They call it the jet stream—a narrow band of wind high up in the atmosphere that blows from west to east. It’s what brings us most of our weather in North America. During years when the Pacific Ocean is warm, the jet stream veers south and B.C. gets less storms. On years when the Pacific Ocean is cold, however, the jet stream juts north, soaking up Arctic air before dumping loads of snow on the Pacific Northwest and Interior B.C. We call those La Niña years, and to a skier or snowboarder, it’s the best thing ever. Part of that is because they deliver the driest most consistent powder on earth, but it’s also because La Niña winters usually only come around once or twice a decade.
We’ve been lucky enough to have La Niña stick around for the last two winters in B.C., and oh my has it made this horse kick. It snowed 66 days during the 2021/22 operating season, which is four months long at Kicking Horse. Do the math on that, and it was storming more than half the time—piling up to eight metres total. That’s over 26 feet, surpassing even the 24 feet from the season before!
And guess what, it’s still here. Climatologists are predicting an unprecedented third winter of La Niña this winter: a never-before-seen “triple dip.” That means if you’ve been trying to pick a perfect season to visit Kicking Horse, this is it. Not only is it going to puke coldsmoke all winter, but the pandemic is finally over. Covid restrictions have all but vanished in B.C. (though we need to be vigilant), and this will be the first “normal” season in three years. High-fives in the lift line? Check. No more masks? Check. No more distancing in gondola cabins? Check. That all means getting up the mountain faster, and getting more of the fluffy white stuff in your face on the way down.
Plus, if you’re visiting from the U.S., you’ll be getting an especially hardy discount courtesy of the exchange rate. The U.S. dollar has been outpacing the Canuck coin by a solid 25 to 30 percent for the last six months, and there’s no signs of that changing. Kicking Horse also just updated its grooming fleet with a new, state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly cat to help boost your experience on corduroy—because, let’s be fair, it won’t snow every day… just most.
Photos by Tim Grey & Aiden Trudel
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
New season, new systems!
How to smooth out your first day on the slopes.
Well, here we are!
We’ve made it to another ski season during a pandemic, and while some regulations will stay the same as last season, we are also dealing with a few new ones. Here are some guidelines to help make your first day out in the mountains as smooth as possible for you and your family.
Request your Season Pass or Direct to Lift Card in advance
If you have purchased a season pass, you should have received an email requesting your upload your QR code/proof of immunization online. Please upload your information and request your pass be sent to you as soon as possible. Ensuring your pass gets into our printing queue as soon as possible allows you the best chance of receiving your pass ahead of your first visit. If you have not received your email requesting proof of immunization, please feel free to reach out to our guest services team to request one by emailing email@example.com. If you have requested your pass but have not received it before your first day, you will need to visit the resort Guest Services building to receive a day ticket and show proof of immunization. If you are having problems with our system accepting your Proof of Immunization please refer to our FAQ’s to find out why.
Mind our Know Before you Go updates
While many of our guidelines have stayed the same, a key update this season is the requirement to be fully vaccinated to access our resort lifts and facilities. Please refer to the information above on how to provide this ahead of your visit.
Bring your QR Code on your first few visits
To ensure we have record of your information, we encourage you to have your QR Code and government-issued photo id with you on your first few trips. If you purchase day tickets, you will need to show proof of immunization when picking up your lift tickets each time you visit.
Limit your baggage and prepare for a few lineups
We will not be allowing bags to be stored unattended in our daylodge or common areas. Please ensure you’re leaving any unnecessary baggage in your car or purchase a locker. While requiring proof of immunization should help alleviate some lineups at our lifts and facilities, please note that some people may still choose to stay distanced from others; we ask you to respect the wishes of those around you.
As always, we ask you to be kind to our fellow guests and also our staff. Please realize our front-line staff are working hard to ensure you enjoy your experience and share your passion for the mountains. Let’s all work together to make our mountain experience an enjoyable one.
Photo by Tim Grey
We have come to the end of our winter operations, and all of us at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort wish to extend our gratitude for being a part of the success of this unique and challenging season.
We thank you for your compliance, patience and understanding as we navigated through this pandemic winter. You were all the “reason we had a season”. It took a tremendous and collaborative effort to open our lifts for the 2020-2021 season, and it was a privilege to be open and a privilege to be able to ski and ride this winter.
Thank you for following our ‘COVID-19: Know Before You Go’ policies & procedures, which helped our ski season succeed.
This winter was one of quality! There was no shortage of epic storms delivering many Kicking Horse Champagne Powder days in one of the best winters Kicking Horse has had.
I want to extend a sincere thank you to our staff and volunteers for rising to numerous challenges throughout this winter and for acting responsibly both at and away from work. We could not have achieved the success of this season without you!
We look forward to welcoming you back next winter, or perhaps to our summer operations, which are just around the corner.
Thank you, Mike Rubenstein
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
Golden, B.C – After the abrupt end to last winter, all of us here at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort are incredibly excited to welcome you to the resort on Thursday, December 10, 2020! While our operations will look different this winter, we are really stoked to have the opportunity to welcome skiers and riders to the mountain.
Our team worked hard this summer to deliver a safe environment for our staff, our guests and our community. From that experience and guided by the expertise and direction of various organizations, including WorkSafeBC, the Canada West Ski Areas Association, and provincial and local health authorities, we have developed a comprehensive COVID-19 winter operation plan that addresses the complex and unprecedented situation we are currently facing.
Despite all of the planning we have done, the privilege of having a long, safe and healthy season will depend on all of us and our ability to follow public health orders and the measures all businesses in our town, including ours, have put in place. There are many in this community, and likely among you who are feeling anxious about where things are at currently, and uncertain about what the right thing to do is. But if we all work at this together, be respectful, kind and do our part to keep us and those around us safe, then we believe that we can play among the mountain tops this winter.
Here are some of the changes you can expect at the resort this season:
1. Face coverings are to be worn at all times including when you leave your vehicle, in the base area, in lift lines and while riding lifts, all indoor outlets, washrooms.
2. As a result of our safety protocols surrounding the COVID Virus and looking to create a safe environment for our guests, this season we will be closely monitoring lift capacity and ticket sales to help ensure that we can manage daily the number of people at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Day lift tickets will be available at our resort ticket windows daily. However, on high demand days only a certain number of day lift tickets will be sold – so one should use the opportunity to pre-purchase your lift tickets online to guarantee you get the ski day’s you want on those days. We do anticipate some periods of higher demand, so to avoid disappointment, it is recommended that you pre-purchase your lift tickets online and in advance as some dates may sell out.
3. Resort capacity is being managed through the sale of lift tickets. On high demand days the availability of tickets will be reduced, so pre-purchasing online is strongly recommended in order to ensure you get the dates you want.
4. Lift lines will be adjusted and stretched out to accommodate physical distancing of 2m between cohort groups.
5. The Golden Eagle Express gondola has undergone an anti-microbial treatment, and will see increased cleaning daily. Cabins will be loaded with family or cohort groups, up to 8 if that is the size of your family or cohort group. Singles will be required to ride with one other single, and loaded after every 5 or 6 cabins. The windows in the cabins will be kept open to improve air flow.
6. As we follow restaurant guidelines, the seating capacity in Eagle’s Eye Restaurant and The Whitetooth Grill have been reduced, and there is a maximum of 6ppl allowed per table. As such reservations will be required in order to dine in both of these outlets, and this can be done in advance through Opentable.ca or www.kickinghorseresort.com. Heaven’s Door Yurt will be open daily, and plexiglass dividers have been placed to maximize the use of the seating.
7. There will be capacity restrictions in place for other outlets so make sure to read signs as you enter and follow the directions. This includes the Performance Rental Centre, so it is strongly recommended that you pre-purchase online to speed up the process for yourself.
8. There will be no bag storage in the daylodge due to physical distancing and sanitization measures. Therefore it is required that you gear up, and leave your belongings at your vehicle.
To review these and other measures being implemented this season, and to keep updated on any new developments make sure to visit our COVID19 information page. Now more so than ever before it is important to Know Before You Go.
We have all been through so much change this year, and change is hard for all of us. But these changes we are making at the resort at least come with the special reward and privilege of chasing our powder filled dreams with our friends and families.
We appreciate your patience, understanding and cooperation – “Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe”
Photo by Jeff Bartlett
Kicking Horse is known for some of the most interesting and technical terrain on the Powder Highway, but if you’re a novice snowboarder or skier, that shouldn’t scare you from earning your chops on the slopes.
A few starter runs on the Jellybean and Pony training hills are the perfect way to get things started whether you’re a first-timer or are coming back from an extended absence.
From there, our trainers from our snow school will work with you to figure out which hill to tackle next.
Our Catamount chair services a solid chunk of beginner and low-intermediate terrain (primarily green runs). This includes runs like Big Ben and Wolverine, heading down towards Beaver Tail and Crowfoot. Overall, it’s a great lift for to build your confidence, nail turns and improve general skill. Since most of our beginner and intermediate terrain is located below mid-mountain, it’s not a very daunting proposition if you’re a rookie.
When you’re ready to progress to longer runs and looking to work in some blue/intermediate terrain, take our gondola to up to Eagle’s Eye and use It’s a 10 (green cat track) to enter Crystal Bowl. There’s a mix of blue and green terrain available in Crystal Bowl (one of our personal favorites is a blue: Northern Lights) They can then use It’s a 10 to travel down the mountain (a 10 km long track from top to bottom!) to access more beginner runs in the lower mountain. Alongside this run, you have to check out Kicking Horse classic #43 Blaster as well, which is a green run.
If you’ve earned your chops and tackled this suggested lineup, that’s a solid day’s work. End your day back at Peaks Grill with a couple of beers to analyze the day’s runs and take a look at tomorrow’s conditions. There’s so much terrain to discover at Kicking Horse, you’ll find yourself with far more to conquer than you could ever do in one trip, but the best boarding/riding weekends are the ones that leave you wanting more!
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
Further to our March 15th decision to suspend Ski Area Operations, after careful consideration of the quickly changing circumstances around Coronavirus (COVID-19), Resorts of the Canadian Rockies has made a decision to suspend ski resort operations for the remainder of the 2019/20 ski season at our Western Canadian Resorts, including Nakiska Ski Area, Fernie Alpine Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Here at RCR our number one priority is the safety, health and well-being of our Guests, Team Members, and the Communities which we live, work and play in. As tough a decision as this has been, we feel it is the right thing to do under the current circumstance.
In an effort to limit social interaction we will not be opening our guest service and ticket offices for the time being, both at resorts and our Calgary office. For questions regarding purchased products please email the address below (In response to this situation we are receiving an overwhelming volume of calls and emails, your patience is appreciated as work respond to these requests).
We sincerely apologize to you our guests for this inconvenience.As always, we truly appreciate the support which we receive from you and thank you for that. We will look forward to welcoming you back to our resorts and Mountain Communities in the future.
President/Chief Resorts Officer
Resorts of the Canadian Rockies
“3, 2, 1 dropping.”
“Nope, just kidding, I’m not ready yet,” I slowly exhaled sizing up the drop
“Are you sure I can do this? It looks so much bigger from up here!” and so went two days of chatter directed toward our ever-patient instructor at the Rippin’ Betties Freeride Camp.
I had never taken a lesson before, so I was very keen to jump into the women-only two-day program aimed at level 5 and 6 skiers. I didn’t know what level of skier I was, but because I was game to ski anywhere on the mountain, I figured I’d be alright in spite of my flailing arms. It was humbling, exciting, and left me obsessing over off-piste terrain. Skiing has always been a fun pastime for me, but I’ve never felt like such a student of the sport. Ever since pulling off my boots Sunday evening, I have been on YouTube, surfing the web and flipping through the pages of Ski Canada to ensure I drop my backseat ski habit. There also couldn’t have been a better setting than Kicking Horse to improve big mountain skiing. Everything about that mountain is big – and in turn, my fun little pastime turned into big fun.
All age groups were well represented in the camp, but it was especially inspiring watching women with a couple of decades of experience on me fly down aggressive chutes with textbook turns. Everyone had their own reasons for joining the camp, some wanted to gain a better understanding of the giant mountain and learn where the cliff bands lie on the black and double black terrain. Others wanted to finally unlock those hips and gain a more even weight transition as they sailed between tightly spaced trees. A few just wanted to be pushed to take on steeper and deeper terrain than they were normally willing to tackle or take on drops with confidence. Regardless of our reasons for joining, we all left having become apart of a sisterhood of shred.
“It’s like you’re constantly being egged on, but in such a supportive way,” noted Kate, a University of Calgary graduate student who was enjoying all the little drops and powder stashes during the camp before attending the pro patroller camp the following week.
We spent time chatting, and sometimes gasping, as we hiked for untouched powder.
The views, camaraderie, and snow were worth every minute. Instructor, former National Spanish Team Skier, Elana Acuña spent the last several years skipping summer altogether. Instead, she catches a plane each spring (of which she experiences twice yearly, one in lieu of fall) to the other hemisphere to coach and skis the winter away. Our group would giggle behind her as she would assure us that the double black diamond we were about to drop into on a Northern Ridge was in fact, “easy.” Laugh as we might at her laid back attitude regarding what we viewed as very intense skiing, we still knew she wouldn’t take us anywhere we wouldn’t be safe. She somehow both assured us of our fears and lit a fire of passion under us. As a result, I had some of the most fun skiing days of my life. She was knowledgeable, easy-going, kind and funny – not to mention an absolute monster on skis!
I was definitely one of the weaker skiers, but still game to tackle all the camp had to offer. As are most things in life, skiing isn’t as much about what you are capable of doing, but what you think you are capable of doing. There were a few women uncomfortable in some of the really challenging terrain and experienced nervousness they struggled to work past. Quickly the instructors assigned to our camp asked for a third coach to join us and we split into three groups ensuring everyone a positive and fun learning environment.
In short, if you’ve been thinking about trying a camp like this stop thinking about it and sign up. I might just be sitting in the gondola next to you – I’ve been scheming on my next camp since that first run on the first day.