There was a lot of concern among the skiing and snowboarding community heading into the winter because of the potential effects of El Nino. So far, so good.
After a huge storm pounded Golden early last week, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has decided to add a pair of preview weekends in advance of its full opening on Dec. 11.
The resort will be open on Nov. 28, 29 and Dec. 5 and 6 thanks to better than expected conditions. It’s the first time that the resort has opened for an extra preview weekend in November,
“The last storm was the perfect storm. If you look at the stats…it was a little more than 60 centimetres in 24 hours on (Nov. 17)…it was great,” said Max Cretin, director of business development and guest experience at the resort.
“The decision was pretty easy. Once you get the snow…you have to open as soon as you can.”
In total, storms so far this year have dropped 268cm of snow at the resort, including 156cm from Nov. 15-22.
While El Nino might still be a lingering concern, it’s clear that this early dose of snow has alleviated a lot of anxiety within the industry.
“It’s a complicated phenomena. El Nino is not the only phenomena with regards to weather and weather forecasts…Last week was a good counter-example of what El Nino could be and could mean for Kicking Horse,” Cretin said.
“The perception in the market has shifted rapidly to everyone being excited now, everyone wants to ski and everyone is thinking winter and snow and riding at the Horse,” Cretin said.
Kicking Horse will have top to bottom skiing available when it debuts on Nov. 28, meaning that at minimum Crystal Bowl will be open, with the possibility for more.
“”The coverage in the bowls is phenomenal. It’s middle of the winter skiing,” Cretin said.
“We’ve got good coverage mid mountain to lower mountain as well…we wanted to make sure the product would be top notch (for launch).”
The first gondola ride of the season will be raffled off, with proceeds being donated to the Golden Food Bank. Those who are interested should sign up for the raffle beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday.