Whether you're an avid skier or just hitched to one, you'll find loads to love in Fernie, B.C., cupped in the Rockies a few hours north of Kalispell, Mont. As you peer into the busy shops in this old mining town, you'd never guess that 100 years ago it burned to ashes in just 90 minutes. Today the 1910 Italianate downtown, rebuilt in brick and stone, is filled with trendy businesses. To find winter recreation options, visit skifernie.com.
- At the storefront Fernie Museum, immerse yourself in J.F. Spalding's dramatic black-and-white photos of the region's lumbering and coalmining past. 362 Second Ave. ferniemuseum.com.
- Follow the self-guided Heritage Walking Tour (guidebook available at the museum) to visit the impressive château-style granite courthouse and Fernie Heritage Library, with its 18-foot ceilings and floor-to-rafters windows.
- At the Arts Station, housed in a 1908 Canadian Pacific Railway stop, the former lobby holds an art gallery, the ticket office a restaurant, and the baggage room a 100-seat theater. Events range from poetry workshops to contemporary dramas and improv comedy. 601 First Ave. theartsstation.com.
- Find works by regional authors or catch a reading at Polar Peek Books & Treasures. Locally owned since 1993, the bookstore features biking and hiking maps, outdoor guides, and a lively children's section. 592 Second Ave. polarpeekbooks.ca.
- Next door, the Fernie Arts Coop shows—and sells—32 artists' works ranging from Western landscapes to quilts and photographs. 572 Second Ave. www.fernieartscoop.com.
- Retreat from winter at the Fernie Aquatic Centre, home to a six-lane, 25-meter indoor pool and a 25-person hot tub with mountain views. Zoom down a 150-foot waterslide, swing from a rope, or swelter in a 15-person steam room. 250 Pine Ave. For more details, go to fernie.ca and click on "Leisure Services—Aquatic Centre."
Photography by Steven Short
This article was first published in November 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.