Location: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort’s 1,315 vertical is known for its deep light powder and huge snowfall – no wonder it’s nicknamed the Champagne Powder Capital of Canada. It attracts skiers looking to experience amazing snow in a picturesque setting.
Kicking Horse has a wide variety of terrain in its 3,400 skiable acres; better suited to intermediate or expert skiers who 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 is a small village with a European Alpine charm – log-cabin lodges dotting the resort – just moments away from the endless powder runs. It also has Canada’s highest restaurant, Eagle’s Eye, which is situated at 2,350 metres and is a must if visiting this resort.
Getting there: Daily flights depart to Calgary from London Heathrow with Air Canada and West Jet operate twice weekly flights from London Gatwick.
Kicking Horse is 3 hour 20 minutes by private transfer or rental car from Calgary. There is also a shuttle bus which runs twice a week on Wednesday & Saturdays mornings from Calgary International Airport.
Where to stay: We would recommend the boutique lodges that are based 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. Think luxury log-cabin chalet with a home-from-home feel; not only that but it’s only a few steps from the gondola so you can be out early doors to catch the first runs. Winston Lodge has 11 boutique rooms all kitted with handcrafted wood furniture, heated floors and balconies. The highlight of staying here is the après ski bar offering a great hangout after a hard day’s skiing.
Highlights: The pull of Kicking Horse is its unique skiing terrain and champagne powder, but the fact that the resort offers a European charm makes it more appealable amidst some of North America’s bigger and brasher resorts. Here you can enjoy amazing powder snow in the relative peace and quiet.
Downsides: It is a bit further afield from Calgary with less regular shuttles buses than Lake Louise or Banff, but the long journey here means less people so it’s worth it! You also come to Kicking Horse for the skiing – so if you’re all about the buzzing après scene then this isn’t the resort for you.
Best piste run: Take the Golden Eagle Express – following the Flying Dutchman down into Sluiceway, ouble Header, which is good even in bad weather.
Best off piste run: The Stairway to Heaven chair offers terrain into the old heli skiing territory. 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 mountain restaurant: Eagle’s Eye Restaurant is the highest in North America so is worth a visit with spectacular 360 degree views – the added bonus is the excellent food meaning you can settle in if the weather does too. You can also head up in the evenings on Friday’s and Saturday’s but booking for dinner is essential. If you fancy something more low key, head down to the base and head to the Double Black Café for a wholesome lunch, they even serve great coffee and pre-ski breakfasts to power you for your day on the mountain.
Best restaurant in town: Copper Horse Steakhouse is one of the better places to eat in the evenings, with locally sourced food from British Columbia, including bison, beef, lamb, pork and oysters from British Columbia coast. They also have an extensive wine menu with the wines originating from British Columbia.
Best après bar: Winston Lodge for après beers, games and pizza.
Best guide: Kicking Horse is the perfect heli ski warm up – we can help book a private guide through the snow school, or we can get in touch with our favourite guide Scott for his availability – he can take you out of bounds if you’re wanting something a bit more adventurous. Alternatively, you can ski with a local and if you are staying at Vagabond Lodge, Ken can hook you up with someone to show you the best terrain there is on offer.
To warm up your heli skiing legs at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, contact the off piste skiing and heli skiing experts at Pure Powder!