Kicking Horse

Kicking Horse at a Glance:
Vertical: 4,314 feet
Elevation: 8,218 feet
Acres: 3,486
Trails: 120+ Runs plus 85+ in-bound chutes
Lifts: 1 Gondola, 2 quads, 1 double

Kicking Horse is well-named, it’s a wild beautiful ski area in BC, Canada. Just 2.5 hours west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada highway is quite new (since 2000), anchored by the authentic western town of Golden.

Kicking Horse is  surrounded by six National Parks, Banff , Glacier, Kootenay, Yoho, Mt Revelstoke, and Jasper National Park. So yes- it’s beautiful – the Dogtooth Mountain Range and the Purcell Mountains, and the terrain is bold. Much of the terrain is untamed, and it will kick your butt. Kicking Horse has some of the most advanced un-groomed terrain we’ve encountered at a luxury ski resort. But it also has a fantastic base to summit gondola, and a perfect scale ski village for lodging and après ski.

Kicking Horse’s ski terrain encompasses 3,486-acres with a vertical drop of 4,314,’ making it the 3rd highest in Canada and 4th in North America. Kicking Horse’s vert is just shy of Aspen’s 4,406′ and Big Sky’s 4,350′,  Jackson Hole is 4,139′. Yes, its big mountain skiing, with 5 alpine summit bowls all easily reached by lift, some take a hike or short ski-tour. None of the terrain, over 85 expert chutes, in these bowls is groomed, it’s steep in-bounds butt-kicking stuff.

Kicking Horse is on the Epic Pass as a partner resort, a Resort of the Canadian Rockies with sisters Fernie, Kimberley, Nakiska, plus Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham in Quebec.

Kicking Horse is not a beginner’s haven, though there is learn to ski terrain at the very base off the Catamount quad. Go here when the family is fit and ready to ski advanced humbling terrain. Kicking Horse is not reputed for tons of grooming, only a handful of runs are cord, including the top to bottom Green “Its a Ten” trail, but is only two cat tracks wide with precipitous drops offs in spots…novices be warned.

Nowhere else can we ski 20,000’ vertical of skiing by noon, with just 7 runs! Thanks to the swift 2,800′ vertical gondola, and typically few skiers. Kicking Horse has the best lift ot skiing ratio. The Stairway to Heaven quad is a fixed-grip, the slower ascent allows you to rest between laps, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Climb the Staircase to Heaven and hike the 8,218’ summit to ski Ozone for the run of your life on a powder day.

Canada’s highest elevation restaurant, Eagle’s Eye at 7,705′ is the place for lunch. This beautiful mountaintop lodge has an amazing panorama, and excellent table service cuisine.  Elk burgers and wild salmon are served in a stunning timber frame lodge, or sit at the bar for a toddy. Eagle’s Eye is reached by the gondola, so non-skiers can download after lunch, or you can come for dinner under the stars select nights.  Reserve for the best window seats.

Stay at the Glacier Mountaineer Lodge in the heart of Kicking Horse’s ski village just steps to the Golden Eagle Gondola. Our spacious condo suite had all the comforts of home: full kitchen, washer dryer,TV, Wi-Fi, fireplace, and a splendid balcony overlooking the village and ski slopes. We could walk to après ski, the shops, a general store and ski services. The Lodge’s outdoor Jacuzzi is a perfect soak after riding the horse all day. Its a Top Ski Hotel in Canada.

Dining at Kicking Horse is a snowball’s toss around the Village, at Copperhorse Steakhouse for BC bison and elk with local wines, Winston’s, or Peaks for Canadian Poutine – eh, or casual Double Black Diamond – the place to après. You can also drive the short access road down to Golden for more options in this hsitoric mining town.

Speaking of history, Kicking Horse was previously named Whitetooth Ski Area, owned and operated by the Town of Golden, before it was purchased and dramatically expanded in 1999. Kicking Horse is actually named for the Kicking Horse River that passes through this southeastern section of British Columbia.

Beware Boo the Bear! Kicking Horse is home to a 22-acre Grizzly Bear Refuge where local Grizzly bear Boo resides. Boo can occasionally be seen in the spring when he wakes from hibernation.

Ski Kicking Horse when you are ready to tame some double black diamonds, and combine the Canadian mountain ski trip with a visit to Revelstoke on the Powder Highway,  or nearby Banff Sunshine and Lake Louise in Alberta.

“Live for moments you can’t put into worlds, and travel often.”