Long before Theo Birkner became a realtor in Vancouver and I became an adventure photographer, we were just a couple ski bums chasing powder turns and cliff hucks. We spent entire seasons shredding together in British Columbia, and pieced together separate trips to Argentina, Chile, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. We both even patrolled multiple seasons at different resorts.
From the outside perspective, we looked like lifers. Hell, in our own minds, we are still skiers. But as the all-too-common story of growing up and getting jobs played out, we found ourselves logging fewer days on snow. With the 2014-2015 season winding down, we were faced with an uncomfortable truth. We’d never skied fewer days in a single season. Typically, we’d ski more in a month than we had this year.
We had to sneak in a weekend in the mountains before it was too late, so we set our sites on Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
As I said, we timed our visit to Kicking Horse spectacularly. Theo made the long haul east from Vancouver, driving through pouring rain with low expectations. I headed south on the Icefield Parkway in similar conditions, with similar thoughts. We just hoped the precipitation meant snow at higher elevations.
Finding 7 Perfect Kicking Horse Powder Turns
Turn 1: CPR Ridge
Since 2006, Theo and I had only skied together once, so we relived a few memorable powder days as the Kicking Horse gondola carried us out of the spring-like valley. As we stepped out of the gondola, we’d been transported back into winter. It was going to be a powder day. We headed straight to CPR ridge and dropped into our first good turns of the trip.
It was still snowing heavily and neither of us was overly familiar with Kicking Horse, so we spent a big part of our morning in shredding the tree runs off Redemption Ridge. With each lap, we became more comfortable with both terrain and visibility. Before long, we were arcing big fast turns down Shangri-La and each turn felt deeper than the last.
Turn 3: Epiphany
Just as we were debating which run we’d hit up next, we watched a snowboarder drop into Epiphany. We had the perfect angle to watch her descent. As we unloaded, we made an unspoken decision and went in search of our own supernatural experience.
Turn 4: Terminator 1 South
Clear skies greeted us on day two, so we started the morning with the short 15-minute boot pack to the summit of Terminator 1. After a few minutes staring at the views across the valley towards the Canadian Rockies and laughing how we were the first to have reached the summit, we dropped into Rip the World and found our best turns of the entire weekend.
Turn 5: Whitewall
We soon learned why we were the only skiers to hike Terminator 1. Everybody else was spinning laps off the Stairway to Heaven, impatiently waiting for the rope to drop on Whitewall. We snuck in just after the first skiers dropped in and found our own fresh lines down.
Turn 6: Terminator 2
After shedding the two biggest zones on Kicking Horse – Whitewall and Terminator 1 – we set out on our third hike. Terminator 2 is the longest boot pack at Kicking Horse, but it’s easily the most incredible. The hike itself reveals stunning scenery, while the skiing is as steep as you dare!
Wild Card is the biggest, most obvious descent off Terminator 2. From a distance, it looks impossibly steep. In reality, it’s a very tame run unless you choose to air into it at speed.