When you think of Golden, B.C., your mind probably skips straight to flying through powder on the 1,260 metres of vertical drop at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. But if your partner or the kids aren’t quite as into skiing as you are (hey, nobody’s perfect), there’s plenty more action to keep them entertained in this charming mountain town.
Here’s a full-day itinerary to keep your family going full-tilt while you take on Kicking Horse’s 2,800 skiable acres. After all, keeping the family happy gives you a better chance of sneaking in an extra day to take on just a few more runs.
Breakfast: Big Bend Café
Load up on hearty mountain-style breakfasts at this café that’s won best breakfast in Golden five years in a row. Featuring plenty of silly signs and serving breakfast, bottomless coffee, and craft beers all day, there’s something here for your non-skiing beloved of all ages. There’s also plenty of local history on display, with photos and artifacts on the walls showcasing the town’s past.
Morning: Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre
Why go snowshoeing when there’s a glorious mountain right in front of you? It’s simple: “Teenagers who won’t go skiing with their parents anymore go snowshoeing and come back happy,” says Wayne Manzer, who carefully tends the trails and runs the rental shop out of a cozy log chalet. Removed from the see-and-be-seen atmosphere of the ski hill, teens become kids again for an hour or two on the beginner-friendly trails with plenty of sunshine and stunning mountain views.
Lunch: Eagle’s Eye Restaurant
Canada’s highest restaurant, located at the top of Kicking Horse, is a perfect place to meet for lunch, as you take a break between runs and the family gets a chance to check out the views over five national parks. The Sky Lunch package includes a sightseeing lift ticket plus two-course lunch, with discounted prices for teens and kids.
Afternoon: Golden Sled Dog Adventures
The kids will get a huge kick out of the 14 Siberian and Alaskan huskies at this small-scale dog-sledding operation. They’ll get a chance to meet and help harness the dogs before being whisked through the forest in a cozy sled. Adults can even take their own turn at driving the sled dog team.
This bucket-list-worthy experience is a feel-good one, too, since most of the dogs here are rescues, many from larger operations that took on more than they bargained for, or simply because they’re “hard-keepers” – dogs that have trouble keeping weight on or sleeping. Owner Matt Parr and his team clearly love these animals, and the feeling seems to be mutual.
Après: Whitetooth Brewing Co.
“It’s not a ski town if it doesn’t have a brewery,” says Kent Donaldson, who opened Whitetooth with partner Mark Nago a year ago after thinking about it for 10 years. Golden’s first brewery imports grain from as near as Alberta and as far as Belgium and Germany, serving up their craft creations in a 44-seat tasting room. Meet up with your partner for a pint or a tasting flight, or if you’ve got kids in tow, fill up a growler to go.
Dinner: The Island Restaurant
The huge and varied menu in this cozy log-cabin restaurant offers options for every taste, including those with special dietary needs or just picky eaters. Meat-lovers may want to tuck into the buffalo or elk, while vegans are well taken care of with a hearty Buddha bowl. Kids have their own menu featuring favourites like grilled cheese or pepperoni pizza.
Evening: Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge
At 46 metres across, this is the longest freestanding timber-frame bridge in Canada. Built by a team of 100 members of the Timber Framers Guild from around the world, it’s worth a look for the interesting construction and lovely river views, especially at sunset.
– By Christina Newberry