British Columbia Travel Guide
The unofficial BC Travel & Tourism Guide
Named for the famous high mountain pass through the Rocky Mountains, the ski area Kicking Horse is actually in the Purcell Mountain Range to the west of the Columbia River. From helicopter skiing to wildlife viewing on the Columbia River wetlands, the nearby town of Golden has been a Mecca for those who love mountains, wilderness and nature for decades. The ski hill is located 13 km from the town and sits at the gateway to the Rocky Mountains and its incomparable National Parks.
Situated on the leeward side of the Columbia Mountains makes for colder air and dryer snow than falls on many resorts in the province. The mountain’s huge vertical (1250 meters) means runs up to 20 minutes. There is something for every level skier at Kicking Horse. Beginners will want to start by using one of the lower lifts, and progress before jumping on the gondola and skiing down the intermediate run called ‘It’s a 10’, that winds its way down from the peak for 10 km. Advanced skiers will love Kicking Horse, and can be easily humbled. There are numerous double black runs and chutes, as well as glades and three inbound bowls. The main shortfall of the resort is it lacks lifts that begin mid mountain and rise to the peak, which means each trip to the top is a commitment to ski to the base of the 6 passenger gondola. When the powder gets tracked out on the hill (which takes a long time) it is easy to hike from the lift accessed peak into off-piste powder stashes. You can hike or tour to actual heli-ski drop zones in about 40 minutes.
For true powder hounds, the resort offers a ‘first track’ program that gets you up to the top for an early breakfast at the Eagles Eye restaurant and first access to the overnight snowfall.
The resort began life as a base for heli ski operations. The highest concentration of heli-ski, cat and backcountry ski lodges and operations in the world are located in the Golden area.
On-slope accommodations include lodges, condo rental and chalets. The village centre is small but offers several choices for eating, including Japanese, family-oriented, and fine dining. There is a Scottish-style pub and live bands at the Whitetooth Grill. The town of Golden offers many choices for après-ski entertainment and dining, and is a short drive away. The Eagles Eye, located at the top of the mountain, is the highest restaurant in Canada and offers excellent quality with incredible views.
Other activities at Kicking Horse include snow-tubing, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, cross country skiing on Dawn Mountain, ice climbing, scenic plane rides, helicopter and cat-skiing, and back-country skiing.
In summer, mountain bikers can experience Canada's longest lift accessed mountain bike descent and enjoy 26 established trails. Summer time also brings river rafting, hiking, wildlife viewing, golf, and numerous other outdoor pleasures.
In recognition of living in an area of nature’s scenic wonders, and important wildlife habitat, the mountain management is joining a movement for responsible ski-hill development, encouraging everything from water conservation to refined slope grooming. Nearby the resort, the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge is a conservation, education and research centre dedicated to giving grizzly bear and other wildlife a sustainable future.
The resort is 13 km from the town of Golden, and 2.5 hours west of Calgary.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Accommodations
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Things to Do