Kicking Horse, BC

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21 thoughts on “Kicking Horse, BC

  1. skier72 October 16, 2019 / 11:09 am

    The old Whitetooth ski area also had a t-bar called “Moberly T-Bar”. It’s not listed on the stats though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Somebody April 2, 2020 / 9:33 pm

    One lift I’d like to see would be a T-bar or chairlift connecting the top of Pioneer with the bottom of stairway to allow for access to the upper mountain when the gondola goes down. I went to the Horse for 2 days and one of them the gondola was down for a mechanical issue in the morning, and when the gondola’s down there’s not much to ski.

    That’s a cheaper lift that would be nice to have, but I’d also like to see a high speed quad off the backside of the gondola.

    Vertical drop would be ~2,600, length would be ~6,400, Acreage would be ~800 (including terrain accessed by stairway). This would also allow you to reach Eagle’s Eye when the gondola is down.

    Finally, I’d also like to see a HSQ from near the top of catamount to T2 peak. New expansion terrain could debut off the current ski area boundary. Super Bowl would also be lappable without a hike which would be nice.

    This lift would be accessible from catamount and pioneer. It would be ~6,000 long with a vertical drop of ~2,850. You’d be able to also ski from the base of this new lift to the base area. Expansion acreage would be ~400.

    Overall, this place has possibly the most expansion potential of any North American resort. I only scratched the surface. However, if they made my changes, the resort would be a contender for the best in North America.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wyatt Jackson April 26, 2020 / 7:24 pm

      I like your ideas for expanding. Here’s what I’d do though.

      1. Replace Pioneer with a Leitner-Poma fixed grip quad.

      2. Move the Pioneer Double to new location. Would start at bottom of Stairway to Heaven, and end at top of Gondola. Basically, it would provide a backup lift to the gondola.

      3. New HSQ terrain to the right of Stairway to Heaven, & T-bar to connect Pioneer with Stairway to Heaven.

      4. New expansion area to the left of Catamont

      I’m not sure what I’d do on the backside, but I agree, KHMR has the potential to become a world class mountain resort. Hopefully, RCR will invest the capital needed for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Somebody April 26, 2020 / 11:52 pm

        Pio is long enough for a detachable, and a two stage HSQ (with a 2nd section continuing to stairway) was in the master plan. The t-bar was more of a temporary solution in my eyes. I do agree with the idea of moving the existing riblet double to provide access to eagle’s eye as you suggested, but that line might be too steep for a lift at the top as it is a cliff. A better option might be running it up the other side of CPR ridge (on the other side of the gondola) and having people traverse down to it from stairway.

        As for the second HSQ you proposed, that terrain is a fairly flat runout and is already lappable via stairway+gondola. The 2017 Rudi’s bowl master plan shows a similar-ish lift that would serve harder terrain.

        (Red are existing lifts, blue are proposed in master plan)

        As for the other side of the resort (your 4th image), the 2009 master plan shows a lift pretty much identical to the one you proposed. I wish it could go a little higher to the top of one of the terminator peaks (or at least at where the existing ski patrol shack at the top of super bowl is), but with avy risk and wind that’s probably impossible.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wyatt Jackson April 27, 2020 / 10:47 am

          Ya, Pioneer could definitely do with a 2 stage detachable. In my eyes, the hindrance to that idea was the cost. I re-aligned the Rudi’s Bowl lift to serve more terrain, here it is. The only problems I see with this lift: 1. Wind, 2. Avalanche risk.

          If Pioneer was a two-stage detachable, the mid-unload would serve Rudi’s Bowl Express, and the upper unload would serve both the Stairway to Heaven lift and the Riblet Double (the old Pioneer lift).

          I think you’re right about moving the old riblet double to the left of the gondola. The line might be too steep, and I’m sure avalanches are also a big risk.

          I like the idea of opening up the backside of the mountain, but a botom to top lift would be well over 2 kms. It still is very possible, just would be a huge lift to build.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Snow Boys April 27, 2020 / 3:23 pm

          With the Rudi’s bowl lift would the terrain to the right of the top station open up?

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Doug April 27, 2020 / 2:18 pm

    I would go with something very similar to that proposed by Wyatt Jackson, with some minor differences:
    -replace Pioneer with a slightly shorter HSQ terminating somewhat lower to avoid the steep section at the top of Pioneer.
    -another new HSQ up to top of gondola from top of new Pioneer HSQ. This would provide complete gondola redundancy with a two lift ride, as well as single lift laps of CPR RIdge
    -HSQ from top of new Pioneer HSQ to as high up Rudi’s as possible given wind and avalanche risk
    -short surface lift from top of Rudi’s chair to top of Ozone
    -FGQ in Super Bowl as illustrated
    -short surface lift up with T1 or T2 peaks
    -HSQ or gondola way to the north as per original master plan (
    -FGQ up the ridge line to the north of Rudi’s

    I’m unsure what the terrain an snow conditions are iike on the backside. The upper portion looks nice. The lower section way be too rocky. It would be a real back country experience as there are no signs of civilization for a long way in that direction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wyatt Jackson April 27, 2020 / 5:04 pm

      Thanks for linking the original master plan Doug. Here it is with my modifications:

      Basically, here’s my rundown:

      1. Super Bowl Quad: It should be a Leitner-Poma fixed-grip quad (or triple), with very low capacity.
      2. T1 and T2 platters: Platters up steep mountains do work (summit @ Lake Louise, AB).
      3. Village Pulse Gondola: Because all mountain villages must have a pulse gondola. Also, it’s way cooler than taking a shuttle from the parking lot.
      4. Moberly Platter: Provides a link between the new Pioneer HSQ and Golden Eagle. It originally operated as a T-Bar, before being taken out of service.
      5. Thunderbird: Used double or triple. It’s only purpose will be to provide homeowners access to the mountain. Real estate lift.
      6. Pioneer Express: LPA High-Speed Quad. Ending before the steep section. Terminates next to Rudy’s Bowl lift, and Eagle’s Eye Express.
      7. Eagle’s Eye Express: Another LPA lift. This one will provide the link between Pioneer, and Eagle’s Eye Restaurant, and the gondi top.
      8. Rudy’s Bowl Express: Yet another LPA lift. It will open up huge expansion terrain, mostly expert.
      9. Powder Ridge Quad: More expansion stuff. Opening stuff up to the north of Rudy’s.
      10. Powder Bowl Express: Already on their master plan. LPA lift serving intermediate and advanced terrain.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Somebody April 27, 2020 / 7:13 pm

        That super bowl line is far too long for a fixed grip. It would be ~6,000 feet long. They’d need a detachable there.

        The platters *might* work. They’d be considerably steeper than even the Louise platter.

        Moberly isn’t necessary. You can pretty much ski from Pio to the main base without walking.

        Eagle’s eye express runs into the problem that we mentioned before (that side of CPR ridge is far too cliffy). Current master plan calls for that HSQ but it would end at the bottom of stairway. If you wanted to add redundancy to the gondola, a far better idea would be to add the HSQ from pio to stairway then move the pioneer double to the line I suggested earlier.

        For Rudi’s bowl chair, the ridge you suggested is probably far too windy/avy prone. The Rudi’s bowl plan expansion plan (released in 2017) planned a lift from the top of pio to about halfway up your proposed powder ridge chair.

        As for the homeowner lifts, they aren’t necessary right now as there’s enough space above the base area that hasn’t been developed yet.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wyatt Jackson April 27, 2020 / 7:43 pm

          Is this what you’re suggesting? It does make sense, as a lot of my earlier redundant lifts are combined into one bigger lift.
          Red = Operating
          Yellow = Future
          Green = Distant Future

          Liked by 1 person

        • powderforever45 April 27, 2020 / 7:54 pm

          What is that HSQ next to stairway to heaven supposed to access? It would not make sense with Stairway to Heaven going higher up and servicing the same terrain.

          Liked by 1 person

        • somebody April 27, 2020 / 9:44 pm

          Yes Wyatt, that is about what it would look like (although rudi bowl chair would end one ridge to the lookers right).

          Powderforever45, I also wonder the same question. It’s on the master plan but it seems like a very odd choice. IMO it would make far more sense to upgrade stairway to a HSQ. Possibly they want to set up a low-intermediate area up at high elevation, but it seems silly to me when stairway makes it redundant.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. skimanschairlifts January 15, 2022 / 6:24 pm

    Those are some great ideas everybody!


  5. Doug Brown January 15, 2022 / 9:39 pm

    KH needs to join one of the passes or be acquired by Vail for any investment to occur.

    The Epic Pass doesn’t cover any resorts in the Calgary market


  6. C November 15, 2022 / 10:40 am

    What’s preventing expansion/lift improvement? Lack of demand from upscale market/remote location/lack of regional jet service? Something else? Are the proposals found here a fantasy or likely to come to fruition one day? Seems to me that if Golden rehabs/expands the runway and KH upgrades/expands mountain, we are looking at a destination resort.


    • OttawaSkier November 15, 2022 / 3:27 pm

      RCR has a reputation for cheapness, I can’t see them spending the millions of dollars to expand the resort. Canadian flights are brutally expensive (thanks WJ and AC!) and Golden is far from everything. Canada doesn’t really register in the American ski scene, other than Whistler. If you live Calgary and Vancouver, you’d have to drive past other great ski areas to get to Kicking Horse.

      Short version: it’s probably too far and there isn’t enough market (from any segment) to build it.


      • Doug November 16, 2022 / 8:17 am

        That more or less sums it up. That being said, the highway from Calgary has improved substantially and the worst section of Kicking Horse Canyon is currently under construction. The Calgary region continues to grow rapidly and Kicking Horse offers some of the most affordable real estate. I can’t see KHMR becoming a destination, but it could become a large regional resort.


      • C December 14, 2022 / 5:50 pm

        I appreciate your reply. Worth adding that Golden has a (limited) airport. The whole setup (including nearby national parks) seems analogous to JH in the 60s/70s? Since then JH expanded runways to bring in regional jets and became the #1 ski resort in North America (sorry Whistler). Seems that KH has serious potential. Or perhaps I was stunned by 5 out of 7 powder days when visiting last December…


        • Somebody December 14, 2022 / 6:31 pm

          Kicking Horse had serious potential to grow like crazy but it’s a bit too late at this point. The resort has been around for 20 years and only has caught on among diehard experts, largely because of the lift system (great for 4,000′ vert pow laps, terrible for beginners/intermediates). RCR probably sees Fernie as a much more valuable destination resort because of that alone, and will grow that before it grows KH.

          There’s also probably only the market for one hugely popular interior BC resort. Valemount might get built in a few years, and even if it doesn’t, Revelstoke is trying its best to quickly become the next big thing with new investment basically every year, and Kicking Horse hasn’t built anything in 20 years.

          There’s also just probably not a whole lot of desire for change at this point. People love KH as it is, and if the resort expands, the skier density will never be lower than it is right now. It probably will never explode like Jackson did in the 80s-00s, but maybe that’s not so bad.

          Liked by 1 person

    • skitheeast December 15, 2022 / 8:31 am

      JHMR’s rise in the 80s was directly correlated with Jackson’s airport expanding service, with Western Airlines starting a wave of new flights in ’83. Even today, the resort’s opening and closing dates are based on when seasonal airline service starts and ends. Kicking Horse is in a similar boat. The resort is far enough from Calgary where destination skiers would really prefer to have an airport at the resort, especially when the drive over goes by world-class destinations in Lake Louise and Sunshine Village. Golden’s airport is currently too small to support commercial aircraft, and expansion is tricky due to it being bounded by the Columbia River and an active freight rail corridor.


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