Red Mountain Resort, in the Monashee Mountains of British Columbia, is one of the hidden gems in North American skiing. However, thanks to one of the largest ski area expansions in the last 40 years, Red is going to be a little harder to hide after this season. Which is, of course, part of the point.
The other, even better part is that there is now significantly more of Red’s unique, off-the-beaten-path skiing to be enjoyed, as well as more places to stay and dine. On slope, the addition of the new, fixed grip POMA quad chairlift opens up another entire peak—Grey Mountain—and 997 new lift-accessed acres to Red’s terrain, for a total of 2,682 skiable acres. The 13-minute lift ride will take skiers 2,000 feet up to the top of Grey, where guests will be above 360-degrees of skiing.
PHOTO GALLERY: THE SKI RESORT YOU NEVER KNEW YOU WANTED TO VISIT
From the summit of Grey, tree runs and the classic fall-line descents that Red is famed for are there for the taking.
From the summit of Grey, tree runs and the classic fall-line descents that Red is famed for are there for the taking. More mellow runs meander through glades and into the trees to make their way down the southern slopes. And from the east and northern exposures, steeper lines, chutes and technical, treed terrain provides plenty of challenge.
Located 10 minutes from the U.S. border, Red is nearly in its own world, two and half hours from Spokane and three hours from the airport in Kelowna, BC. Despite being tucked away in a private mountain oasis of sorts, it has long been a favorite of freeskiers and adventure-seekers alike looking for an un-crowded challenge.
On the rest of the mountain, the terrain that has made Red famous among those on the freeskiing circuit or otherwise in the know alternates from fabulously pitched roller coaster groomers to wide open, classic steep groomed descents, featured lines with friendly little airs to bigger, more committing drops, steeps and perfectly spaced gladed skiing through old growth forest. The majority of Red’s 2,919-feet of vertical terrain is just pure fall line, and the adjacent hike-to on Mount Roberts—the venue for The North Face Canadian Open Freeskiing Championships—is no holds barred big mountain skiing in deep snow. (Roberts is also uncontrolled avalanche terrain. Do not hike without avalanche equipment, education and a guide.)
For visitors looking for a little extra exploration, the independently owned Big Red Cats is a cat skiing operation with an office at the base of the mountain. Accessing stellar terrain, the cat operation is a huge plus for visitors, who can just stroll by, check it out and take a day off from riding lifts to see what the surrounding Monashee landscape has to offer—from powder to amazing guides and a wonderful, laid-back day of unforgettable skiing.
Trees and powder are park of Red Resort's famed terrain.
OFF-THE-RADAR, ON THE VERGE...
In putting Red on the map, the owners are lucky to have a 100 plus year-old asset just below the ski mountain in the town of Rossland. The mountainside village is one of the most charming, authentic little ski towns in North America, with its mining roots and community character at the forefront. Character-filled buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s line the wide main street—authentic false-front and brick shops harbor local businesses and restaurants ranging from your usual ski town bar and grill to incredible sushi. There still isn’t much compared to some larger ski towns, but Rossland is proof that simplicity has its charms.
The ski mountain and base area, however, are undergoing a slow and careful expansion to harness the potential of the area as a more well-known destination resort. In 2004, Red was sold to a group of investors that included Jane cosmetics founder Howard Katkov, a long-time skier at Red and part-time Rossland resident. Appreciative of the qualities that make Red unique, Katkov and his group have vowed not to steamroll the present, local ski hill feel of the place, but to keep it as authentic as possible. However, Katkov does plan to put Red on the map as a destination, and he and his investors keep an open dialogue with input from the town and local skiers regarding development and expansion plans.
“Red is a magical place with an unquestionably promising future,” Katkov told the press in 2004, during the change in ownership. “Integral to any expansion plans is our continued, strong connection to the community of Rossland. The town is a huge part of what makes Red like no other destination in North America.”
In putting Red on the map, the owners are lucky to have a 100 plus year-old asset just below the ski mountain in the town of Rossland.
As Red becomes more well known, increasing visitor numbers are pushing demand for high-end lodging, and Red Resort is currently focused on increasing accommodation and luxury offerings at the base of the mountain to go hand-in-hand with the terrain expansion. Since 2004, the base area has been updated with a remodeled lodge—which happens to serve up some of the best skier breakfasts around—as well as a rowdy, cheerful, après-ski scene and luxury condos, chalets, dining options, with more high-end lodging planned for the future. New slope-side properties, such as the Slalom Creek and Morningstar, offer spacious, well-appointed condos with private hot tubs to soak and reflect on the day.
Intent on sticking to its own path and maintaining its very own unique character and approach to ski culture, Red Mountain Resort is a trip that will stand out in visitors’ minds, and a place we definitely will be hearing more of in the future as Red shakes off its sleepy underdog status.
As Red becomes more well known, increasing visitor numbers are pushing demand for high-end lodging, and Red Resort is currently focused on increasing accommodation and luxury offerings at the base of the mountain to go hand-in-hand with the terrain expansion.