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
August 5, 2016
It’s not over yet! Although it’s winding down, there is still plenty of summer sunshine left before the chill of winter creeps up on us. In the meantime, whether you’re a golfer, runner or explorer, here are the rest of the summer events to attend to soak in the last of the summer rays!
Pars & Guitars 2
August 18th at Trickle Creek Golf Resort
For the second Pars & Guitars event of the summer, Trickle Creek Golf Resort will welcome Amy Thiessen to our Clubhouse Patio stage. Pair your tickets with a round of golf and/or dinner reservations before the show, call 250-427-3389 to order advance tickets.
Black Spur Ultra
August 20th at Kimberley Alpine Resort
From the creators of the Sinister 7 Ultra, the Black Spur Ultra is a race wrought from the windy, technical single track that trail runners dream about. No pavement, big climbs through rugged terrain, and stunning scenery. It its first year many racers dubbed Black Spur an “instant classic”. Hosted at Kimberley Alpine Resort, you can walk to the start line right from your hotel room. Visit the official website for more information or to volunteer!
September 3 in Kimberley
First Saturdays in Kimberley is a monthly celebration of Kimberley Arts & Culture. With a variety of local vendors and artisans to visit and shows throughout the day to enjoy. For more information on the First Saturday events in Kimberley visit the Kimberley Arts at Centre 64 website.
Thursdays until September 8th
Stop by Howard Street in Downtown Kimberley each Thursday from 5 – 7:30pm and purchase fresh food from local farmers and producers as well as products from vendors such as Bootleg Mountain Soap, Pridham Studio (functional pottery) and WaterMELon Designs (for our furry pet friends). For more information visit the Kimberley Farmers Market website.
Men’s Mountain Classic
September 15th – 17th at Trickle Creek Golf Resort
The 28th annual Men’s Mountain Classic will be at Trickle Creek Golf Resort on September 15th – 17th. For all event information visit the official website.
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!
It’s not just about skiing, it’s about the experience.
Morning was a bad time to write this….
As I’m reliving my trip to Kimberley and reviewing pictures, I’m realizing morning was a bad time to write this. Recently, I spent time in Kimberley in what we refer to as ‘the off season’, meaning we’re a hot minute away from winter and being a popular ski base for skiers and snowboarders travelling here from all around the county and the world. As my last visit was in the off season, a lot of time was spent eating out since many of the towns attractions are in between their summer and winter seasons, which made me realize, a ski vacation isn’t just about skiing, food (just like skiing the exhilarating slopes) is good for the soul and a ski vacation is about the whole soul soothing experience.
While visiting Kimberley on your vacation, staying on the mountain to eat is easy to do with so many options, however if you do decide to venture into town, it might not look like it as first, but it’s home to lots of delicious food. And, no we don’t mean schnitzel (although that’s good here too).
The heart of Kimberley is the Platzl. A pedestrian street – park your car in the nearby free lot and enter in the centre to find a variety of places to eat day or night.
Sullivan Pub (and drive thru liquor store!!)
One of my personal favourites (seriously, I can’t visit Kimberley and not eat here, sometimes it’s even more than once in one trip). The Sullivan Pub looks unassuming from the outside, you may be tempted to think its menu follows the generic pub menu format, well, it doesn’t. It’s actually a hidden gem of delicious dishes. This menu presents not only indulgent options like Lobster Tacos, Wild Boar Bolognese and Roast Prime Rib – it also has a whole Poutine section. For a fun meal, try going full on Canadian trying a few poutines – none of which will disappoint in the least.
Did I mention the drive thru liquor store? Even if you’re just stocking up to hole up at the resort and not come back to town, the drive thru liquor store is the novel place to stock up.
In the Platzl, 136 Deer Park Ave.
Stonefire is the perfect place to eat with a family or a group of friends. The large restaurant is comprised mostly of large tables, while there is also a bar to sit at. The bar is situated right in front of Stonefire’s wood fired pizza oven which was hand built in Naples, at the bar you can watch as the busy (pizza master chefs) assemble and toss the pizzas in the oven and then out to the tables at lightning speed. http://stonefirepizzeria.ca/
Pedal & Tap
In the Platzl
The name is meant to encourage people to bike to the restaurant and offers free locks as an added incentive, the inside of the restaurant offers a vintage feel with interesting decorations and awesome bartenders who base your drink off your personality and mood. My first visit to Pedal and Tap was later at night after already eating dinner earlier. This was definitely a mistake. The ‘Alba (hard)core Tuna we had was so delicious it made it difficult to watch other extremely appetizing looking meals come out of the kitchen while being too stuffed to try any of them. The Carbonara looked particularly popular and delicious, with at least half the restaurant seeming to have ordered it. Pedal and Tap is arguably one of the most famous restaurants in Kimberley, it was featured on The Food Networks You Gotta Eat here in 2013 showcasing its care and attention to the food it produces using locally sources ingredients (you can still watch the episode featuring Pedal and Tap on the Food Network’s website). On the wall are Pedal & Tap tshirts, which are in high demand, if your size isn’t available it gives you another incentive to return (if the food wasn’t enough). http://pedalandtap.com/
Eating On Mountain
***Update – Montana’s Grill is now Buckhorn & Main – get more information on Buckhorn & Main Mountain Eatery here.***
Montana’s Grill & Cookhouse
Located in Trickle Creek Lodge
Montana’s offers some of the best comfort food you’ll find at a ski resort, just look at the mac and cheese! Plus new this season, they’re open for breakfast. Visit the family friendly restaurant portion of Montana’s, where the extensive menu will please the pickiest of little (and big) eaters or après in the lounge and enjoy the comfortable seating (don’t miss trying the bacon caesar for a truly Canadian experience).
Located in the plaza
The Stemwinder is the most popular Apres spot in Kimberley! With live bands every weekend and theme nights like local jam nights and college nights, the Stemwinder is definitely the place to be. Stemwinder also offers a full menu with daily specials, stop in to see what they are and for a great time.
Meanwhile, please excuse me, I’m off to eat lunch…
Looking for more to do in Kimberley? Check out “The Top 6 Things to do in Kimberley this winter (aside from skiing)”.
Imagine this; you wake up from your slumber early, really early. And you’re not getting back to sleep. What do you do? What do most of us do? Grab our smart phones. Now, when you grab your phone you’ll have the ability to get the most up to date information for snow conditions, weather reports, trail maps, resort info and more from one handy app for Kimberley Alpine Resort (and our other RCR resorts).
Your next problem – it’s going to be a powder day!! Time to call in sick and head out to the mountains!
For more information on our App read our Press Release.