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.
Getting There Fly into Calgary International Airport, from where the drive time to KHMR is almost four hours. Montair Aviation (604-946-6688; www.montair.com), also flies directly into Golden from Vancouver.
Sleeping In The clean, no-nonsense Prestige Inn (250-344-7990 or email@example.com) is a good option in downtown Golden. Alpine Meadows Lodge (250-344-5863; www.alpinemeadowslodge.com) is nearest to the ski area. Emerald Lake Lodge (800-663-6336; www.crmr.com) is 45 minutes from Golden in the heart of Yoho National Park; you can't beat its peaceful lakefront cabins.
Dining Out For dinner, the quirky elegance of Sisters and Beans (250-344-2443) is the best bet. Be certain to call ahead for a reservation. Jenny's Java Express (250-344-5057) pulls a mean latte. Country Garden Restaurant (250-344-5971) makes great Thai food on its theme nights. Locals love the Moon Café (250-344-6662) for burgers.
Après-Ski Everyone in Golden goes to the smoky Mad Trapper (250-344-6661) for après.
Kicking Butt Purcell Helicopter Skiing (250-344-5410) specializes in ultra-pleasant, low-key wilderness powder skiing. Selkirk-Tangiers (250-837-5378), on the west side of Rogers Pass, is for skiers who prefer their heliskiing delivered with an adrenaline rush.
Don't Miss Booking one of two deluxe, mountaintop suites, located in the upper level of Eagle's Eye (866-754-5435).
Buying In Two- and three-bedroom luxury townhomes sold for between $186,500-$300,000; more townhomes and single-family lots will go on sale this winter. Call 888-706-1117.
Vital Stats Skiable Acres: 2,300; Lifts: three; Trails: 64; Vertical rise: 3,800; Average annual snowfall: 275 inches; Lift ticket, $28; Season pass, $420; 866-754-5425, www.kickinghorseresort.com.
Information The Golden Chamber of Commerce, 800-622-4653 or 250-344-7125, www.goldenchamber.bc.ca.