(Why snowboarders should trek to the extreme boundaries of KHMR.)
At Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, the whole trail map is a double black diamond mine. With the newly opened Ozone, Middle Ridge, and Rudi’s Bowl areas, there are more than enough routes to go around in this adventurous British Columbia ski resort. There are snowboard-movie worthy runs and couloirs steps away from the Golden Eagle Express Gondola and nearby lifts. With all that within easy reach, you might wonder why anyone would choose to hike and spend precious moments off their board or skis.
However, some of the most extreme, out-of-this-world terrain lies just a short hike up and away from the lifts and the crowds. The new in-bounds terrain (Rudi’s Bowl, Ozone, and Middle Ridge) is a prime example, and the reason we spent 60 minutes or so trekking to the far reaches in search of powder. (Spoiler: We found fresh snow and lots of it.) It’s simple really— the harder the area is to access, the fewer people and more powder remains.
Here are helpful tips to reach the new terrain—Ozone, Middle Ridge, and Rudi’s Bowl—and experience the incredible powder and empty slopes for yourself.
How to Access Rudi’s Bowl Via Ozone
- From the base, take the Golden Eagle Express Gondola to the top and drop into Crystal Bowl.
- Ride down, keeping an eye out for the Stairway to Heaven Lift (just to snowboarder’s left of the Heaven’s Door Yurt) and hop on. Pro tip: Bundle up, this lift tends to be windy and chilly.
- At the top of lift, unstrap completely and hike Stairway to Heaven staircase. The name is not an exaggeration, but resist the urge to drop into Whitewall. Continue hiking along, following the ridge all the way up to Ozone. The entire time you’re walking along, you can see the massive face, so pay attention to the cliffs and ridges on the way up to plan your line when you drop in.
- At the tippy top, hop back on your board to traverse to Middle Ridge (watching out for cliff lines, or hucking them, depending on your personal style). Pro tip: A higher line will make the traverse across easier.
- Finally, pop over the ridge and drop into Rudi’s Bowl. Cruise all the way down until you link up with 107 (Black) to 41 (Green) and take your pick of 15 to 18 (Blues) to return to the gondola base.
How to Access Rudi’s Bowl Via Middle Ridge Bootpack
If hiking to the top of Ozone and dropping into the Freeride World Tour competition area seems too extreme, there’s a more mellow route available.
- The alternate route begins the same, with a ride up Golden Eagle Express Gondola, a run down to the Stairway to Heaven Lift, and a hike up the Stairway to Heaven staircase.
- Next, you drop into one of the many entry points on Whitewall. You can pick your line and play up top. As you near the bottom of Feuz bowl, steer toward the left to find the dedicated bootpack. It is marked with a sign and snow-packed steps (steps are clearly defined without fresh snow at least).
- Follow the steps and hike straight up to the top of Middle Ridge.
- Once you crest the ridge, you can see all of Rudi’s Bowl in front and the rest of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort behind you (on a clear day this is a prime photo spot). All that’s left is to pick your drop in point and cruise all the way back to civilization (the base) by way of 107 (Black) to 41 (Green) and take your pick of 15 to 18 (Blues).
The run-out of Rudi’s Bowl gets fairly flat, and there are a few spots where a hop or a few tugs from a companion may be necessary to keep cruising. The cat track leading out of the bowl is slower still with new snowfall, but even then it’s a short section before the slope increases again. It’s no reason to skip the sweet 660 acres of newly added terrain.
What to Expect Hiking to Terminator 2
Ozone, Middle Ridge, and Rudi’s Bowl are just a few of the awesome hike-to areas where powder is preserved long after a storm at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. When it snows, and it does frequently here, you can count on powdery runs all day long all over the resort. If you hit the resort during a rare dry spell, it may take a longer hike to find fresh powder.
On the complete opposite end of the resort at the far South side of Kicking Horse lies Terminator 2, or T2. This area has been a part of the resort for years, but it still is less busy. It’s a lengthy traverse all the way to Super Bowl Saddle, and the flat terrain means this route is more of a walk than a ride. (For me, it became a crawl across the very narrow sections. Staying closer to the ground felt more secure with steep drop-offs on either side of the slippery snowpack.) Whether you’re scrambling along on all fours or walking along, you’ll work your way up Terminator 2 Peak. At the top, you can choose to drop into the five north facing chutes or ride the relatively gentle North Ridge all the way down.
Pro tip: A backpack or strap to hold your board on your back is especially handy on the route to T2. There are several sections where you’ll want both hands free to scramble and climb through the snowpack.