It’s family fun time at Kimberley
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By BUZZ BISHOP
Kimberley, B.C. – Kimberley Alpine Resort is the perfect place for a family ski escape. Just over four hours from Calgary, it’s nestled right in the heart of the Powder Highway that makes the Kootenays famous. As you’d expect, 15cm fell the day before we arrived and, as we strapped in at the bottom of the North Star chair for our day on the slopes, big fat flakes started to fall again.
For families escaping to Kimberley Resort, you can arrange things a number of different ways. Tossing the kids in ski camps or lessons is a great way to get some time on your own (maybe to tackle the Black Forest, a series of black diamond runs on the north edge), or maybe you want to spend the day as a family hitting up the long, flowing green runs that spread themselves across the ridges that make up Kimberley Alpine Resort.
In his second year of snowboarding, 11-year-old Zacharie met up with Kyla at the magic carpet and T-bar area just steps from the Trickle Creek Lodge. I then took advantage of Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR)’s host program, where guides give free 90-minute mountain tours daily at 10:30am and 1pm, to get to know the mountain with my 9-year-old son, Charlie and our guide, Ron.
Ron has the perfect retirement. After a work and family life that took him from Montreal to Vancouver to Paris, he has retired to the slopes of Kimberley. In the summers, he’s a marshal on the golf course at St Eugene, in the winters, he’s a mountain host at Kimberley resort – a job that requires him to ski out his back door to the village to get to work.
A smooth skier with a big smile, the 67-year-old couldn’t have been more patient as Charlie tackled his first big, long run at a real ski resort. Kimberley is a great place for kids who have some skills to explore on their own, explained Ron. “They can’t get lost,” as every run funnels down to the same spot at the back door of Trickle Creek Resort.
As the powder floated in big cotton drops, we hit the Main run under the North Star Express Quad. Even with an FIS junior ski competition being hosted on the weekend, the run was quiet, we had the whole 2km stretch back to the village almost to ourselves.
That’s what Ron loves about Kimberley, the powder flies often, and it can take four or more days for it to be skied out. “You can always find a soft patch.” he says. (Kimberley boasts of having the largest gladed terrain in North America).
Spending time with a mountain host is great to learn the runs and a bit about the mountain. Ron was excellent at pointing out all the sights along the trail. Like the Kootenay Haus, a quaint old warming hut at the top, which also hosts chocolate fondue nights after snowshoeing.
Off to the side of the main North Star chair, nestled in the forest, is a fun Minute Maid Kids Centre area. The tree lined track is set up like a luge course so the kids are sloped into turns. There are areas to stop and learn about the mountain and its inhabitants along the way.
Back in the village, our turns done, Ron told us about the history of Kimberley and the mountain over a hot chocolate.
Kimberley used to be a mining town and the Sullivan Mine was one of the most innovative in the world for the way it separated ore from rock. But in 2000, the mine closed and Kimberley has spent the time since re-inventing itself as a resort town. There has been a chairlift expansion to reach the new village built further down the hill, and there’s a real estate project with gorgeous log cabin style homes dotting the forest.
With all that’s going on, Kimberley finds itself experiencing a rebirth. And it’s deserved, with great people like Ron acting as ambassadors. “You have to enjoy people to host,” he beams.
When You Go
Get an odd numbered room in the Trickle Creek Lodge and you’ll have a view of the North Star base. The kids can go up and down the carpets and T-bar while you watch from the comfort of your room.
If you want to go back into town for some food instead of staying in the village, check out Pedal and Tap (look for the flying bike) for its popular mucky fries, Stonefire for some pizza or bring your appetite to the Old Bauernhaus, an authentic 350-year-old Bavarian barn house that was brought from Germany and rebuilt on the hill in 1989.
There’s more to Kimberley than just skiing. The Trickle Creek Golf Course turns into a snow shoeing, fat biking, cross-country skiing paradise in the winter with all sorts of trails and S’mores parties to be found by booking through Kimberley Winter Sports School.
Check out the calendar and you might luck into a night of hockey after you’re done skiing. The Kimberley Dynamiters are a Junior B hockey team and play out of the town’s Civic Arena.
Get more information on deals and packages at Kimberley Alpine Resort when you visit the official website.
Call Kimberley Alpine Resort at 1 250-427-4881
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