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Surprise and joy regular occurrences at this alpine property

Although he grew up in a small mining town, Loni Leinwebr never felt any compulsion to leave. That's because the town is Kimberley and it's located at the base of Kimberley Alpine Resort in the stunning Purcell Mountains.

"There were a few years when I had to move away to go to university, but I couldn't wait to get back," says Leinwebr, who estimates he's spent more than 50 seasons skiing a mountain he can see out his front window. It never gets old, he says; there's just too much skiing to be had. "Oh sure, I've got favourite runs. I like Tamarack and Anton's Run off the Easter Chair that was named for my late son; it's got a good fall line and it's steep, really steep. There's really no need to go anywhere else – we have everything we want here."

It all may be old news to Leinwebr, but resort manager Ted Funston says first-time visitors are invariably blown away by all Kimberley Alpine Resort has to offer. "People are always surprised at how big the mountain is and how many runs there are. We really push the family side of things – and we have a lot of beginner and intermediate runs, including a lot of meticulously groomed cruisers – but there are a lot of runs on the backside that were explored, cut and shaped by hard-core skiers in what we call the Black Forest because of the amount of black-diamond runs we have."

Funston says it's always a pleasure to ride the North Star Express chairlift with newcomers and watch them react to their surroundings when they reach the top.

"The views are spectacular," he says. "You can see this entire ridge line of the Rockies, and on certain days it's suffused in this spectacular light, all this pink and yellow and purple. There's always this delay while they got out their cameras," he adds laughing. And then he takes them skiing, listening as he does to the exclamations of joy as they whisk through powder snow as light as sunbeams, and he knows he's won some more hearts.

He adds that returning novice skiers will be pleased to note that a former bottleneck at the Northstar Chair has been eliminated thanks to the addition of a new route to the bottom, the green-rated Alpine Slide. The resort is also the proud new owner of a BVR350 grooming machine that will aid in shaping even more runs than in previous years. A 500-seat conference centre makes Kimberley Alpine Resort an attractive ski resort for event planners, and the nearby town of Kimberley with its Bavarian ambience has all the amenities, including shops, restaurants and accommodations.

Out-of-province visitors will be pleased to note that Kimberley is the closest resort to Canadian Rockies International Airport Cranbrook. "You can be off the plane and almost in your ski boots in 20 minutes," says Funston.

For families, Kimberley also offers great value, he adds. In addition to ski-in/ski-out Trickle Creek Lodge, there's a wealth of beautifully appointed on-hill condos with hot tubs and eye-popping views.

"We also have one of the longest night-skiing runs in Canada," says Funston, explaining that it's a great place for the kids to play while mom and dad enjoy a little après-ski at The Stemwinder Bar & Grill.


KIMBERLEY ALPINE RESORT HIGHLIGHTS


What to expect:

Powder skiing with 750 metres of vertical on 1,800 acres of skiable terrain serviced by five lifts, including one high-speed quad chair. Terrain is 20 per cent beginner, 42 per cent intermediate, 38 per cent advanced; 68 named runs plus 12 gladed runs. Snow making. Nordic skiing on 30 kilometres of machine-groomed, double-track trails. Rail park.


What's new:

Alpine Slide green run to base. Wedding tent. In 2014, Kimberley will host the IPC NorAm Event and Osisko Speed Camp/Super G Race for disabled skiers.


Après-ski:

• Fine and casual dining in Montana’s Cookhouse as well as heated outdoor seating at The Stemwinder Bar & Grill. Slopeside deli. Night skiing from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The nearby Bavarian-style town of Kimberley offers a variety of dining, shopping and accommodation options.


Special offers:

Book by Nov. 30 and receive fifth night of accommodation and fifth day of skiing free. Ski and Stay Kimberley packages offer reduced lift ticket pricing depending on dates chosen.

Contact: 1-800-258-7669  or vacations@skircr.com

 

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