How to Ski Kicking Horse, BC Like a Local

Robin Azer | | Featured ArticleFeatured Article

Brought to you by Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

How to Ride and Ski Kicking Horse Like a Local: Outside the unpretentious ski town of Golden, British Columbia, sits Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Among its 2,800 acres, you’ll find plenty of terrain for the beginner and intermediate to explore, but this resort is best known for its hair-raising steeps and bounty of inbound chutes. Adding to its allure is the mountain’s 4,100 feet of vertical, the 4th longest in North America. As for snow quality, it’s earned the worthy title of the “Champagne Capital of Canada.”

Taking advantage of everything Kicking Horse has to offer is no small feat. According to those in the know, here are some tips on – How to Ski Kicking Horse Like a Local:

Terrain Tips:

Ski Kicking Horse Credit: Freeskier

The rigor is real at the Horse and if you want to ski it like a local, resist the urge to traverse, cutting the whole slope off. The day’s conditions and your abilities will dictate where you want to start exploring, but below are some ideas.

Advanced:  If skiing or riding steeps, bumps or glades without crowds is your thing, Kicking Horse has you covered. It’s also a great place to push outside your comfort zone. Just off the Golden Eagle gondola you’ll find great options off CPR Ridge or hit up the Redemption Ridge glades off the Stairway to Heaven chair.

Expert: For the expert skier/rider, Kicking Horse offers a veritable smorgasbord of options; just take a look at the trail map. Chutes and steeps with a range of pitch from challenge to madman, treed runs from single track to open field, plus natural obstacles to send it or skirt pending on your mood in the moment. Some of the best terrain, according to the locals, is a short hike up from Terminator 1 and Terminator 2. The reward for the effort is finding a stash of fresh powder, even days after a storm.

Powder Day:

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.”

Still Stoked

Know and Respect the Signage:

If you don’t know, don’t go. Photo:

Kicking Horse is a fantastic place to get out and get after it, but it’s the real deal. The knowledgeable patrols painstakingly maintain and mark the terrain every day so you can maximize your enjoyment on the slopes while minimizing hazards. Take heed.

“100% of KHMR alpine terrain is complex avalanche terrain. If it’s closed, it’s because they probably are just about to throw a bomb in there. So unless you’re keen to get your head blown off, ski somewhere else, there’s plenty of terrain to get freshies! “

Emile Lavoie, KHMR

Let the Weather Be Your Guide:

Launching into powder Photo: Kicking Horse Facebook

Only in a vacuum will 5 inches of snow uniformly cover the ground. Due to the blower light variety found at Kicking Horse, the snow is more susceptible to – well, getting blown around. That means that piles of it may accumulate in the chutes and bowls, not the mere 5 inches as reported. The reported wind direction can give you a good indication of what to hit first. Chutes skier’s left, coming down a ridgeline, are north-facing and those skier’s right face south.

This link will connect you to the live weather station for up-to-the-minute details: 

Advanced weather data

Food Choices:

Eagle’s Eye Restaurant – Canada’s highest dining experience. Photo: Kicking Horse Facebook

Base: Head to the Whiteooth Grill for homemade comfort foods to suit your breakfast through après wants and needs. Weekends get a little more lively with live music offered.

On Mountain: Heaven’s Door Yurt, located at the base of Stairway to Heaven, offers up “funky mountain soul food” to keep you fueled up all day.

Après: Take the Golden Eagle Express gondola to the highest restaurant in Canada, the Eagle’s Eye. Perched at 7,700 feet, the floor to ceiling windows frame a sweeping view of snow-covered peaks as far as the eye can see. This is an ideal spot to take in the scenery any time of day.

Get the Ski RCR App:

The Ski RCR app puts resort details at your fingertips.

Bob Dylan knows, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” You just need the Ski RCR app. Download it for real-time weather and snow reports, live webcams, trail maps, and trail updates. The newly added GPS tracking feature lets you keep track of your stats. Best of all, it’s free.

For more information, click here.

Kicking Horse Mountain Stats:

  • Snow: 300 in.
  • Acres 2,800+
  • Vertical: 4,133 ft.
  • Elevation: 3,900 – 8,033 ft. (highest in British Columbia)
  • Runs: 120+
  • Inbound Chutes: 85+
  • Trials: 20%| 20%| 45%|15%
Letting loose in Crystal Bowl –  Photo:Kicking Horse Facebook

“Midweek—the lines are short, and if it snows, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find powder on every run.”

Teton Gravity

Now you’re ready to get out there and tame the wildness of the Horse. 

Kicking Horse ridge lines
Steeps of Fuez Bowl –  Photo: Kicking Horse Facebook
Having fun in the powder –  Photo: Kicking Horse Facebook

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