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Red Mountain – Fight the Man, Not the Crowds

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Though I don’t go there so much anymore, it will always be my home mountain. Right outside of Rossland BC, Red Mountain is an expanding paradise with more powder per person than any other resort I’ve been to. I’ll let you in on the equation: 750cms per year + a town of 4000 people = more snow for me and some left for you.

No tracks, no people, no problem. 

So many people look at the annual snowfall of a ski area as an indicator on how much fresh you’ll ski. Red gets a lot of snow per year but not as much as Whistler does. However, the powder formula is all about preservation. Storms in Whistler are skied out in half a day. I showed up a day late for the last storm in the Rossland Range and still had first tracks all morning.

Granite Mountain has to be the steepest in the Rossland Range and it’s north face gets wind-loaded pretty heavily. It’s full of commiting billy goats into exposed lines to get your blood pumping and 3000 ft of vertical to get your legs burning.

 

Tracks from our first few runs – classic steep, rowdy Granite

 

The installation of the Grey Chair a couple of years ago greatly expanded the resorts acreage, but didn’t notably increase the skier visits. Grey has some great north facing steep shots and long south cruisers. But what intrigued me was their in-bounds cat ski program. A ten dollair ride to the top of Mount Kirkup, the next peak over from Grey.

Our cab ride to the top of Kirkup.

There’s always some contention between Whitewater and Red. Whitewater though smaller, typically gets about 10-15% more snow per storm. But this year storms in the West Kootenays seem to have hit Red harder and the reverse has been true.

The resort owners are always talking about more lifts and services here, but I really don’t care. I like this place the way it is – pretty raw, steep skiing, lots of cliffs, trees, and no one around to see you ski any of it.

50+ degrees of no-fall-zone skiing. But hey! Only one track in the bowl.

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