After experiencing skiing in Tremblant a few years ago, I thought it was time to re-visit Canada and experience another fabulous ski resort. I went to Kimberley, the Bavarian city of the Rockies! Once a mining town and now a destination resort, Kimberely Alpine Resort is located in the Purcell Mountains, 4 km’s from the city of Kimberley, British Columbia.
With beautiful sun and light Purcell powder snow Kimberley offers stunning scenery and a laid back, relaxed atmosphere that lets you make the most of your ski or snowboard getaway.
I went on the 10th March 2010, and to be honest the snow conditions were not brilliant. Usually at this time of the year there should be much more snow. It snowed 6 inches on the second day which was brilliant, but no more appeared whilst I was visiting. The problem was that during the evening, the snow grooming machines would work overtime to make the runs lovely for the following day, but as it was so cold it would be quite icy for the first few hours of the morning and then by the end of the day it became quite slushy towards the bottom of the mountain.
The facilities at Kimberley consist of ski trails and lifts on North Star Mountain. The Kimberley Alpine Resort offers a wide variety of terrain to satisfy all ability levels. On the front side of the mountain, beginners and novice skiers and riders can enjoy long wide open runs that are groomed to perfection; this is where I spent most of my time. The Easter Bowl is a haven for the most adventurous skier or rider, with deep long lasting powder. The advanced terrain in the Bowl has many steep and deep mogul runs. The Easter Run is ranked in Ski Canada magazine as one of the best in the land. Kimberley also boasts the longest illuminated run in Canada, allowing for great night skiing and boarding. The longest run measures an impressive 5 km long.
Skiing in Canada is so different to skiing in Europe. The slopes are lovely and wide, they are looked after to a very high standard and there are no language barriers! Generally there are no queues for the lifts, so more skiing is possible. Fewer crowds as you can see from my pictures!
The area around Kimberley offers some exciting and different sightseeing trips to add to your holiday experience. In Kimberley you can visit the Kimberley Heritage Museum to discover how previous generations of locals lived and worked. Enjoy shopping and dining in the quaint Bavarian-themed Platzl with the highlight of seeing the cuckoo clock (see my photo!). It’s the largest free standing cuckoo clock in North America.
Or go and watch and support the local ice hockey team ‘Kootenay’, cheer them on as they speed across the ice for an action packed evenings entertainment. Depending on the time of your visit there is an ice rink at the Alpine Resort or one in Kimberley. If you’d rather keep your feet on the snow why not sample snow-shoeing across the calm and unique Canadian back country. Or if you feel like putting your feet up and being guided through a winter wonderland you can go Husky dog sledding with a team of Siberian Huskies.
If you wish to experience some different ski runs then you can have a ski away day to Fernie which was covered on my lift pass. Due to the location of Kimberley it’s well worth considering a twin centre holiday and have 3 nights in Banff or Lake Louise followed by 7 nights in Kimberley. Then you get to sightsee the magnificent Rocky Mountains and experience the Rockies out of the main tourist season. Whatever you decide you are sure to be made to feel very welcome and see some truly spectacular scenery as you ski or board around. I was very unlucky with the snow conditions I experienced, and as you know from the news and the Winter Olympics in Canada, they’ve not had the best of years so it wasn’t just Kimberley who were having a hard time.
I still had a brilliant holiday and would return again. Hope you like my photos!!
Joanne Cowdery - Travel Counsellors.