19th March 2016 saw our Kicking Horse Powder Tours hosted trip with Emily Sarsfield, team GB ski cross skier and BASI level 4 ski instructor, touch down at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, courtesy of KHPT.
Based at the fantastic Vagabond Lodge for our 7 night stay, we were perfectly placed for a week of piste and backcountry fun out of Kicking Horse Resort, Revelstoke and Lake Louise.
We were really excited to host a group of skiers, all from the UK, who were looking to improve their powder riding skills and off-piste knowledge along with Emily and the KHPT team.
The trip had been set up as fully catered with breakfast and lunch at the lodge or on the go, along with dinner each night, again at the Lodge or one of the on-mountain restaurants at Kicking Horse.
Our 7 day ski itinerary was packed with adventure and set up to deliver as much powder skiing as possible – both in resort and out in the backcountry.
Here’s what it looked like:
Day 1 – A late Saturday pm pick up from Calgary saw us arrive into Kicking Horse around 11pm so it was a quick drink and then straight to bed for an early rise to get the ski equipment set up.
Day 2 – Sunday saw a ‘first tracks breakfast’ at the Eagles Eye followed by a 9am start, giving us a full day of skills coaching with a BMC (Big Mountain Centre) coach.
The Group skied the steeps and the deeps alongside instructors Steve and Emily and set themselves up well for the coming weeks activities.
Dinner allowed the group to meet up with their backcountry ski guide for the week and to be briefed on snow conditions, safety procedures and the kind of equipment required when heading out into the backcountry.
Kicking Horse local riders have a complimentary saying “Ski like a Girl”, which is aimed at getting people thinking about skiing more technically and gently.
By coincidence our off-piste group was made up entirely of female skiers, so the KH mantra was firmly applied with Emily on hand throughout the ski day to ensure the ‘girls’ skied like they’ve never skied before and help them make the most of the powder snow and off-piste terrain.
Although the group had skied a lot of off-piste in Europe it’s safe to say that the terrain both in and out of resort at KH took the group to another level of skiing and boy (or girl!) did they step up to the mark…
Day 3 – Monday saw us hitting out into Kicking Horse backcountry proper with good lines had on T3 (well known chute) and on the backside of ‘Ozone’.
Snow conditions for the first backcountry day proper were pretty good with some good quality pow to be had.
Day 4 – Tuesday was set to be a Revelstoke day but the Rain Gods put pay to that so KH again it was with the backcountry offering more options as the group ventured further afield and skied some bigger lines.
Day 5 – Wednesday saw the group mount up on snowmobiles and head up to a more remote camp area for the day. A late night fireside dinner at camp had been planned but conditions dictated our return to the Vagabond for supper time.
Day 6 – Thursday took us to Lake Louise and the group ventured off into the back bowls and tree lines in search of pow as well as spending some time on the high-speed groomers.
Day 7 – Friday saw us back at Kicking Horse with some final boot packing and hiking giving us some fantastic un-tracked lines to round off our off-piste week.
Dinner at Double Black Cafe crowned the week’s organised activities as did a large bottle of spirits and some crazy drinking games…
Day 8 – Saturday was the last day in resort and the group managed to ski through to lunchtime (some with some heavy heads) before getting ready for a late depart back to Calgary.
All in all the week provided the group with great skiing, great coaching, great guiding, great accommodation and great food – what more could you want!
The experiences and coaching in the backcountry gave the whole group lots of valuable knowledge and increased confidence in all areas of the mountain – across the board, people’s skill levels improved and whoever they were, everybody could claim to “ski like a girl”.
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