with an apartment in Fernie and wondered what the best options are for getting there - we're coming from the UK.

We could fly to Calgary (closer to Fernie) but the flights expensive.

Or - we could fly to Vancouver. Cheaper flights but what options do we have for getting to Fernie?

Any help is warmly welcome!
London_Calling is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 07:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,466
flying into calgary, renting a car and driving to fernie is your best option. have you driven in snow conditions before? they keep the roads in good shape but it is a consideration. it would be about a 4 hour drive. for about 2 1/2 hours you are heading straight south on one of our major highways, then west for the remainder. this part is beautiful as you enter bc.
however, if you have no use for a car in fernie for the week you are there, you could check into the greyhound bus line. take that from calgary to fernie but you may waste a lot of time doing this. connecting flight times to bus schedules.
the drive from vancouver to fernie is significantly longer.
fernie's snow is not very good right now. hopefully the considtions will improve before you get there.
ltt is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 08:00 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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I previewed my reply and saw that ltt had responded while I was composing my response. However, I'll go ahead and post my reply to you anyway, because it provides numbers that I hope will convince you that Calgary is not only your quicker option but also your cheaper option, when you roll in the cost of transferring from the airport to Fernie. So, without further ado, here is my response.

I think your best option is to fly to Calgary, even if the air fare is higher.

I was going to suggest Zoom, which is a budget airline, and you could still give them a try, but a glance at their web site seems to indicate that they're sold out for February.

I don't know when you'll be travelling. I used February 7th and February 14th as hypothetical dates for comparison purposes.

According to the ITA Software web site, which you can use for comparing air fares, Heathrow to Calgary return is 779 USD (441 GBP) per person.

The plane gets in around 3 pm. It takes about an hour to clear immigration and customs. So you'll be through with those formalities around 4.00 pm. After that you can have a bite to eat in the airport's fairly decent food court. Your meal will almost certainly cost less than 10 CAD (5 GBP) per person. Consider that you may have to have a meal on your way out of Calgary as well, so double this amount.

At 5.30 pm you can catch the Mountain Perks shuttle bus, which takes 4 hours to drive from Calgary Airport to Fernie. You'll reach Fernie around 9.30 pm. The one-way cost will be 68.48 CAD per person (64 CAD + 7% GST). The return shuttle fare will be 128.40 CAD including GST. (128.40 CAD = 63 GBP)

Total cost per person for the Calgary option, in round numbers:

440 GBP - return air fare
10 GBP - airport meals
65 GBP - return shuttle


Aside from the financial considerations, you're picked up right from the airport, and you reach Fernie 6.5 hours after landing.

ITA Software shows British Midlands' return air fare from Heathrow to Vancouver as 638 USD (362 GBP).

But there is no shuttle bus that I have been able to find from Vancouver Airport to Fernie.

You could fly from Vancouver to Cranbrook, and then rent a car and drive from Cranbrook to Fernie. But then you'd need to add to your LHR - YVR air fare the air fare to Cranbrook and the cost of the rental car and the time that all that would take. I haven't looked into it, but I would be surprised if you could improve on the driving time from Calgary Airport to Fernie.

You could rent a car in Vancouver and drive to Fernie. But you would not be able to climb off the plane and undertake the 11.5 hour drive from Vancouver to Fernie without stopping and sleeping in a hotel. A modest hotel in a small town along the way would cost you in the order of 20 GBP per person. On top of that you'd need to eat dinner (say 15 GBP) and breakfast (say 5 GBP). Then there would be the cost of the rental car (say 35 GBP per day, not counting insurance) and gasoline (petrol) at about 0.45 GBP per litre.

Keep in mind that you will incur those costs on the way back again.

You could catch a Greyhound bus from Vancouver to Fernie. But first you'd need to get from Vancouver Airport to downtown Vancouver. The cost of that would work out to about 25 CAD (12 GBP) per person. Double this because you'll have to repeat the exercise on the way back.

Then the Greyhound bus would take 17.5 hours one way. The return Greyhound fare would be 264.30 CAD per person, not counting 7% federal GST and 7% BC provincial sales tax. Total return fare including taxes is 301.30 CAD (147 GBP).

With the Greyhound option you also would need to eat somewhere along the way. (There would be some stops where you could do that.) Figure on spending 20 GBP per person on food in each direction.

I don't have the energy to figure out all the costs involved in flying to Cranbrook and driving to Fernie or driving from Vancouver and staying in a motel on the way.

The per person cost of the Greyhound option is relatively easy to figure out.

362 GBP - return air fare
24 GBP - transport to downtown & back
40 GBP - meals
147 GBP - Greyhound fare


The Vancouver option (using Greyhound) would cost about 60 GBP more per person.

Furthermore, it would take 20 hours from the time you landed in Vancouver to the time you arrived in Fernie (versus 6.5 hours from landing in Calgary to arriving in Fernie).

After all that, I hope you have a good trip. Fernie is a great place and, as ltt said, I hope (and trust) there will be snow by the time you arrive.

Postscript. Ltt mentioned that using Greyhound to get from Calgary to Fernie might consume time. I agree. You would need to get from the airport to the Greyhound terminal downtown. Using the Mountain Perks shuttle service would solve that problem.

About renting a car to get from Calgary to Fernie ...... For me personally a 4-hour drive after stepping off an international flight would be pushing it just a little.

Keep in mind also that in the middle of February sunset is around 6.00 pm. Even if you headed out of Calgary Airport at 4 pm, at least half of your drive would take place in the dark.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 08:39 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 675
ltt, with all due respect -
"fernie's snow is not very good right now. hopefully the considtions will improve before you get there." According to the Fernie website today -
A Big new dump overnight means that you are missing out if you're not at Fernie Alpine Resort right now! The snow was falling all night right down to town level so you can expect great cover for the whole mountain. The Base is now sitting at 245cm and The Griz is going to be waving some magic for us during the week to keep bumping that height up! With Awesome powder and 45 groomed runs, Fernie Alpine Resort is the place to be!! Early Season hazards do exist though so please ski and ride with caution."
Just didn't want London Calling to get put off about the conditions.

Judy, you are a gem for folks trying to plan a trip!
starfish1 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 4,412
Judy has given you a very comprehensive reply on means of getting to Fernie. Here's a couple of other things to consider.

If you decide to fly into Cranbrook, you don't need to rent a car there, as there is a scheduled shuttle from the airport to Fernie by Rocky Mountain Sky Shuttle (which also operates from Calgary). It's a 2 hour trip. Here are the details:

There are a number of shuttles serving Fernie, and there is also taxi service from Cranbrook. Here's the Fernie website with the details:

I wouldn't try to get from Vancouver to Fernie by surface means in the winter time, especially folowing a trans-Atlantic flight.

Enjoy your trip!
laverendrye is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 05:20 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 261
I know this posting is after London Calling's holiday, but thought I'd throw my two bob's worth in for the benefit of anyone trawling old threads for information. Firstly, laverendrye is right. Going via surface from Vancouver is too hard. Secondly, before arranging to fly into Cranbrook I'd find out what size airport it is. In winter, small regional airports in BC are often forced into shutdown mode by weather conditions. I discovered this the hard way a few years ago when visiting Red Mountain (now more commonly referred to as Big Red). I attempted to fly from Vancouver to Castlegar, the nearest airport to Red. We only got halfway there, having to land at Penticton and bus it from there. So I ended up paying a plane fare for a bus ride, and pretty much lost a day. I would fly into Calgary then the Mountain Perks Shuttle. In fact I did, a few weeks ago, and had no problems whatsoever.

Fernie is awesome.
Paul_H is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 06:47 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 6
Cranbrook is a good sized airport which is not in a valley, hence, almost never gets fogged out. Castlegar (aka. Cancelgar) gets fogged in on a regular basis due to its low geographical setting. Westjet and Air Canada offer direct flights to Kelowna from a few cities, so travel through here becomes cheaper and quicker typically. This is your best bet for Silver Star. For Fernie, just rent the vehicle from Calgary and enjoy the 3.5 hour drive. Or if you have time and $$, head into Crankbrook which is an hour away.
Also, if you are at Silver Star, you might as well go to Big White instead of Fernie. It is super close and owned by the same people as S.S. Terrain isn't the same as Fernie, but it is one long drive to Ferntown. You would miss a full day of skiing. Red Mountain is my favourite hill and is closer to Silver Star than Fernie. Less crowded, cheaper, and equally as gnarly as Fernie. If you're into any backcountry, touring or just a cool town, check out Whitewater just outside the town of Nelson, BC.

Hope this helps someone...
CountryRed is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 06:57 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 675
Very helpful info. CountryRed. You sure know your geography. Welcome to Fodors and may all your travels be safe and happy!
starfish1 is offline  
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