It features some of the steepest vertical drops in Western Canada and the 48-degree steeps on Last Chance might make you instinctively clutch your offspring. But don’t be scared. The bulk of the skiing is cruisy and chill, with 40 per cent of its 128 runs ranked beginner and intermediate. With a 100 m long (300 ft.) Magic Carpet ride, a 10-km cat beginner track, the new Learning Centre, a top-notch boarding program and umpteen other kiddie perks, The Horse is hard to beat.
Beginners can spend entire days on It’s a Ten [a mellow cat track that zigzags from Eagle’s Eye restaurant down 1,158 m (3,800 ft.) to the day lodge]; Gentle Ben and Little Ben. Intermediates flock to Blaster and Show Off and often stick to the runs in Crystal Bowl. Experts will earn their stripes on Truth, Dare, Consequence and Glory. And gonzo teens love rippin’ along the lines that plummet off Redemption Ridge. Marking last year’s 10th anniversary was the opening of Super Bowl, snuggled between the dozens of double blacks that line the two Terminator peaks.
With eight on-mountain restos, families can flip between hearty fare at Heaven’s Door Yurt Café and rainbow rolls at Sushi Kuma. If you’re staying on the hill, most lodgings come with kitchens, and supplies can be scooped up in nearby Golden. With nanny services available, there’s no reason why every adult shouldn’t splurge once with an evening gondola lift up to Eagle Eye’s Restaurant that twinkles from its lofty 7,700-ft. perch. While Eagle’s Eye is open every Friday and Saturday night, try to coincide your visit with the Winter Dinner Series (Jan. 21, Mar. 8, Apr. 6). Generous portions of pub food can be found at Ronnie’s and Peaks Bar & Grill. And the best pizza at the base goes to Corks—and, yep, they deliver.
Traditional daycare for those 18 months to five years of age is available, as well as numerous kids’ private ski lessons, group deals and ski/ride programs. The answer for adults can be found at the Learning Centre offering numerous types of lessons including private family lessons and first-track sessions. But the real standout is the elite educational program at the new Big Mountain Centre. Pop into the Centre’s yurt, at the resort’s base, and you’ll discover one- to five-day programs for those who want to get into the untracked burly bowls for which Kicking Horse has always been famous. Avalanche training, snow safety, video analysis and the use of a private guide are integral to these programs.
Regional visitors can use their $99 Louise Card to save $20 off regular lift tickets, and Costco members can scoop up the $98 Kicking Horse Adventure Card that’s worth two days of skiing.
Après-ski, Family- style
Try heli-skiing, cat-skiing, disco tubing on Saturday nights, Kicking it with the Kids (special nights that include dinner and movies), snowshoeing, skating, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing on a 30-km track.