Word of Mouth: Golden, BC

The little-known treasure tucked away between the Rockies and Columbia Mountain ranges has plenty to offer

The town of Golden, British Columbia—in the picturesque Kootenay region tucked away between the Rockies and Columbia Mountain ranges—is a small historical logging town, and an appealing location for snow sports enthusiasts. Close to Banff, Glacier, Jasper, Kootenay, Revelstoke and Yoho, Golden is still a little-known treasure and doesn’t boast boutique hotels or fancy stores. There is, however, an abundance of quality terrain for skiing and snowboarding alongside unpretentious and charming stores, cafes, restaurants and hotels.

Kicking Horse resort is a favorite for those in the know. Having the fourth highest vertical drop North America, at 4,133 feet, Kicking Horse is home to four varied bowls: Super Bowl, Crystal Bowl, Bowl Over and Feuz Bowl. From steep slopes to easy open runs, it’s an ideal destination for rookies and experts. After a day on the slopes, head to Eagle’s Eye Restaurant at the top of the gondola (Canada’s highest restaurant) for a slow-cooked lamb shank and a glass of red. There are several other cafes and restaurants at Kicking Horse, and visitors can also stay there in private suites.

Bacchus Books and Cafe is a gem of a store, but also serves one of the tastiest lunches in town. Located at the end of the 9th Ave, Bacchus is best-known for their sandwiches and homely feel. Downstairs, the bookstore offers a selection new and used reads—make sure you check out the authentic and specialized guide books and Golden-focused titles.

The drive up to Cedar House Chalets is an adventure of its own—zig-zagging up a neighborhood street to the entrance gives visitors a wonderful overview and feel for the town. The Chalets vary in size, but all are cozy—even the large ones, fit for over 10 people and their pets. Each chalet features a private outdoor hot tub, for relaxing after a rigorous day on the mountain. And, while they feel like secluded cabins, they’re not far from the excellent Cedar House Restaurant—just a short walk away. The restaurant has plenty of craft beer, wine and cocktails on offer, and leaving your meal up to Chef Corey Fraser doesn’t lead diners astray.

One of the many heli skiing guide companies, Purcell (named for the sub range) is a family-run business founded by one of the first heli-ski guides Rudi Gertsch. Specializing in day trips, Purcell is mostly run by Katie and Jeff Gertsch (Rudi’s son) but Rudi still takes groups occasionally. With a 3:1 guest to guide ratio, skiers and snowboarders of all levels of experience are well looked after.

Heli images by Purcell, Bacchus Books image courtesy of location, all others by Kate Erwin