Megan takes us along on the family trip to Kicking Horse Resort at Golden, BC. Often thought of as a mountain best suited to advanced skiers, Megan's novice kids soon tame the Horse.
Guest post by Megan Niccolls
This was it — our mini holiday was here! The boys were excited to get out into the mountains and try out skiing for the first time. The three of us set out a little nervous as the forecast was calling for snow and patchy roads on the drive from Calgary to Golden. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and smooth the drive was! Double lane highways wind through the mountains, each turn opening up a new, awe inspiring view of the Rockies.
Entering the Glacier Mountaineer Lodge (part of Bellstar's Kicking Horse Lodging resort collection), we were greeted by an authentic mountain retreat, with its giant stone fireplace warming the room from the fresh cold outside. After a seamless check in, we explored our large, clean and inviting suite. It boasted a huge deck overlooking the ski hill and was mere steps from the gondola, chairlift, restaurants and coffee shop. While the boys claimed their beds, excitedly noting there was a TV in every room, I unpacked the groceries we’d picked up in Golden into our fully outfitted kitchen.
Once we had settled in, we took a 5-minute walk from our resort to grab a bite at the Winston Bar and Bistro. We loved the quiet, crisp air and the cozy bistro covered in fluffy piles of snow and giant icicles.
Monday morning, we got up early, lined up for ski passes and were through the line in 10 minutes. It took a little more time to get our rentals in place as we are all new to the process.
For the kid’s ski lessons, we were greeted by a very cheery, energetic instructor named Cherish. She immediately drew the boys in with her personality and had them up the magic carpet and skiing down the bunny hill within five minutes. I loved watching the boys improve with each run. Midway through the lesson, they were already skiing expertly through the slalom, stopping on point at the base of the hill, controlled jetting down the slope and doing jumps over snow piles. They finished off the lesson by jumping onto the chairlift and doing a 40-minute run down the Kicking Horse Mountain practice trail. Both boys felt really encouraged and excited about getting out on the slopes again.
After lessons, we headed up the gondola to the top of the mountain. The boys were glued to the windows, watching the skiers and snowboarders far below us. We even got a look into Boo's habitat from above (the resident mountain grizzly bear). We'll have to come back when he wakes up in the spring for the Kicking Horse grizzly bear tour!
At the top of the gondola, we were greeted by spectacular 360 degree views of sun peaked mountains and perfect blue sky. The boys excitedly ran to the Eagle's Eye restaurant to be seated by the big cozy fireplace and the huge windows overlooking the summit. We had an excellent lunch and one of us had a tiny nap at the table ;)
After a long day on the slopes, we were grateful that the gondola exit was just steps away from the door to our hotel. That night, the boys cozied up on the couch, in front of the fireplace to watch a movie while I made supper in the kitchen. It felt like home.
The next morning, we got dressed and walked down to the Double Black Café directly under our room for a delicious breakfast and coffee before checking out of the hotel.
Stopping in Golden on our way home, we realized there are so many kid-friendly things to do that we need to schedule more time on our next trip to take it all in! There is a climbing gym, a bowling alley and the Kicking Horse Movie theatre. And, just a short drive north are dogsled tours and the Northern Lights Wolf Centre (walking with wolves anyone?!).
There are lots of quaint shops in the historical Golden downtown and the covered pedestrian bridge located in Spirit Square is perfect for photos! We went for a walk, checked out a neat little bistro on the strip and ended up in a marvellous tin-ceiling bookstore with a coffee shop on the top floor. The boys enjoyed the creative cups filled with warm tea and chocolate after our time outside.
With Golden being so accessible from Calgary (just an easy hour past Lake Louise), Golden and Kicking Horse is a trip that we will definitely be doing again!
About the Author:
Megan Niccolls is a single mom living in Calgary with her two boys. Formally trained in photojournalism, she works as a marketing and sales assistant. Her red Jeep is always ready to hit the road with the family for a new adventure.