Let’s talk about Kicking Horse
Kicking Horse is a up there with the best ski resort I have ever ridden. Yup! I’m putting it out there. After spending 3 years living in Whistler from aged 18, I’m kicking myself (…I love a good pun!) for not venturing to this little gem. Seriously, It’s frigging sick!
Ask any die-hard backcountry skier or snowboarder and they are sure to have heard of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. So why haven’t you?
I wasn’t planning on visiting Kicking Horse but several friends suggested we detour off the highway to check it out. One not to miss they said with a sly grin that let me know they were giving up one of their secrets.
Nestled on the other side of Roger’s Pass from Revelstoke in British Columbia, Kicking Horse sits above the industrial town, some-what ugly of Golden. Golden itself isn’t the nicest spot but what it lacks in charm, Kicking Horse makes up for in steep, deep radness. It has couloirs! It doesn’t have crowds.
Other than Whistler Blackcomb, I have never visited a resort that has so much inbounds technical riding open to the public. I’m talking chutes, high ridges that lead to more chutes,open faces flanked by rocks and exposure and so many tree runs. When we visited the resort, it was hosting the IFSA Junior Freeski Series. They kids were sessioning the tight lines and in-bound cliff drop options of “The Marleys” on CPR Ridge North. The technical terrain enabled them to showcase some of the best in-resort skiing I have seen. The kids smashed it.
Just a few hundred meters along from the competition drop-in zone, I got to ride my own freeride competition worthy line of Slapshot… just access off the gondola! That’s the things about Kicking Horse, unlike Whistler Blackcomb, you don’t have to fight for these lines… they are there to discover without the mad rush of thousands of pow-hungry backcountry fiends, chomping at the bit in the Peak chair line up. I repeat… just off the gondola!
Kicking Horse is made up of 5 chairlifts and 4 bowls with 5 jagged peaks to tantalise you. The highest peak of Blue Heaven is 8,033ft. The gondola pretty much pops you off to chose from many options. A short 15 minute boot-pack to the top and you get to ride a ridge into a sweet tree run off the back. Don’t miss the Stairway To Heaven chairlift and access to Whitewall on a powder day. Literally a staircase up to a beautiful ridge which leads to a powder field with banks and drops that make up Whitewall . While it’s tempting to look at the next ridge ahead as I did in the below photo, it is out of bounds due to avalanche danger. So don’t even think about it.
Check out the terrain map for more detailed info
Kicking Horse offers some great side-country skiing. Head to Redemption Ridge if you;re after some good tree skiing, but watch for the cliff band! We rescued a guy who found himself stuck on top of it. Another option is to jump just like my friend Dicko did in the photo below… landing on his head! Good times.
If you’re into pushing your skiing or snowboarding in steep technical terrain, tight trees or deep powder then Kicking Horse is the quiet, not so little resort that can do all of that. Some of the chutes I rode there were the best of my winter season and the British Columbia maritime powder is some of the best in the world.
If Golden was a more attractive town, I’d think about moving out there pretty quick smart! Ohh and don’t forget for all you die-hard ski tourers, Rogers Pass is just next door with Revelstoke ski resort (or Revelstuck when the pass is closed), just on the other side. This whole area is backcountry heaven!
Key info Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
A full day pass will set you back $100 Canadian dollars. Kicking Horse is part of the RCR group of mountain resorts that includes the other Canadian resorts of Fernie, Stoneham, Monte St. Anne, Kimberly and Nakiska. The resort is 1.5 hours west of Banff (145 km) and 2.5 hours west of Calgary (270 km) on the Trans-Canada highway. Calgary is your closest airport and there is a shuttle that goes twice a week (at time of writing), for $100 each way. Vancouver is a 9 hour drive away and Kamloops is 5 hours. There are some great hotels to stay from luxury like The Glacier Mountain Lodge to budget like The Holiday Inn or The Travellodge.
If you plan of renting an RV and living in the carpark you totally can! They welcome RVs and parking at the resort is free. Another bit of evidence if you needed it, that Kicking Horse is just bloody awesome!!
Thanks Kicking Horse. We had a blast!
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