Tramsatlantic 03
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Canada, Fernie week 8 & Golden week 9

In 2003, Leif, Jakob, Adam & Jenny were the first to skip the Alps and to seek out the Canadian fluffy powdery snow. Instead we chose to go to Fernie and Golden in British Columbia.



The start of the trip

The flight from sweden was due early Sunday morning at 8, so we had to leave Linköping already on Saturday. Leif and I took the Swebus to Stocholm, and the commuter train to Märsta, where we slept at the Arlanda Hotell village, 700 SEK for a double room is not expensive in Sweden. After a rather late supper we had a short sleep before we had to get up, the bus left for Arlanda at 5.30. Jenny & Adam spent the night at one of Jenny's brothers and arrived some 15 minutes past 6.

The luggage we were allowed to bring was told to be to pieces a 32 Kilos. Leif and I had brought the same type of bag, a long trunk to fit the board and the rest, it showed however to be troublesome since they could store to much, and doing so would bend and be hard to roll. Slight stupid design that needed some rethinking. Anyway bringing a backpack inside mine I could extract a second piece for the checkin. Then Arlanda staff told us it was only the amount that mattered, not the weight...

Safely checked in, we went to spend the wait for the plane to take off, and almost on time we left for London. This very weekend US & UK were trying to convince UN to start the Iraqi war, which made the trip over London a bit more scary. There were some 3000 UK soldiers and snipers grouped around Heathrow expecting a terror attack that they said was being planned by terrorists...

On Heathrow we had some shopping, I finally after a year and a half found a new bracelet for my Swatch. A box of tea and a starbucks made us endure the three hour no-whiskey wait.

Mid day flight where all you want do is to get a good sleep, is hard to cope with if you don't succeed. We knew that after the 9 hour flight to Calgary we were supposed to be fit for fight to do at least a five hour drive. So no beer, no wine, no whiskey to help you sleep.






212   100
110   43
100   38
80   27
60   16
40   4
32   0
20   -7
0   -18
-20   -29




100   212
30   86
20   68
10   50
0   32
-5   23
-10   14
-15   5
-20   -4

Go Canada Go!

Clear skies over Iceland and Greenland showed a totally frozen sharp edged scenery of total desolation. Hard to imagine people actually living there, but hey, they are really only a very few guys. Slowly getting greyer and ground turning from brown to wet heavy snow prepared us for Calgary International Airport. All our stuff had survived the transfer and getting our car at Thrifty Cars was a breeze. But again Leif's and my boardbags turned to be troublesome. The car we got, a "mini-van" had six seats two, normal at the front, two chairs(!) in the middle, and a sofa at the back, plenty of space if you take out the sofa, which we of course was not allowed to do. So we put it to one side and squeezed our boards and bags between the middle seats. This left the passenger seats a bit narrow....

 Exiting the Airport snow started to fall. We headed for somewhere to eat and we had Canadian burgers served in the southern parts of Calgary. (At Southland-Macleod junction mall place..., Free refills, friendly service "-you bet!", and overheated restrooms, left it by 17.00.) Leif drove for awhile, then when it got pitch black Adam continued. I tried to keep Adam and my self awake, and later I took the wheel. The provincial road 2 to Forth Macleod, then Trans Canadian hwy 3 towards Crowsnest Pass. Leif took the last part up and over the pass. The distance calculated by internet was clearly wrong and we had upon arrival in Fernie covered some 350 kilometers. (Calculation said 220). At the beginning of the trip and at the end snow kept falling, but generally the roads were good, and the Crowsnest Pass at 1381 m.a.s did not cause any problems.



Finally Fernie

"Fernie, is located at the south east corner of British Columbia. Formerly a coal mining town, it has become the main tourism center for the Elk Valley offering a large selection of accommodation, dining, shopping and outdoor activities. Fernie town site is a short five-minute drive to the ski hill with its wonderful powder snow. The Elk River, offering fly-fishing and whitewater rafting runs through Fernie. Fernie's annual average of 8.75 m was met and surpassed last season with a total of 1099 cm of snow. The snow pack reached its highest in March with 422 cm. Fernie will open for summer season June 21 through September 2."

Staying in Fernie, We stayed at the Ski & See Lodge, located at the south end of Fernie city high street, the 2nd avenue. Newly renovated it's standard is of Hostel Quality with dormitory style rooms, a manned lobby with TV and Internet. Toilets amd showers are shared at each floor. Ski and boot drier room is available and a hotel owned yellow school bus runs to the hill twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon.

The hotel also hosts Fernies only big screen video projector and is the only After-ski-place in the village. A very good bar is accompanied by a superb restaurant. Having a half-pension (add 1100SEK to a week) gives you a 3 meal course of highest standard every day and a breakfast is served in the saloon. This breakfast buffet clearly beats most breakfast buffets in the northern American continent! Oatmeal (gröt), eggs, pancakes, juices, fresh bread, vegetables. Not to forget: drinkworthy coffee!

The place is partly owned by its founder, and his Swedish wife Lily, and Langley Travels, so lots of Swedes and Norweigans end up here.

The price for a week at the Ski & See Lodge with lift pass for 4 days, 7 days of breakfast and 6 dinners, ended at 4010 SEK. Very reasonable price. Note that heat distribution in the hotel is uneven and some rooms, like ours, got very hot, when others were just freezing.

Riding in Fernie. This is what we had planned: Four days of warming up in the Fernie pistes and two days of off piste powder pumping in the back country with a snow cat. Seemed like a fair deal, especially since the snow weather that started as we drove down from Calgary had continued the entire night and had left a half a meter of snow on the slopes. This meant also that it was chaos on the road up to the ski area, having had almost no fresh snow for a month and a half, all skiers in the area, headed to wards the ski area. At the same time. So no car got up, and the bus that Jenny and Leif took got stuck and could not get down. The langley receptionist of the day then took the Langley extra bus and started to load ski's and boards on it's roof. Slippery as it was she however fell from the roof, head first right down in the asphalt. With dampened thud her skull hit the snowy road, and very fortunate she was not hurt badly. A sullen lip and a blue eye was what she got. Huha. Then she drove us up the mountain.

The rides of the first day was very limited, avalanche control is very thorough in Canada, and the last bowls of the area opened up first on the Wednesday noon. That didn't matter that much anyway, since all slopes were covered the lovely Canada fluff snow. In the following days we tried all major 6 lifts, had a high life riding between the trees in the Currie, Cedar, Lizard and the Timberline Bowl.

SnowCat i Fernie. On the Friday and Saturday of the first week we went to the Fernie Wilderness, some 8KM south of Fernie to go Cat-Skiing. Cat-skiing is basically riding up the hill on the back of a piste machine, riding down a untouched off-pist slope, often in the midst of the trees and then being lifted with the cat for a new slope. Nine runs a day, but what runs! There was additional 33cm for the last two days, so we hit untouched 83cm powder! We had it pre-booked since it's very popular and it was booked for weeks to come. The price for going Cat-Skiing is about 230CAD/a day (1700SEK). And it is worth every bit of it!


Fernie Links

Soaking hot in -12˚C

Taking a well deserved day off after to wonderful days off piste, we packed our things and headed north towards Golden and the Kicking Horse Alpine Resort. Weather was brilliant and an intense sun shone from a clear blue sky as we passed through Jaffray and Fort Steele, listening hard on Austrian yodel-like umpa-music. After a while the car needed refueling and so did we. Like fairy hobbits we had a second breakfast in Skookumchuck. Adam got a stack of really huge stack of pancakes, of which he bravely fought down the most. As the waitress said "You did a very good job on those, not many people manage to get that far" (or something similar, Adam correct me). Missing a good "historic" photo opportunity we left the restored Indian chief to get pecked by new generations of wood peckers. Following the the mighty rivers of British Columbia downs streams, i.e. north, I noted that it was really the Columbia River we traveled along.

Just prior to Canal Flats we turned right off into a loggers road heading straight into the vast Canadian wilderness. 17km along the dirtroad we found a nice, already populated, parking lot with a small brown clothes changing house. Not that we used it since the trail down to the river was a couple of hundred meters, icy and it was -12˚C in the air. Bringing our swimsuits and towels we headed down to the river and rapidly changed. Taking a swim outside in this cold would be stupid unless what you sink into is a really nice hot natural spring. Which of course was exactly what we had in our minds to do. 45˚C (112F) was nice. And smelly. Together with approx 20 other people we relaxed for half an hour before we did the hardest part of this adventure, getting up into the cold air not getting to many small stones to freeze to your feet before getting dried and clothed again.

With the speedometer set for a lawful speed, we cruised north during the rest of the afternoon. We reached golden and found the hotel before it got really late. And had a Chineese buffet downtown.


The distance was roughly 350 km. Just have to add 34 for the trip to the hot springs.

Silence in Golden

Golden, in the Columbia Valley, is nestled between the Purcell and Rocky Mountains at the junction of the Kicking Horse and Columbia Rivers. Located on the Trans Canada highway Golden is close to six National Parks: Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier and Mt Revelstoke. Golden offers visitors year round outdoor adventures from winter skiing and snowmobiling to summer hikes, fishing, rafting. Golden is the major migratory path for 100's of different birds and other wildlife.

Staying in Golden. We had our reservations mad at the Prestige Inn. Located in the northern part of the very small town of Golden, it sat next to the Trans Canadian Highway no 1. Our room fortunately faced tha back of the hotel, and we did not get to disturbed by the never-ending parade of huge logging lorries. Unfortunately the room only contained two queen sized beds, so it ended up with Leif buying an inflatable mattress then sleeping on the floor.

We found the drawbacks from this hotel mainly consisted of bad service from the breakfast restaurant, that showed signs of total ignorance, non-nice attitude and when we finally managed to get their attention to the fact that Jenny hadn't got her food, they they realized they had misplaced the order. That wasted to much of our morning time so we decided never to use that restaurant again. Which was a good decision since the next door family breakfast place was really nice. Located outside of the town centre you needed to designate a driver for the night, walking downtown was not an option.

Apart from this the hotel was ok. A pool that we tried once. Good gift shop that had the fleece jacket I wanted, but could not find elsewhere.

Eating in Golden. Many decent restaurants exist, and a couple of nice bars, one located next to the liqoure store and the other under the hostel. Some expensive ones resided far away from city, we tried the Eagle Eyes restaurant, highest located in Canada, sits on top of the Kicking Horse Resort's new gondola. Tasty, but expensive. Pretty cold going up in the dark lift even though we were covered up with blankets. Next time I'll try to catch the sunset instead of the darkness of the night.

Riding in Golden. After a good week in Fernie with lots of fresh snow, it was a step back to find out that Golden hadn't got the same amount of snow. Riding between trees, was too boring, all snow already packed hard. Slopes were not really icy, but hard. And at the bottom there were plenty of rubble to stumble on.

First day we tried a little trekking and found some nice views and slopes. But down in the bottom of the bowl was a bit too flat and narrow between trees, and we had to fight to get down.


Day 2, the Tuesday, we started without breakfast and drove towards Lake Louise. Hunger forced us to stop in the little village called Field, laying in the middle of the Yoho national park. At a trading post we had pancakes and some coffee. This place really had it all, a general store, filled with cans and all types of food (even Wasa knäcke (made in Germany. sic)). It was a gift shop with a really huge grizzly chewing on a salmon. The café was also the local pub so it worked as a liqouer store at days and bar in the nights. Having an ATM machine it probably also worked as bank and a post office.

Lake Louise. Well for being a Canadian resort it is probably big. After seeing Fernie and Kicking Horse areas, the multitude of lifts and restaurants made me make some comparison to Alp resorts. The others did not agree that it even came close in size. They were probably right. Anyway there were lot of slopes, but most of them had to much rubble. The lower sections were pretty good, but they had artificial snow. Adam tried some jumps. Having made a hasty visit at the Lake and the castle we hurried back to Fernie, where Jenny had finally decided she wanted to buy some new trousers. (Shops close at 20.00)

Things to see in Golden. First of all we would recommend you to see the mill. Golden is the closest thing i ever come to a Twin-Peaks-kind of town, and the mill is the town. Buy lovely hires prints of Wiley from Shelley!The second to see is the foot bridge. Built last year as a sponsored project a 25 meter gap is spanned with a neat covered 25 ton bridge. More info is found in the nearby café which we successfully tried. The third thing to see in Golden. Hmm. No, the third thing to see is not in Golden, it is what is in store for you at the Northern Lights Wildlife Preserve. That's where we met Wiley and his three wolf brothers and sisters.  Shelley Black and her husband lead the flock which they regularly exercise out in the free countryside. We also found the Prestige Inn Receptionist Trina helping Shelley with the wolf pack.


Going back to Calgary

We took off early and again had breakfast in Field. Reaching Calgary we found a China restaurant. We were their last customers of the day and they closed the business as we ate. At the airport we had some time to shop, but most of the time we spent in the queue for the security check. Tried to get some refund on taxed items, but this did not succeed since we did not know we needed to present the goods and have our receipts stamped at the customs.


Some 150 KM. 3 hours.

Planning and Assistance

Our trip was mainly  ordered by Leif, who used the Go West travel agency in Gothenburg. We thank Cecilia for her assistance and for the tip about the hot springs. They were really good!

Flying to Canada

Flight Schedule

SK  517




0805  0950

AC  851




1255  1515

AC  844




1800  1120





1220  1420


GO WEST, Cecilia Andersson

Kungshöjdsgatan 6
411 20 Göteborg

tel 031 774 16 30
fax 031 774 16 33