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Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

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Title: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort  
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Subject: Fernie Alpine Resort, Golden, British Columbia, Kicking Horse River, Downhill mountain biking, Lift accessed mountain biking, Kicking Horse, Comparison of North American ski resorts
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Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Logo of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Top of the gondola at Kicking Horse
Location British Columbia, Canada
Nearest city Golden

51°17′21″N 117°03′31″W / 51.28917°N 117.05861°W / 51.28917; -117.05861 (Kicking Horse Mountain Resort)

Top elevation 2,450 m (8,033 ft)[1]
Base elevation 1,190 m (3,900 ft)[1]
Skiable area 11.14 km² (2,750 acres)[1]
Runs 106[1] (Beginner 20%, Intermediate 20%, Advanced 45%, Expert 15%)
Longest run "It's A Ten" (10km long)
Lift system 1 gondola, 3 chairlifts, 1 surface lift
Terrain parks 1
Snowfall 7 m (23 ft)/year
Web site

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (KHMR) is a ski resort located 14 km outside of Golden, British Columbia, Canada. It features what is currently the fourth highest vertical drop North America, at 4,133 feet (1,260 m).[1] It is only 6 feet (1.8 m) shorter than Jackson Hole. In total the resort includes over 2,800 acres (11 km2)[1] of skiable lift-served terrain. The resort was named after the nearby Kicking Horse River and Kicking Horse Pass, although the resort is in the Purcell Mountains while the Kicking Horse is across the Rocky Mountain Trench in the Rocky Mountains.


It started life as Whitetooth Ski Area, a smaller facility owned by the town of Golden, but was bought out and expanded in 1999, to be reopened under the new name on December 8, 2000. The majority of the skiable area consists of four large bowls (Crystal Bowl, Bowl Over, Feuz Bowl and Super Bowl) that combine about halfway down the mountain into a single area, with a fairly gentle ski-out to the lifts at the bottom. One run, It's a 10, is a 10 km long green run that connects the runs in the main Bowl areas. In 2002 a new chairlift (Stairway to Heaven) was added to allow access to a third bowl (Feuz Bowl), which generally sees less traffic. In 2010, a fourth bowl to the south of the existing resort (Super Bowl) was added to the area adding over 300 metres [2] of new vertical.


The hill is served primarily by a high speed gondola, the Golden Eagle Express, that rises from the base area to the peak. Two smaller chairlifts also operate from the base area, a fixed-grip quad (Catamount) and a fixed-grip double (Pioneer - a relic from Whitetooth days). Another fixed-grip quad (Stairway to Heaven) serves the upper areas to the north of the gondola, including the third bowl. Uphill capacity is generally limited, however, and most skiers need to return to the summit via the gondola at the base of the mountain. The limited terrain park is compensated by the natural terrain and exceptional backcountry access.

Name Type Capacity (per hr) Make Year Built
Golden Eagle Express Gondola 1,200 Leither Poma 2000
Stairway to Heaven 4 person fixed grip 1,000 Leither Poma 2002
Catamount 4 person fixed grip 1,200 Leither Poma 2000
Pioneer 2 person fixed grip 1,500
Pony Express Surface lift 600

Winter Activities

Kicking Horse is frequented by skiers, snowboarders and telemarkers.

Annual snowfall ranges from 254 cm (100") at the bottom of the mountain to 700 cm (275") at the summit. The total in boundary ski area is over 2800 Acres. The slopes are well known for the light and dry snow, dubbed Champagne Powder. The resort is open for skiing from mid December to mid April, and for mountain biking and sightseeing from late June to early October.

Ski Terrain

The gondola accesses CPR Ridge, Crystal Bowl and Bowl Over. Crystal Bowl is large and open, providing intermediate skiing and is the easiest way down from the gondola. Bowl Over is also open but much steeper and often has more moguls than Crystal Bowl. In 2007, a trail was made to allow for advanced intermediate skiing into Bowl Over. CPR ridge is situated between the two bowls. One side of the ridge, the Crystal Bowl side, provides some of the 75 inbound chutes available at Kicking Horse. These chutes range from advanced to expert skiing. The other side of CPR Ridge is a series of glades.

Stairway to Heaven is a fixed chair lift that is situated at the bottom of Crystal Bowl and accesses White Wall, Feuz Bowl and Redemption Ridge. White Wall is a quick hike right of the chair and is rated expert skiing for some rock bands and large cornices. Feuz Bowl is advanced skiing, quite similar to CPR ridge. Stairway to Heaven follows Redemption Ridge. On one side are chutes into Feuz Bowl and the other side is a series of glades back into Crystal Bowl.

Terminator Ridge and Terminator Peak are situated on the left side of Bowl Over. On the south side of Terminator Ridge Super Bowl can be accessed. On the north side a few steep, narrow, expert chutes come back into Bowl Over. The hike to the top of Terminator Ridge is often well traveled and takes from fifteen to thirty minutes, depending on fitness.

Total Runs 137 including all inbound chutes
Beginner 20%
Intermediate 20%
Advanced 45%
Expert 15%

Backcountry Access

Kicking Horse has exceptional backcountry access. South of the resort, Super Bowl can be accessed by hiking up Terminator Ridge. North of the resort, Rudi's Bowl and many other backcountry assets are accessible.

Summer Activities

Grizzly Bear Refuge

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is also the home to a 22 acres (89,000 m2) acre Grizzly Bear "Refuge"; two orphaned cubs (Cari & Boo) were taken there in 2003, but one (Cari) died during her first winter hibernation due to a twisted intestine. Boo can often be seen mid-winter from the Gondola, if he decides to take some exercise, but can be more reliably seen on a 'bear tour' during the summer months, provided he has not escaped (as he did for several weeks in 2006 and 2011).

Mountain Biking

Kicking Horse is open during the summer for downhill mountain biking accessed by the gondola. Kicking horse provides the longest descent in Canada for mountain biking.

Upcoming Development

Chairlifts are planned for access of bowls on either side of the current ski area boundary. In total 9 lifts will be built under the current master plan by build out. This will expand the skiable area to 4,000 acres (16 km2). The mountain village accommodation is rapidly expanding.

This year most development will be done on 'softening' Kicking Horse. Kicking Horse has been known for its advanced terrain and wants to become a more rounded resort. The new master plan launched in August 2008, is aimed at creating a year round resort including an 18 hole golf course.

The resort village is currently being built out at the base of the ski area. The resort provides lodges, hotels, townhouses and cabins. The Eagle's Eye Restaurant is at the top of the gondola. At the base there is a coffee shop, sushi restaurant, daylodge, retail shop and ski rental service.

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort announced on December 29, 2011 the successful sale of the resort to Resorts of the Canadian Rockies from Ballast Nedam the initial owner and developer of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.[3]


External links

  • Official page
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