Skiing Kimberley is “kool”, kid friendly, perfect for big kids at heart too. Perhaps harder to get to (4 hours southwest of Calgary), it’s easy to love, easy on the wallet too. Kimberley has a casual Canadian family vibe, the ideal little mountain ski village providing everything you need – condo lodging, ski and snowboard school, ski shop, and Stemwinder’s après ski bar, themed in a quaint “Bavarian of the Rockies” style which continues to Kimberley’s downtown just a mile away.
Kimberley’s ski terrain of 1,800 acres is well laid out, served by just four lifts (an indication of the low skier visits here) with progressive terrain on its four faces. The speedy North Star quad from the base village reaches great wide-open well-groomed Blue trails off 2,100’ vertical, and beautifully mellow glades – where we scored freshies between Moe’s Boundary and Schoolhouse. Kimberley’s Owl Learning area with a T-Bar and Magic Carpet is conveniently right at the base.
Ski way out to Tamarack and Vimy Ridge, where Kimberley’s terrain gets steeper, grittier, less groomed, served by the humble Tamarack double and Easter triple, and all the way west to Black Forest which is aptly named for its advanced glades and Black Diamonds.
Kimberley is in The Purcell Mountains bordering the Canadian Rockies to the east and Selkirks to the west. Kimberley is very eastern-like on its 60+ trails and glades with a summit elevation of just 6,500’ it is not high alpine, no above tree line skiing.
Kimberley has the longest lit night skiing in North America, on the North Star quad. Its great fun for kids or night owls, and parents can enjoy après ski entertainment at Stemwinder’s Pub or Buckhorn and Main with a slope view.
Kimberley has great heritage, started in 1948 as North Star by the Sullivan mine company (the world’s largest zinc-lead underground mine) as a diversion for local miners and their families. Now its owned by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, like nearby Fernie, and a partner resort on the Epic Pass.
Trickle Creek Lodge is ideal for your stay – 80 ski-in, ski-out condo-style hotel units perfectly situated on the slopes, in the village. The Lodge is modern, but mirrors the great outdoors with timbers, river rock and mountain décor. Our studio offered a full kitchen, fireplace and balcony. Highlights, besides being steps to skiing, are the huge heated outdoor pool plus two hot tubs overlooking the trails, ski lockers, underground parking, and a lobby living room to hang out, though we preferred our slope view balcony, watching day and night skiers descending the mountain.
Buckhorn & Main Mountain is the Lodge’s grand dining room with views for the resort, and a cozier long wood bar. Happy Hour après ski deals are frequent, and nightly dinner deals are yummy and affordable.
Stop at Kootenay Haus atop the North Star for a ski break. Charitable donations for a cup of cocoa or coffee are accepted in this beautiful lodge at the summit of Kimberly’s impressive race course.
Visit downtown Kimberley (don’t blink eh?!) its a little gem – Canada’s highest city. Stroll the pedestrian Bavarian Platzl to the world’s largest cuckoo clock (insert a Loonie for Hans to pop out yodeling, hoisting his beer stein). A general store, several boutiques, bakeries, cheese and meat shops, and Pedal & Tap and Stonefire bistros line the brick plaza. Just off the Platzl, is Sullivan Pub – where the locals go, plus a liquor store and Food Market, and My Best Friend’s Closet – a fantastic consignment shop.
Your Kimberley family ski trip could also include a ski safari to nearby Fernie, along the famous Powder Highway with Kicking Horse and Revelstoke too, or on to Banff Alberta’s skiing at Sunshine, Lake Louise and Norquay.
Kimberley Ski Resort Stats:
Summit Elevation: 6,500 ft / 1,982 m
Vertical: 2,465 ft / 751 m
Ski Acreage: 1,800 acres
5 lifts, 68 total runs plus another 12 in the Glades
4 Bowls: Northstar Mountain, Tamarack and Vimy Ridge, Black Forest
4 hours from Calgary or Spokane Washington, 15 minutes from Cranbrook airport