Rossland and Red Mountain

Rossland Travel Blog

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I call this "Sitting on a wooden seat"...nice

It was no secret that I was pretty excited about returning to Red Mountain. Having spent an awesome month snowboarding there in February 2006, I was itching to get back there.

This time round it was with Anna and a couple of my best friends, Michael and Rosie, who have been living and working in London for the last year. I was a little bit nervous actually, having fallen for Red (and Rossland, the town below Red) last time I was here I really wanted these guys to like it just as much and I having talked it up, I had all my fingers crossed that it would deliver....I need not have worried, it delivered in grand style.

Red Mountain is a ski/snowboard hill (which is actually comprised of two mountains - Red and Granite), situated on the very edge of the West Kootenay mountain range in BC, Canada.

The sign above my head pretty much sums it up
Approximately 700 Km East of Vancouver and sitting right on the border with the US, its a mountain renowned for its steepness and quality of tree skiing. Compared to other ski hills in BC it is relatively unheard of (just the way the locals like it!!) however word of mouth and on-hill resort developments are, unfortunately, likely to change that.

Getting to Red is a bit of a mission to say the least. A couple of the more common ways are:
- 7 hr car drive from Vancouver (recommend buying a car if you plan to stay more than a month in BC)
- 11-12 hr bus trip from Vancouver (cheapest option. Greyhound www.greyhound.ca run buses twice daily. Fares start at $110 pp but a companion fare only costs an extra $20 if you book three days in advance)
- Fly to Castlegar (sometimes referred to as Cancel-gar) from Vancouver for about $140 pp and taxi to Rossland for $80
- Fly to Kelowna (in BC) or Spokane (in US) and bus for 3 hrs from there.

Red mountain in all its glory
No idea on cost. Adrenaline Adventures, business operating out of Rossland, run shuttle buses from both locations.

Anna and I succumbed to the overnight bus from Vancouver option, although I stupidly forgot we had to book 3 days in advance so ended up paying more than we would have liked! When I came last year I promised myself I would never take the bus again but, due to budget restrictions (ie being a tight-ass) this promise was like a lame New Years resolution. The bus sucks for a number of reasons - namely 11-12 hrs sitting down, especially after 3 hrs sleep the night before. I would recommend the day bus (which was our preferred return method) because at least you can look out the window at the awesome scenery.

We eventually made it to our accommodation in Rossland, the Mountain Shadow hostel, and as the sun was coming up we crashed.

Styling down silver sheep
Around midday we awoke to the unmistakeable voices of Rosie and Michael McNash. I was so pumped to see them after almost a year, there was so much to talk about it was hard to know where to start. We had an awesome afternoon  and evening that day just catching up, listening to their amazing travel stories and exploring Rossland.

Rossland, with a population of around 3000, is the town which sits just below Red (about 5 min drive/bus). Its the heart and soul of the moutain and is possibly the most laid back and friendly town I have ever visited. At first glance, this little town with one main street, seems all but somewhere you would want to visit or live but dig a little deeper and you'll find that it is absolute gold. You get the feeling from locals that they dont just grind out an everyday living, everyone you talk to loves living there and they definitely love their mountain.

The happy quartet
If its a powder day up at Red then rest assured that work becomes second priority.

Over the next 2.5 amazing weeks most of our days would consist of:
- getting up, having breakfast, catching the 8:30 shuttle up for first lifts, snowboarding/skiing, lunch at Paradise lodge (on mountain cafe with the biggest and best cookies in the whole world!!), snowboarding, shuttle back down at 4pm, beers, dinner, beers, cards, pac-man, silent reading (Michael is a changed man!!), bed.

Talk about no stress. The biggest thing we had to worry about was what to cook when it was our turn. Absolute genius. Besides snowboarding, a few other highlights of our time at Red included:
- hiking up the Kootenay/Columbia track to a hill overlooking Rossland
- Keg Party (hands up who has done a keg-stand?
- Curling (way more exciting and harder than it looks!! Especially after a few beers)
- Watching Ice-hockey (Rossland Warriors won a local tournament while we were.

Enjoying the a-pres skiing
We watched them win there semi with a nail-biting 4-3 win. They won the final in overtime 6-5)
- BC/DC cover band (awesome night!!)
- Canasta tournaments
- Poker (Texas hold 'em style)
- Sonic Animation (white party at local club, headlined by none other than Sonic Animation, $8 - genius)
- Breakfast at Clanceys (highly recommend the Eggs Benny!!)
- Nashies Birthday (breakfast at clanceys then hitched into Trail for a spot of five pin bowling then to the pub for dinner)
- PAC MAN (old style and genius. Many a late night and many a quarter were spent!!)

Then of course there was the snowboarding. Red is such an awesome place for either skiing or snowboarding, its so hard to describe just how good it is.

Good form Michael, good form.
In terms of groomers it only has a limited amount compared to a lot of other hills although quality over quantity more than make up for it. There is also a terrain park that offers several big kickers, rails, boxes and a wall. But it all happens in the trees! You can just about drop in anywhere and even though only four lifts serve the whole resort, its hard to get lost. There are tree runs for all levels from intermediate to ultra advanced and when its a powder day, the trees are absolute magic.

While we were there I think we had the whole range of conditions. From powder days to rock hard ice, from rain to blue birds, we had it all. As an old fella up there told us though, "there is no such thing as bad snow, just bad skiiers". No matter what the conditions were we had a blast, the ice days made it fast, the powder days made it tree-heaven.

The consequence of scraping my face along some ice
Even when it rained, the beers and the laughs made up for all of it.

I am glad to report there were no serious injuries. Anna came away with a sore tail-bone but having boarded red on an icy day she could now board anything and Nashie escaped with a couple of scratches and bruises and a cracking story after an encounter with a mogelled cliff face that would have seen him take out the cliff dive competition ("Big Mountain skills or hospital bills" aye Nashie). Rosie pulled a massive 180 in the trees before navigating herself backwards somehow avoiding all trees much to my amusement and her relief.

I think what I will remember most from this trip though is the people. Having Anna, Rosie and the Cowboy all together made for some awesome times and great memories and will be something that I never forget.

Curling - WARNING: playing while under the influence is a health hazard
There was also a great bunch of guys at the hostel this year - Phillus Dillus and Ali (hostel managers), Mike and Jeff (the brothers with the same mother, from Toronto), Ruedi and Reto (the Swiss boys), Ian (from Perth), Shaun and Karl (from NZ) and Kathleen (the owner). The times shared with those guys are definitely what travelling is all about!! I can't recommend the Mountain Shadow hostel enough, it has an awesome atmosphere, is clean and cosy and at $20 a night, incredibly good value for money! Check it out if you are in town.

So on that note, I will leave with a quote that I heard on a DVD (First Decent) one night in the hostel and it kind of reflects mountain life - "Don't sweat the petty, pet the sweaty"

Adios,
Dave

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I call this Sitting on a wooden s…
I call this "Sitting on a wooden …
The sign above my head pretty much…
The sign above my head pretty muc…
Red mountain in all its glory
Red mountain in all its glory
Styling down silver sheep
Styling down silver sheep
The happy quartet
The happy quartet
Enjoying the a-pres skiing
Enjoying the a-pres skiing
Good form Michael, good form.
Good form Michael, good form.
The consequence of scraping my fac…
The consequence of scraping my fa…
Curling - WARNING: playing while u…
Curling - WARNING: playing while …
Cheers!!
Cheers!!
The Tassie Quartet.
The Tassie Quartet.
Michael getting some air over Ross…
Michael getting some air over Ros…
The McNashs!!
The McNash's!!
Another day in paradise for Anna
Another day in paradise for Anna
Looking down on Red Mountain from …
Looking down on Red Mountain from…
Oooo Yeah!!!
Oooo Yeah!!!
Rosie!!
Rosie!!
Selbs!!
Selbs!!
Michael!!
Michael!!
Ian - the big fella!!
Ian - the big fella!!
3,744 km (2,326 miles) traveled
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photo by: huge