Kicking Horse is located in central British Columbia, Canada. It is closer to Calgary (3 hours) than Vancouver (8 hours), but accessible by the Greyhound from both major cities.
The mountain is in a prime location for accessing surrounding resorts. Lake Louise, Sunshine, Nakiska, Norquay, Revelstoke, Fernie and Kimberly are all within a 3 hour drive or less, while Big White, Sun Peaks, Whitewater, Whitefish, and Silver Star are all within a 6 hour drive.
Kicking Horse is a 20 minute drive up the mountain from the town of Golden.
The Kicking Horse village is a small resort village with a limited number of amenities such as a rental shop and a cafe.
Most staff live in the mountain town of Golden at the base of the hill. As an established town which existed before the construction of the resort with a permanent population of 4,000, Golden does not have the artificial feel of certain resort villages. Instead, you can find all the regular services of a small town, including supermarkets, banking, mechanics and a post office.
In addition, Golden has a very cool vibe to it and has a number of bars, restaurants and pubs which seasonal staff frequent during the season. Tourism is becoming an ever increasing facet in the town’s life, and Golden is attracting seasonal workers who want to experience an authentic B.C. community in a natural, unspoiled mountain setting.
There is currently no public or private shuttle offered to make your way to and from the resort. You can carpool or there is a local spot at the corner of Kicking Horse Trail and 9th St N. where you can hitch a ride from traffic heading up to the resort. It is not necessary to have your own car if working a season, but it is certainly preferable.
At first glance of the trail map, it looks like there is not much terrain because there are only a few chairlifts. But this belies the fact that there is a TON of awesome terrain at Kicking Horse. The terrain is highly regarded not just within British Columbia, but internationally and includes over 85 in-bound chutes.
However, it is certainly more of an expert's mountain than a beginner's mountain with most of the beginner and intermediate terrain lower down on the hill. The good thing is though, after a season at Kicking Horse seeing all your buddies hitting up the chutes and steeps, you will rapidly learn to improve so as to catch up to them!
For advanced riders, you could spend an entire season simply diving into the chutes at Redemption. Many seasonal workers will spend an entire day just looping the Stairway to Heaven chair at Redemption.
There is also some excellent terrain by South and North Ridges and the CPR ridge off the Gondola, including some great chutes and rock lines. South and North Ridge require a bit of traversing and hiking to get there.
The only major problem with Kicking Horse is that lift access requires you to go down to the bottom of the Gondola after each run off the CPR, North and South ridges, which eats into your time on the steeper terrain on powder days.
Check out the fields over on skier’s right of the mountain. You need to go out of bounds around half-way down the hill and you get into an awesome, cleared open space with a raft of natural kickers. Remember avalanche gear if going into the back country.
There is also heli-skiing in the area if you've saved up enough cash over the season.
Average snowfall at the summit is around 7.5 metres (24ft) and 2.5 metres (8ft) at the base. However, on powder days, the chutes never get tracked out due to the lack of crowds. There can be great lines all over the mountain that no-one will touch all day.
The weather is quite cold and gets down to -20c or below in December and January.
Kicking Horse has a small terrain park and the Burton Learn to Ride area. However, the focus at Kicking Horse is much more on the in-bound terrain and back country than it is about the terrain park. Don't come here to work a season just for the terrain park.
Photo: Looking down the main Gondola at Kicking Horse
All winter seasonal positions start in early December and finish around mid-April. Recruitment for winter positions starts in August and you submit applications via the website. The summer season commences in mid-June and lasts until early September. Recruitment for summer positions starts in March.
Kicking Horse receives thousands of applications annually, there are way more applications than available jobs so you need to put some effort into your application.
As jobs fill up quickly, it is important to get in early. It is quite difficult to simply arrive in December and try to find work at the resort. You may have more luck if looking for a job with a local business in Golden, although it is still advisable to arrive in October or early November.
Kicking Horse now encourages applicants to submit a 60 second video in addition to a resume, which can be uploaded to Youtube or Vimeo, with a link from your resume. This should provide a brief overview of who you are and why you want to work for Kicking Horse. While time consuming and not mandatory, this will help you stand out among the hundreds of applications that are received each season.
Kicking Horse will accept international applicants with a valid Canadian work permit. Valid working visas must be obtained prior to accepting employment.
See Canada - Snow Worker's Guide for more information on obtaining a Canadian working visa.
Kicking Horse does not provide sponsorship for seasonal applicants.
For Winter Sports School applicants, current CASI/CSIA certification is required. International certifications are not accepted.
See Canada - Snow Workers' Guide for information on contacting the peak skiing and snowboarding instructor bodies of Canada, who will offer information on Canadian instructing certificates.
Kicking Horse does not offer staff housing for employees. Almost all staff live in Golden, 20 minutes from the base of the resort.
Kicking Horse provides a housing newsletter via the Employee Experience for new employees seeking accommodation at the start of each season. The newsletter has a range of options for accommodation.
The Golden Star is a local paper which has rental and property listings. The demand for accommodation is very high in December and it is therefore recommended to arrive early in order to find a suitable place. Residential Tenancy BC has information about renting in British Columbia.