Kicking Horse: Top of the gondola

Ski Roadtrip: Day 9, Kicking Horse

The drive from Revelstoke to Kicking Horse in Golden, BC, was pretty treacherous; dark, slick, twisty roads make for a very exhausting drive, taking at least a half-hour more than anticipated.

Roadtrip Tip: Drive mountainous roads during daylight hours. Not only is it easier drive when you can see—this is even more important when there are snow storms to contend with. Also, during the day, you get to appreciate the beautiful views.

I arrived at Mary’s Motel, the closest accommodations to the road up to Kicking Horse, about a 10 minute drive. I’d used booking.com, since Orbitz didn’t have any listings for Golden. It was pretty big for a motel; I suspect they get pretty crowded on good ski weekends.

I made it in time for dinner and I searched for the recommendation from Gary and Sheila (co-habitants of the B&B in Revelstoke), “22 something”… Eleven22 was in a converted house, in the contemporary dining way. It was excellent and I highly recommended it; not only was the food good, modern cuisine, but it was quite cheap for its quality.

eleven22: Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup
Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup
eleven22: Salmon Linguini
Salmon Linguini (but not your normal Salmon linguini)

The Mountain

Kicking Horse: View from the parking lot

Kicking Horse is more spread out than Revelstoke, providing more blue runs. There are 4 bowl areas, unfortunately, a lot of the mountain was not accessible or very icy and slick due to lack of snow.  Like Revy, there are few lifts at Kicking Horse, so many runs will force you to the bottom where you’ll take the gondola back up and there are long traverses or hikes to get to a lot of the terrain. From the top of the gondola, you can traverse a narrow track, viewer’s left, along the mountain ridge to the black-diamond bowls. I stuck to the Stairway to Heaven lift, to the right (see picture at the top) to ski softer snow down its face and allow me to avoid the ice and slush towards the bottom.

Kicking Horse: Top of Stairway to Heaven chair; it got windy, later in the afternoon.
Top of Stairway to Heaven chair; it got windy, later in the afternoon.

The lift takes you to the 8000′ highpoint of the mountain and into a back bowl that still had some decent powder. To get more of that “pow” or to start a higher traverse across the back bowl, you can hike up (they have a stairway to get you started).

Kicking Horse, Hike from top of Stairway to Heaven lift to take you higher or to a longer traverse.
Hike from top of Stairway to Heaven lift to take you higher or to a longer traverse.

Skiing that back bowl meant having to go all the way back down to the gondola, down some steep, icy cat-tracks, and thin cover on the bottom. It took some doing, but I was able to find a few runs with soft cover.

Like Revelstoke, there were quite a few snowboarders at Kicking Horse; good ones, too, if I must say.

Kicking Horse: Snowmobile tours are available.
Snowmobile tours are available.

As I passed the motel, on my way out, I contemplated staying another day, but decided to go ahead and see what was ahead at Lake Louise.

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