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 , California. The RED Mountain Ventures master plan is to construct up to 1,400 on-mountain dwelling units and 70,000 square feet of commercial space at RED over the next 15 to 20 years.
Since 2004 a number of exciting additions have been put in place at RED Mountain Resort and the surrounding base area including the following:
New Silverlode Chairlift & Expanded Beginner Terrain: December 2007 the Dopplemayr CTEC Quad Charlift opened. The quad chairlift replaced the previous Silverlode chair. It was aligned to access the new beginner and intermediate terrain which spans over 100 acres.
Terrain Park: 2007/2008 RED opened its new and improved terrain park. Summer grooming and grading enhanced the park’s terrain. New features included a sound system, new jumps and a skier/boarder-cross.
Magic Carpet: The magic carpet was extended and moved behind the Snowsports building. This improved magic carpet has allowed for a more gradual slope for beginners and easy access from the Snowsports School. In addition, the T-bar is easily accessible from the top of the magic carpet.
Snowsports School Relocation: Relocated to a new stand alone building adjacent to the magic carpet. The Snowsports School provides accessibility not only to great instructors but also to a wide variety of outbound guiding options, avalanche control classes, and to a testing center of the latest gear.
Snowshoe loops: The newly enhanced snowshoe loops provide a wide variety of activity for athletes of all levels. Take a peaceful hike on one of RED Mountain Resort’s four snowshoe loops and enjoy the beautiful outdo.
Renovation and Expansion of the Historic Day Lodge: One of the most significant changes at base of the resort occurred in 2010 with the $2.7 million base lodge renovation and expansion. The new Lodge and Conference Center was complete and fully operational on December 11th, 2010 -the opening day of our resort.
Grey Mountain Terrain Expansion: In December of 2014 the chairlift installation and run development on Grey Mountain, a $2.2 million capital investment, was opened to the public. The addition of over nine hundred acres of new ski terrain placed RED Mountain tied for 18th in skiable acres in North America (top three percent), and 8th in skiable acres in Canada (top five percent).
Legacy Training Centre at RED: In 2014 RED invested $1.5 million in a state of the art Techno Alpin snowmaking system for the first phase of the new Legacy Training Centre. In 2015 further expansion of the snowmaking system to the top of RED Mountain and a freshly graded slope meant the centre was poised to offer some of the best racing and training in North America. October 2015 – BC Alpine names RED Mountain Resort “BC Alpine Mountain Resort of the Year” This award is given annually to a resort in British Columbia that has gone above and beyond to support, promote and enhance the sport of alpine ski racing in the province. During the winter of 2016 the Legacy Training Centre hosted 4 large races with over 700 athletes competing on the race slopes.
Get Lost Adventure Centre: In 2016 RED launched The Get Lost Adventure Centre – your year round go-to spot for anything adventure here in the Kootenays. Explore RED and Rossland’s countless activities to keep you busy 24-7. Get Lost provides guest with one stop shopping with for local adventures. “Unplug and play”.
Real Estate Development:
Setting the stage – Immediately after the purchase of the resort in 2004 the new ownership invested nearly $8 million on the initial development area, which includes new roads in and around the base area and the servicing of 11 multi-family residential lots. These lots now contain the Slalom Creek, Morning Star, TMP and Hotel developments.
Slalom Creek – Just in time for the 2007-08 winter season the luxurious Slalom Creek condominium complex opened its doors. Slalom Creek added 67 ski-in/ski-out condominium units at the base of RED and features well-appointed 2- and 3-bedroom units ranging from 1,100 square feet to 1,700 square feet. 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.
Morning Star – Bringing additional units to the base area by the end of 2008, the Morning Star development features 18 luxury suites while the TMP Compound has brought an additional 10 units to the base with a strong focus on green building techniques.
The Josie Hotel – Opening at the base of RED for Winter 2017-18. This Four Star hotel is truly groundbreaking news in both senses of the word. The Josie will be one of the first architecturally unique hotels to be built at a major ski resort in North America in over a decade: a modern, 106-room boutique hotel, right at the base of RED. Josie will encompass a restaurant, bar, conference and meeting rooms, a large function deck and a spa including an outdoor slope-side pool—just for style points.