Cranbrook: Your basecamp for adventure on the Powder Highway

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The gateway to the legendary Powder Highway, home to four mountain ranges and eight ski resorts (plus 35 heli- and cat-skiing operations), can be found in Cranbrook, B.C. Whether you drive or fly to Canadian Rockies International Airport (YXC), you can ski two fantastic resorts in one weekend!

Catch a slice of Rocky Mountain life and go #exploreCranbrook and get #RockiesExploring.

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Kimberley Alpine Resort is only half an hour from Cranbrook while Fernie Alpine Resort lies an hour to the northeast. Experience epic powder days, stunning scenery, and a fun après scene in and around Cranbrook, your basecamp for adventure.

Here’s how to spend a fun weekend in Cranbrook.

Perry Pizza
Photo: Karen Ung

A pizza feast at Perry's Pizza & Grill. 

Day 1

It’s a scenic drive to Cranbrook with wildlife galore. We’ve seen bald eagles, hawks, five herds of bighorn sheep, and countless deer. Between the highway’s wildlife detection system and driver’s flashing their headlights, we know when to slow down and can enjoy seeing the critters safely.

By the time we check in to our hotel, the sun is setting and our stomachs are grumbling. We walk over to the highly recommended Perry’s Pizza & Grill. Founded 32 years ago by Perry LeVoe and his wife, Sylvia, this boxing-themed eaterie is known for great pizza (try the Heavy Hitter with 13 toppings), homemade burgers (the 7-napkin burger is the local’s favorite), and hand-cut fries. As we tuck in to our pizza and steak salad, we notice a 1981 photo of Perry, newly crowned Middleweight Champion of Nevada. “That's what I did for ten years, ten young years,” Perry says with a smile. I feel like there are lots of stories here, but the dinner rush is starting, so we promise to come again.

Kimberly Alpine resort Cranbrook base camp
Photo: Karen Ung

With light snow falling, we head up the chairlift at Kimberley.

Day 2

Local’s tip: Get your caffeine fix at Kootenay Roasting Company before hitting the slopes.

Snow is falling as we drive to Kimberley and we’re stoked to ski some “Purcell Powder.” With a good mix of beginner to advanced terrain, and a community feel, Kimberley is a family-favourite. Short lift lines equal more time on the slopes, too! “Your lift tickets are good for night skiing, too,” the guest services staffer tells us. There’s night skiing Thursday to Saturday, Jan. 9 to March 7, 2020 until 8:30 p.m. (so if you take Friday afternoon off, you can ski Friday night). Did you know Kimberley has one of the longest illuminated runs in North America?

Cranbrook base camp Kimberley ski resort
Photo: Karen Ung

So much snow and the girls are loving it. 

From the top of the North Star Express, we feast our eyes upon the Rockies. The clouds are lifting, and the sun is peeking out. It’s never cloudy for long at B.C.’s sunniest ski resort! Sunny or cloudy, however, the resort is beautiful. My eldest daughter is already planning to do lots of tree skiing next time (Kimberley’s glades are pretty sweet).

Kimberley Alpine Resort Cranbrook base camp
Photo: Karen Ung

The Rocky Mountains peek out of the mist as we head up the chairlift.

Photo: Karen Ung

It's going to be an amazing day at Fernie Alpine Resort. Overnight 17 cms fell!

Day 3

After a good night’s sleep, we’re ready to ski some more; this time in Fernie. “There’s so much snow, Mom!” my youngest hollers as she glides and jumps through the snow. Fernie Alpine Resort got 17 centimetres (6.9 inches) of snow overnight and more is coming down - in buckets.

Photo: Karen Ung

We shouldn’t be surprised as Fernie typically gets nine metres (30 feet) of the white stuff each season. With 142 runs, five huge alpine bowls, and endless chutes and glades, there’s plenty of terrain to explore - and freshies - for every skier and rider. The girls are all smiles until it’s time to leave. “Can we ski here again?” they plead. Absolutely!

When You Go 

More fun things to do in Cranbrook & Area

  • Ice skate at Baker Park (1 St. S and 14 Ave.), Norbury Lake (26 minutes from Cranbrook), or Horseshoe Lake (26 minutes from Cranbrook), weather permitting. Note that ice should be at least four inches thick for ice skating.
  • Snowshoe, hike, or cross-country ski at Cranbrook Community Forest (over 100 kilometres of trails to explore!), or South Star Trails.
  • Go tobogganing at Idlewild Park (34 Ave. and 9 St. S).
  • Swim, soak, and play at Western Financial Place Aquatic Centre This beautiful facility has a lane pool, leisure pool with spray features, sauna, hot tub, steam room, 180-foot water slide, rope swing, and diving board.
  • Visit Fort Steele Heritage Town (16 minutes from Cranbrook) and “explore yesterday today.” Open 364 days a year.

Where to stay

Days Inn by Wyndham Cranbrook Conference Centre has spacious, well-appointed rooms. Enjoy the heated outdoor pool, fitness centre, and complimentary chocolate bar and breakfast.

Getting here

Cranbrook is located 4 hours 15 minutes from Calgary in southeast B.C. Drive in via Fernie (Highway 3) and depart via Highway 93 so you can ski Fairmont Hot Springs, Panorama, or Kicking Horse on the way home.

Canadian Rockies International Airport (YXC) is located 13 minutes north of Cranbrook and has daily flights to and from Kelowna, Vancouver and Calgary.

For More Information

To make the most of your time in Cranbrook, visit Cranbrook Tourism

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