Tucked neatly into a pristine section of the Purcells, the small, laid back town of Kimberley is a skier's dream. The quaint, euro-styled downtown boasts gorgeous views of snow capped peaks, and is flush with delicious eats, craft beer, and hallmark Canadian charm. And while the streets are rich with history and friendly folk, the true reason to visit Kimberley is in the mountains just outside city limits. Whether you are looking for amazing in-bounds terrain, backcountry access, or hut systems for multi-day tours, Kimberley offers immediate access to world class skiing.
Just a few minutes drive west of town sits Kimberley Alpine Resort, featuring 80 runs snaking across a healthy 1,800 acres of rolling terrain. The base village, complete with ski-in-ski-out accommodations and great dining, is all oriented around the main high-speed lift, ready to whisk you up the slopes. Once on the mountain, the terrain is split into four equally fun, distinct areas. The front side is home to a wealth of terrain including wide open groomers, engaging gladded areas, high-speed race courses, and the kids learning zone. Looking for something a little more technical? Skiing over into Tamarack or Vimy Ridge will do the trick. Both areas feature steep skiing, tight moguls, and sustained fall lines that are sure to keep you on your toes. Pushing even further over on the mountain grants access to the Black Forest Zone, which also features steep, technical skiing, with slightly more open trees and room to maneuver. On a powder day, there is nowhere better on the mountain than the Black Forest Zone, and its not uncommon to find hidden pow stashes in the trees days after the cycle ends. When the lifts stop spinning, the porch of The Stemwinder is après central.
Looking for something a little less trafficked than the resort? Pushing farther west from Kimberley, St. Mary's Lake Road winds slowly up into the Purcells, granting access to expansive backcountry terrain. These mountains are known for their light, dry, and deep snow conditions, but it's really their size that strikes true awe. While skinning is a viable options to gain access into the backcountry, the range's sheer size is better explored with the help of a snowmobile, and helps keep your legs fresh for the deep turns once your find the perfect zone.
Want to extend the adventure and get a real sense of serenity in the mountains? Sprinkled throughout the range are backcountry huts and lodges, including the popular Boulder Hut. While some of the lodges are accessible by sleds, others are much farther into the mountains and require heli drops, which can be orchestrated by a handful of companies with permits to fly within the range. Many of these same companies also offer single day heli-skiing trips, including the aptly named Purcell Heli Skiing.
Ultimately, wherever and however you spend your day skiing, you're sure the enjoy the stunning scenery, laid back atmosphere, and incredible terrain of Kimberley, BC.