Location: As the fourth highest vertical in North America, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort’s 1,260 vertical is known for its deep champagne powder and huge snowfall. With its ski in / ski out abilities and alpine charm, it attracts skiers looking to experience amazing snow in a picturesque setting.
Kicking Horse has a wide variety of terrain in its 2,800 skiable acres; better suited to intermediate or expert skiers they come here to explore the huge backcountry terrain on offer. Steep chutes are a regular sight here with only 20% of the runs suited for beginners.
Kicking Horse has buckets of alpine charm. With log-cabin lodges dotting the resort, ski in/ ski out access and endless powder runs it’s more and more popular with the Europeans. It also has Canada’s highest restaurant situated at 2,350 metres.
Getting there: Daily flights depart to Calgary from London Heathrow with Air Canada and British Airways. In the winter, Canadian Affair operates twice weekly charter flights from London Gatwick.
Kicking Horse is 3.5 hours by private taxi or rental car from Calgary. There are day tours from Banff in the winter.
Where to stay: We would recommend the boutique options just beneath the ski hill – they’re more personal than the larger lodges and more European in style. Vagabond Lodge is run by Ken and Lori who know a thing or two about personal touches. With stays of over 2 nights, Lori will include a home-cooked lunch back at the lodge. Think luxury log-cabin chalet with a home-from-home feel.
Winston Lodge has 11 smart boutique rooms all kitted out with flatscreen TV’s, heated floors and balconies as standard. The highlight of staying here is the lively après ski bar and restaurant downstairs offering a great hangout after a hard day’s skiing. But an outdoor jacuzzi and treatment rooms are available for those looking to relax after a hard day’s skiing.
Copper Horse Lodge is good value as their enormous bedrooms can offer up to triple occupancy if you’re on a budget. They have a great restaurant downstairs as well as an outdoor jacuzzi. Satellite TV’s, DVD players and WIFI is available in every room.
Highlights: The charm of Kicking Horse is the unique terrain, but the fact that the resort offers European charm makes it pretty unique amidst some of North America’s bigger and brasher resorts. Get away from the European Half Term and enjoy amazing snow in relative peace and quiet.
Downsides: Nightspots are in short supply here so don’t expect a buzzing après scene. You’re more likely to spend the week visiting the same restaurant every night but don’t worry, you’re here to ski!
Best piste run: Take the Golden Eagle Express – following the Flying Dutchman down into Sluiceway, you’re the great tree run Double Header which is good even in bad weather.
Best mountain restaurant: Eagle’s Eye Restaurant is the highest in North America so is worth a visit with spectacular views every which way – the added bonus is the excellent food (far better than the mountain restaurants in Lake Louise and Revelstoke) meaning you can settle in if the weather does too.
Best restaurant in town: Copper Horse Lodge’s restaurant, Corks, offers hearty delicious meals such as fisherman’s stew, steaks and hearty pasta dishes.
Best après bar: Winston Lodge for après beers, games and pizza.
Best off piste run: The Stairway to Heaven chair offers terrain into the old heli skiing territory – make sure to follow the groups of snowboarders traversing under the run (be careful to slow down here as it’s a chute with nowhere to hide). Over the back you’ll find great steep terrain into the Feuz bowl but be sure to be warmed up and ready for some challenging terrain.
Best guide: Kicking Horse is the perfect heli ski warm up – we book our guests into their Learning school for the Expert Adult Clinic, perfect to warm up those powder legs in the backcountry. Their instructor Steve is our first choice for instruction and guidance skiing all types of terrain.
To warm up your heli skiing legs at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, contact the off piste skiing and heli skiing experts at Pure Powder!