Western Canada’s Oldest Ski Resort
History as deep and rich as the Kootenay Powder that falls on our slopes
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 & 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 of 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 & 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. Still going strong today!
As skiing technology improved, local skiers were able to experience a wider variety of 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 started with about 20 founding 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 Mt. and the Trail SC hill was on Red. Each club had a club cabin near their ski area where they socialized and hosted events. 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 Rossland 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 club membership 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 . Parts of the former Trail Ski Club rope tow were repurposed into a new tow, 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 Ski Club.
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.
Up until its sale in 1989, the ski area was run by a small handful of staff and mostly volunteers. All major, world class events were organized by the club, which was run by an elected, volunteer executive. 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 ski area 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:
2007: 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.
2007-2008: Rockstar Energy 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.
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.
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.
2010: 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.
2014: 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).
2014: 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.
2016: 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”.
2019-20: Topping Creek Expansion
The Topping Chair expansion added to RED Mountain’s stature, putting us in the Top 10, size-wise, for North America with total skiable acreage at 3,850. The Topping Chair construction covers a total of 300 additional acres and boasts six new Intermediate runs with stellar tree-skiing, “squirrel trails” and “slots” on all facets. From the top of the new Topping lift, skiers and snowboarders gain access to 1,000 vertical feet of what can sometimes be some of the best snow on the resort—thanks to its southeast facing aspect.
2020: Millennial Trail Expansion
The Millennial Trail Expansion is three loops totaling 5.8kms of all-new mountain biking trails branching out from the base of RED Mountain. The extension encompasses a total of 5.8kms of new trails with a focus on flow, fun, and variety. There is a 2.2km climbing trail to the top, a 1.4km XC loop connecting from the mid-point, as well as various connections to and from existing Paydirt trails. The crowning glory might just be Dragon Tail, the 1.8km “bike park style” flow trail descent that consists of an advanced upper section and a more intermediate lower section. Countless features are spread through Dragon Tail: step downs, step ups, rollers, a variety of different styled berms, table tops, hips, you name it, and you’ll probably find it!
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.
2007: 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.
2008: 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.
2018: Nowhere Special Hostel
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”. 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 for each eight.
2019: The Josie Hotel
Proudly named Canada’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel in both 2019/20 and 2020/21, The Josie welcomes you with mountains of amenities like outdoor cedar saunas, ski valet, modern fitness facility, indoor and outdoor event space, vibrant restaurant offering indoor and outdoor dining, and a boutique slopeside spa. The modern, architecturally unique 106-room hotel boasts true ski-in, ski-out access at the base of RED Mountain Resort in Rossland, British Columbia. Offering stylishly appointed guestrooms, studio suites, and one-bedroom suites, The Josie is the premier choice for families, powder chasers, and group getaways seeking exceptional service combined with boutique charm.
2020: The Constella Clubhouse and Cabins
Welcome to a backcountry experience for all. The Constella is a collection of six cabins and central clubhouse, perfectly situated in the aptly named Paradise Basin. Our goal in building them was to offer unreal, on-mountain, ski-in/ski-out access to RED—and they turned out even better than we’d hoped: High up the mountain, the clear Kootenay night sky will be up, above, and all around you. The clean, crisp air makes it seem like those sparkling stars are actually within reach and that you’ve finally found your own private paradise. (Shhh! You kind of have….) Evergreen woods provide shelter from winter winds while our eco-friendly cabins provide a cozy shelter for you and your group to crack a beer and catch up properly. These quaint cabins are available for either one or two-night stays. In the morning, strap on your board or skis and head down to the Paradise Chairlift to start the day the second the lifts start spinning. Talk about an unforgettable experience.
Coming 2023: The Crescent
Selling in 2021, move-in winter 2023, The Crescent brings smart spaces made for a weekend, a season, or a lifetime to the very heart of RED Mountain Resort, just steps from the Silverlode Chairlift. What will you love about The Crescent? Ummm…how about everything?! These studios, lofts, and 1-bedrooms have been designed to optimize your lifestyle with all the amenities you need for living large.