Celebrating 112 years of skiing, RED Mountain Resort is Western Canada’s original ski resort.
In the Beginning
The story of RED Mountain Resort, and how a mining territory was converted into one of the great undiscovered ski destinations in the world, is a story about teamwork and community support. In short, it’s about an avid group of skiers who drew from their own community’s resources and used good old-fashioned initiative and elbow grease to forge a new way of life.
In 1890, deposits of gold-copper ore were found on the south side of RED Mountain in Canada ‘s Monashee Mountain Range. The discovery led to a major gold rush, which in turn filled Rossland with miners, mostly Scandinavians but also gold-seekers from countries around the world.
The Scandinavians brought with them their knowledge and love of skiing and soon organized the Rossland Ski Club, which held the first recorded ski competitions in Canada . The first downhill race was held on Feb. 15, 1897, from the top of RED Mountain down the south side to the present location of the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre.
The race was organized and won by Olaus Jeldness, a Norwegian mining engineer who was the leading early advocate for snowsports in Rossland at the first Winter Carnival in 1898. He was noted particularly for jumping though he also did ski running as it was called, forerunner on the downhill. He also created and donated the elaborate Jeldness trophy for future winners of the race. The trophy is now on display in the Ski Wing of the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre.
In subsequent years, annual tournaments were held in conjunction with the Rossland Winter Carnival, an event that attracted competitors and spectators from all over Western Canada and the United States.
As skiing technology improved, local skiers were able to experience a wider variety of the terrain around Rossland. On RED Mountain , skiers began to explore old mining and logging roads. They enjoyed skiing on trails and hills that had been packed by climbing and descending skiers over the years. In 1929, the Trail-Rossland Ski Club was founded with about 20 original members.
The Trail Rossland Club split in 1933 to form the Rossland Ski Club and the Trail Ski Club. In 1934, volunteers from the Rossland club built a jump hill on the west slope of Monte Cristo and the Trail SC hill was on Red. Each club had a cabin. Many competitions were held on the Rossland Ski Club hill, including the Western Canadian Amateur finals. A few years later, the two local clubs worked together to install a gas-driven rope tow at the base of Red Mountain. This tow, which significantly increased the amount and the number of downhill runs a skier could make in a day, was used extensively by members of both clubs for several years.
Both ski clubs built cabins in Squaw Basin so as to get longer downhill runs by touring the surrounding slopes. The Red Mountain Ski Club and the Trail Ski Club combined in 1947 to form the Red Mountain Ski Club. The organizations pooled their resources to build a lodge (that still serves as the main lodge in the base area today) and a chairlift to the top of Red Mountain where the rope tow previously existed. The lift was officially opened Friday, Dec. 26, 1947. Later that season RED hosted the annual Triple I International Intercollegiate Invitational ski meet.
The 1950s were years of steady growth both in membership of the club and visitors to RED from areas outside of Rossland. To keep up, additional terrain was cleared for ski runs including the back trail on Red Mountain . The former Trail Ski Club rope tow was moved to the west side of the slope and electrified (it was later replaced by a T-bar lift). Also in the 1950s, the lodge was completed and the ski patrol was organized at RED Mountain Resort.
During the ‘60s, ski lessons were arranged for the general public, along with special instruction for promising youngsters. This was the start of the Red Mountain Racers. In 1960, the Red Mountain Ski Club installed a Poma detachable chairlift from the lodge all the way up to Back Trail. In 1961, a full-time manager was hired, and in 1965, the Granite Mountain chairlift – twice as long and twice as high as the Red Mountain chairlift – was built.
The lift more than doubled the accessible terrain at RED. The year 1968 was a big one for the Red Mountain Ski Club. In March, the club hosted the first-ever World Cup in Canada , which attracted every major racer from around the world. Rossland native Nancy Greene won her second World Cup championship at this race.
In 1971, a T-bar was installed, and in 1973 the old Red Mountain lift was finally replaced with a Mueller double-occupancy chairlift. In April 1976, the club authorized the borrowing of money for a triple-occupancy chairlift to be built in Paradise Basin , located on the west side of Granite Mountain.
As RED kept expanding throughout the years, its facilities needed continuous improvement. By the fall of 1987, the Red Mountain Ski Club’s debt totaled $1,105,000 and it became obvious that a major injection of capital was required. Thus, in 1988, the club was put up for sale. On May 3, 1989, the club accepted an offer from Eric Skat-Peterson (‘Skat’), who led a group of six Canadian private investors in the purchase.
In 1991, the new ownership group financed the construction of the Paradise Lodge. And, four years later, Skat and his partners replaced the Granite chairlift with the Silverlode and Motherlode triple chairs.
A New Century
In June 2004, RED was again sold, this time to a private investment group led by Howard Katkov of San Diego, Calif. The new ownership group plans to construct up to 1,400 on-mountain dwelling units and 70,000 square feet of commercial space at RED over the next 10 to 15 years.
RED completed the constructed of a 67-unit Slalom Creek Luxury condominium in the fall of 2006. The ski-in / ski-out condominium project features well-appointed 2- and 3-bedroom units ranging from1,200 square feet to 1,500 square feet (111 square meters to 140 square meters). Slalom Creek also includes spacious common areas and a private, secure 85-stall underground parking garage making it easier for residents and their guests to enjoy RED’s world-renowned terrain and host of on-mountain destination activities.