Kicking Horse, British Columbia

Written by Greg and Heather Burke

Kicking Horse is a bit wild like its name. Unbridled, rather undiscovered ski terrain for most. This relatively new to the ski scene having opened in 2000. T Canadian ski resort is 2.5 hours west of Calgary on the TransCanada highway, anchored by the town of Golden. The Dogtooth Mountain Range makes up the dramatic ski terrain in the Purcells, across the Columbia River from the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Kicking Horse is surrounded by unbelievable scenery, with six National Parks in view from the panoramic summit, Banff National Park, Glacier, Kootenay, Yoho, Mt Revelstoke, and Jasper National Park.

The ski terrain at Kicking Horse is kick ass, encompassing 2,800 acres of steeps and tons of inbound chutes and ungroomed, naturalness. With a vertical drop of 4,133', Kicking Horse is the third greatest in Canada and fourth in North America. For comparison, Kicking Horse's gondola goes from the base to 7,077’ in 12-minutes for a 4,000’ thigh burning vertical. Runs here are long, and the majority are not groomed. Four ridges divide the Kick your butt terrain into four bowls: Crystal Bowl, Super Bowl, Bowl Over and the steepest Feuz Bowl - served by the famous Stairway to Heaven chair that reaches the highest point of 8,033’. From here you climb the Stairway to Heaven staircase to a crazy panoramic summit where you drop into Feuz Bowl over the cornice, traverse to a slighter tamer entry (or retreat back down the stairs).

Our first-day skiing Kicking Horse, we logged just 10 runs but an amazing 28,000’ vertical, and the steeps and chutes we skied off Terminator, CPR and Redemption Ridge were wilder than any heli-ski terrain we encountered in the Canadian Rockies. This mountain kicks butt but, and has limited beginner terrain. The Greens here should be blue, the blues are blacks…There are a few groomers, including a long “Green” cat track “It’s a Ten” from the top snaking all the way to the base – 10-kilometers, I’d say this green is not for beginners as it is two cat tracks width, bordered on both sides by drop-offs in certain scenic but potentially scary spots. 

On the tamer side, Kicking Horse is home to the most beautiful Eagle’s’ Eye mountain top lodge, Canada's highest elevation restaurant, located just off the gondola at 7,705'. You must dine here, we suggest you make reservations and enjoy lunch here of an elk burger, a beer and a view. Even better, take the gondola up on around 4:30 for après ski at the Golden Eye Bar as the sun sets over the Purcells, the Bugaboos and the Rockies – absolutely stunning (bring your sunglasses and camera). Stay for dinner – the food is fantastic then download when it’s dark, descending to the Kicking Horse ski village. Note: most people come up for dinner at 7, it's dark then, no view…you get the picture.

Kicking Horse resort village is minimal but everything you need. We recommend the Glacier Mountaineer Lodge in the heart of Kicking Horse's ski village for lodging. The Glacier and Mountaineer Lodge buildings offer studio units to one bedroom suites, well decorated and equipped with gas fireplaces, kitchens, and balconies just steps from the Gondola. You can’t get closer to the slopes or the general store, ski shops and après ski pubs like Peaks. You have underground parking, ski lockers and a small outdoor hot tub on the slope side of the building. Views differ from the front side looking at the slopes and the valley side looking out at the Rockies – both are spectacular. From The Glacier and Mountaineer Lodges, sister properties, you are a short walk to Corks and the Kicking Horse Saloon for après ski and dining, or a 10-minute drive down to the town of Golden. Other activities while visiting Kicking Horse, if the mountain kicks your butt and you need a day off, include snowmobiling on vast terrain, or visiting the longest authentic covered timber frame bridge in Canada that crosses the Kicking Horse River in Golden.

Kicking Horse is not yet on most skiers' must-ski list, since it is fairly new – opened in 2000. Kicking Horse was previously Whitetooth Ski Area, operated humbly by the Town of Golden since 1986. Kicking Horse is actually named for the Kicking Horse River that passes through this southeastern section of British Columbia. 

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is also the home to a 22-acre Grizzly Bear "Refuge". Resident Grizzly Bear Boo can occasionally be seen mid-winter from the Gondola or as you ski by his bear fence if he decides to pop out, though sightings are more frequent in summer. 

We recommend you lodge on mountain lodging at Kicking Horse's Glacier Mountaineer Lodge. There are other ski-in ski-out properties, Palliser Lodge, Copper Horse Lodge, Vagabond Lodge, and Winston Lodge, all located within the ski mountain base, in close proximity to the Golden Eagle Express Gondola and the ski plaza but Glacier and Mountaineer are closest. Or you can lodge in downtown Golden at the Days Inn for less, but you might miss first tracks. To add to your Kicking Horse vacation, we recommend a day heli-skiing with Purcell Heli Skiing just a 10-minute drive into Golden. 

Kicking Horse is part of the Resorts of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, which includes Kimberley, Fernie, and Nakiska in western Canada, Mont Sainte Anne and Stoneham in Quebec. Consider making Kicking Horse part of a Canadian ski safari starting in Calgary, driving the TransCanada Highway, visiting Revelstoke two hours away also in British Columbia, and nearby Lake Louise and Sunshine in Banff Alberta.


3904 feet
8038 feet
Vertical Drop
4134 feet
Vertical Drop


Gondola & Tram
Gondola & Tram
Quad Chairs
Quad Chairs
Double Chair
Double Chair
Surface Lift
Surface Lift


Beginner Runs
20 %
Beginner Runs
Intermediate Runs
20 %
Intermediate Runs
Advanced Runs
45 %
Advanced Runs
Expert Runs
15 %
Expert Runs
Total Runs
Total Runs
Terrain Parks
Terrain Parks
Longest Run
6 miles
Longest Run
Skiable Terrain
2800 acres
Skiable Terrain
Snowmaking Area
516 acres
Snowmaking Area

Opening and closing dates

Season Open Date Close Date
2012/2013 12/02/2012 04/15/2018 (estimated)
2016/2017 12/09/2016 04/16/2017
2015/2016 11/28/2015 04/17/2016
2014/2015 12/06/2014 04/12/2015

Lift ticket and season pass prices

Category Age restrictions Price (USD unless otherwise stated)
Adult 18 - 64 $84 (104.95 CAD)
Child 5 & under Free
Child 6 - 12 $34 (41.95 CAD)
Child 13 - 17 $63 (78.95 CAD)
Senior 65 & over $67 (83.95 CAD)
Season Pass $1,303 (1629 CAD)

Overall Rating

4.6 / 5 Superb

based on 10 reviews

How accessible and convenient it is to get to this resort from a major destination


Availability, quality and pricing of lodging


How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders


How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?


How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders


Quality of the off-piste terrain


Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

Quality of lifts, lift speed and lift layout in the resort


Quantity and quality of the snow


How uncrowded is the resort


Après ski and dining options


Services and facilities e.g. child care, tubing, health care, equipment hire


How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness

Latest reviews

Score: 4 / 5Dec 05, 2017
So steep and so deep. The bowl style skiing at Kickinghorse is fantastic. This gem of a mountain offers many lines as you ski along the ridge looking for your place to drop in. Great mountain for advanced skiers who are looking for that western big mountain ... More
Michael H. expert skier
Score: 3.8 / 5Nov 22, 2017
Really good bang for your buck. Good challenging runs, a lot of very steep runs and good moguls for skiers. If you anticipate Banff being very busy it may be worth the extra hour drive to Kickinghorse! On really busy days the lifts at the base can get a big line but as soon as ... More
Ben L. intermediate snowboarder
Score: 4.1 / 5Nov 19, 2017
Kicking Horse is like no other resort I have snowboarder at. (28 in North America) If you want heli-ski type runs straight off the gondola then this is the resort is epic. Definitely my favourite hill. Your legs are always burning at the ... More
Paul M. expert snowboarder
Score: 4.8 / 5Nov 10, 2017
I have never actually been. Ive only ever skiid panorama mountain. Strongly in love with my homies vibes at kicking horse. They tell nothing but amazing stories about the place, and id love to expand my horizons, considering i am pretty damn good at snowboarding ! Peep my ... More
Jake F. advanced snowboarder
Score: 4.9 / 5Nov 09, 2017
Best powder, steep and deep terrain. Great town! Best before Christmas and even better after New Years. Small town, but great pubs! Love it! We stayed with friends and every day was great day. Even in summer, local bike trail are awesome! You have to check this place out guys! ... More
Filip P. expert skier
Score: 4.2 / 5Nov 08, 2017
Best snow with nobody around and amazing sidecountry. Snow park and snowshoeing for the kids or those that don't ski. Entertaining bar scene in town and plenty of lodging at the ... More
Colin H. expert skier
Score: 5 / 5Oct 27, 2017
Easily the best lift accessed terrain in Canada (in my opinion). The bowls are a religious experience after a good dump of snow. Long runs, trees, steep, deep, and theres a bear!
Chris M.
Score: 5 / 5Oct 16, 2017
The best controlled terrain of anywhere I've ever been. Lower down the mountain the snow can be marginal at times, but they make it work. If there's new snow there's no place better to
Timothy D.
Score: 5 / 5Oct 08, 2017
Great for advanced skiers and riders. Lots of challenging steep terrain and amazing snow! I went during peak season and never waited more than 5 minutes in line. Not much nightlife but the mountain more than makes up for