A traverse of Fish, Liverworst, Steep Mother and Orca bowls. Lots of options to ski along the way. I would give this tour a 3-star rating if there was more of a snow pack to cover the willows down into Orca Bowl.
We started from the Snake Ridge boundary gate at Fernie Alpine Resort by traversing across the top of Cedar Bowl. You could also start this tour along the Island Lake road at the Gorby parking lot at 49°29’23”, -115°06’13”, which would bypass the resort entirely.
Looking down into Fish Bowl, above. From atop Snake Ridge, we were able to stay high above the early season alders down below, but it would be sketchy in bad conditions (obligatory bold line bro). If starting from Island Lake Lodge road, follow the Gorby mountain bike trail and into Fish Bowl from the bottom. Either way, gain 2000 Ridge and drop into Liverworst Bowl on the other side.
Once at Lizard Lake in Liverworst Bowl, skin up to the top of Liverworst Ridge, shown above. Great skiing can be had down these slopes if you wish to get a lap in.
Looking into Steep Mother Bowl from atop Liverworst Ridge, above. There are many options for dropping down into Steep Mother Bowl, so have your pick! Skin up the other side after having some nice pow laps in Steep Mother Bowl. Careful of the huge overhead hazard blah, blah, blah…
Great ski quality into Steep Mother Bowl. Photo: Jenn Beyer
Looking back at the skiable lines into Steep Mother Bowl, marked by red arrows above. Lots of other chutes and couloirs to explore if you have the time and energy. I do not believe the other, unmarked couloirs are easily accessed from Liverworst Ridge so you may need to bootpack up them.
Once you gain the opposite ridge of Steep Mother, Ski down into Orca Bowl via a north-facing line that starts at approximately 49°29’09”, -115°09’11”, wiggling through the early season willows as you go. Fernie folks call this “Hilda’s Run” for some reason. Nomenclature aside, it’s a great fun!
Boogie on down Orca Road, starting at 49°29’32”, -115°09’16”.
Find a “good” spot to cross the creek!
Skate down Island Lake Lodge road towards your car and/or the start of the Gorby mountain bike trail.
Finishing off the traverse by skinning up Gorby towards the Haul-Back T-bar at the resort, above.
GPS track shown above in blue. Start and finishes are at Snake Ridge and Haul-Back T-Bar respectively.
Times and distances are from Snake Ridge, over 4 bowls, and back up to the T-Bar, excluding all in-bounds lifts and skiing.