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Dropping in to Kicking Horse - James Cove, British Columbia, Canada
Tuesday February 23, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

Literally. It is the final resort of the PlanetSKI Canadian ski road trip. It seems we may have saved the best to last.

The resort, near Golden, has a reputation for deep powder and steep chutes. 

The same as other resorts that we have visited on this trip, but unlike the others it also has some high altitude terrain above the treeline similar to the Alps.

The Canadians call it Alpine.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaKicking Horse, British Columbia, Canada














Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaKicking Horse, British Columbia, Canada
















And best of all it is in-bounds and made safe by the ski patrol.

Our journey from Revelstoke threatened to be tricky - see here for our last report that came from Revy.

It was pouring with rain as we left and ahead of us we had the small matter of Roger's Pass to negotiate.

It's a high pass through the Selkirk Mountains and can be shut for days on end when the weather turns nasty.

The rain lower down threatened to be heavy snow higher up and the thought of putting on chains was not appealing.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaIt's going to get steeper
















Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaWith worse conditions
















Fortunately the weather eased off and the snowploughs had been out. 

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaClearing the way
















We made the 181kms journey in just over 3 hours and parked up at the bottom of Kicking Horse with the slopes on our doorstep.

The resort itself was developed in 2000 and there is a single gondola with access to a couple of huge powder filled bowls.

Then there is a chair lift, Stairway to Heaven, that takes people to the top of Feuz bowl.

And that is pretty much it in terms of lifts - but I can not think of another resort across the world that provides such an amount of variable sking from just two lifts. 

Except maybe La Grave in France but that resort is in a league of its own.

Kicking HorseKicking Horse















Our guide for the first day was a good friend of mine, Richard Barker from Kicking Horse Powder Tours.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaRichard shows me the way
















He took my son, Alex, my travelling companion, Alf, and myself on some of the best terrain in the resort.

And we had some fresh powder too. Smile

Alex, Kicking HorseAlex, Kicking Horse
















Alf, Kicking HorseAlf, Kicking Horse
















Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaYours truly, Kicking Horse (Photo c/o Alf Alderson)
















Some of the best skiing is off T1 - it is a 15-minute boot up. 

Or 700 footsteps if you prefer to count it that way.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, Canada459 and counting
















We were fortunate to pass through Kicking Horse when a local freeriding event was taking place - Wrangle the Chute that is a qualifier for the Freeride World Tour.

We spent an hour or so watch the competitors in action.

Some got some big air.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaGoing huge














While others arrived at the finish with slightly less than they started out with.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaGoing home















Unlike Whitewater that we passed through earlier in the journey there is accommodation at the foot of the slopes.

For those that prefer bricks and mortar.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaKicking Horse, British Columbia, Canada
















For people like us who opt for metal.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaHome from home
















And there is room for those that opt for canvas - though they need to pack a decent sleeping bag.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaBrrr.....
















There is also some good après at Winston's - a rare treat in this part of the world.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaThe band palyed on...
















And in the Day Lodge at the bottom my friend Richard, who showed us the slopes earlier, picks up his saxophone on occasion.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaBlowing the blues
















"This is one of the best resorts in North America with its extreme terrain and deep powder snow. We average 6.7m of snow per season and this winter we have already had 6.1m," said the sales and marketing manager of the resort, Max Cretin, as he took me round some of his secret spots.

Now he would say that perhaps given his job, but he is Swiss and was brought up in Zinal.

He has skied all his life so he knows a few things about these matters.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaSwiss tour of Kicking Horse (photo c/o Alf Alderson)



















Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaMax leads the way
















About 6% of the resort's visitors come from the UK and the number is growing.

In part that is because it is trying to appeal to a wider market than just the powder hounds.

Some of the steeper sections of the main pistes have been made easier, there are route markers showing the easier trails and it is possible to ski all the way from top to bottom on a green trail.

It is a magnet for lovers of the steep and deep, but The Horse has much more to offer.

And no mention of Kicking Horse is complete without mention of another animal - a grizzly bear named Boo.

Bear necessitiesBear necessities
















The resort adopted the animal in 2003 after it was orphaned when a poacher shot his mother. 

He lives in a 20-acre compound surrounded by electric fences; so watch out if you are skiing in the trees!

His diet of natural berries is supplemented by his carers.

"Contrary to popular belief bears do not hibernate for the whole winter, rather they sleep and Boo can be seen in the winter months having a stroll and exercising himself before going back to sleep," said Max as we passed over his enclosure in the gondola.

I could see the footprints, but sadly not the animal.

Boo hoo.

Kicking Horse is our last resort on our 12-day and 5-resort British Columbia ski road trip.

We ended the trip with a boot up Stairway to Heaven and one of the sweetest runs of the trip on the way down.

Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaFinal run
















Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaChecking the route (photo c/o Alf Alderson)













Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaKicking Horse, British Columbia, Canada
















And it is the final day in the RV.

We have covered almost 2,000kms and visited 5 of the best ski resorts Canada has to offer.

Life in the RV has been so much better than I expected.

It is perhaps the best way to travel and stay if you are prepared to put up with some minor inconveniences and you are on a budget.

If not then I recommend you hire a car and do a road trip staying in hotels en-route.

'Trip of a lifetime' is an overused phrase but for me the past 12- days have provided superb snow, great skiing and some of the fondest memories that I have ever had on a ski trip.


Kicking Horse, British Columbia, CanadaKicking Horse, British Columbia, Canada
















For a related article by James about life in the RV then see here.


CanaDream offers a winter RV that  can accommodate up to four adults and two small children from $121 per night plus tax or $1694 plus tax for a 14 night trip.

This includes kits (dishes, pots, pans, bedding) that is normally an extra cost in summer, an additional driver (in summer $5.00 per person per night), free use of generator (a charge in summer) and other items designed to make the winter ski experience in an RV comfortable and cosy. 

CanaDream is the only RV company in Canada able to provide Guests with an RV built to withstand the Canadian winter.  These RVs enable Guests to use full facilities (including shower, sink and toilet) in temperatures as low as -30C).

For more information on British Columbia then see the web site of Destination BC.

For more details on the resorts James is visiting then see here:

Sun Peaks -  see here for further details about the resort   

Red Mountain - see here for further details about the resort  

Whitewater - see here for further details about the resort

Revelstoke - see here for further details about the resort  

Kicking Horse - see here for further details about the resort

Air Canada offers more daily flights from the UK to Canada than any other airline, with 63 non-stop flights scheduled per week to seven major Canadian cities. From London Heathrow, the airline operates daily services to Vancouver during the winter season. 

Air Canada operates new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on its flights from London Heathrow to Vancouver - this aircraft features a new Premium Economy option for those looking for more comfort and space, complementing International Business and Economy class.

Return Economy flights from London Heathrow to Vancouver start from £591.05 (1 November - 12 December 2016, incl. taxes). Find out more at or call Reservations on 0871 220 1111.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

For the spirit of the mountains

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