Golden
Kicking Horse

48 Golden hours in this cool mountain town

Ski, dine and soak up the small-town vibe


Kicking Horse is known for its secret chutes and open powder faces.
Photos provided by Tourism Golden 

DAVE QUINN

GOLDEN, B.C. - There’s a lot of fresh paint in Golden these days. From the new, million-dollar Nordic Chalet to facelifts and new venues for many of the tried-and-true downtown eateries, Golden’s glitter is in fine form these days. With all this fresh vibe and positive energy, it’s a great time to check out Golden. 

Golden has plenty of wintery activities for a fun-filled weekend getaway. 
Photo provided by Tourism Golden

Here are a few ideas for a 48-hour winter wonderland getaway in one of our favourite mountain towns, just about 250 kilometres from Calgary.

Check in 

Check yourself in to the Auberge Kicking Horse, set amid a quaint neighbourhood, just a 10-minute walk from town. Feisty host Marie-France, or MF, is about as real as it gets, and takes her B&B host role seriously.

“We are all skiers here, so we all get along. It is like a family,” says MF over one of her famous breakfasts of eggs, local bread, fruit salad, and parfait. Not only does she provide shelter, but can also arrange guiding services if your skis feel the need for fresh lines either in the slack-country adjacent to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, or farther afield in one of the three mountain ranges that hem in Golden’s viewscape. Getting into the Rocky Mountain, Purcell, or Selkirk backcountry with an experienced guide is a once-in-lifetime experience.

There is no better way to kick-start a session in Golden than dinner at Eleven22. This unassuming restaurant peddles perfection. Perfect tunes, just the right lighting, and a perfectly done modern fusion menu. The pan-seared tuna with its unique calamari appetizer is unbeatable. Original artwork by Nellie and Vreni Tobler, Wayne Pitchko, and chef Conan Mar makes a perfect backdrop for a perfect dinner.

The next morning start your Golden adventure where the locals do: in the line-up at Gita’s Café, in its new, brighter corner home. Not only will you be filling your face with delicious home-made breakfast baked goods and entrees, and great coffee, you’ll be rubbing down-covered shoulders with the folks who define skiing these days. Golden is full of professional skiers and guides, and many of them fuel up with Gita’s ‘coffee with a conscience’ before powder sessions.

No winter stop in Golden would be complete without a day on the slopes at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Known for its steep, secret chutes and open powder faces, Kicking Horse is a real skier’s mountain. The gondola rides are long, but your legs will thank you for the recuperation time between runs.

After a quick shower and hot tub back at Auberge, hit up Apostoles, a long-time locals favourite for hearty, home-cooked Greek meals from your hosts Nico and Cathy Tsantilas. Do not miss the artery-clogging, fried and flambéed saganaki, Greek kefalotiri cheese. The roast lamb, paired with a local B.C. wine, really hits the spot after a day on the slopes.

After a deep sleep full of pillow-line dreams. Pry yourself out of bed and get your butt to the Big Bend Café for a glimpse into Golden’s past and a kickass breakfast. The breakfast burritos here are legendary, as is their unrivalled hot sauce collection, with dozens of bottled fiery concoctions to choose from. The walls are covered in old black and white photos from Golden’s past. A Big Bend smoothie and a coffee to fill up the cracks, and you’re ready for another day in Golden.

The Golden Nordic Ski Centre has 30 kilometres of trails and you can rent your gear there, too.
Photo provided by Tourism Golden

Head back to the resort, past the alpine ski base to the end of Hector Avenue, and you’ll find the Golden Nordic Ski Centre. With more than 30 kilometres of groomed and mapped trails, it’s a winter wonderland for cross-country skiers. That is, if you can pull yourself out of the new, million-dollar, timber-frame Nordic Club Chalet. On site, Dawn Mountain Rentals rents snowshoes or classic Nordic skis and boots. If you have always wanted to try skate skiing, this is your chance. They have a high-end, brand-new fleet of skate-ski boots, skis, and poles available for rent.

Let gravity pull you back downtown for an afternoon cruising the local shops, checking out Golden’s famous Kicking Horse River Pedestrian Bridge, and stretching your rubbery legs. Don’t miss a coffee and a read upstairs at Bacchus Books.

For a late lunch head to The Island for a great end to your two days in Golden. Perfect for groups, families, or just a quiet meal, The Island specializes in gluten-free options on most of the menu items. Don’t miss Fish Fridays, for the famous seafood chowder —and the fish tacos are to die for.

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