The history of skiing in Kimberley is closely tied to the town's economic history.
Mining began here in the 19th century, attracting European immigrants to this mountain town. The Scandinavians' love of winter sports finally found expression in the early 1930s, under the auspices of the Kimberley Ski Club.
The club built a ski jump on North Star Hill, the site of Kimberley's first mine. Every Sunday, brave souls flew through the air, landing in the area that is now the parking lot of the Kimberley Overwaitea grocery store. Into the late 1940s, spectators vying for the best viewpoint would crowd onto the porches of houses on Warren Avenue, and would sometimes pay a small fee to the homeowner for the privilege.
Kimberley Alpine Resort
In the 1970s, the city took over the North Star Hill facilities from the Ski Club. With help from the mining company, these were developed into the first expression of Kimberley Alpine Resort. Locals were very much involved in this process, committing countless hours to the construction of the rustic day lodge and other family-friendly facilities that served the community into the 21st century.
Concurrent with the development of the ski resort, the city adopted the Bavarian theme that can still be seen in Kimberley's downtown core. A yodelling Happy Hans continues to emerge from Canada's largest cuckoo clock for a one dollar coing. In summer, the unique strains of the accordion echo off the shutters and window boxes of the Platzl, which is the pedestrian area in the centre of town. Paradoxically, there are relatively few locals of German extraction.
The end of the 20th century brought change to the resort, with new ownership and new ambitions. Currently, along with ski resorts in Fernie and others outside the Kootenay Rockies region, Kimberley Alpine Resort is owned by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.
Investment & Development
A massive revitalization of Kimberley Alpine Resort has taken place, resulting in the creation of a ski-in/ski-out village and base area complete with retail, dining and fun family activities like dogsledding, ice skating and other winter time favourites. The resort also includes Trickle Creek Golf Resort, a hotel and numerous condominium properties.
Other completed projects include a basketball court and a children's playground. Construction has recently begun on what will be the world's largest Paralympic Training Centre. Locally, there is some nostalgia for the old days, but seniors continue to enjoy the sunny slopes of Kimberley Alpine Resort as it moves into the future.