Matt Mosteller, For The Calgary Herald
Published: December 26, 2014
No disrespect Canmore. Golden truly is a more edgy, hardcore, a seat of your pants, go for it mountain town. Not as polished or refined. Golden and Canmore both have rivers running through town. But the similarities differ like the rivers.
The Bow River, elegant, slowly moving through Canmore. The Kicking Horse River, charges, tearing through its namesake canyon, go for it pace until it slams into the Columbia River on the edge of town hitting its brakes.
Golden, framed by two mountain ranges, far away from being cookie cutter anything, a place where adventurer’s, rippers, mountain guides, river guides, go-for-it types and hardcore athletes hideout, mixed, in a community good way with loggers and railroad workers.
Logging trucks still run down main street in Golden. The centrepiece is a wooden bridge across the Kicking Horse River, a symbol of the logging industry backbone and a deep connection to the natural environment that the people share, one skis it, walks it, bikes it, climbs it and the other sleds it, cuts it, hunts it and drives it. The lines are blurred for sure and it is not that simple but the key is they get along, joined in this place full of do it yourself, help your neighbour care and go for it adventure spirit.
You may have driven the Trans Canada Highway, catching a glimpse of the spectacular mountain scenery around Golden, just a quick blur on your road trip, maybe to the Shuswap, or Vancouver, but this place deserves pulling off the road. It will grow on you. Not as quick as Canmore so give it some time. Canmore is a refined tea and Golden is strong, black, kick ass coffee that sinks in, becoming a dear friend over time.
Friday. Slide in for foodies delight. Pack your sleigh up, make the breakaway from the daily grind, finally that feeling, you know the one you get when you escape. The Trans Canada Highway enhancements have made it easier to get to Golden, with a 2.5 hr. drive from Calgary, one can easily leave after work and make it to Golden for eats. Foodies finds abound hidden in and around town. Score one for Eleven 22, a renovated old house that serves up a 91% rating on Urban Spoon, known for its original comfort cuisine, your tummy will thank you.
Check in. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will surprise you. Having probably one of the nicest offering of private homes of any mountain resort in Canada, secluded in the woods, ski to your door, hot tub adorned and all ready for your classic cabin escape. John Lush, escaped Whistler-Blackcomb, on a road trip to check out the best skiing in British Columbia. He literally was pulled off the highway, he blames magnets in the go on forever mountain views and the champagne powder. A cabin in the mountains. For a family huddle, making everyone connect, fireside chats, story time, there is no place better for an escape. You need to check this out for yourself. Lush Mountain Accommodations at Kicking Horse nothing short of ‘Family Amazing’ time. A little secret, large family gathering, Valhalla is perfect.
Big Mountain Skiing and Snowboarding taken to a new level at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Many other ski resorts use this description. It comes to life here. One cannot fathom the magnitude of skiing terrain here, one bowl beckons, then another, another, phew your legs say as you try to make it to the 4th bowl. Still un-discovered, many don’t know that the place has the 4th biggest vertical in North America, and more chutes than any other resort in Canada. The hardcore knows this. But don’t you worry, beginners and intermediates have a home here as well with a massive lower mountain terrain and much-needed recent enhancements to the skiing egress out of Crystal Bowl. Besides even if you don’t ski the dining at Eagles Eye Restaurant, perched high in the Purcell Mountains, is the only place where both the food and views will amaze.
Saturday afternoon. Sip, Soak and Skate. A glass of BC wine led to a bottle, sitting by the fire at Eagles Eye Restaurant, ending a great day in the mountains, we decide to drink, eat and it is probably better to ride the Gondola down to the base. Back at the cabin, steam is rising from the deck, beckoning us in. Settling in, relaxed as my daughter yells, ‘don’t forget the cross-country skiing we planned before dinner’. The Golden Nordic Ski Club, operates one of the finest Nordic centres in British Columbia, with 33 km of track-set skiing, snowshoe loops and an incredibly homey and warm timber frame club house, right at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
Sunday. caffeinated, books and wild animals. Boo is famous but sleeping. If you don’t know he is the resident grizzly bear at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, so while Boo naps, don’t miss checking out a walk with wolves or the resident bison. Coffee first. Bluebird Cafe, good joe and atmosphere or Bacchus Books and Cafe, for great eats and reads. Stroll main street of Golden, browse the shops and more importantly share in some local conversation, more than likely, someone excited about their next adventure. Now fuelled, you’re ready for the wildlife. Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre, offers a forest walk, where wolves are freely roaming. One of kind experience for sure!
Add on. Helicopter skiing, Cat skiing or backcountry touring. It is all here. Golden is truly the epicentre for powder lovers. Featuring the jumping off point to the best of resort, Helicopter, Cat skiing and backcountry ski touring. There are many good operators, here are a few to get you going, Purcell Heli Skiing, Chatter Creek Cat Skiing and Golden Alpine Holidays operates a string of backcountry ski touring lodges.
Source: Calgary Herald
© Calgary Herald 2014