Advice needed Fernie vs Big White vs Norquay - where to work?

Which resort would you work at?

  • Fernie

    Votes: 14 73.7%
  • Big White

    Votes: 5 26.3%
  • Mt. Norquay

    Votes: 2 10.5%

  • Total voters
    19

Tessa11

First Runs
Oct 26, 2016
2
0
1
I've received multiple offers for working in ski school and I am the worst decision maker alive.

Fernie?
Big White?
or
Mount Norquay?

Previously I have skied at Whis, Beaver Creek, Vail and Breckenridge.

I'm pretty sure I want to work at Fernie. I like the appeal of the town and enjoy teaching all ages (vs being put in only adults or kids ski schools). But I can't help but feel there is a big hype with Big White and I don't want to miss out on a great opportunity. A real downside I see to Fernie is how they've really downgraded the terrain park and there are no jumps - what the hell!? I have a freestyle cert and want to improve my own skills.

I don't want to share a bedroom really and I think private bedrooms are not a possibility at Big White. I'm a real light sleeper. :(

I don't know much about Mt. Norquay but I have visited Banff off season and love the town!

Any thoughts would be great! Pros and cons of each resort?
 

blowfin

One of Us
Ski Pass
Nov 3, 2012
2,817
2,053
363
42
Perth
I'm no instructor, but I'd probably opt for Fernie on terrain alone. Big White is a big family oriented operation, it's not too dissimilar to Whistler, except the terrain is nowhere near as good. Norquay looks pretty small, Fernie looks like it has about 10x the acreage and way more variety in terrain. Might be some potential upside to being close to the other Banff resorts? I'm not too sure.
 

Legs Akimbo

Grumblebum
Ski Pass
Jan 17, 2014
38,814
42,030
1,063
Coastal suburban boonies.
I haven't skied Norquay, but of Fernie and Big White I'd opt for Fernie for terrain and the existence of the town. The town takes you out of the resort pressure cooker. Potential cheaper accommodation, and a real town with an Overwaiteas and everything.
 

oreo

One of Us
Ski Pass
Jun 15, 2007
1,652
725
363
37
www.skidescent.com
Skiing will be better at Fernie (both snow & terrain) as will having an actual town right there (general life).

Big White will get you living on the mountain (not having to commute the 10 minutes to the ski field) and probably more work.

Norquay is a non-starter.
 

absentskier

Smug bozo
Ski Pass
Jun 10, 2010
28,046
18,652
1,063
Melbourne
I've received multiple offers for working in ski school and I am the worst decision maker alive.

Fernie?
Big White?
or
Mount Norquay?

Previously I have skied at Whis, Beaver Creek, Vail and Breckenridge.

I'm pretty sure I want to work at Fernie. I like the appeal of the town and enjoy teaching all ages (vs being put in only adults or kids ski schools). But I can't help but feel there is a big hype with Big White and I don't want to miss out on a great opportunity. A real downside I see to Fernie is how they've really downgraded the terrain park and there are no jumps - what the hell!? I have a freestyle cert and want to improve my own skills.

I don't want to share a bedroom really and I think private bedrooms are not a possibility at Big White. I'm a real light sleeper. :(

I don't know much about Mt. Norquay but I have visited Banff off season and love the town!

Any thoughts would be great! Pros and cons of each resort?
Big hype about Big White? It is a purpose built family resort which excels at ski in ski out intermediate (mainly) holidays. Personally, I prefer Fernie.
 

Chowder11

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Oct 21, 2003
13,064
8,937
813
35
Elwood
Id also do Norquay.
Similar to what Bilbybill above has said.
Then you can base yourself in Banff. From there you have Mt Norquay, Sunshine and Lake Louise.
And a bit further day trips you can get to Kicking Horse and Panorama.
So there is much more skiing opportunities.
If your at Fernie or Big White your pretty much stuck with 1 hill without doing major road trips.

Plus Banff has shitloads more awesome activities and a good nightlife if your into that.
Im pretty sure your season pass will cover the 3 hills of Sunshine, Lake Louise and Norquay also which would be a big bonus.
Lake Louise and Sunshine both have pretty good parks also, plus some really decent challenging terrain.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Dirkelle

absentskier

Smug bozo
Ski Pass
Jun 10, 2010
28,046
18,652
1,063
Melbourne
Big White would bore me to tears as a young instructor looking for fun after dark as well as on the mountain. But heh, that's just me.
 

cookieman

One of Us
Ski Pass
Jul 7, 2013
1,772
1,942
363
Melbourne
Norquay (and Nakiska) are small resorts but are preferred training hills for local and international ski racers.
Norquay is also very popular with the locals,is cheap and has a nice friendly vibe,however its terrain is small and most runs are fast, hard packed groomers. Banff as a town is as good as you get,only 10 minutes away and as mentioned above is also handy for a number of other bigger and more challenging ski resorts.There is a very high number of Australians working in both the resorts and local shops.
 

hpsauce

A Local
Ski Pass
May 19, 2008
6,101
4,184
563
Dont knock Norquay. Its a nice little hill. If you are going there to work what does it matter. You will have Banff and the other ski areas, Sunshine and Lake Louise to play in.
its pretty much straight up, and straight down.
I'm sure it would be a chilled place to work.....but.....
Wouldn't it be as boring as bats#!t as a hill to teach on?
Is there even one jump or terrain park feature?
If you wanted to improve your freestyle.....you'd have to go to lake Louise on your days off
 

Ozgirl

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Jul 5, 2007
15,577
17,997
813
Sydney/Jindy
FWIW - From my mate

"Personally as an instructor id go Banff due to multiple hills and more work. Fernie is sweet but pretty much all of ski school needs 2 Jobs (especially first years)"

Before i chose Banff (i have lived there in summer) I would explore how you would get to the other mountains and the housing situation though. Both of those things woudld make live in Banff harder.

I also know a lot of people who have worked for season after season at Big White and loved it.
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
22,412
16,420
1,063
Penticton, BC
Accoms in Fernie has more options. Bigger terrain at Fernie. Yes, I know there is Sunshine and LL to hit on days off if you live in Banff, but often in snow school the majority of your free skiing is one or two runs before work or during lunch break. You're not going to Sunshine or LL for those, ergo the majority of free skiing will be at Norquay.

The trauma park at Fernie had its jumps removed 7-8 years ago when RCR took over management, corporate policy at all its resorts.
 

Chillybin

Addicted
Sep 16, 2016
322
154
113
The trauma park at Fernie had its jumps removed 7-8 years ago when RCR took over management, corporate policy at all its resorts.[/QUOTE]

Their policy seems to be, how can we get the most amount of money for the least amount of work. No maintenance required that's what the snow is for........ some of the if not worst resort management anywhere on the planet. Although RAL in NZ have some similar traits
 
  • Like
Reactions: bigwhite-rameok

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
22,412
16,420
1,063
Penticton, BC
At the time, they claimed their rail park only policy was for insurance and liability reasons, but the industry quickly called bullshit on that. Pretty much all the resorts out west get their insurance coverage through the industry association, so it's the same insurer and same terms and conditions for everyone.
 

grater

Hard Yards
Jun 25, 2009
38
4
58
Big White - Boring, to far from a real town, to much like a aussie resort.
Norquay - To Small, but if you can go ride at LL or sunshine and not have to pay more it would be a cool option and Banff is a very fun town to live in, and close to the city if you want to get away for a day.
Fernie - Best terrain, and most snow, cool town that's big enough for almost everything you need. Real locals makes it a winner to.
 

NeckDeep

Hard Yards
Oct 10, 2013
49
21
58
Brisbane
its pretty much straight up, and straight down.
I'm sure it would be a chilled place to work.....but.....
Wouldn't it be as boring as bats#!t as a hill to teach on?
Is there even one jump or terrain park feature?
If you wanted to improve your freestyle.....you'd have to go to lake Louise on your days off

I'd disagree somewhat and say that Norquay has an awesome terrain park. Mostly because it runs for the length of the chairlift, its right at the base of the resort and its open for night skiing. They build some pretty big features on it.

You could start working at Norquay, and try to snag a job up at Sunshine or Lake Louise later in the season?
 
  • Like
Reactions: cookieman

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
22,412
16,420
1,063
Penticton, BC
It's a side issue, but early-career snow school jobs are about learning how to ski - how to really ski - and how to teach. Spending more than a bit of shits and giggles time in terrain parks is not going to advance you on your road to career development.
 

TJswish

Hard Yards
May 6, 2016
12
14
53
Honestly as someone who worked at Fernie last season it's probably the most inconsistent for work out of the 3 of those mountains.

Most ski school workers have 2nd jobs (especially 1st years). If you're planning to stay for many years, then I'd suggest Fernie as it's amazing. If not, I'd go Norquay then BW then Fernie. Mostly because you'll get riding options at Sunshine and Lake Louise on your days off and you'll get more work since more "tourists" go to those mountains then inland to one of the steepest mountains in BC: Fernie.
 
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass

Log in

or Log in using
Learn how membership works on these forums
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass