Kimberley Skiing at a Glance:
Summit Elevation: 6,500, Vertical: 2,465’
1,800 acres, 5 lifts, 68 trails, 12 glades
Kimberley is not on most skier’s bucket list, that’s one reason its cool. It’s harder to get to (4 hours southwest of Calgary) which makes it uncrowded. Kimberley has a fun casual Canadian family vibe, a quaint slope-side ski village, and a clever Bavarian style town just a mile away. More reasons…
Kimberley is in The Purcell Mountains, with the Canadian Rockies to the east and Selkirks to the west, it’s on British Columbia’s Powder Highway, on the Epic Pass, and it’s a Resort of the Canadian Rockies with nearby sisters Fernie and Kicking Horse.
Kimberley’s ski terrain of 1,800 acres is well laid out, with four ridges served by just three lifts (an indication of the few skiers here) with terrain progressing in difficulty. It’s below tree-line skiing, not high-alpine, since the summit is just 6,500’, so it feels eastern-like with 60 fun trails and glades.
Kimberley’s North Star speedy quad from the base village reaches great wide-open well-groomed Blue trails with an impressive 2,100’ vertical, and mellow glades too. It’s ideal for families, one central base, one key ski lift. The Owl Learning area is conveniently right at the base for kiddos and those just learning to turn. Kimberly has affordable learn to ski and snowboard programs for all ages, with easy drop off and pick up in the compact ski village, along with rentals, ski shop, conference center and services.
Tamarack and Vimy Ridge, skiers left, skiing gets steeper, less groomed, served by the rustic Tamarack double and Easter triple, and Black Forest furthest out is is aptly named for its Black Diamond glades and natural runs – fun on a powder day with plenty of fresh and few people in this remote acreage reached by a long traverse (snowboarders be warned).
Night owls can night ski Kimberley on weekends, riding the North Star and skiing Main – “the longest lit trail in North America.” We watched parents cheerfully toasting and enjoying live music at Stemwinder’s Pub, while their kids skied laps.
The place to stay at Kimberley is Trickle Creek Lodge, just steps to the slopes in the heart of the village. 80 ski-in, ski-out condo-style hotel units with kitchens, fireplaces and balconies, are nicely decorated in native timbers, river rock and mountain décor. A grand heated outdoor pool plus two hot tubs overlook the trails, parking is underground, and guest can hang out in the lobby living room, though we preferred our slope view balcony, watching day and night skiers descending the mountain, and groomers sweep their magic corduroy patterns in the snow once lifts close. See our review of Kimberley’s 4 star ski hotel.
Buckhorn & Main Mountain is Trickle Creek’s grand dining room with views of the resort, and a cozier long wood bar. Happy Hour après ski deals are frequent, and nightly dinner deals are yummy and affordable.
Après ski, people gather at Stemwinder’s for a Kokanee beer and apps. Kids can play out in the pedestrian plaza snow banks.
Don’t miss Downtown Kimberley, just a mile away is the highest city in Canada, eh! This “Bavarian of the Rockies” village has a pedestrian Platzl lined with bakery cafes, local boutiques, cheese and meat shops, Pedal & Tap and Stonefire bistros. Be sure to insert a Loonie in the world’s largest cuckoo clock. Hans will pop out and yodel with his beer stein, pretty hilarious.
Kimberley Alpine Resort has a happy atmosphere and heritage – since 1948 when the ski area opened as North Star under the Sullivan mine company (the world’s largest zinc-lead underground mine) as a diversion for local miners and their families. Now it’s a fun stop on a family ski safari to nearby Fernie, along the famous Powder Highway, also Kicking Horse and Revelstoke too, or visiting Banff Alberta’s skiing at Sunshine, Lake Louise and Norquay in Alberta.
“You start limping as you get old, but if you’re on skis, no one can tell.” – Klaus Obermeyer