With the temperature beginning to drop and a hint of damp fall weather in the air it’s hard not to admit that summer is finally ending and the long Kootenay winter approaches.
But if you are one of the many in our region who enjoys outdoor activities the coming winter also means something that can stir a bit of excitement: skiing.
This year, with Red Mountain Resort’s expansion onto Grey Mountain, downhill skiers will have almost 1000 new acres of mountain to explore and expectations are that the work will be complete and everything ready to go for opening day.
“Things are rocking, we’re poised for a banner year,” said Fran Richards, vice president of marketing for Red Resort said from his home near San Diego. “The runs are named, the trail signs are going up, and the towers will be going up soon.”
At this point the forms are being built and the concrete is being poured for the final lift tower bases and it is anticipated that the actual towers themselves will be brought up by helicopter in the next few weeks.
The Grey expansion will add 22 new ski runs and bring the total skiable terrain at the resort to 2,787 acres, which puts it on par with world class resorts such as Breckenridge, Colorado and Jackson Hole, Wyoming in terms of area.
The increased acreage ranks Red in the top eight ski hills in Canada and in the top 20 in all North America.
Anyone who may have enjoyed the experience of taking the snow cat to the top of Grey last year won’t be disappointed as the $10 cat skiing will be continued this year but will be carrying skiers to another area of the property not serviced by lift.
This year the cat will be growling its way up into the White Wolf area across the valley from the Paradise day lodge and familiar to many of the back-country skiers who frequent the parts of the terrain only by hiking.
“We have raised our day ticket prices this year, from $66 to $72 but we’re going to be launching a new locals ticket package this year,” said Richards. “It’s the Big Deal three-pack and it’ll be for locals only, three day tickets for $149. But if you look at any of our ticket prices compared to any resort of a similar scale and terrain they are all way higher.”
According to Nicole Briggs, events and marketing manager with Red, the locals’ deal won’t be sold online through their website or at the ticket window.
“We’ll be selling these on-site at various community events in the area, Rossland, Trail, Castlegar, Nelson,” she said. “We’ll be advertising the events when the tickets will go on sale so people will have to watch their local papers and listen for announcements on the radio to know when they’ll be available and they’ll be on sale until Dec. 24. We want to make sure that it’s an exclusive local offer. These prices are lower than anything you’ll find in Costco or any of the discount online ticket deals.”
Briggs explained that the limited number three-pack deal will replace the Vertical Value card that the resort has offered in previous years but that it won’t require a calculator to figure out how much you are actually saving on regular ticket prices. Three-packs for youths will sell for $120 and juniors will go for $75.
In addition to the expansion Briggs was also excited about the release of a new movie filmed at Red, Jackson Hole, and Alaska last year.
“Teton Gravity Research is premiering “Way of Life” tonight in Jackson Hole and then going on tour across North America,” Briggs said. “Red will be going on tour with them to promote the resort. We’ll be showing the local premiere in Rossland Nov. 7.”
In spite of the growth at Red, Briggs stressed that it doesn’t mean that the resort will be trying to turn into a Whistler or Quebec’s Mont Tremblant.
“I’m really excited to ride the new runs and I’m stoked to be on board for the new phase that Red is going through,” Briggs said. “But I’m glad that we’re doing this and trying to maintain the Rossland feel to the resort. We’re not going to turn into one of the franchised resorts. It’s still going to be Red Mountain.”