Kimberley

Lightin’ up the night

A New Year’s Eve to remember at Kimberley Alpine Resort

Nordic skiers with headlamps make their way down the track.
Photos by Dave Quinn

DAVE QUINN

KIMBERLEY, B.C. – It may be one of the longest nights of the year, but revellers at Kimberley Alpine Resort brought their own lights to illuminate the New Year's Eve festivities. It was a packed house and helped the resort shine at what it does best - world-class family fun. 

The days leading up to New Year's Eve set in motion a festive atmosphere at the resort, as skiers revelled in the excellent packed powder conditions on a deep early season base. Although, another dump of snow would bump excellence to perfection. Kimberley's "no-line-up" reputation was put to the test, as lifts and restaurants were filled to capacity all holiday season.

If you didn’t have a dinner reservation, you were likely pounding pavement in search of an eatery with space. Line-ups spilled into the street at local favourites such as The Pedal and Tap and The Bistro.

The Northstar Express Quad ran until 8 p.m., while at the resort base partiers began to gather in preparation for the Little Ripper Torch Run and the annual fireworks celebration hosted by RCR. The scene was like a halogen-lit zombie sledding party, with hordes of kids and parents sliding the lower slopes of the hill while they waited for the light show.

Meanwhile, at the Kimberley Nordic Centre, the Kimberley Nordic Racers hosted the annual Torchlight Cross-Country Ski. Similar to the scene at the resort base, record crowds arrived to light up New Year's Eve. Several hundred Nordic skiers, from tots to seniors, followed the 3.3-km loop. Finally all the lights but one blinked out on the main run, and tiny blue fireflies of light could be seen working their way back and forth across the run towards the base. Finally, out of the darkness, gleeful pairs of parents and kids, headlamps strapped to their helmets, made it down after what was likely one of the most memorable runs of the year. This brought the first cheer of the night from the jubilant crowd.

Normally lit with streetlights, one of the longest lit Nordic trails in the region was illuminated only by the flames of small oil torches. The result was a timeless romantic winter scene reminiscent of simpler times of decades past. Only the squeak of poles in cold snow, the shush-shush of sliding skis, and laughter filled the chilly air under a starlit sky.

The new Nordic Centre Clubhouse was a steamy bustle of hot chocolate, mulled wine, holiday snacks, and good times, while a steady parade of skiers arrived to head out onto the track. The Junior Racers raised nearly $2,000 in donations at the event to help cover some of the costs of 2014 competitions.

By 9 p.m. everyone was prepared for the fireworks show. The final light on the main run blinked out, and the lights at the base were dimmed, revealing a starry sky.

A few spontaneous Roman candles launched from some of the hillside condos got everyone in the mood. Starting with the brilliant red glow of burning wicks high on the mountain, the real show kicked off with an explosion of white light and a chest-thumping boom. 

The moonless night was lit with a rainbow of colours reflected on the endless ivory stage of Kimberley's famously perfect groomers. For a full 12 minutes, faces glowed in the light while spontaneus 'oooooohs' and 'ahhhhhhhs' and cheers from the crowd, bright lights and echoing booms filled the air.

 

The lightshow, which exceeded expectations on all accounts, was visible more than 20 kilometres away giving the folks living in Fort Steele a far-off New Year's Eve celebration of light at Kimberley Alpine Resort.

Kimberley's got two upcoming events that are worth checking out:

Feb. 15 - Mayhem in the Platzl - From 6 to 9 p.m. the Platzl gets taken over with an urban rail jam. Skiers and snowboarders show off their tricks on Deer Park avenue's props. It's an event that has its own Facebook page, so check it out!

April 4 - The Dirtbag Festival - Dirtbags of the world share their stories through spoken word and art, film and photography. Their inspiring stories of life as a dirtbag is what gets us through the dark winters. What makes a dirtbag? Click here to find out and make sure to watch the video!

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