Kicking Horse: Mountain Tour

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Expansion over the next seven years will change things, but the current layout of Kicking Horse is straightforward. The upper part of the mountain consists of two huge bowls divided by a central ridgeline. On skier's right is Bowl Over; on the left is Crystal Bowl, which is larger and more spacious than its mate. Both basins descend into rolling meadows before dropping over forested noses into the dozen fall-line runs that comprise the mountain's lower half. When the Catamount chair is running, less experienced skiers will want to stick to the half-dozen broad cruising lanes below it. Everything else on the mountain is accessed from the Golden Eagle Express Gondola. The main offering is expert terrain. CPR's right-hand face, which descends into Bowl Over, is one large powder field dropping through scrubby high-alpine trees. CPR's left face is an abundance of technical, north-facing chutes: Think Twice, Dumpster, Tunnel Vision, Marley Chute, Buffalo Soldier, Kinky Reggae, Redemption, The Legs, Takes Balls, Uncle Milties and Ally's Alley. Powder junkies can check in with patrol, then hike to the 8,033-foot peak on Crystal Bowl's far left, which drops into a steep field of unobstructed bliss called Blue Heaven. Intermediate skiers can take It's A Ten to the far left side of Crystal Bowl, where Northern Lights and Dutch Treat offer heliskiing-style powder with a moderate grade. Intermediates also can ease their way into the heart of Bowl Over for longer powder jaunts on Sluiceway and Knee Deep. From the summit, beginners should follow It's A Ten into Crystal Bowl, winding their way along the cat track to the mountain's lower third before jumping onto the runs below Catamount.