Kimberley isn't just for families, it's for powder enthusiasts and explorers, too
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Kimberley Alpine Resort is well known as a family oriented ski hill, so naturally I didn't anticipate anything too crazy. It seems my perceptions of places get completely altered when I visit, because once I start talking to people they shape the identity of these places in unique ways.
After skiing with the locals, I discovered terrain for all levels, a friendly vibe and, also found out, that although this place is super family friendly, it is not just for families.
Kimberley's nickname might give you a clue about the place - The Bavarian City of the Rockies - but that certainly wouldn't be telling the whole story. As always, you need to scratch the surface when youre checking out a new place. With a population of 7,600 and loads of winter sport activities, I'd spent some time exploring the Purcell Mountains and Columbia Valley region, but Kimberley was new to me.
I came here to do a bit of myth-busting about the fact that Kimberley isn't just a family mountain. Sure, its got something for all kinds of activities for outdoorsy families, but what I found out is that Kimberley is more like a community mountain - for all ages.
I was struck by the fact that there appears to be no age gap. People seem supportive of all ages. I saw young kids who looked up to the cool teenagers and 30-year-olds, with lots of encouragement between everyone. I didn't see any judgment, just people having a good time together doing what they love. To me, that's priceless.
Granted, Kimberley is home to many families but I also found a community of late-night snow enthusiasts who have a blast doing their own thing, too.
Then there are the Rec Rut Runners. This group of grownups know how to have fun on Thursday nights for eight weeks during the ski season. Its a friendly competition of dual slalom and other events, with the chance for some coaching and video analysis of your technique. It's aimed at anyone with a background in racing, but others are welcome too. The night usually ends at the Stemwinder restaurant and bar for beverages, draw prizes and just hanging out.
Steve Blake is 100 per cent in love with anything alpine. He and skiing are totally dating - in fact he has been downhill skiing for 77 months straight without missing a month!
He works in the pro shop at Kimberley. I've now discovered this is where the locals share stories of powder and pleasure. And, they all know their way around all kinds of terrain. Steve grew up here and although he has visited other places and hills, there's no way he will leave this mountain. He and a small clan of renegade powder-heads have invested countless hours creating a huge gathering area around one of the runs. It's been dubbed The Pit. Its like this cool outdoor snow patio, that can fit up to 200 people. Some years the walls have been 10 feet high. It is the place to relax and hang out with like-minded ski enthusiasts when they're skiing Kimberley.
There's no question in my mind who influenced Steve. His mother. She's also a die-hard snow and outdoor enthusiast. He gets his relentless passion from her, because she also skis almost every single day. But she also has a love for cross-country skiing. When I asked Steve about the cross-country skiing and trails in the area he said, The amount of trails, friendly people and striking views you'll see on any trail here will leave you speechless.
I also asked him what he loves most about Kimberley. The No. 1 thing about Kimberley is consistent conditions and a community of ski enthusiasts committed to welcoming and sharing their expertise with the youth.
A hill for explorers
After skiing the mountain with Steve, I found out how this entire area is ripe for exploration and discovery. Ski the mountain and you'll find new terrain all day. Or, throw your skis on your back and go on a search for untouched, deep powder. That's what Steve taught me. Even though hes been here for a long time, he can still go and find new gnarly terrain to shred.
One thing I learned is that just one day at Kimberley is not enough. If youre lucky enough to visit, be sure to ask Steve to take you up to The Pit.
If you go
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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