Fernie is a small town with some big mountains. The Canadian Rockies completely surround this community of about 5,000 people in the southeastern corner of British Columbia, making it a popular ski destination in winter and a scenic spot for hiking, rafting, and other outdoor activities during the warmer months.
Fernie’s downtown district is full of historic brick and stone buildings, most constructed between 1908 and 1912, which now house funky shops, cafes, and excellent casual restaurants.
One particularly distinctive building is Fernie 901, a 1908 former public school that’s been converted into urban-cool condominiums, many of which are available as short-term vacation rentals, perfect for a ski holiday or mountain getaway.
On a road trip through the Canadian Rockies this summer, I had a chance to spend a weekend at Fernie 901, in a two-bedroom suite that I’d have been happy to live in full-time. A penthouse unit on the building’s third floor, it started with a spacious, mountain-style living room with plenty of comfy sofas and chairs, as well as a wood-burning fireplace.
Large windows let in ample natural light, and a sliding door opened onto an outdoor terrace.
The modern kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances was my favorite part of the apartment, with a massive island that offered all the counter space you’d need, plus room for friends or family to hang out.
Stocked with enough dishes, cutlery, and pots and pans to cook for a crowd, it was a serious cook’s kitchen, with a blender, coffeemaker, tea kettle, and a rack full of spices.
You could seat the whole family at the dining table, adjacent to the kitchen.
Ranging from one to five bedrooms, the apartments at Fernie 901 are generally similar in style, although furnishings can differ and the lower-floor units lack the views that the penthouse apartments have.
Units have in-suite washer-dryers and complimentary wi-fi. Parking is available in an underground garage.
My apartment had two large bedrooms, each with a flat-screen TV, and three bathrooms. The master bath, with the same granite countertops as the kitchen, had double sinks, a deep soaker tub, and a spacious walk-in shower.
Fernie 901 is two blocks from downtown’s restaurants and shops and only a 15-minute drive from Fernie Alpine Resort, the ski area. You could easily head for the mountain by day and return to your comfortable abode at Fernie 901 in the evening.
You’d have plenty to ski or snowboard, too. The mountain has 142 runs as well as five huge alpine bowls. With more than 2,500 acres of skiable terrain, it’s among the largest resorts in the Canadian Rockies.
At Fernie 901, as well-designed as the interior of my top-floor unit was, it couldn’t compete with the views outside, particularly when the clouds cleared after a summer storm and revealed the surrounding peaks — in this small town with big mountains.
For bookings at Fernie 901, contact Fernie Central Reservations. Summer nightly rates for a one-bedroom unit at Fernie 901 are CAD$215-225; two- and three-bedroom units are CAD$235-380. During the winter ski season, nightly rates range from CAD$280-615.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books, Moon Handbooks: Ontario (now available in a brand new 2nd edition) and Living Abroad in Canada. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. Tourism Fernie hosted my stay at Fernie 901 for review purposes.