The Road to Red Mountain
14th February 2016 | James Cove, Red Mountain, BC Canada
Last modified on August 30th, 2021
James Cove swings into Red Mountain in an RV. It’s a resort he’s wanted to ski for many years, but will it live up to expectations?
It started with a sour note.
We parked our RV vehicle late at night in the main car park of Red after coming into the town in a snowstorm.
It took us almost 10 hours to drive the 600kms or so from Sun Peaks and when we arrived we just wanted to sleep.
In the morning we saw there was a solitary vehicle next to us.
See here for our last post as we hit Sun Peaks before coming over to Red Mountain.
We didn’t give it a second thought but it turned out that a snowboarder had gone missing the day before and the resort only knew because there was an unclaimed vehicle in the car park.
The search and rescue were already out trying to locate him as dawn broke.
It was a sobering reminder especially as our plans for the day involved powder and backcountry skiing.
Red has had one of its best seasons with 5.27m of snow so far.
It is a serious off piste resort.
“We have had powder, powder and yet more powder. We are slightly off the beaten track and by no means one of the highly commercial mega resorts. We are boutique and we offer a core skiing experience,” said Nicole Briggs, the Events and Marketing Manager of the resort, to me.
The resort has seen a sharp increase in visitors this winter and claims its best season ever.
The town itself Rossland, is an authentic Canadian ski town just down the mountain from the skiing and snowboarding.
However looking at the piste map does not overly impress those of us from Europe.
7 lifts sounds pretty small if you are used to the mega-resorts of the Alps.
But the bald stats do not tell the whole story – far from it.
And the lifts give access to 2,682 acres of skiing and a vertical descent of 890m.
Red is a skier’s mountain with steep slopes, some wonderful tree skiing and something you can’t quite put your finger on.
It oozes authenticity.
The first lift up was an old chairlift and I got chatting to an Australian, Luke, who works in the resort.
“I have lived and worked in Whistler, Fernie, Banff, Kicking Horse and a couple of others in Canada. This is the best by far,” he told me.
“Why?” I enquired.
“Because the snow is deep, the terrain is awesome and we all love this place so much. It’s just so special,” he said.
“Sorry I can’t think of anything more to say,” he added.
He didn’t need to.
My guide for the morning was Roly Worsfold who was showing the resort to myself and my friend and fellow ski writer, Alf Alderson, who I’m doing the 12-day and 5-resort trip with.
Roly has retired now but came here as a ski bum 40 years ago and stayed.
He worked in the piste patrol and knows the area like the proverbial, back of his hand.
“First of all you must come and meet Wake. He has a little cabin in the woods and you’ll know he’s there if the Buddhist prayer flags are out and there is smoke coming out of the chimney,” said Roly.
Both boxes were ticked and inside was 66-year old, Wake Williams.
His father built the small cabin back in 1944 with some friends – there were no lifts in those days and they hiked up to ski and needed somewhere to rest, eat and keep warm.
It has an ‘open door’ policy today and anyone is welcome to drop in for a cup of tea or something stronger.
With 20cm of fresh snow it was time to see if Red Mountain is as good as it’s cracked up to be.
We ducked under a rope to reach the backcountry.
Then we had a little hike up.
With a powder traverse.
Normally snow drips off the trees – in this instance it was bending them in half.
And then we had the turns.
For lunch we went to another private hut.
It is the ex-start hut for the resort’s World Cup downhill course.
The last World Cup race held here was back in 1988.
Now it is owned by a few locals and inside there was hot soup on offer.
There is something of a ski racing heritage in Red – per head of population it has produced the highest number of Olympic skiers in Canada.
And they are remembered in the Day Lodge.
And in Rafters Bar in the Day Lodge after skiing – some apres ski.
It is not Austria – but it it is far better than most North American ski areas.
And that night, for the first time in our RV trip, we had an address.
We stayed in a parking bay near Roly’s House.
1085 Old Wagon Wheel Road.
Much better than the other addresses we had stayed in so far – Parking Lot 4 in Sun Peaks and The Lower Car Park on our first night in Red.
So, had Red Mountain lived up to my expectations?
What do you think?
Tomorrow is another day and we’re off to Whitewater – just an hour and a half away.
That is nothing by Canadian standards.
Resort number 3 beckons.
Bring it on.
NEWS UPDATE – We are pleased to say the lost snowboarder was located and brought out by snowmobile.
For more information about Red Mountain and the town of Rossland then see Red Mountain here.
CanaDream offers a winter RV that can accommodate up to four adults and two small children from $121 per night plus tax or $1694 plus tax for a 14 night trip.
This includes kits (dishes, pots, pans, bedding) that is normally an extra cost in summer, an additional driver (in summer $5.00 per person per night), free use of generator (a charge in summer) and other items designed to make the winter ski experience in an RV comfortable and cosy.
CanaDream is the only RV company in Canada able to provide Guests with an RV built to withstand the Canadian winter. These RVs enable Guests to use full facilities (including shower, sink and toilet) in temperatures as low as -30C).
For more information on British Columbia then see the web site of Destination BC.
For more details on the resorts James is visiting then see here:
Sun Peaks – see here for further details about the resort
Red Mountain – see here for further details about the resort
Whitewater – see here for further details about the resort
Revelstoke – see here for further details about the resort
Kicking Horse – see here for further details about the resort
Air Canada offers more daily flights from the UK to Canada than any other airline, with 63 non-stop flights scheduled per week to seven major Canadian cities. From London Heathrow, the airline operates daily services to Vancouver during the winter season.
Air Canada operates new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on its flights from London Heathrow to Vancouver – this aircraft features a new Premium Economy option for those looking for more comfort and space, complementing International Business and Economy class.
Return Economy flights from London Heathrow to Vancouver start from £591.05 (1 November – 12 December 2016, incl. taxes). Find out more at www.aircanada.com or call Reservations on 0871 220 1111.
See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.
For the spirit of the mountains