My girlfriend and I decided to head to Golden, BC on Saturday for a weekend of skiing. Golden is a little less than 3 hours from my home in Calgary, so it is definitely doable as a day trip, but it is more comfortable to make a weekend out of it.
The original plan was to ski at Kicking Horse Resort on Saturday and tour a bit around Rogers Pass on Sunday. But, avalanche Canada had a special bulletin warning of increased avy risk for the weekend with variable conditions, so we decided to stay inbounds.
Golden is a pretty laid back town. Definitely blue collar. We stayed at an inexpensive (but clean motel), and had some decent pub food at the Golden Taps for dinner. But you aren't really interested in the town, are you?
Kicking Horse is one of my favorite places to ski. I first skied at the resort after moving to Calgary in 2006. Unfortunately I haven't been able to return as often as I would have liked. I was a student in Calgary from 2006-08 and tried to reduce skiing expenses with a season's pass (sunshine) during this time and completed my studies in Lethbridge from 2008-10, where I skied Castle. I returned to Clagary in 2010, but was articling in corporate audit for the next 4 years, and getting out in the winter was tough. Last year was my first year back to skiing, and I managed to injure my knee in November. I didn't ski again until mid-March, but it was enough time to catch the end of the season at Kicking Horse. I remembered what I had missed, and made an effort to return this season.
I've been following the snow mostly, but this was my third weekend at the hill.
I had a great time, and I will probably buy the RCR super pass next year (Kicking Horse, Fernie, Kimberly, Nakiska, and Lake Louise).
Probably not interested in this either, eh?
Kicking Horse is having a good season. They have received 600cm of snow to date, and they average 750 in a year, so it's better than average. The hill received 50 cm in the week prior to our visit, but only modest dusting in the later part of our week. February has been warm all over, and my trip to Fernie the week prior was disappointing with crusty snow up top, and slush at the bottom. I skied Sunshine the next day, and conditions were much better. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was hoping that conditions would be decent. Kicking Horse is higher than Fernie, but lower than Sunshine.
I found conditions to be really good. Wintry snow up top, even on the South Faces, and choppy powder for more out of the way areas. Mid mountain was in good shape, with nice packed snow above the Catamount Quad chair. The lowest part of the mountain was a bit scrapey, but the pitch is pretty mild at this point.
We started day one with our normal pattern. Ride the gondy, ski a chute on CPR, then catch the stairway to heaven, drop into the Fuez and repeat. White Wall was particularity fun.
Pic: I got in the way of my GF's terrain shot.
Unfortunatley, there was a freeskiing comp on CPR, so many of the better chutes were roped off. The remaining options skied well, but the entrances were boney.
After lunch, we decided to focus more on the other side of the ski resort. We decided to hike T1 or T2 for the remainder of the day (and into the next day). It takes most people about 15 minutes to complete the T1 hike, and probably 25 to get to T2. The hikes are fairly steep, and T2 has one section that some might find more challenging than the ski.
There are many options from the T1 summit. Tonnes of open terrain dropping into Super Bowl, and 4 steep chutes dropping into Bowl Over. All of the terrain is rated black diamond or double black, with most being double. It is steep, but not really extreme. And the hikes keep the crowds away.
Less chat, more pics!
T1 chutes into bowl over: Truth and Dare (center) from the gondola
Looking back up at the entrance to "Truth"
Making a turn on lower "truth"
Taking it all in on truth
An easier line into "dare"
Looking back up "dare"
Taking it all in, again!
The two chutes in the sun
Looking across Bowl over to the Gondola.
Out of the chutes and looking back up Bowl Over
Mid to Lower Mountain
Looking back at the Super Bowl Side of T1, from T2 - This skied great despite the sun!
T2 from the SuperBowl
T2 from T1