Surrounded by the Purcells, Selkirks and Rocky Mountains, Golden, BC has everything for your next winter adventure. There’s so much to do in this mountain town, it may be difficult for you to decide which activity you want to try. Here are a few ideas to help you find your perfect winter adventure.
1. Downhill ski and snowboard
Skiing and snowboarding are the most popular winter activities in Golden since it is home to world class skiing at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. With champagne powder beneath your feet, dropping into one of the many bowls is like floating on clouds of snow.
KHMR is known for its expert terrain having 60 double diamond runs and over 85 tight chutes. In these mountains usually the north ridges are steep and the south ridges are more gentle, but at Kicking Horse, gentle is a relative term. With an average annual snowfall of almost 7 ½ meters the steep slopes are often filled with fresh powder. The resort keeps it safe with expert avalanche control.
With 5 big mountain bowls filled with champagne powder and lined by 10 steep walls, your choice of runs is endless. Many start their day on the moderate slopes of Crystal Bowl. You can take the groomed run access or get into it on one of the steep lines from CPR or Redemption Ridges.
Feuz Bowl is favoured by advanced skiiers for its deep champagne powder and steep runs. The most common access is from Redemption Ridge but if you’re more adventurous you can bootpack up to Whitewall or Ozone (a Freeride World Tour venue). You won’t be dissapointed by the steep runs and deep powder this area is known for. Next to Ozone, take a quick hike to the top of Middle Ridge for awesome glade skiing into Feuz Bowl or deep powder runs into Rudi’s Bowl.
Bowl Over is a great bowl that is reached directly from the gondola. The bowl is bordered on one side with the treed runs of CPR Ridge and on the other with steep couloirs of Terminator 1.
Ski and bootpack across the ridge above Bowl Over to reach Super Bowl. From the ridge you will marvel at the views of Canyon Creek and the mountains toward Glacier National Park. Super Bowl’s powder is well worth the walk. Whether it’s from the tops of Terminator 1 (T1), Terminator 2 (T2) or the pass between them you’ll think you’re in heaven in this snowy bowl.
For fewer crowds continue walking to the top of T2. The bootpack trail involves using a fixed rope so it’s better to have a backpack for your skis. If you catch it on a powder day you will be so glad you walked the extra few minutes.
If you don’t ski or snowboard take the gondola to the top for spectacular views of the Purcell and Selkirk Mountain Ranges. Stay for lunch at Eagle’s Eye restaurant and enjoy a birds eye view of the incredible mountain scenery.
2. Slackcountry skiing and snowboarding
On the other side of Rudi’s Bowl in KHMR is the powder hound heaven of Rudi’s Ridge. Stairway to Heaven or Pioneer Chairs get you part way up. From there you can skin up on backcountry skis or a splitboard. Depending on where you start it’s a 45 minute to 1 ½ hour climb. The views from the ridge and the top of Rudi’s are spectacular. On one side is the steep terrain of Molar Bowl and Holt Repeater Ridge on the other you can see Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. The ski down is a perfect slope for powder turns.
3. Backcountry skiing
Keep moving north from Rudi’s to Molars Bowl or Holt Repeater Ridge to find even more backcountry options. There are many avalanche hazards so if you’re not experienced it is recommended that you hire a certified ACMG guide in town.
4. Cross-country skiing
If downhill skiing isn’t your thing there are a few options for cross-country skiiers. Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre has 33 km of groomed trails for classic and skate-skiing. Located below Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Dawn Mountain offers unbelievable views. A cheaper option is to ski the trackset trails at Golden Golf Course. Or make your own trail and cross-country ski along the Cedar Lake road.
There are a few options for snowshoers as well. There are designated snowshoe trails at Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre and 2 or 4 km snowshoe loops just off Palliser Road beside the ski resort. Or make your own trail along Cedar Lake Road.
On your rest days you can go skating. Reflection Lake is just outside of town and provides an incredible setting for skating. The lake is often clear from snow due to strong winds but if it’s not, bring your own shovel make your own rink.
7. Fat (Winter) biking
A large network of biking trails in the Mountain Shadows, Moonraker and Cedar Lake areas are very popular for fat biking. Golden Cycling Club grooms some of the trails in the winter. See their FaceBook page for the latest conditions.
8. Visit a National Park
If you drive a little outside of Golden you have your choice between several national and provincial mountain parks. Roger’s Pass in Glacier National Park to the west has awesome terrain for backcountry skiing. Make sure you have the Roger’s Pass permit. Drive a little east to reach Yoho and Banff National Parks where there are unlimited options for backcountry skiing. You need a park pass to visit these parks.
We haven’t done it yet, but the mountains around Golden are famous for sledding. There are a few operators in town and at the resort offering tours and rentals of snowmobiles.
10. Walk along the Kicking Horse River
When you need a rest day from your adventures, go for a stroll in town on the pathway along Kicking Horse River.
There’s a lot to do in Golden in the summer too. Read about our Top 10 Things to do in the Summer in Golden, BC.
How to get to Golden
By car – Golden is very easy to access as its located at the intersection of the TransCanada Highway and Hwy 95. The drive is less than 3 hours from Calgary International airport, 2 ½ hours from Cranbrook airport and 4 hours from Kelowna airport.
By Bus – Rider Express offers daily bus service between Calgary and Vancouver, stopping in Golden.
Shuttle – During the winter season Brewster Transportation offers a Calgary to Golden shuttle.
Where to stay
There are many choices for accommodation in Golden and on the hill ranging from budget to bed & breakfast to luxury homes. Staying in town means you’re closer to a large amount of excellent restaurants, but have to drive 10 km to the resort.
Where to eat
For a small town there is a remarkable number of great restaurants both in town and on the hill. A few of our favourites are Double Black for coffee, Wolf’s Den for burgers, 1122 for intimate dining, Whitetooth Brewing Co. for a cold beer, The Riverhouse or Golden Taps Pub for a casual meal and The Island for the best patio. For a great meal with amazing views take the gondola up to Eagle’s Eye restaurant.
Coming Next: A Treehouse Adventure in Laos
To read about more of our adventures go to Destinations.
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