Friday, April 6, 2018

BC Road Trip: Rossland and Red Mountain

For years I've heard from friends about the fantastic skiing at Red Mountain and charm of Rossland. A few weeks ago in March, it was finally my turn to experience this fun mountain and great little outdoors town.

While I can't speak authoritatively about the mountain from just one day of skiing, I did have a splendid day skiing there in spring-like conditions. 

Locals told me that about 4 years ago, Rossland got "discovered" and now draws visitors from all over the world. Despite the uptake, Red still retains a local mountain feel.

After a scenic road trip from Seattle, our day skiing was bracketed by two nights in Rossland. We scored a room at the Prestige Mountain Resort on the main street in downtown Rossland, convenient to all the shops and cafes.

We ate very well. Our first evening, we enjoyed an excellent dinner at Gabriella's Restaurant in the lobby of the Prestige. My housemade butternut squash ravioli with wild mushrooms was excellent. I had to restrain myself from finishing it all and getting stuffed.

A brilliant mountain sunrise greeted us before skiing Saturday. Of course I had to grab the camera and snap some shots outside our window.

Before driving the few short miles to the mountain, we walked down the street for coffee/tea/breakfast at the Alpine Grind a couple blocks away. Outside a line had formed before it opened at 8 am, and it was definitely worth the wait. Good quality tea (I can't speak for the coffee but everyone seemed happy) and a toasted whole grain bagel with peanut butter and jelly hit the proverbial spot. (Personally I don't like a big breakfast before skiing).

And on to the mountain, which is literally the other side of the hill from town and less than 10 minutes driving. Morning clouds were cleared off by the time we hit the slopes, which took an hour or so to soften up. However, good grooming made it easy peasy to ski regardless.

There are three mountains at Red, and we didn't go up the actual Red Mountain due to a ski race set up over there.  After a few warm up runs down below, we headed up Granite Mountain, where the panoramic views of the surrounding Kootenay Mountains opened up.

The peak just below is Red Mountain.
For most of the day we stuck to the groomers, and made our way over to Grey Mountain for a few fun runs.

By early afternoon the conditions were softening up quite a bit. I made another foray back over to Granite Mountain and skied down the black diamond front side beneath the chair - Buffalo's Ridge to Main Run.

We quit while we were ahead, tired and happy. Oh, and gotta say, the Thai tofu veggie wrap sandwich I had in the lower lodge was about the tastiest, most healthful lunch I've ever had at a ski mountain.

Saturday night we had dinner at a fairly new place set in an old refurbished gas station/garage in "downtown," the appropriately named Fuel Gastropub and Diner. The salad was tasty, but the real standout dish was the pork belly tacos.

Despite the warmish day, it got chilly as the sun set. We bundled up to stroll and stop in a few shops along the way.

We were up and out early the next day, and while I would have liked another few days to ski, it was a good first taste of what this area has to offer. Next trip I'd like to return earlier in the year - January or February - to hopefully hit some fresh snow and try some of their famous backcountry cat skiing.

How about you, have you skied Red and spent time in Rossland? Would love to hear about it if so.

Happy trails and thanks for visiting Pacific Northwest Seasons! 

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When You Go

As I mentioned in my prior post, Rossland is about a 6 - 8 hour drive from Seattle, just north of the border in southern British Columbia. It's a historic former mining town turned year-round outdoors destination, but skiing was the original draw. Here's a link to the trail map for Red Mountain.