#RoadTrip2020: WinSport, Lake Louise, and Kicking Horse on a two-day weekend
Skiing at three different slopes on a two-day weekend sounds impossible but it’s easy from Calgary. Include WinSport in your 72 hours of vertical and you’ve got it all in before work starts Monday morning.
Much of Calgary drives right by WinSport without considering the benefits of a slope literally in their backyard. Did you know it offers the last two hours of skiing from Monday to Friday for only $26.99? By 7 p.m. the crowds are gone. I’m always amazed at how many laps I can make in two hours.
Day 2 has us heading west
Saturday morning the truck is ready to roll west. With go-mugs filled to the brim, a couple of muffins and the National Park pass dangling from the rear-view mirror we make it to Lake Louise Ski Resort in two hours. By leaving at 6:30 a.m., it’s easy to get great parking and onto the first gondola at 9 a.m.
By mid-January, Lake Louise had already surpassed the annual average snowfall of 360 cm by almost another metre. That’s music to anyone who loves the Lake. With 145 runs and back bowls spread out over 4,200 acres of terrain there is always something waiting for everyone.
“It’s been a fantastic first few months,” says Dan Markham, director, brand & communications at Lake Louise. “We are looking forward to pushing things right till the first weekend in May.”
“I always like Home Run,” says Markham. “It’s right off the Top of the World chair with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and the Chateau. And is always perfectly groomed all the way to the bottom.”
As for me, my favourite runs are off the backside into Paradise Bowl. I’m pretty ugly in the trees but I’m always up for a challenge - and then lunch.
Over the years, the food options in the day lodge have changed for the better. Digging into a plate of sushi at lunch is awesome.
Turn East into the sunset
After a solid day at Louise, we toss the gear into the truck and start that slow bumper-to-bumper crawl to the highway. But here’s the best part, while everyone turns east for Calgary, we head west for Day 3 at Kicking Horse Mountain Ski Resort.
In less than an hour and still in daylight, we are shining the bar with fleece-covered wrists at Whitetooth Brewery in Golden B.C. Leaving the brewery with a freshly filled growler, we see the massive headlamps beaming from the groomers up on the mountain preparing the slopes for tomorrow.
Golden is home to loads of accommodation choices only 15 minutes from the base of the resort. Up at Kicking Horse the price point for accommodation can be higher but, there is something about waking up, shovelling in a breakfast then walking to the gondola that has me on occasion shelling out the extra coins.
Stepping off the gondola at the summit is always a traffic jam due to everyone stopping to fumble with their phones to take the Instagram-worthy skyline photos.
There are more than 120 runs and countless chutes to explore in five bowls sprawling over 3,486 acres of vertical pasture. Over half the trails are rated as advanced or expert, but don’t let that intimidate you. There are blue runs from the top to give every ability the opportunity to experience that high alpine snow.
“For those who haven’t visited our resort or those who have but aren’t intimately familiar with our terrain, the Big Mountain Tours (BMT) experience offered by our Winter Sports School is absolutely invaluable,” says Tyson Newell, marketing & media coordinator at Kicking Horse. “These are designed as tours showcasing the resort’s terrain and all sorts of nooks and crannies for advanced skiers and riders to orient themselves here.”
My favourite runs at the Horse are the glades off Redemption Ridge into Crystal Bowl or I’m dropping into Feuz Bowl. Newell said his favourite right now is to dart through the trees off the toe of CPR Ridge.
And, two thumbs up to the addition of two new outhouses at the mid-mountain yurt! That used to be the only lineup on the whole mountain.
When 3:30 rolls around its one last trip to the top. Do our legs have anything left to make it to the bottom without stopping? Hell no! They scream for mercy. A dash into Double Black Café to refill the mugs is a must before the three-hour drive back to Calgary. Monday morning at the desk has me counting four sleeps before I repeat the #RoadTrip2020 again starting with a date night at WinSport.
Add a little extra to your weekend by planning your 72-hour tour on a festival weekend at either Lake Louise or Kicking Horse. Check out both resorts for events including the Free Ride Tour at Kicking Horse Feb 6-12 and The Big Mountain Challenge at Lake Louise on Feb. 23.
Need more road trip inspiration? Make sure to check out Doc Pow's 72 hour Road Trip to Revelstoke, SilverStar and Sun Peaks.
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