Via Tunnel Hut. A great Fernie backcountry ski area for making safe, mellow tree laps. Snow quality was unreal.
Park at the Tunnel Creek trailhead, 10 mins south of Fernie after you drive through the tunnel.
The route begins up the Tunnel Creek logging road. Slog up the road for ~1.5 hours, then branch off the road at approximately 49.346N 115.049W up the drainage towards tunnel hut.
Once your reach tunnel hut (above), tunnel ridge is on your looker’s right. Planetary Peak is above (P). Skin up to the low point below Planetary Peak, and follow Tunnel Ridge to the high point at 1938m. The gladed slopes above Tunnel Hut are known as “Sunnyside,” a south facing slope with 30 degree slopes that are safe in most conditions. This would be our first lap of the day.
I think there is a skier in there somewhere! Our first lap down Sunnyside did not disappoint.
We skinned back up Tunnel Ridge and decided to get a lap down the “Backside,” which are north-facing slopes off the other side of the ridge into Mercury Basin. Sunnyside is on the looker’s left of the above picture, and Backside is on looker’s right. Planetary Peak and Ridge are visible in the distance.
We chose to ski the above chute down Backside. Short but steep! Make sure you choose a chute that you can see down into valley bottom, as there are many cliffs on this side of the ridge.
Skinning back up to Tunnel Ridge on the left. Planetary Peak above. Snow was super deep on this side.
Looking back towards Mercury Basin and our chute down Backside, shown in red above.
Topping out on Tunnel Ridge for a third time. The best way back down to the logging road is on a run called “Home Run,” which gives your a 600m gladed descent down to your skin-track. To reach Home Run, traverse to the looker’s left in the above picture until you reach a low-point in the ridge, then take the fall-line all the way down the drainage. Do not stray too far skier’s right or you will find yourself above cliffs.
Deep snow here too!
A shot of Home Run from the bottom. Left of the picture are cliffs, so stick to the middle of the drainage.
GPS track above. Blue waypoint marker denotes Tunnel Hut. S – Sunnyside, B – Backside, H – Home Run, with the direction of our skin tracks shown in red.
Times and distances are round trip.