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Powder Highway: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Written by Fiona

July 22 2019

I visited Kicking Horse as part of a ski-drive tour of the Powder Highway in Canada. Accommodation: Glacier Mountain in-resort.

Known as the Champagne Powder Capital of Canada, Kicking Horse comes with an amazing reputation. There are more than 2,800 acres of skiable terrain, 121 runs, four alpine bowls, 85 chutes and 1260m of vertical (that’s the fourth highest in North America).

The piste map actually seems to suggest that Kicking Horse has rather limited options, with only four lifts, but there is a lot more to ski than you could ever imagine.

Almost all of the entire area of the upper bowls is superb freeride terrain, with wide-open alpine powder faces. It’s also a popular destination for heli-skiing (if you can afford it).

Kicking Horse stats, pros and cons

Kicking Horse stats

  • Top: 2450m
  • Base: 1190m
  • Drop: 1260m
  • Area: 11.33+ sq km
  • Number of runs:  129
  • Green: 20%
  • Blue: 20%
  • Black Diamond: 45%
  • Double Diamond: 15%
  • Longest run: 10km
  • Uplifts: 1 gondola and 3 chairlifts
  • 1 surface lift
  • Snow making: Yes
  • Average annual snowfall: 7m
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Credit: Jeff Bartlett

Pros of Kicking Horse

  • Lots to entertain advanced and expert skiers
  • Ski-in, ski-out accommodation
  • Never feels too crowded
  • Friendly and relaxed small-town atmosphere
  • Nearby town of Golden is well worth a visit
  • The Horse gondola whisks skiers from the base to the 2346m up in 12 just minutes
Boot packing up to the top of an in-bounds bowl.

Cons of Kicking Horse

  • Some learner runs and intermediate pistes but these are limited
  • This is a resort – and you have to drive to the nearest town of Golden
  • If you want to explore widely you need to boot pack a bit (we liked the adventure of this but some might not)
  • Most of the resort is unpisted (again, we liked this but others might not)

What we discovered about Kicking Horse

  • This is a unique resort with great history
  • We had looked at the piste map before arriving and decided it looked limited… we wished we had stayed for more days
  • The in-bounds back country area is lift accessible and avalanche controlled
  • It’s possible to ski a lot of the resort in a day easily but you keep discovering new places to go
    The mountain lodge is situated right next to the first lift and
  • The resort is a drive away from Golden
  • There are good places to eat in the resort
    • Nearby Golden and Whitetooth Brewing Company are worth visiting.

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