A fun half-day slack-country adventure from Polar Peak chair at Fernie Alpine Resort. Great views made up for poor ski quality below 1500m.
This tour starts from Polar Peak chair at FAR, drops down into Polaris Bowl, up Easy Street, and exits with your choice of Cabin/Thirstquencher, Orca, or Steep Mother bowls. My route is highlighted in purple above. You can park a car at the Island Lake parking lot for a shorter day, or just skin back up to the resort via Gorby (which the route above shows).
View from Polar Peak before dropping into Polaris Bowl, above. Great skiing up here. Route loosely marked in red. Thunder Meadows hut is located at the end of the red line. It looks like a long ways, but it’s only 5km and takes less than an hour if you just have a daypack, maybe longer if you have overnight gear. If you stay high out of the toilet bowls on either side, you won’t have to transition until you reach the bottom of Easy Street.
Some minor bushwacking at the bottom before transitioning and skinning up Easy Street. Nothing crazy, though!
A closer view of Easy Street, above. I just skinned up the guts. It’s about a 450m elevation gain from here to the hut.
Looking back towards Easy Street from above Thunder Meadows Cabin. Beauty day with the inversion in valley bottom! You can drop into Orca or SM bowl from here if you want. I just went down Cabin Bowl for some mellow solo skiing.
Looking over at Goat Pass from atop Cabin Bowl, above. Looks like Island Lake was doing some backcountry avy control lol.
Good skiing into Cabin Bowl for the first 400m of elevation. Breakable crust below 1500m.
Looking up at some great lines (Orca Rock and the Ladders I think?). Easily accessed from the top of Orca Ridge if you want.
Once you’ve jump-turned your way through breakable crust and hopped over the creek at the bottom of Cabin Bowl (often guarded by the stubborn moose), skate your way along Island Lake road back towards the parking lot and your parked car. Conversely, keep going to the next parking lot and skin up Gorby to the haul-back T-Bar at the resort.
Data above includes the skin back up to Fernie Resort via Gorby mountain bike trail. The whole trip for me was just over 3 hours ski area boundary to ski area boundary. You could save almost an hour and 300m of elevation gain by parking a car at the Island Lake parking lot.