Welcome to Fernie…
We’ve Been Waiting For You!
Nestled deep within the heart of the Canadian Rockies, this historic mining town is famous for receiving 29 feet of snow on average each winter while offering world-class amenities and outdoor adventures. Rich in legend, mountain culture, and personalities, Fernie is fully encircled by breathtaking alpine vistas and provides out-the-door access to some of BC’s most stunning backcountry.
A true sledder’s paradise, Fernie features access to terrain to suit every type of rider. The Fernie Snowmobile Association manages a network of over 160 kilometers of maintained trails, five staging areas, three day-use warming shelters, and provides endless acres of wilderness to explore.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Sledding takes place in an uncontrolled backcountry environment and is subject to many safety, government, and legal considerations. To set you up for success, we have assembled the following information to help you enjoy your trip responsibly.
LEGAL REGULATIONS AND CLOSURES
Information regarding the BC OHV Act including insurance, registration, and laws surrounding riding can be found HERE.
FOREST SERVICE ROAD USE REGULATIONS
The FSA maintains over 160km of designated winter recreation trails in the valley, many of which utilize snow-covered Forest Service Roads. There are many unmaintained riding areas as well. Conflict arises when sledders using these unmaintained areas impede the safety and work activities of permitted industrial partners (logging). Under the Forest Service Road Regulations (law) section 3(3) You cannot snowmobile on a plowed forest service road or ANY road that is otherwise fit for vehicles. If you choose to drive your vehicle up to the snowline on these plowed roads you must observe posted radio Call Up / Down procedures. HERE is a great video explaining the details.
ACCESS MANAGEMENT AREAS
The Elk Valley has several Access Management Areas (Motorized Closure Areas) to help protect wildlife corridors, sensitive ecosystems, and to provide opportunities for non-motorized recreation. Review the RDEK Regional Access Management Area Maps HERE.
View the FSA Trail Guide HERE or pick up your free copy at the trailhead kiosks.
ATTENTION MOM’S & DAD’S
We love seeing families out there! Thank you for ushering in a passion for sledding and the next wave of future riders. BUT, with this great privilege also comes great responsibility to keep every SAFE and demonstrate responsible riding behavior. While we are not aiming to deter or scare you, the
1. RISK: As soon as you leave the parking lot you are entering an uncontrolled backcountry environment. Yes, we groom trails and provide warming shelters but, unlike the ski hill, we DO NOT do avalanche control or mitigate off-trail hazards. Use is at your own risk and you must be adequately educated and prepared to be out there. Backcountry sledding is different than walking on a trail in the park!re are a few critical things to consider based on some of the questions and red flag activity we see each season.
2. AVALANCHE HAZARD: You may be exposed to avalanches… even while on a groomed snowmobile trail. The red zones in the attached images are areas of large avalanche paths affecting our trails. This is NOT an all-inclusive list. Even small cut banks can slide under the right conditions. While cut bank or small slope slides may only bump an adult off a sled, they have the potential to bury a small child easily. Please be mindful of the current conditions and terrain above you when riding. At a minimum, ALL parents should have taken an Avalanche Skills Training Level One course. Avalanche Canada is your one-stop-shop for information to get you started… www.avalanche.ca (bulletins, course listings, free online training, weather…). There are many providers and program across the province which specialize in age-appropriate avalanche education.
3.EQUIPMENT: There is no cell phone reception in any of our riding areas. Help may be far away. Ensure you are adequately prepared with equipment for your family including a means of emergency satellite communication (inReach, Spot, Sat Phone), a basic first aid kit, extra layers of clothing, a foldable saw and fire starter, an emergency shelter such as a bivy sack, foil blankets, or small tarp, snacks, tow strap, and basic tool kit. Leave a trip plan with family at home. HERE is an easy to use online version.
4. SUPERVISION: Riders under 18, by law, must be supervised by an adult at all times. No matter how much ability you feel they may have, kids just don’t have the decision making skills and experience to travel on their own in the backcountry.
5. SAFETY SKILLS: Do your kids know what to do if they get separated from you? To always tell an adult where they are going? To help searchers by answering calls? How to stay warm and dry? What about how to safely travel up the groomed trail with oncoming or passing traffic? What about if they come around a corner and there is a moose on the trail? BC AdventureSmart has some great online tools here: https://www.adventuresmart.ca/kids/hugatree.htm 6. LEGAL STUFF: Anyone riding a sled has to have a proper helmet, riders 12 years of age or older MUST have a government issue photo ID on their person (eg health services card), the child MUST meet the snowmobile manufacturer’s minimum age and weight requirement to ride on any snowmobile (check your manual!). More information can be found HERE.