What binds a community together? What makes us proud to call the place we live home? In Kimberley, for over 92 years, it was the holes we dug in the ground, the thousands who gathered to extract precious metals from the world’s largest lead and zinc mine. It was a town toughened by grit, the damp echoe beneath us. Yet when the mine closed in 2001, we began the search for a new identity, beyond the one previously carved underfoot—an identity that celebrated our stunning landscape and the small-town charm that drew us towards it.
In 2007, an event was born in Kimberley that became an integral part of our identity: The Dirtbag Festival, a visual celebration of the elusive dirtbag lifestyle. The festival, entering its 10th anniversary, is a local cultural phenomenon. It consistently sells out two consecutive nights, and has included a variety of formats toasting the dirtbag lifestyle: the ever-popular community slide show, an eclectic compilation of Kimberley residents’ photographs; locally-produced films, some which are national award winners; spoken word; after parties; presentations by adventure gurus, such as 2016’s keynote Will Gadd; and beyond these events, the pervasive buzz leading up to the weekend, the constant chatter: “Are you going to Dirtbag?”
What exactly is a festival that honours dirtbags? According to its Facebook page, the Dirtbag is, “…a celebration of story gatherers as well as the story tellers, told by dirtbags living in the rebel realms of the wild spaces they call home, through film, photography, spoken word and art. It is a community of artists, activists, pranksters, and adventurers who carry us through dark winters by sharing their stories.” It poses a question to Kimberley residents: “What awes & inspires you? What keeps you going? What’s your place on earth? What’s your story?”
In its 2007 inaugural opener, local dirtbag icons attempt to explain the term “dirtbag”. According to Dave Quinn, “The most valuable thing a dirtbag has is time to spend with friends and to explore passions. Way down on this list is money.” Quinn believes to call someone a dirtbag, “…is to lay a really nice compliment on them.”
Dirtbag co-founder (along with Kevin Shepit) and host of the Travel Channel’s “Big Crazy Family Adventure” Bruce Kirkby says, “Dirtbag’s got a bad sound, but it’s really a great thing: You put your money—what little you have—into the things that count. You don’t spend all your time trying to make money. You do things that are fun.” Kirkby believes that the success of the Dirtbag Festival is that it speaks, “to what we value, and why we were here. And folks like seeing what their friends and neighbours shot in the last year, as opposed to going to Banff to see what the entire world has produced. So it’s become a very intimate event.”
Shepit believes that the Dirtbag Festival was embraced from the beginning. “It represents letting go,” he says. “Letting go of tomorrow’s worries, yesterday’s mistakes, workload, debt load, stress load, and the celebration of being able to, at a moment’s notice, simply notice the moment.” The new man behind Dirtbag’s curtain, Steve Tersmette, believes, “Dirtbaggery is our lifeblood. Look out our backyard. How can we not be a town of dirtbags?”
Dirtbag films have showcased a collage of wild adventures: family canoe trips through Alaska; 15-year-olds urban skiing off downtown rooftops; solemn Indian pilgrimages; the quiet narration of multi-day treks through the St. Mary’s Alpine; and the ever-popular openers, featuring Jedi dirtbag John Haner (see link above).
The spirit of Dirtbag brings a community together in the most unusual ways: Ryan Lunge’s 2014 Dirtbag Film winner, “Pirates of the Kimberlean” featured ten neighbourhood children from three to six years of age. It included special effects, green screen, waterfall cable cam shots, pirate outfits and props crafted by parents, and a 16-foot long pirate ship replica Lunge built in his back yard. Lunge, who had never shot a video before, learned everything from a book, and watching YouTube. “It became a bit of an obsession for the year prior to Dirtbag,” Lunge said, “but we had such a blast.”
How does a town celebrate its identity and culture? It gathers in a sold out theatre, hoots and hollers as photos and films flash upon a screen. It stands teary-eyed, smiling, sending ovations to the dirtbags we’ve lost. It celebrates the lifestyle of living in the Kootenays, among the people who are proud to call Kimberley home, and the Dirtbag its festival.
Dirtbag Festival 2017 (March 24-25, 2017)
Submissions Open: December 15, 2016
Submissions Close: February 19, 2017
Ticket Sales Open: Feb 1, 2017
Canadian Rockies International Airport – The mountain airport that puts you in the heart of adventure
Carrying my skis over my shoulder after the last run of the day, the alpenglow stopped me in my tracks. Gazing up, the late afternoon sunlight was fading, casting a gorgeous peach and orange glow on the rocky summits across the valley. Although I had only arrived earlier that day, just like me, they looked rosy, rested and content.
For most mountain adventure seekers, finding an airport within a three or four hour drive of their destination is considered a win. Kimberley BC is nestled in the heart of the Kootenays’ famed “Powder Highway”, and has the Canadian Rockies International Airport a mere 20 minutes away, offering multiple flights daily from Vancouver and Calgary.
Surrounded by the jagged, picturesque peaks of the Rocky Mountain range, adventure comes as a 360 degree view of summits, slopes, forest, wilderness, lakes and more.
Located at an elevation of 3,084 feet and featuring an 8,000 foot long runway, the Canadian Rockies International Airport is small but welcoming, which means less fuss when you land or leave.
When you first arrive, you can’t help but feel the relaxed pace of the area, but only some things move a little slower here. Beyond the small town pace and “slow food” passions of many restaurateurs, the adrenaline that accompanies adventure thrives on the mountains and in the nearby wilderness areas.
Your journey can read like a choose your own adventure novel. Accommodation? The choice is yours: there’s slopeside hotels, condos, townhouses and mountain houses. Ready for an outdoor adventure? There’s four seasons of excitement. When the snow flies, the area is transformed into a winter wonderland. Kimberley Alpine Resort is one of the only mountain ski areas in Canada where you can be on the chairlift within an hour of landing at the airport. From there, choose your passion: Kimberley features 1,800 acres of alpine skiing, with night skiing available and access to a world-class Nordic skiing facility.
While often dubbed as “family-friendly”, the backside of Kimberley Alpine Resort offers powder stashes, steeper fall lines and graded terrain. With fewer crowds and plenty of storms, Kimberley is a secret hideaway for adventurers in the know.
Speaking of secret, ask a local to tell you the best place for a tranquil moonlight snowshoe, where to soak in natural hot springs, sip the best craft brew in the land, eat in a centuries-old barn, glide under the stars on perfectly-set tracks. The only thing you’ll be left wishing for is more hours in the day.
Photos: Mike Byrnes, YXC & The Real McKenzie Photography.
Your skis that is.
It’s recommended you wax your skis every 5 or 6 times out. The reason being the base of your ski is very porous (similar to your skin) with lotion (wax) you’ll have a better running surface. This will allow for increased glide over all snow conditions, less leg fatigue and increased speed. The layer of water that is created by the friction between your skis and the snow will wick away from the base of your skis and not get absorbed into the base thus allowing for better glide (even when you’re skiing powder).
Remember the base of your skis is just like your skin, when it’s dry you take care of this by putting on lotion. Hot waxing is the lotion for your skis!
Our Professional tech’s at the ski resorts will be able to take care of this for all of our guests, find them in the Repair area located in the Rental Shop in the base area at Kimberley Alpine Resort. For prices and services offered give our repair shop a call at 250-427-4881.
Don’t forget – if you’re a season passholder use this member benefit to get a free tune up – ‘Buy 2 Get 1 Free – buy 3 full tune ups for the price of 2, includes edge base and side, stone grind, Ptex and hot wax’. Just print off a coupon from the Member Benefits website and redeem it at the resort.
Find out more about why to wax your skis and what a tune up entails on Fernie’s YouTube channel (plus find out what the fancy machine behind Harry is used for too).
There’s something about mountain towns that I love. Maybe it’s the coziness that comes from feeling perfectly enveloped by peaks around you, or the gentle orange glow that bounces off the jagged summits at sunrise and sunset. At first glance, Kimberley feels like one of those towns inside a snow globe: Windows lit by fireplaces, smoke wafting from the chimneys, sidewalks blanketed in white. Quiet. But if you think Kimberley is a sleepy town “in the middle of nowhere”, think again.
Some of my favourite memories and laughs have come from adventures in Kimberley. From surprise powder days that provided fresh tracks with every run, to gliding on cross-country skis under a full moon, to discovering a snow pack so deep we could ski off a garage roof and land in a soft pillow of snow below (don’t try this one at home, kids).
And then there’s the culture of this mountain town – steeped in history, it has embraced the future and younger families and adventurers are eager to call it home. It permeates a zest for life that can sometimes be forgotten in the city.
In Kimberley, “do it now” attitude means something completely different here – it’s more like “go do it now”. This means that deadlines can wait just a little longer on a powder day, or that meeting can happen just as efficiently on the chairlift. Come evening, at the local watering holes, local legends help keep the stories alive that make a place unforgettable.
Here’s four reasons why adventurers are loving Kimberley now more than ever:
- Four seasons of fantastic – Snowy winters and sunny summers. Kimberley provides quick access to dozens of outdoor activities.
- Go fast, then slow down – Adventurers love to get out there, then wind down re-charge. With a vast number of outdoor activities, and the emergence of a local food culture and plenty of cozy accommodation options, it’s easy to find the perfect balance between “go” and “rest”.
- Powder stashes for days – When winter storms roll through the East Kootenays, they can provide a big powder punch. Quieter mountains like Kimberley Alpine Resort can provide fresh tracks days after a storm, particularly on the mountain’s “backside” which offers a variety of advanced terrain.
- Fly close – When the big city calls, the Canadian Rockies International Airport is located just 20 minutes from Kimberley, with daily service from Calgary and Vancouver. And speaking of flying, Kimberley is also home to world-class fly fishing on dozens of lakes and Rocky Mountain rivers.
So give that snow globe a shake, and find yourself living in a real-life version of one this winter in Kimberley. Go on, do it now.
Checking your Ski Equipment now is very important for many reasons, here are the 3 top reasons;
FAQ: I get asked all the time ‘Why should I check my Ski Equipment, as I’m not a great skier and spend lots of time on the beginner slopes with kids…”
My Answer: I always say try these- once you try new skis you are on cloud nine. Technology advancements, ski shape, size are some of the many reasons the new skis really do make a difference. You owe it to yourself as it will enhance your skiing skills, make skiing easier and give you more control on the slopes.
FAQ: I have a pair of skis in the garage- is it okay to use them?
My Answer: The key here is check the bindings- visit your local ski shop or most ski resorts have tune up shops in the rental areas as well. If you live in Calgary visit your local ski shop like the new Sporting Life store located in Southcentre mall to have a pro look at the bindings to make sure they still are in good shape and meet current binding standards.
FAQ: Do I really need to check the condition of the bases and edges of my skis?
My Answer: Now I don’t get my skis tuned all that regularly as I ski mostly in soft, powder snow. But if you are visiting ski resorts that have hard snow or icy conditions regularly then you should definitely get your skis tuned more often.
Head north into Kimberley, and you’ll notice a billboard: “Smile. You’re here. We’re happy.” Ascend into a landscape of the highest city in Canada, the snowpack of surrounding mountains, the people readied for cold weather: steep metal rooves, wood-fired chimneys, Thule boxes stuffed with skis. Enter a town with tales of grandfathers who descended into earth, drilling, jackhammering, and blasting into what was the world’s largest underground lead-zinc mine. Pause for a moment, and you’ll notice Kimberley’s quiet charm, the mining homes built eighty years ago, kids who still wander into ravines and build forts, the town’s one traffic light, and for a loonie listen to the yodel of Happy Hans from the world’s largest cuckoo clock. When you ask directions, there’s a friendliness to the people. You’ll notice their smiles, like those settled in a place they needed to be. It doesn’t take long to discover, whether you live here or are just visiting, Kimberley’s a good place to be doing just about anything.
Among long-time residents, whose families carved Kimberley out of rock, is a new population calling Kimberley home: A younger generation, who’ve set roots here for the lifestyle and the vast array of activities right outside their door. It’s not long before they notice how long it takes to grocery shop, distracted by new friends telling tales of their latest adventures. As organic farmer and counselor Kelly Comishin says, “And all those adventures are from understated, humble folk, out because they love it. Not for bragging rights.” When you talk to the people of Kimberley, there’s a humility to them, and a sense that “good” is sometimes the quietest form of “best”. It’s a town of belonging, where everyone’s welcome. A town, once defined by mining, now by the eclectic mix of industry reflecting the culture of people who live here: skateboard manufacturing, coffee roasting, gin distilleries, climbing gyms, microbreweries, coffee shops and locally-sourced restaurants. All these, infused into the established culture of brick buildings, restaurants, hardware stores, and small businesses that have supported families and served the community for generations.
Kimberley’s a town that will charm you. You’ll never want to leave—there’s too many good things going on. When you enter Kimberley, you’ll smile.
Like the sign says, You’re here. We’re happy.
To Help Put a Smile on Your Face:
Kimberley Alpine Resort: Over 75 runs, five lifts and 2,465 vertical feet, with Rocky Mountain panoramas. Longest night skiing run in Canada.
Kimberley Nordic Club: X-C Ski Trails, with over 40 kms of snow-cat groomed trails; 3.3 km lit for night skiing.
Outdoors Adventures: The Kimberley Nature Park is one of Canada’s largest trail networked municipal parks; as well, a 25 km North Star Rails to Trails joins Kimberley to Cranbrook on a converted paved railway bed. Travel anywhere, just minutes outside of Kimberley, for an abundance of lakes, rivers, trails, and access to the Purcell and Rocky Mountains.
Golf: There are three public courses within Kimberley, and eight within a ½ hour drive.
Fine Food: Kimberley hosts the most restaurants per capita in Canada! Whether you’re looking for a German-themed meal in the oldest building in Canada, or a Rails to Trails chicken burger and mucky fries, Kimberley has a cuisine for everyone.
Activities and Attractions: Indoor climbing gym; aquatic centre; pedestrian-only brick-lined platzl, downtown shopping, and restaurant hub; underground mining railway.
Art and Culture: Galleries. Arts and cultural centre (Centre 64). Live performances. Heritage sites, and a variety of festivals.
Accommodations: In Kimberley, there’s an accommodation for every budget: from mountain chalets, to ski-in/ski-out luxury lodges. Enjoy the Rocky Mountain alpenglow from your bedroom or hot tub.
Getting Here is Easy: Kimberley is only a 20 minute drive from either The Canadian Rockies International Airport, or from Highway 3, one of Canada’s two primary east-west routes.
Photos: Cali Sammel, Raven Eye Photography & Mike Reece
August 22, 2016
If Americans have a cultural stereotype about Canada, it’s that we’re a land of ice and snow inhabited by “Eskimos” and policed by red-coated Mounties on horseback. (The Mounties drive in police cars and they have the same tools as cops in America… and the Eskimos, well, they are actually called Inuit, and live much closer to the North Pole).
But Canadians certainly do celebrate winter, and of course, skiing and snowboarding. Our resorts – though perhaps not quite as familiar or accessible as Vail or Tahoe — compare favourably in every way. Whistler, of course, is the most widely-known—the resort hosted the 2010 Winter Games alpine skiing events—and it’s continuously ranked highly amongst the (mostly) American readers in SKI Magazine’s annual resort poll. And Banff/Lake Louise are on the radar map—though most Americans (like Canadians) visit there in the summer months.
Resorts of the Canadian Rockies believes that the best discoveries in skiing are the unexpected ones—and, like siblings, their three resorts—namely, Fernie Alpine Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort, and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort—offer a rootsy, authentic Canadian ambiance that makes each of them worth visiting—even on one trip.
Perched above a historic mining town that still relies on nearby natural resources, FERNIE ALPINE RESORT is all about powder and adventure. Poking skyward like a giant baseball mitt, the rugged Lizard range hauls in over 35 feet of legendary Rocky Mountain fluff annually and attracts freeriders from all over the world. If you’re lucky, you’ll be in town during the raucous Griz Days celebration that celebrates the mythic mountain man who makes it snow. Independent “non-chain” stores and restaurants thrive in the red-brick building main street of historic Fernie, once named the “Coolest Town in North America” by Rolling Stone magazine. Indeed, many Americans who visit here comment on how much it’s “like Telluride or Aspen used to be.”
KICKING HORSE MOUNTAIN RESORT west of Golden is a true “big mountain” experience, with 1,260 metres (4,133 feet) of vertical—fourth-highest in North America. Compared by those in the know to American resorts like Jackson Hole and Squaw Valley, Kicking Horse boasts 121 runs, four alpine bowls and 85 inbound chutes spread across 2,800+ acres of skiable terrain. No stay at Kicking Horse is complete without a visit to Canada’s most elevated restaurant: Eagle’s Eye Restaurant, a mountain-top, fine-dining experience. Four mountain ranges come together to create a mountain panorama that’s second to none.
Nestled in the majestic Purcell Mountains in BC’s southeastern corner, KIMBERLEY ALPINE RESORT receives more hours of sunshine than any other resort in the province. Its 80 runs range from open glades to gentle cruisers to thigh-burning bump runs. Dive into the Easter Bowl on the mountain’s backside or enjoy Kimberley’s front side cruising. Kimberley even offers Canada’s longest night skiing/riding terrain. Stay slope-side and ski from your door in the morning or enjoy the charming Bavarian-themed town just down the hill. Kimberley compares favourably to the family friendly vibe found at Snowmass, Keystone, or The Canyons—with a superb ski school and perhaps the most high-value vacation packages in North America.
Thanks to Canada’s devalued currency, Americans considering a ski vacation north of the 49th parallel receive a thirty percent discount, before they even start shopping for the best deals of lifts, accommodation, and lessons. “Our close proximity to the United States means that Fernie and Kimberley have always had visits from keen skiers in border states—folks who live in Whitefish, Kalispell, Sandpoint, and Spokane,” says “Powder Matt” Mosteller, spokesperson for the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. Holidays at Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Week and even Easter attract skiers and riders from a wider net, including Seattle, the Bay Area, Los Angeles and even major Midwestern and eastern cities.
And there are a few other differences. Take money, for example. Canadians use the same dollars and cents system that Americans have, but your wallet won’t be budging with one-dollar bills if you ask for change for a five. Canadians have “loonie” and “toonie” one-dollar and two dollar coins. Different denominations of dollars ($5, $10, $20, $50 and $100) are in different colours (and some words, such as ‘colour’ have an extra ‘u’ in them – don’t ask.) Gas (and all liquids) are priced in liters – $1.20 per liter equals about $4.00 per gallon of gasoline.
Snow depth is measured in centimetres (doesn’t “thirty centimetres” sound deeper than “eleven inches”?). And the outside temperature is in degrees Celsius. Don’t freak out if the temperature is minus 5, that’s only 23 degrees Farenheit, perfect skiing temperature.
Oddly, some things are the same. If you ask the bartender for a pint of beer, he’ll pour you a 12 ounce glass. And if you need anything else, just ask! To dispel another myth—not all of us speak French, (and we actually say ‘a-bout’, not ‘a-boot).’
Welcome to Canada, partner. Your powder is waiting.
Words: Steven Threndyle
Photos: Raven Eye Photography, Vince Mo, Brooke Wilson, Abbydell Photography
Words by Cali Sammel
Photos by Tourism Kimberley, The Real Mckenzie Photography and Mike Reece.
The ski (and tourism) industry are run by numbers and stats – i.e how many runs the mountain offers, how many centimeters or feet of snowfall received, how many other things can I do while visiting? Well, here are some interesting Kimberley numbers you might be less familiar with!
historic points of interest. Kimberley Alpine Resort and the city of Kimberley, B.C have a strong history in mining, leading the town and resort to have many names and areas that pay homage to the industry. Find out more about the points of interest on our website – https://skikimberley.com/things-to-do/points-of-interest/.
feet of fire! A favourite tradition of the locals and staff in Kimberley is the annual Ullr Dag ski burning ceremony. Near the beginning of each year, there is a gathering and offering to the Norse god of snow by burning old skis and hoping to appease the god to bring the perfect purcell powder falling all season long.
in the morning – NEW this season, Montana’s opens for breakfast at 8:00am on Friday, Saturday & Sundays (8:30 am Monday through Thursday). Montana’s is located in Trickle Creek Lodge in the base area at Kimberley Alpine Resort.
hundred! Hectares of skiable terrain, now that should keep you occupied for a wee bit of time!
thousand! Our lift capacity per hour, it’s easy to keep those slopes uncrowded with that kind of movement.
months to night ski! From mid December to mid March, enjoy Night Skiing on our main run (and the longest lit run in North America) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Don’t forget to check out the ‘Rec Rut Runners’ our Thursday night race series or our Friday College Nights! Visit the Online Events Calendar for more information.
hours of Fat Biking! Try the newest and hottest winter outdoor activity craze and take a Fat Biking tour around Trickle Creek Golf Resort. Rent it for just $45 – email the Winter Sports School (email@example.com) for more information or see the Fat Bike section on our website.
awesome après spots on mountain. Head up the stairs and check out The Stemwinder – featuring a variety of daily food and drink specials as well as local jam nights and live après music every single weekend throughout the season! Got kids? Montana’s is the place to be, with views of the ski resort and a restaurant for the whole family to enjoy a beverage or after ski snack together. (Note – Stemwinder is kid friendly as well – ask our staff for ‘kid friendly’ hours).
Good Place to Be. Kimberley is: A Good Place to Be… “all together now, finding adventure, closer together, pinnin’ it, roughing it with friends” or whatever else you choose to do here!
Don’t be one of those skiers or snowboarders who decide to store their gear in the garage by the time the first tiny flower begins to bloom in early March. Indeed, there’s a rather cruel irony to spring skiing. Days are longer. Snow is softer. Vacation packages are cheaper. And you’ll come back to the city with a killer tan. Tucked into the southeastern corner of British Columbia and just a short shuttle from the city of Cranbrook and its Airport of the Canadian Rockies, Fernie Alpine Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort really know how to celebrate spring.
- Spring skiing starts with sunshine, and plenty of it. After three months of heavy snowfall and endless face shots, most skiers and riders are happy to see ol’ sol. How much sunshine is there? Well, Cranbrook, BC (home to the Airport of the Canadian Rockies), boasts over 2300 hours of sunshine annually. Morning temperatures start a few degrees Celsius below freezing, but warm up by mid-day to very comfortable It’s not exactly spring in Vancouver, but the sunshine is abundant and is strong enough to make the need for sunscreen on exposed patches of skin mandatory. On another note, keep the bikinis and surf shorts for the hot tub, you really don’t want a bad case of road rash if you fall on corn snow!
- There’s plenty of snow. It goes without saying that by the time the vernal equinox rolls around, that base measurements on the mountain exceed two metres or more. That means you won’t ding any rocks or stumps and can ski with confidence on all aspects. At this time of the year, it’s prudent to “follow the sun” around the mountain; starting with slopes that Both Kimberley and Fernie have many runs that face in different directions – east and south facing runs “warm up” the quickest, west and north facing runs receive sun later in the day. It’s worth noting that even on the warmest spring days, north facing slopes can hold grippy, even powdery snow because they’re in the shadows all day long. And of course, the higher you go on the mountain, the colder temperatures will get.
- Not only is the sun more powerful, by the time March rolls around the days are getting longer, too. Early birds will want to rise near dawn and get the heart beating with an invigorating morning run. And make sure you go for a walk around downtown Kimberley or Fernie after the lifts shut down. Enjoy the fiery rays of golden light that mountain folk call alpenglow.
- Combine sunshine and a deep base and you get… corn snow. Corn snow is so named because its granular structure resembles kernels of corn that have been cut from the cob. The kernels form on a melt/freeze cycle. As the sun comes out and intensifies during the day, hard, icy snow starts to melt and morphs into a slushy texture (think of a snow cone that you eat at a fair or farmer’s market). Forming in a layer up to several centimetres thick, these pellet-like grains are easy to set an edge in and a delight to ski. Fearsome mogul runs become easily tamed piles of mush. Bulletproof groomed slopes develop a layer of granular goodness that makes it fell like your Marty McFly and his hoverboard – literally, you’re cruising effortlessly on a thin carpet of frictionless, ball bearing snow. Corn snow is often called “hero snow” because it’s so easy to work with – push out your skis and “rail” those hard carving turns. Or widen your stance, flatten your ski and butter some spins in the terrain park – it’s all good. To get the most out of your skiing day, sign up for a lesson or two and explore chutes, alpine bowls, soft bumps, and carpeted cruisers. Lessons are worth taking at any time of year, but since you’ve probably already got your ‘ski legs’, you can take more chances and have more fun!
- Blue skies and puffy clouds are great for snapping photos with your iPhone camera or recording videos on GoPro. At high mountain elevations, the blue end of the spectrum becomes especially vivid, which is why spring skiing is synonymous with “bluebird days.” Of course, you’ll want to Snapchat or Instagram your day on the slopes, but here’s a high contrast tip: try shooting when the sun’s a bit lower in the sky, before ten in the morning and after two in the afternoon to reduce harsh glare and black skier/ white background contrast. You might even wait until the sun ducks behind a cloud for an instant to make the colours and skin tones pop a bit.
- Virtually all school districts throughout British Columbia now receive a two week Spring Break during the month of March. , Spring Break sees both Kimberley and Fernie with virtually all terrain 100 percent open and with short, manageable lift lines.
So, extend your ski season this spring at Fernie Alpine Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort… and get a great goggle tan!
Words by Steven Threndyle.
Photos by Raven Eye Photography & The Real Mckenzie Photography
A hidden gem, that’s the phrase often used to describe Kimberley – a ‘hidden gem’ in the Canadian Rockies. It’s one of those ski resorts that is slightly lesser known to the world, however anyone who visits is almost guaranteed to fall in love. Even if you are a frequent visitor to Kimberley, there’s a good chance you don’t know about those ‘hidden gems’ on the mountain – runs, certain spots and powder stashes only our staff and locals tend to know about. Well, we think it’s about time we let the secrets out and tell everyone about our hidden powder stashes, covert runs and secluded favourite spots for all to enjoy (sorry locals).
#44 – Black
Flush is one of our staff’s favourite spots, it’s been the site for our JEEP Junior Freeski comp for the last few season as it’s got plenty of playful terrain, lots of little hits and bumps. The first part of the run is mellow, tree skiing and often home to late stashes of that perfect purcell powder Kimberley is so known for. Much of Kimberley’s history is owed to mining, being home to at one time, the largest producing zinc mine in Canada, therefore a lot of the runs in Kimberley lend their name to that legacy, Flush is no exception as it’s named after a mining claim. (Plus there’s a natural half pipe at the bottom)!
#4 – Blue
Also, named after a mining claim, Dreadnaught offers great variation, with wide open meandering groomers at the top to fun rolling terrain near the bottom. The Kootenay Haus, located at the top of the run offers some of the best views of the valley and entire run. Dreadnaught is the dedicated race run for Nancy Green and other race training and race events.
Locals Tip – The front side is THE perfect intermediate terrain, long fall-line cruisers on corduroy groomed softpack (typically). Kimberley has the best cruisy groomers in the Kootenays hands down.
#59 – Black
One of our locals’ favourite run is called Geneva, it’s located in the gladed area known as The Black Forest, the largest tree skiing area in North America. Geneva is a long leg burner with very interesting and variable terrain and is always the first stop after a large overnight powder dump (and you can see why from this picture).
# 50 – Black
Our next undisclosed spot is also located in the Black Forest. Another one named after a staked mining claim, Dorval is a forever favourite of our staff as most people ride right on by it! Our theory is everyone is too busy making their way to the Easter chair to notice this spot and pass it by, but next time we suggest you try it out! To get to Dorval, ski right of the intersection to Dean’s Right and Ridgeway, some of the best attributes of Dorval are – it’s one of the steepest runs on the hill and is only groomed once a week. One of the rarest experiences you’ll have on this run is actually seeing another soul riding near you and if you do, there’s a safe bet they work at the resort or grew up skiing there.
#28 – Black
Tamarack AKA the ‘show off’ run because; top to bottom, Tamarack runs fully below the chair of the same name. Since many people don’t like to ride right under the lift and be exposed to chairs and chairs of onlookers, there are often fresh tracks to be found here! Tamarack’s fall link is top to bottom with a vertical rise of 1182 ft, making it a real thigh burner to ride and get that heart rate up. Hit up Tamarack, then it’s time hit up the hot tub!
Need to look any of these spots up? View and download our trail map online.
See you out here!