The new section of Scalli Mag trail is open! Scalli Mag serves as the connector trail between Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and the CBT and Moonraker Trail networks. Prior to the recent work, the trail was around 2.5km of single track linked with a 2km double track section which made for a fun and fast pace downhill ride but a tough climb back up. Thanks to the vision and fundraising of a group of homeowners from the Kicking Horse community and in collaboration with other key stakeholders, the trail got some welcomed enhancements and now makes for a great climb and descent for bikers of all abilities.
The new build is comprised of multiple single track sections that weave across the old double track. With nice open berms and a winding trail through the trees, the pedal back up is no longer so daunting!
Scalli Mag can be accessed from the resort just off Palliser Trail, directly across the street from Parking Lot 1. The trail finishes at the Cedar Lake turn off on Tallis Creek FSR making for an easy connection to Twisted Sister, Hemiptera, or Odonata.
The new trail work on Scalli Mag could not have been done without the support from all those involved. We would like to give a huge thank you to John Parry and friends from the community at Kicking Horse, the Golden Cycling Club, the Golden Community Foundation, and Brady Starr and Steve Crowe from Starr Trail Solutions.
Before spring turned into summer, Boo awoke from his den to a chilly start on March 20th. This spring had a generous amount of rainfall which gave him a break from the insects while nourishing all of the vegetation and other life within his habitat. Boo spent much of his time foraging within his enclosure, eating up horsetails, roots, sedges, dandelions, and grasses.
On the other end, our team members were hard at surveying vegetation to see what food was growing inside the habitat. Some of the species within his enclosure include Mountain Ash, Western red-cedar, Wild raspberry, Thimbleberry, and Common horsetail. Summer is the season for bear food! Soon there will be a large verity of berries produced at the elevation of the Bear Refuge, but not quite yet. The staff has slowly started introducing berries into Boo’s diet because these plants are beginning to be productive at the bottom of the valley.
Golden has started to see some hotter days for the summer. Unlike humans, bears cannot thermo-regulate, so, Boo will avoid the sun by resting in his ponds and under trees to combat the heat. Our staff will also make him “Bear Popsicles” to help him cool down. This is usually composed of fruit or meat frozen in a broth and then dropped into one of his pools or shaded areas. Now, if Boo is not foraging, he is napping in daybeds, relaxing in his pools, or playing enthusiastically with hiding enrichment.
Boo is 20 years old as of this winter, officially a senior bear. Grizzly bears have an average life expectancy of 20 – 25 years in the wild, depending on where they live. Even in his older age, Boo is still spry and playful, and we expect him to be at the refuge for a long time. To celebrate his life and Grizzly Bear research and rehabilitation in BC, we will celebrate his 20th year on July 9th and 10th. Kicking Horse Resort will host fun educational workshops, activities, and presentations. Please see our website’s Events & Activities section to learn more about this celebration.
-Grizzly Bear Refuge Staff
While skiing by the Grizzly Bear Refuge this week you may have noticed some staff members around Boo’s enclosure.
This year, Boo has had the unique opportunity to hibernate in his main enclosure as opposed to his usual winter holding area. This is a first for Boo, giving him the experience to spend the winter in a den he has created on his own.
Over the past few days our team members have been working hard on extending the Bear Refuge Habitat fence by four more wires. This is to ensure that come spring time Boo and everyone around the Refuge are happy and safe with the added snowpack!
Boo’s natural den is dug into the roots of an old Spruce stump and is about ten feet into the earth. At the den entrance is a large tunnel about 3 feet in width and 4 feet long. This entry way slants slightly to the left and has a mound of dirt at the end of it creating a windbreak. Past this windbreak you find a large, round area about seven feet in width which is used as the main “sleeping quarters”.
On warmer days, Boo may stretch out to his tunnel and create a break in the snow that has covered the den entrance. On very cold days like we have had recently, Boo will be tucked deep into the back of his den, as it is heavily insulated with the snowpack and deep earth. In the fall, Boo will prepare his den by collecting bedding such as grasses, leaves, and fireweed from the nearby areas. He will roll the bedding up into large tufts, and then proceed to roll it backwards into his den entrance, setting it up in his bedding area. This will add additional warmth and comfort throughout the winter season.
The amazing part of this process is that Boo has never been taught how to hibernate, create a den, or even collect his bedding material. This behavior is based solely on instinct.
You can visit Boo this summer! Stay tuned for upcoming information about the day to day life of Boo the Bear and the team who care for him and get information about visiting our Grizzly Bear Interpretive Centre on our website.
Words by Catherine Cowan, Grizzly Bear Ranger
6 breathtaking views and awesome adventures you won’t believe are less than a days drive from Calgary
If you live in Calgary, you’re actually pretty lucky to! Being able to live in a beautiful urban area surrounded by gorgeous mountains is certainly something to be thankful for. On top of the views, being so close to seemingly endless outdoor adventure and activities are an accolade many cities don’t have to brag about. If you’re looking for outdoor fun while maintaining social distance, here are a few suggested short staycations to consider.
Hiking & Via Ferrata at Kicking Horse
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Pictured: if the stories your parents told you about their commute to school were true. 📷: @ajsergent . . . . . #thishorserules #goldenrules #goldenbc #kootrocks #explorebc #beautifulbc #beautifulbritishcolumbia #britishcolumbia #explorecanada #canadianrockies #rockymountains #purcellmountains #hikebc #hike365 #hellyhansen #feelalive #photooftheday #getoutside #kickinghorse #kickinghorsemtn #liveyouradventure #whererockies #exploremore
Let’s start with Golden, B.C, home to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and just a 2.5 hour drive from Calgary’s north side. One of the unique aspects of Kicking Horse is the view of 6 National Parks from the peak of the mountain. And guess what, the peak of the mountain is easily within your reach! Kicking Horse has gondola accessed hiking and dining that offer some of the most stunning views you’ll find. And if you’re looking for something a little more to get the adrenaline pumping, the views from Via Ferrata are intense not just due to the views but due to the fact that you’re dangling off the side of a mountain or the suspension bridge (all while harnessed in of course).
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Cruising up Terminator until the end of the month. 📷: @alpinewithv . . . . . #thishorserules #goldenrules #goldenbc #kootrocks #explorebc #beautifulbc #beautifulbritishcolumbia #britishcolumbia #explorecanada #canadianrockies #rockymountains #purcellmountains #viaferrata #photooftheday #getoutside #kickinghorse #kickinghorsemtn #liveyouradventure #whererockies #exploremore @hellobc
Views from town and the top of the mountain
Continuing onto what is already many Calgarians’ favourite short trip to make is Fernie, B.C. An easy 2.5/3 hour drive from the south end of Calgary along the Cowboy Trail you’ll drive right into Fernie’s town site, where you are literally surrounded by mountains on all sides. Continue through the town to Fernie Alpine Resort and you will not be disappointed. The views of the Lizard Range from the base of Fernie Alpine Resort are breathtaking enough, but by taking a ride on the Elk Chairlift you’ll get a view of the valley of Fernie, B.C that can’t be matched.
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Whether you take a hike or go by bike, be sure to stop, take a moment and soak up those views 👀 #HiFernie 👋 📸 on 07.06.20 . . . . . . . . . . #lovefernie #ferniealpineresort #fernie #bikefernie #hikefernie #ferniebikepark #ferniestoke #kootrocks #canadianrockies #photooftheday #hellobc #getoutside #kootenay #explorebc #explorekr
Hiking & Biking
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When it rains look for rainbows. 📷Leanne Albertson . . . . #mykimberley #kimberleyalpineresort #agoodplacetobe #kimberleybc #instadaily #photooftheday #eastkootenays #kootrocks #rainbows #thatviewtho #rainyday #destinationbc #explorebc #visitkimberley #kootenaylife #views
People love to describe Kimberley as a hidden gem in the rockies – and that’s exactly what it is. You’ll need to turn off the main highway to find this town but trust us, it’s worth the time. Not only can you hike up the ski hill at the resort to take in some of the gorgeous views of the town from the top of the mountain, but Kimberley, like the others above have an array of trail networks in and around the towns. One of the places that is a must do while in Kimberley is the short walk to the Marysville waterfalls, it’s another one of those hidden gems you don’t expect to find so easily and is definitely worth the short trek out to it!
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There is something so calming about watching a waterfall. 🎥@shannonbjarnason . . . . #marysvillefalls #waterfalls #calming #mykimberley #agoodplacetobe #kimberleybc #instadaily #videooftheday #tourismkimberley #kootrocks #powderhighway #destinationbc #explorebc #eastkootenays #beautifulbc #kootenaylife
Places to stay along the way
Even though you can easily visit any one of these towns and get back to Calgary in a day, staying overnight is always a nice option to have!
✅ Gorgeous slopeside mountain views
✅ Outdoor patios & in hotel restaurants offering take out
✅ Outdoor pools & hot tubs
✅ Close to all activities & adventures
✅ Convenient and safe – all our suites have full kitchens
Both of our feature properties at Fernie Alpine Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort feature all of the above, making either location a great basecamp for your quick getaway or longer staycation.
We realize this can be a difficult time to consider travelling, before heading out on your trip check on the Alberta & British Columbia government website for any guidelines or restrictions at your time of travel. To see what safety procedures and routines we have put in place visit our resort or hotel websites.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort COVID information.
Feature Photo by Powder Matt
Slowly and gracefully we take the final steps to the summit Terminator Ridge. We release our carabiners from the cable guide we’ve been following for the last three hours and soak in the moment. The fresh breeze atop Terminator Ridge rushes through our hair, the 360-degree view encompassed our vision with stunning peaks and a sense of accomplishment relaxes our adrenaline pumping veins. High fives, hugs and even a jump for joy, we did it!
Contently we walk back to Eagle’s Eye Restaurant for a celebratory beverage, where our journey as a gaggle of girls began not so long ago. Over tasty local brews, we relish our favorite moments from our Via Ferrata experience. Starting on the Hanging Glory Suspension Bridge certainly put us on the right track for adventure and helped us grasp trusting the cables and our own balance. Hanging out in the sheltered rock nooks on the spidery traverse offered time to soak in the terrain we were somehow able to work through with ease. The most adrenaline-pumping moment was mutually agreed upon as the Guts Bridge, a gripping experience walking over a single cable bridge, but the rush was enjoyed from the safety of our harnesses. And of course the magic of reaching the summit, but it wouldn’t have had as rewarding without the dotted giggles, toe curls, ladder climbs and spectacular views along the way.
Spending the day atop Kicking Horse Mountain Resort partaking in the Via Ferrata was the ultimate girls outing, here’s why:
It’s not your normal girls weekend, AKA it’s memorable and you’ll talk about it for years! No seriously, it’s not another bunch or night on the town, you’ll experience “firsts,” scary moments, laughable moments and there’s always bonding to be had when you are out of your element.
Earn your apres. Yup, you read that right! Surely after a few hours of gripping a mountain, you’re entitled to whatever beverage your heart desires and some tasty truffle fries from Eagle’s Eye to top it off.
Private booking for six people are available to keep your lady crew together for the experience. Nothing says new experience better than a supportive group of friends doing it together.
It’s the perfect way to test the waters for alpine climbing and scrambling. You might have just fallen in love with a whole new sport.
Push your boundaries, learning new ways to maneuver, build confidence in your mountain travel and practice your flexibility and balance for an epic workout.
The Via Ferrata is available from mid June to the September long weekend yearly which means there are plenty of opportunities to plan a women’s weekend nestled in the mountains. Get your dose of adrenaline, relaxation and sightseeing in with a stay at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort before summers gone!
Words + Photos by Abby Cooper
Welcome Back Guests!
We are very excited to announce our Summer Season opening on June 26, 2020. After an abrupt end to our winter season and your riding pleasure, we at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort look forward to welcoming you back to the mountain. But first I would like to explain where we are as a resort and a company and how we got here.
First of all, everyone at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort wishes to thank our medical community and all other essential workers. Many of us have spouses, partners, parents or kids who are working long, stressful hours to help make sure we are safe and cared for if needed. Golden shines for many reasons, but in particular it really shines when there is a need for compassion and support.
After deciding as a company to cease operations on March 16th, our community, our team and frankly the entire mountain tourism industry have worked tirelessly to get to the exciting announcement that we will be opening for summer operations on June 26th.
All of us at KHMR want you to be able to enjoy the mountains and trails that define our home. Tireless efforts have been put forward by staff and industry partners to figure out a way forward and now feel we have a summer program we can be proud of while ensuring the safety of our guests and our staff.
Some things will be very familiar at the Resort while other aspects of our summer operation will feel different, even strange. But rest assured, with an abundance of caution and a goal for a safe, sustainable program, we will offer Mountain Biking, Hiking, visits to see Boo and the Grizzly Bear Refuge team and Sightseeing seven days a week with the Via Ferrata four days a week from June 26th to September 7th. For the month of September our resort offerings will be scaled to four days a week. The Eagle’s Eye restaurant will be open for dining, and Bike Rentals and Retail Goods will be offered.
Opening a mountain resort during these times is a complicated, challenging exercise, one in which every aspect of human interaction needs to be thought through.
Some of the changes you will encounter this summer are:
- When you arrive at the base area, you will see signs and team members asking you the basics: Are you experiencing symptoms of COVID-19? Have you been out of the country in the last 14 days? Do you live or work with anyone who has any symptoms?
- The purchasing of lift tickets, passes and bike rentals will be handled from behind plexiglass barriers at Guest Services Desks, the Rental Shop or in the Retail Cabin.
- You will be riding the Golden Eagle Express gondola or Catamount chair by yourself, or with your family or travelling group.
- Your tickets will be scanned through a barrier from a distance.
- Line ups will be spread apart to meet provincial health guidelines.
- We do expect there to be longer wait times during busier periods and hope that you understand the necessity of this process. Our commitment to providing a top-notch experience will remain the same.
- Dining and drinking will be offered both indoors and outdoors, and tables will be spread apart to ensure our guests and staff safety.
We do anticipate that changes will continue to happen and we will adapt as necessary, so thank you in advance for your patience. We look forward to sharing more adventures and building great memories together, and having a great, safe summer.
“You’re taking your kids to Kicking Horse to bike? That’s an aggressive hill…”
Those words rang in my ears as we headed west to Golden for a family trip to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. The kids, ages 1, 5, and 7 were buzzing with excitement. The parents were buzzing too – but with nerves. Our little boy had ridden lift-access trails only a couple of times, the girls were both too young to bike, and we hadn’t looked into whether or not our golden retriever was welcome. Great planning – I know.
When we pulled up to our campsite right on the hill, our breath was taken away. We couldn’t help but give in to the kid’s excitement with the sweeping mountain views. Within minutes, the kids discovered a park, beach volleyball court, frisbee golf and a pump track that got them grinning. The members of staff were all so friendly, giving directions and tips and even patting our vagabond pup. Things couldn’t have been better and we hadn’t yet gotten on a lift.
The five of us hopped on the high-speed quad chair to go see Boo the grizzly bear who’s lived at the sanctuary since his mom was poached as a cub. Between his enormous presence and the guide’s funny and informative lecture, we were enraptured. (The Steve Erwin-type experience was only enhanced with his Australian accent – the guide’s, not Boo’s.) The kids could hardly believe that we came so close to this huge grizzly, and I could hardly believe we were spending all this time together as a family even though only a couple of us were riding at a time. After the tour, our son chased us down the mountain on our bikes where we all met again to head up the gondola.
The views from the top were staggering, and we drank it in from the Eagle’s Eye restaurant. We enjoyed watching climbers on a via ferrata adventure before heading back out where the younger two scrambled at the top with their dad and our seven year old and I tore down the mountain. The green and blue runs were perfect for him the entire way down. Often, green runs at lift-access locations means cross country-like up and downs that would never be found at the top of the mountain and they can be a bit boring for downhill riders. Not so at Kicking Horse. Green runs meant appropriately steep single track with equal care put into the building and design as black diamond trails. Rolling wood features, little jumps and fun sweeping berms were characteristic of the easier runs. My husband and I loved taking turns biking with our oldest, while the other enjoyed endless activities with the younger two which often included all of us taking lift and gondola rides together and spending time exploring between biking. It was really hard narrowing down the best parts of our trip – so we asked the kids. The “pro list” got ridiculously lengthy, so I tried asking what they would change.
“Next time, let’s stay for fourteen days instead of four!” That summed it up perfectly.
Photos & Words by Chelsea Mackenzie Photography
Nothing beats a cold shower, sipping a well-earned beer in a hot tub and then crawling into a cloud like bed with the smell of fresh mountain air after a day of hiking. While not to under play the epiceness of the mountains, there’s something to be said about being able to retreat to comfort and maybe even luxury after a day on the trail. Staging your summer hiking adventures from the base of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will not disappoint, the variety of adventures will keep you busy for days on end! From winding valley bottom hikes to alpine traverses this list should keep you going for a while, especially with a refreshing nightly reset.
KICKING HORSE MOUNTAIN RESORT HIKES
Taking the gondola up is a great way to gain quick alpine access and will make for a rewarding hike in any direction. Not to mention the option to end with a decadent bite at the tallest restaurant in Canada, Eagles Eye Restaurant. Here are few hikes available from the top of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
Terminator RIDGE + PEAK
Head towards the marked CPR Ridge trail, which we also recommend doing as a separate hike, more info below. Follow the signs south for Terminator. You’ll cross under the gondola and pop out on the wide ridge walk. The summer reveals the shear ruggedness of the Purcell Mountains, hard to believe most ski this with ease in winter! Keep walking until you see a sign to the east for Terminator Peak. Prepare for ropes, boulders and careful footing as you push up to this iconic Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Peak. Take in the elevated views of the resort, base, town of Golden and surrounding valley, it’s a breath taker!
Alternatively you could experience Terminator Peak by signing up for the Via Ferrata course, definitely the more adrenaline-pumping route!
Recommended to add on after completing Terminator Peak for the full experience but can be accessed with out first visiting the peak. From the gondola head towards CPR ridge and cut right onto the labeled Terminator Ridge trail, continue on the ridgeline past the Terminator Peak trail. As you pass behind the bulk of Terminator peak you’ll be exposed to terrific views off the back of Kicking Horse Mountain, take it all in before you head up, up and away. Stay left on the winding trail complete with rock staircases to the top of T2 Peak. Arriving at the tranquil alpine meadow summit you’ll be greeted by the seemingly endless views of the Columbia Wetlands and beneath your feet the town of Golden BC.
CPR RIDGE / BOWL OVER / IT’S A TEN
Centrally located this astonishing ridgeline lets you see it all. From the top of the gondola wander down CPR Ridge as far as comfortable, but we recommend a loop instead of a there and back for a change of scenery.
Bowl Over CPR Loop: At the end of CPR Ridge cross under the gondola at tower 15 and begin the hike up Bowl Over. You’ll get glimpses of a seasonal tarn and surely enjoy the elevation gain through the wild flowers and scattered trees. The final steep will have you in perfect shape for a beer on the patio of Eagles Eye.
It’s A Ten CPR Loop: A the end of CPR Ridge head towards Crystal Bowl on It’s A Ten. Be cautious of bikers as they also share this route and have the right of way. Enjoy the smooth wide trail and admire the meadows below and peaks above from the wild open basin trail.
Note that these can be linked in any direction, as all trails are two-way. You can also do It’s a Ten to Bowl Over and skip CPR Ridge, but trust us, you don’t want to miss it, it’s stunning.
DOGTOOTH RIDGE + TRAVERSE
From the top of the gondola head towards Crystal Bowl on It’s A Ten road. After a short 200m you’ll veer left at the Y intersection. Here you’ll gain a familiar winter peak opening views to the west side of the resort and beyond. A view only accessed from this hike, it’s unique and often one of the quieter hikes.
For those craving a multi day or one really, really, really big day, you can extend your hike from here and cover the entire Dog Tooth Range. You’ll need a car waiting for you at the opposite end, maps, backcountry communication and your own beta to conquer this not so well worn route. No doubt here that your preparation will be rewarded with pure mountain bliss as you walk in the wild side of ridges and peaks before descending back into the valley.
HIKES NEAR KICKING HORSE MOUNTAIN RESORT
So you’ve checked all the resort hikes and are craving more? These recommendations will have you covered.
A relatively easy hike with unbelievable views! High clearance vehicles are advised to reach the trailhead off of the Dogtooth Forest Service Road. From the end of the road it is 3.3km and 290 meters of elevation again through a mature forest and boulder field before you’ll find the pristine Gorman Lake! An outhouse, picnic tables and a canoe await your arrival and provide a perfect place for lunch and an afternoon of peak scrambling. Extend your hike my walking the circumference of the Lake or by hiking up and over to Holt Lakes. Please be respectful of the canoe so it remains a treat for all to enjoy for years to come.
DAWN MOUNTAIN SKI TRAILS
Over 25km of trails wind the base of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort offering endless loops, connections and valley strolls. Choose the length of your wander by studying the map outside the closed lodge. The bears love these berry filled trails too, so be sure to pack the bear spray, bring some pals and make some noise.
Connect all 4 Cedar Lakes by following a series of trails. Maps are available at the visitor center in Golden. The daring will enjoy the rope swing and all will welcome a dip in the lakes on a hot day. A sign on the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort access road will show you the entrance to the Cedar Lakes trails. 500 meters form the junction is a parking lot. Please note these trails are multi purpose and bikers use them frequently.
There’s no shame in down days. When your body begs for shoes other than hikers explore the list of possibilities!
- Frisbee Golf is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors with out spending all day on your feet.
- Meet Boo the Grizzly Bear.
- Adrenaline junkies will love taking a whirl on the bike trails.
- Swim at Cedar Lake.
- Check out the Tourism Golden event calendar for live music or other town happenings.
Words & Photos by Abby Cooper
Did you know, the best opportunity to see a bear is actually outside of Banff National Park? Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is the best place to see a Bear, in fact, it’s guaranteed! Not only can you visit Boo, the resident bear at Kicking Horse there are a variety of other activities that will make you wondering why you didn’t plan your whole trip to Kicking Horse and plan a day trip to Banff instead of vice versa! But don’t worry, if you already have your trip planned to Banff this summer, Golden is just a hop, skip and a short car ride away!
Peek at Boo
See a Bear up close, living his best life at the largest enclosed Grizzly Bear habitat in the world at Kicking Horse. Boo was rescued as a cub after his mother was killed by a poacher, through growing up at Kicking Horse we’ve had the unique opportunity to observe a Grizzly Bears life and learn a whole lot about them. When you visit Boo you’re likely to see him following one of his rangers (who serve as tour guide) as they pace besides his enclosure and lead you along with them or you might catch him lazily lying around his very own pond on a warmer day. Boo has been known to desire a rendezvous with the ladies and one time even managed to get out of his enclosure to find himself a girlfriend. Alas, Bears are solitary creatures and only interact with others typically during mating season, so Boo came back on his own to live his life of luxury at his forever home on the Kicking Horse slopes.
Mountain Top Dining
There’s almost nothing that comes close to comparing the experience of dining at Eagle’s Eye Restaurant at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. It’s the highest elevated restaurant in Canada, located at the top of our Gondola at 7,700 ft! Not only can you see the view of 6 National parks, you can enjoy amazing Canadian dishes and drinks with a fancy flair (you don’t want to miss the poutine or the Caesar’s here, promise).
Not only is Eagle’s Eye open for lunch during the summer, it’s also open for a special night of stargazing during the Perseid Meteor shower, can be booked for weddings and special events and even has exclusive suites you can stay at with a 24-hour butler on hand.
If you’re looking for a real adventure in the mountains, the Via Ferrata is for you! You don’t have to be an experienced rock climber to complete this incredible expedition, in fact, you don’t have to have any experience at all! To conquer the Via Ferrata you just need to have desire for a fun challenge (mixed in with a bit of bravery as well). Don’t be intimidated by the pictures or even when you’re on the way up the Gondola and can see the course, literally on the side of the rock face looming in the distance. The Via Ferrata is perfectly manageable, using fixed iron rungs to guide you along. Not only will you feel an amazing sense of accomplishment when you finish this trek you’ll also have some serious bragging rights when you tell your friends and family you’ve hung off the side of a rock (plus photo proof if you dare take out your phone at those heights). If I can do it, you can do it!
This still isn’t all there is to take in at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Golden, B.C. this summer, there’s also breathtaking ridgewalk hikes and sightseeing (see main photo), an award winning mountain bike park (downhill and cross country trails available), pop up farmers markets, fly fishing, horseback riding or kayaking (to name just a few).
Boo | Kyle Edworthy
Drink | Emile Lavoie
Via Ferrata | Lisa Roddick
Something I’ve learned about myself is that I rarely turn down an opportunity for adventure. When Kicking Horse Mountain called and wanted me to climb ‘Terminator Peak’ and cross a swaying suspension bridge, I answered.
I have never done much climbing. I mean, I have climbed mountains and bagged a couple summits; but this was no ordinary climb. This type of climb is called “Via Ferrata” which means “iron path” in Italian. I have done this type of climb only before but our route for this trip is positioned as “The Most Exhilarating Via Ferrata in Western Canada” and we were heading to the summit of Kicking Horse Mountain.
Before we began climbing everyone goes through a short but informative training session on how to use the climbing gear. Via Ferrata climbing is a little different than normal rock climbing in that you are always harnessed in but have to be responsible for your own technique up the mountain. It is simple stuff, you just have to be conscious and aware – which isn’t tough because when you’re up there, you are 100% involved in what you’re doing. No distractions; my mind was fully focused on the task. It didn’t take long for all of us to get comfortable with the provided gear so we started out by trekking the ridgeline high above Kicking Horse and the town of Golden, BC. After a short hike you arrive at the swaying suspension bridge… No matter how many times I’ve been on these types of bridges I still get swept by a wave of excitement. Step by step I crossed the wooden planks as the bridge swung from side to side. One thing to keep in mind is you are literally safe all the time, and you are harnessed into cables that are bolted into the mountain.
*Learn more about Kicking Horse Mountain’s Via Ferrata climb here.*
As we climbed onward and upward we were able to take short breaks to chat with one another, watch others and their technique, take photos of each other (obviously selfies) and get to know one another. Honestly, I thought more people would be freaked out but our entire group was comfortable, laughing and we all became friends within the first hour. There were even kids with us and they were doing great! One thing I noticed from the youth with us was they were HAPPY. Like, genuinely. It was pure adventure to them and it was wonderful to hang out with some young people who enjoyed the outdoors.
Speaking of people who enjoy (or live for) the outdoors – our guide Jackie wasn’t just a guide, she became our friends. Jackie O is as fun as they come. Jackie (or any Guides) can be instrumental in any activity or trip in the mountains, and she never let us go forward with doubt. She was super supportive, skilled, had a fun-cheeky attitude and ultimately had a positive outlook on life and adventure.
This route up the mountain was called the Ascension route and takes 4.0 hours to complete. After the morning of climbing we all peaked the summit and had some time to give high-fives and at this stage we were all hugging each other in joy. I won’t ever forget it.
For me, this activity is high on my list for exhilarating mountain fun that just about anyone can do. My sense of excitement was non-stop all the way up to the summit. I can’t wait to climb it again – see you up on the suspension bridge this season!
From KH website: “465 meters of pure bliss! Starting off the ridge-line dividing the Rocky Mountain trench from the Purcell range, and exiting at the top of Terminator Peak, the ASCENSION Route is a truly unique beast. From the climbers’ mouth, this course is one of the most technical & scenic in North America. Discover our signature “Guts Bridge” and stand on top of the world, feeling that you summited a giant!”
Learn more about Kicking Horse Mountain’s Via Ferrata climb here.