It's the remoteness that hits you first. Yes, you're standing in the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by nothing but ragged, soaring mountains swathed in blankets of white. In fact, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort's peaks were once prime heli-skiing terrain. And standing there, you look into a vast wilderness ripe with other peaks still used for heli- and snowcat skiing.That's when you realize just how lucky you are to be riding a lift to terrain that no one should be able to access so easily and affordably. You should be paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for this privilege. But you're not. For the price of a lift ticket, you are smack in the middle of Mother Nature's playground. Sure, you can get this at many Western resorts, except you get one thing extra here: the remoteness is real. The resort has a hardcore reputation, and many a skier or rider has been humbled here. The locals who rip it up are impressive. As with many other resorts with steep terrain, the avalanche danger at Kicking Horse is ever present, so ski and ride with care and respect for the mountain. Tucked up against the Rockies, on the other side of the pass to Lake Louise, the resort benefits from its location by often missing wetter weather that can plague its southern B.C. neighbors. It gets dumped on with snow, though it can be a heavy, technical powder. New for 2005/06, the purchase of more grooming equipment should markedly improve the beginner and lower-intermediate experience; the addition of a midstation on the beginner Catamount chair will allow access to shorter runs for those still getting comfortable on skis and boards; and the first phase of a child-care facility will fill a much-needed guest service. The resort continues its real estate development as well.