Golden, British Columbia When you step out of the gondola at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is takes your breath away – you feel like you are on the top of the world with a 360 degree view. If you are one of those waiting for the lift to open 8:30 to ensure you get first tracks you can also enjoy a majestic sunrise over Rocky Mountains.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is situated in the Purcell Mountains in Golden, British Columbia. It is an easy 3 hour ride from Calgary and just an hour from Lake Louise. The resort is known for its vertical drop, champagne power end back country access. Those of you who checked out my husbands Selkirk helis-skiing adventure knows this is right up his alley. But there are also lots of runs for less experienced skiers or those who prefer cruising in the groomed runs. From Crystal Bowl to Terminator Ridge the resort has something for all levels and interests.
The wow factor continues when you decide to enjoy lunch on the 7,700 ft. mountain top – on Eagle’s Eye Restaurant. The restaurant has amazing views, not surprisingly since it is Canada’s highest restaurant.
The resort has its name from Kicking Horse Pass/Kicking Horse River, which in reality is located in the Rocky Mountains and not the Purcells. But a name like that is too good not use, right? History has is that one of the members of the Palliser Expedition, that was exploring possible routes for the Canadian Pacific Railway back in mid-1800’s, got kicked by his horse and thus named the river Kicking Horse.
A geologist, named Sir James Hector, was among those on the expedition team. Following a string of bad events, Hector ended up stumbling upon the Kicking Horse Pass. As the story goes, he was camped out at the Great Divide when one of the team’s pack horses got loose and crossed the river. Sir James jumped into the water and swam after it, eventually rounding the horse up. While trying to tie it to a tree near his horse, the two animals became enraged and started fighting. During the ruckus, Sir James suffered a vicious kick from his own steed. The sheer force broke three of his ribs and knocked him out. In fact, he was unconscious for so long, his three Native guides were convinced he was dead and decided to bury him. As they were carrying Sir James’s lifeless body to a grave some distance away, he suddenly came to. When he was well enough to move around, he explored the valley and eventually discovered the pass that became the route through the mountains. The pass and the river were dubbed “Kicking Horse” in his honour.
This is probably also the only ski resort with a Grizzly Bear Refuge in the middle of the hill! This is where Boo the bear lives. He is a grizzly born in the wild, but lost his mother at only 5 months and too young to survive on his own a refuge was built for him. We didn’t see any signs of him so I assume he hibernating throughout the winter. If you check out his Facebook page you can have a look into his den to see what he is up to.
We spoiled ourselves on this trip by staying at one of the ski in/ski out facilities at the bottom of the hill. Is there anything better than enjoying a glass of wine in your private hot tub while watching the sun set over the Rockies?
Which type are you? The adventures one who gets up before sunrise to make first tracks or the relaxed one who look forward to the hot tub after a day cruising the groomed runs? Please feel free to leave comment, we would love to hear about your favourite skiing destination.