Kicking Horse resort review

Snowboard Guide rating 8 out of 10 “Think you're a good rider? Come to Kicking Horse and get your ass kicked! Forget the trail map and your traditional way of assessing a resort by number of runs etc - this hill has 85 chutes alone and almost the entire area of the upper bowls is freeride terrain.”



Gnarly chutes, huge off-piste and trees.



A small park but lots of natural hits



Limited options for newbs

Mountain stats

Top lift:2450m
Vertical drop:1260m
Bottom lift:1190m

LiftsLift count : 1 x Gondolas   2 x Chairlifts   2 'Bunny Hill' magic carpets

Ride area 2800 acres

Total Pistes:128
Longest Piste:10km

passes Pass (Low/High Season) : CAD0-75 Day, CAD0-410 Week

Three hours west of Calgary and 15 km's up the hill from the blue-collar town of Golden, lies the resort of Kicking Horse. A former heli-ski area of alpine bowls and gnarly ridge lines slashed with chutes all blessed with the lightest, fluffiest snow Ullr creates makes this a must-do for any serious, skilled rider. The difference between this place and other resorts is noticeable the moment you get here - guys and gals with backcountry packs bristling with poles, shovels, etc, telemark skiers nailing bump runs, etc. Locals are big into outdoor stuff and make up a large part of the people on hill each day.

The Resort's pride and joy is the 8-person gondola which whisks you from base to the Eagle's Eye summit in less than 15 minutes. Not so much of a novelty now Revelstoke has the same it still offers fast, comfortable, sociable access to the top of the hill and beats the hell out of a chair on a cold and/or windy day. There you'll find 'Canada's Highest Dining Experience' the Eagle's Eye Restaurant and Bar (great for a fancy lunch, a Caeser or even just a quick pee!) and one of the best views Canadian resorts have to offer.

Kicking Horse, Rider Ryan J
Kicking Horse, Rider Ryan J
Photo: Mike McPhee

Don't be fooled by the apparently limited options shown on the trail map - not many lifts, not a huge area, etc - this mountain rewards exploration and time spent getting to know the runs, hits, etc. and half of what is on offer isn't even shown on the map. Whilst not offering much to the beginner this should be an intermediates-and-up Mecca. Alpine terrain up top, steep trees and runs mid-mountain and cruisey, carvey greens at base this place has it all.

New for 2010/11 is Super Bowl - a previous 'slack-country' area south of the resort which has been brought within the resort boundary. You'll need to hike a bit to get there but, as they say around here, the best turns are the ones you earn!

 READ NEXT: Freeriding, terrain parks and Pistes