Fall 2018 RED Mountain Passholder and Guest Update

Dear RED passholders and guests,

As the temperatures drop, and a few dustings of snow fall on our mountain peaks, we all start to get excited about the upcoming ski season. It is also the time when many of us start to feel the invariable pressure and anticipation of SNOW. So many great ski days last year, and for me, the memory is still fresh. I am ready to join all of you for another great season at RED.

In our last update in March, we listed several capital projects that we were planning, dependent upon timing, approvals and financing. These projects included:

  • A Silverlode to Grey Chair Connector Lift
  • Continued Resort Wide Summer Grooming Program
  • Grey Mountain Run Development to allow for More Grooming
  • Construction of More Parking
  • A second “grab and go” POS station in Paradise Lodge

We also discussed additional projects including:

  • Construction of a modern hostel to provide an affordable mix of lodging options at the resort
  • Construction of additional parking
  • On-Mountain overnight Cabins and Clubhouse

I will summarize what we accomplished this past summer and fall with a glimpse of what is ahead for next building season.

Capital Projects Occurring this Summer and Fall

Nowhere Special

Nowhere Special is the quintessential modern hostel, suitable for travelers of all ages who value community, connection, and careful curation above all. The operating mantra since the napkin-stage has been the same one that’s kept RED cool for over 100 years, i.e. “Everything you need & nothing you don’t”.

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Located a mere two-minute walk from the chairlift, Nowhere Special dishes out a number of floor plans catering to different needs for privacy and price, including two wheelchair-accessible units. A typical room here at Nowhere Special sleeps four and shares an en suite bathroom.

Nowhere Special offers 84 pillows and is a joint venture between RMR Acquisition Corp. and the Columbia Basin Trust. We are proud to launch the new Nowhere Special Hostel as an affiliate of Hostelling International Canada (HI Canada): a not-for-profit, member-based organization, and the world’s largest hostel network made up of 3,500 hostels in 89 countries. The hostel will open on December 18, 2018. We went live with bookings on September 6th and within the first week had already booked over 500 stays.
You can check out all the details by visiting nowherespecialhostel.com.

Base Area Parking and Circulation

We have cleaned up the slope in front of Slalom Creek to stabilize the pedestrian lane. Along with this project we have enhanced the entrance to the Josie Hotel and Day lodge pick up and drop off. In addition, we have added a new parking lot along the Old Red Mountain Road for approximately another 120 vehicles.

Paradise Lodge Coffee

Last season we realized that our guests experienced long wait times for grab and go items at Paradise Lodge. To speed up our food service at Paradise we will be adding a small and convenient coffee and quick stop kiosk. We are also running fibre optic cable to the lodge this fall in an effort to enhance the communication speed for point of sale transactions. The coffee bar will be similar in scale to KEEN at the Base Lodge and will be fully equipped with an espresso machine, teas, sandwiches, baked goods, and other grab and go energy food.

Fight the Man, Clubhouse and Cabins

We are happy to report that we have obtained a Development Permit on September 24, 2018 from the City of Rossland and a License to Construct on September 20th, 2018 from the Mountain Resort Branch of the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources. We are now in the detailed design stage and undertaking necessary engineering and architecture to be ready to build as soon as the snow is clear in spring 2019. Our initial proposal to the Ministry and City was for a year-round facility that added a hike and bike in opportunity for overnight accommodation. As part of the overall approval process with the ministry, we prepared an environmental assessment report and specified the necessary wildlife impact mitigation as a result of the potential human and wildlife interface. As a result of the ministry review, specifically regarding Grizzly Bear ranging area, that took all summer to process, we have revised the program to a winter only operation. We will begin construction as soon as snow is clear from Paradise Basin next spring and be ready for guests at the Clubhouse and overnight Cabins in December 2019.

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Topping Ski Lift – Grey Mountain Connector

In our last update, we stated that we were proposing a surface lift connector from the Silverlode top terminal area to the bottom terminal of Grey Mountain. When the snow finally melted and our due diligence began, it became very clear that the topography was very challenging for a surface lift. The associated cost of this surface lift was also far more than we could justify for a temporary solution. Therefore, we chose to take another approach. We recently purchased a triple chair lift and took delivery in early October. This lift will provide us with access to Grey Mountain from the top of the Silverlode Chair.

As illustrated above this lift is part of the Mountain Master Plan and will provide our guests with an option from the top of Silverlode to ski to either Grey or Granite Mountain. It will also be usable by all levels of skiers, as opposed to the challenges that a steep surface lift on a steep slope can present for the beginner skier or snowboarder. Additionally, this lift will lessen the bottleneck that occasionally happens at the Motherlode Chair during a busy day by giving our customer a choice to go to Grey Mountain without having to take the Motherlode Chair. This winter, we will finalize design and engineering for installation next summer. Although we will all have to wait one more season, this lift will open up five new runs at Topping Creek and provide a much more civilized way to get to Grey Mountain.

Base Lodge Elevator

In an effort to enhance the accessibility at RED, we will be installing an elevator in the Base Lodge. The elevator shaft was installed during the prior renovation and with this installation, we will ensure that those with disabilities are able to access all levels of the lodge including the Conference Centre, Sourdough and Rafters Bar.

Forest Management and Run Development

We think you will enjoy the results of our 2018 brushing program. We have cleared significant deadfall and brush from Paradise. As we write we are in process of addressing brush and alder regeneration in various high traffic areas on the mountain. We have also thinned Oil Can and opened up new lines on the north side of Granite Mountain on skiers left of Beer Belly.

Crews are now in the process of cutting the Topping Lift line and a ski route from the top of Silverlode Chair to the new Topping bottom terminal location in preparation for the 2019 lift installation. We will also be brushing the T-bar and Red as part of our annual brushing program.

With parking development, on-mountain and base area roadwork complete we are planning, as weather permits, to move to Get Up Stand Up and begin clearing and widening an early season Snowcat route on this run.  This work as noted last spring is to ensure our Groomers are able to access this run earlier in the season.

We continue to invest in this important aspect of our guest experience. Our forest management consultants, contractors and mountain operations team have worked hard again this summer to keep forest management and run development part of our recurring operating plan.

Conclusion

As you can see, we have had another very busy off-season. I want to call out our amazing team who worked so hard this summer and fall to make these projects a reality. This includes all of the consultants who worked day and night to have Nowhere Special ready for business this December 18th. I look forward to seeing all of you this coming winter, where we can all enjoy some of our new additions to RED. Of course, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. Have a great upcoming ski season.

Cheers,

Howard Katkov
CEO Red Mountain Resort