SNOW SCENE: Honing skills part of thrills at Kicking Horse

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The best New Year’s resolutions generally involve learning and improving, in this writer’s mind, at least.

And that’s something that they take to heart at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.

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It’s not just that the Golden, B.C., ski and snowboard area has an expansive learning area and programs meant to help newcomers to the alpine sports world get comfortable on their equipment.

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The way they see it at Kicking Horse, skiing and riding is a lifelong learning experience, and that’s why the Telus Winter Sports School has programs designed to help even the most advanced skier improve their skill set.

And what better time than the new year to really commit to something like that?

“People are thinking about skill development and it’s always good to be learning, that’s typically a part of people’s New Year’s resolution,” said Matt Mosteller, senior vice-president of marketing and resort experience at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, the company that owns Kicking Horse.

“The terrain at Kicking Horse really lends itself to getting out with an expert and taking cues from them to help you ski and ride and enjoy it more.”

Kicking Horse is known for its challenging high-alpine terrain. Photo by AL CHAREST /POSTMEDIA file

The Telus Winter Sports School offers a variety of programming for anyone looking to explore Kicking Horse’s massive bowls and endless chutes. The resort is famous for its challenging high-alpine terrain, and that’s why programs like Big Mountain Club Sunday and the Women’s Powder Room Clinics offer high-level coaching that’s designed to make anyone a little more comfortable skiing through all the powder, chutes, steeps and moguls on the mountain.

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And really, who couldn’t use a couple tips and tricks to keep their skills on-point every once in a while?

“It’s top-10 vertical in North America and one of the biggest ski areas in Canada and the most chutes in North America,” Mosteller said. “That’s an incredible experience that experts and advanced intermediates are going to love and enjoy immensely. But that terrain can be skied, there’s an experience for all abilities to be had at Kicking Horse.”

While it’s absolutely true that there’s terrain for everybody at the resort, it has also become an annual destination for the world’s very best big mountain skiers and riders.

For the past half-decade or so, Kicking Horse has been one of the stops on the prestigious Freeride World Tour, which is now FIS-sanctioned. The annual event is broadcast around the world and brings together the best freeskiers and riders from the international scene for some truly insane runs. This year, the event is set for Feb. 14-20.

But it’s far from the only big mountain skiing competition that will be held at Kicking Horse this winter. All that massive, challenging terrain has made the resort something of a hub for freeskiing and riding, and it will be playing host to both a stop on the Jeep Junior Freeride Series Jan. 11-14, as well as Wrangle the Chute, which doubles as a Freeride World Qualifier. That goes from Jan. 29-Feb. 2.

“People travel from all around the world to that event,” Mosteller said.

As for the snow, Kicking Horse is still dealing with the same early season conditions as just about everywhere else in Western Canada. The advantage is that there’s a lot of high-alpine terrain, though, and the area up top generally has better coverage than down below.

And there has been slow-but-steady snow recently, with the 9 cm that fell on the mountain in the past week bringing the season total to 222 cm, allowing for 99 runs to be open.

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Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Kicking Horse is hosting several skiing competitions this winter. Photo by AL CHAREST /POSTMEDIA file

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