Mother Nature provided Southwestern Pennsylvania with ample snow for skiers and snowboarders this season, although the temperature was a bit more fickle.
The week in February when the mercury here hit 78 degrees, I joined members of the Pittsburgh Ski Club on a journey to the Great White North, where temperatures dropped to a bone-chilling 13 below zero. Our Western Canadian hosts kept apologizing for the deep freeze, telling us “It’s not normally this cold by now!”
The truth is, we didn’t care. Well, we cared, but we weren’t there for warmth. No, we journeyed more than 2,000 miles by plane, another three hours on a white-knuckle bus ride through a snowstorm and a total of 595 miles through the week, traveling Canada’s Powder Highway, for the snow.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort - Golden BC
After a few awesome days skiing Fernie, we trekked north into the Purcell Mountains and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Kicking Horse is famous for its fluffy, light, powdery snow and it didn’t disappoint. The temperature was subzero, so the fact they were blasting Jimmy Buffett on Radio Margaritaville at the base of the Golden Eagle Express gondola made me smile.
The gondola ride lifts you to the 7,700-foot peak, where 60 percent of the terrain is black or double black. The vertical drop here is 4,133 feet, so it’s not for the faint of heart. Don’t let the Kicking Horse reputation scare you off, though. We found plenty of beautiful blue runs to cruise under bright sunshine and dined high in the clouds, enjoying lunch and warming up with mulled wine at the Eagle’s Eye restaurant beside the top of the gondola.