“We didn’t look for the powder. It found us!” Along with the family, Joanne plows through the powder and takes us on her latest ‘best day ever’ at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort at Golden, B.C.
Guest post by Joanne Elves
It was ‘That Day.’ You know what I’m talking about. The ‘That Day,’ that will burst from my lips when anyone asks, “What’s been your most epic day on skis?” There have been great runs, great jumps, and epic fails while skiing at resorts all over the world, but this is the day Kicking Horse Mountain Resort delivered an entire day of perfection.
As a Christmas present to our kids, we booked a few days in a condo at Glacier Mountaineer Lodge as soon as fall semester finals were done. It’s our way of selfishly hoarding them for a few days before the rush of the festive season and friends takes over. Having everything you need within walking distance from your place in the village frees up time for more important things – like skiing.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, only minutes out of the town of Golden, B.C., offers over 120 runs spread across five bowls using nearly 3,500 acres of terrain. It’s never been called an easy hill. With way more than half the runs classified as advanced and expert, it calls out the adrenaline junkies hungry for steep chutes pillowed with dry, fluffy powder. Good or bad, we raised such junkies.
We spent a few days on our favourite trails getting our snow legs back and took the annual family selfie. Lap after lap in the glades off Redemption Ridge or in CPR Ridge had us all begging for a day off.
The day before ‘That Day,’ we decided to strap on the skinny skis at Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre only a few kilometres from the lodge. With the prediction of over 30 cm to fall throughout the day, sticking in the trees on 35 kilometres of tracks was a great idea.
‘That Day’ we woke to blue skies and heaps upon heaps of powder. Instead of using our all-terrain skis, we rushed downstairs to Selkirk Sports and rented some performance Salomon skis. The first run was into Bowl Over where thigh-deep powder billowed up on every turn! Far more snow than was predicted had landed. Panic mode wanted to creep in, but those fat skis did their job down the steeps, the chutes and the glades.
You know it’s a good day when you stop to catch your breath and look at the gorgeous mountain views and from somewhere in the trees you hear people hooting and hollering. That happened all day long.
Stopping for lunch when staying at any of the Bellstar properties at the base is a time-saver. Kick your boots off in the locker room and dash up to the condo for soup and sandwiches before heading out for more adventures. A quick stop at the café, Double Black provided the java-jolt I needed for the afternoon.
New terrain opened this season accessed either by heading up the stairs at the top of Whitewall or by dropping into Fuez Bowl and traversing over to boot pack up Middle Ridge to enter the next bowl. You have no idea how happy I was to find out the safety team wouldn’t be opening Ozone or Rudi’s Bowl that day. My kids would fearlessly be making that trek over to Ozone to jump into the chutes used for the Freeride World Tour events – and they’d expect me to follow.
Instead, we headed back to Super Bowl where there was still untracked snow. That’s the beauty of this resort, even days after a blizzard you can still find fresh terrain to blow through.
The only reason we stopped skiing was because the lift operators wanted to go home. The sun set while we soaked in the hot tub. While we relived the day dining at Peaks Grill – again, in Glacier Mountaineer Lodge, the groomers with their beaming lights rolled up and down the mountain – prepping the runs for the next day.
A trip back to the resort in January had my husband and I experiencing the thrill of hiking up Middle Ridge to drop into Rudi’s Bowl. Looking at the boot-pack from the chairlift, the effort looks daunting but just like the gold-seekers heading up Chilkoot Pass, you forge ahead for great rewards. Dropping into terrain that so few dare explore makes it even sweeter.
This ‘That Day’ might be replaced next winter when we repeat the visit to Kicking Horse and take the kids over to Middle Ridge. Until then, it will stay the best day ever.
About the author: Joanne Elves is a travel writer who is always looking to tell the story in a way to inspire readers to explore. Her adventures can be found in publications including The Calgary Herald, WestJet Magazine, The Globe and Mail (Drive Section) and SnowSeekers.ca
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has been the family favourite since her adrenalin junkies learned to ski on “It’s a Ten.”