Looking out the window at the layer of fresh snow that landed throughout the night, our host Marie-France Lessor owner of the Auberge Kicking Horse B&B said, “If I were you, I’d finish that bowl of granola and get up to Kicking Horse. Don’t let the locals get all the fresh tracks!”
She had a point. The other guests who were heading to the backcountry had already left with their guide. And lingering over breakfast was just wasting daylight. Her prodding is why I love staying at bed and breakfasts. The locals have the inside scoop on the best options for the day and aren’t afraid to push you out the door for adventure.
Golden offers many options for overnight stays including hotels, motels, hostels, high alpine lodges, cabins, a sofa at a buddy’s place or over a dozen traditional bed and breakfast offerings. The B&Bs are scattered throughout the community, with some up at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, a few on the Upper Donald Road and others like the Auberge Kicking Horse B&B are tucked into town close to pubs, restaurants and the river path.
When we arrived at Auberge Kicking Horse B&B, Lessor was quick to offer excellent suggestions for our stay. Menus to her favourite restaurants and trail maps swirled on the table. She is an avid sports enthusiast so she has a pretty good handle on what we should do.
Our mission for the next few days was to go downhill and cross-country skiing. On the way to Golden we’d already hiked to the stunning Wapta Falls. In the summer, the mist from the thundering water cools you down. In the winter, that mist quickly settles making the outcrop at the base of the falls grow into a spectacular mountain of ice.
We told Lessor we were heading to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort for a day of downhill skiing and she suggested trails based on our abilities. When we said we wanted some cross-country skiing suggestions, that was no problem either.
So, there we were – 16 minutes from her door to the gondola. Everyone around us was planning their day. And what a day it was. Over 70 centimetres of fluff had fallen a few days prior but there was still a massive amount of unspoiled terrain. We crushed it in three of the five bowls. When I pulled up to the gondola at 3:33 – missing the last car by three minutes – I was secretly happy. I was pooched. My focus quickly shifted from powder to soaking in the hot tub on the porch at Auberge.
Instead of dining out, like the other guests, we brought back take-away and took over the dining room. Beer from growlers from Whitetooth Brewery filled the glasses over and over as we relived our days adventures in Golden and our lifetime of quests throughout the world.
The next morning had us strapping on our skinny skis to explore Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre near Kicking Horse for a few hours before driving an hour to put in some more time on the trail at the west entrance of the Great Divide Trail. While Dawn Mountain offers 33 kilometres of rolling option of easy to expert trails that loop back to the clubhouse, the Great Divide Trail follows the old 1A highway for 10 km from the Lake O’Hara parking lot to Lake Louise with only a minimal elevation challenge. Along the way we saw the dog sled tours hauling guests along the trail. Can it get any more Canadian?
Lessor says she gets an interesting combination of guests that change with the seasons. In the winter, people at the table include skiers and sledders. In the summer, it’s mountain bikers, trail runners and hikers.
The Auberge Kicking Horse offers three guest rooms with private bathrooms and plenty of common areas to relax in after a busy day. A great feature is the space in the garage to dry your gear. The hot tub on the back porch is inviting all year-round while the cabana at the back of the lush yard makes for a lovely retreat in the summer. Of course, if you are looking for some downtime, just like almost every B&B, Auberge offers a comfy couch to curl up on with a delicious selection of books to wade through. That is, only if Lessor doesn’t notice the fresh pow.
Other traditional Bed and Breakfasts in Golden include
- Country Comfort Bed & Breakfast
- Home Lodge
- Kicking Horse Canyon B&B
- Le Beau Solei B&B
- Moberly Lodge
- Pine Cones B&B
- Tschurtschenthaler Lodge B&B
- Whitewater Lodge B&B