Welcome to RED Mountain Where the Snow’s too Deep and the Locals too Nice

Welcome to RED Mountain Where the Snow’s too Deep and the Locals too Nice

Featured Image: Ashley Voykin

You don’t want to go to RED Mountain, or Rossland, for that matter. The town is small and quaint, with the kind of idyllic main street you’d see in a Hallmark movie. Locals just can’t help themselves but be the kindest version of Canadians—which is saying a lot if you know any Canadians—whether they’re showing you around the mountain or letting you go ahead of them in the lift line. And the snow, don’t get me started. Most of the time, it’s so deep you can’t even navigate which way is up. The place is the worst; barely anyone goes there, so there aren’t even any lift lines to flirt in.

If you’re not turned off by sickeningly friendly locals, deep snow and no flirt-zone lift corrals, you might be in for the most underrated ski trip of your life at RED Mountain.

Nestled a mere 6.8 miles North of the US-Canadian border, the town of Rossland is home to less than 4,000 year-round residents and a quick five-minute drive (or free bus ride) to the mountain. Getting to Rossland is smooth: fly into Spokane, WA, and either rent a car for the 2.5-hour drive or hop on the airport shuttle with Kootenay Charters for $175 (CAD). There is a regional airport, Trail Regional, only a 20-minute drive away from Rossland, but not recommended as flights are canceled quite often due to heavy and frequent snowstorms throughout the winter.

Rossland and RED Mountain Resort are just far enough from anywhere to allow keep that idyllic vibe even today, but that doesn’t mean the après and nightlife sucks (forreal this time). Like any ski town, the nightlife is full of unshowered, unshaven, flannel-clad ski bums around—heck, you might just fit right in.

PHOTO: Ashley Voykin

Get the Goods

You can waste a lot of time getting the lay of the land at a new mountain. RED solves this problem in the most kind, Canadian way: free on-mountain guides show you around this corner of the Kootenays. I’ll admit I was skeptical, but skiing with a long-time local who is more than happy to show you his secret stashes is low-key amazing. Find snow hosts for Western Canada’s oldest resort at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in front of the base lodge.

Secret Stashes

If they weren’t so kind, maybe they wouldn’t give away all their secrets. On powder days, of which there are many, check out bomb shack trees. You’ll need to ask a local for directions. While it’s not the steepest run on the mountain, snow tends to get blown in here, so 12 inches of reported snow is more like 2 feet. Also, a fan favorite is Doug’s Run. With amazing scenery at the top and a steep entrance, you’ll be on your toes until it mellows slightly. Don’t let your guard down, though; a huge boulder sits in the middle of the run that’s best to avoid.

Explore the local goods further with Big Red Cats, headquartered at the base of RED. Another 20,000 acres of untracked glades and bowls sit just minutes from RED. Guides take groups out for big days with lots of vertical and plenty of authentic Canadian face shots. 

Location, Location, Location

The biggest ski town flex has got to be waking up slopeside. No bus rides, overflow parking lots or turning the car around for your forgotten pocket beer. RED’s Slalom Creek condos have all the comfort-of-home steps from the lifts. The generously sized 2-, 3-, or 4-bedroom condos with modern kitchens, private ski lockers and most importantly full-size private hot tubs, make for a stay that has all the fixings. Tip: Visit Ferraro Foods in Rossland on your way into town to stock up on essentials for your kitchen.

Not interested in cooking on your vacation? Yeah, same. The Josie Hotel might be a better option. Named Canada’s best ski boutique hotel in 2019, the charm is unmistakable. Outdoor cedar saunas, ski valet, indoor and outdoor restaurants, and a slopeside spa are icing on the cake.

Food is King


Since your morning commute from Slalom Creek or the Josie is about 37 seconds—and there aren’t miles of lift corrals to navigate—you’ll have time to enjoy your morning latte with a view on the deck of the Velvet Restaurant and Lounge (located in the Josie) before getting on the lift. ­­­


Get your street food fix without leaving the mountain. Taco Rojo is a mid-mountain food truck that can only be accessed from the side of a run. Take the Topping Creek chair and look for it on the skier’s left, a little more than halfway down the mountain. You can’t go wrong with single-serve tacos and a side of curly fries.


When in Rome, you après at Rafters. Pitchers of beer are plentiful, plates of nachos are huge and a powder-happy crowd that can get rowdy is the staple. Come on the early side for “No Shower Happy Hour” from 2-3 p.m., featuring $5 beers and cocktails.


Can you even call it a real ski town without legit Thai food? Unlikely. Rossland’s Mook Thai is chock-full of authentic dishes from Southeast Asia, like curries, noodles and stir-fry. Start with the Swimming Rama Tofu, which is fried tofu with peanut curry, chilies and shallots, for a delicious appetizer. For a polished experience, revisit The Velvet Restaurant and Lounge, located in the Josie. It’s an upscale environment with a high level of service. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to the menu.

Dress the Part

On a mountain like RED, you’ll want skis that offer stability with just enough versatility and, of course, float. The Fischer Ranger 108 checks all the boxes with a beech and poplar wood core reinforced with shaped Titanal. A calibrated rocker profile and relatively short turn radius (18 m in a 185 length) for a wide ski give it legit versatility in all types of snow, from groomers to pow days so you can enjoy it when you’re back home, powder-less, too.

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