About 6 years ago, we took our kids on a series of B.C. Powder Highway road trips. We simply love exploring our home province of British Columbia and discovering new ski mountains (new to us, that is). Ski tourists might best describe our family.
Since those early trips, we have managed to return to two of our favourites – Revelstoke and Kicking Horse several times, but Red Mountain Resort had alluded us. (Alas, we are also still beholden to the school calendar and Red Resort is just a little further away from our Vancouver home.) After many years of trying to put something together, however, we finally managed to pull off a last minute, mid-December getaway.
Early season B.C. ski trips like this are alway a gamble. Skiers and boarders travel to these Powder Highway mountains for the epic… you guessed it… powder, but we usually have to lock in our accommodations before we know if the snow gods will bless us. Once in a while, however, we get lucky – and such was the case with this trip. An unprecedented early season dump of snow had allowed Red Resort to open early…and that white fluffy stuff just kept on falling.
About Red Mountain Resort
Red Mountain Resort is part of British Columbia’s Powder Highway (a group of mountains renowned for the enormous amount of snow that blesses their slopes each year). It is situated in the former mining town of Rossland, B.C. (pop. 3500) and it is one of the oldest ski resorts in North America. Their ski club actually dates back to the early 1900s! Its expansive terrain of over 2800 acres encompasses 4 mountains (Granite, Grey, Red and Kirkup), making up part of the Monashee Mountain Range. (See Red Mountain Trail Map.)
Over recent years, Red Mountain Ski Resort has seen a multitude of improvements. These have included polished new accommodation options (including The Josie – a beautiful slope-side boutique hotel), new lifts, additional terrain and improved on-mountain dining services.
At first look, the terrain at Red Mountain can seem quite daunting. Over 50% of the runs are black or double black. That said, there is so much terrain, that even on our first trip when our kids were less experienced skiers, there were still a lot of interesting green and blue runs for them. We also chose to put them in the capable hands of an instructor for one day so that we could explore the more advanced terrain with a local. (The dad of a friend of ours offered to take us out, even though he had never met us before. (That is just the kind of community Rossland is!)
Red Resort Snow Hosts
You don’t need to know anyone in Rossland to get your own private guide to the slopes though! Red Resort has a complimentary Snow Host program. These powder-loving locals show up daily in front of the lodge at 9am and 12:30 to show guests around their mountain. Learn more about Red Mountain Snow Hosts.
Another unique thing about Red Mountain resort is their in-bounds cat skiing. For $10/run you can just hop on the cat from the top the Grey Mountain Chair, taking you to the top of Mount Kirkup. (See guest services in the day lodge for more information or read more here.)
Lessons and Daycare at Red Mountain Resort
Red Mountain Resort offers lessons for snowboarders and skier of all abilities at the Red Ski and Board School. They have a full service daycare for children 18 mo. to 5 years as well as a KinderSki program. See Red Mountain childcare and lesson options here.
Red Mountain Accommodations
Red Mountain Resort is very compact so most accommodations are either slopeside or a very short walk to the lifts. If you would prefer accommodations in town, Rossland is only a 10 minute drive away. The resort also runs a town to mountain shuttle (see details.)
The Josie – Marriott Autograph Collection
This beautiful boutique hotel is in the perfect location, right beside the lifts and the Red Mountain Day Lodge. Rooms and suites are nicely appointed with luxurious finishings. Hotel amenities include a valet, ski valet, full service restaurant, bar, gym and outdoor wood sauna. This Josie is just the kind of hotel property you might expect to see in a swanky resort like Whistler – but at a fraction of Whistler prices.
See a little bit more of the Josie in this reel:
Slalom Creek Condos
In terms of condos, these ones are the closest to the lifts and are great for a crowd. Options runs from 1 to 4 bedroom units with spacious living areas, gas fireplaces, modern kitchens, access to underground parking, ski lockers, a fitness room and a games room. Some units even have their own private hot tub.
The Flying Steamshovel (Rossland)
Located in Rossland, less than 3 km from Red Mountain, BC, The Flying Steamshovel Inn offers tastefully appointed rooms with free WiFi and express check-in and check-out. The rooms are located above the Gastropub of the same name, which happens to be one of the best places to eat in town. (Please note, the rooms are located above the pub which does have live music on some nights.)
Rooms are equipped with a seating area and a flat-screen TV with cable channels. Each room includes a coffee machine and a private bathroom with free toiletries, while selected rooms are fitted with a kitchen equipped with a microwave.
Red Mountain Resort Restaurants
While on the mountain, pop into the Paradise Lodge for a little hot chocolate warm up (they also have lunch items). Looking for something that will really stick to the ribs? Try the brand new on-mountain Taco Rojo located at Flying Phil’s Hangout.
For après ski, a visit to Rafters is a must (fantastic nachos). This classic watering hole is often mentioned as one of the Best Ski Bars in the World (SkiMag 2022) and should definitely not be missed! (It is also family-friendly until 9pm.)
If you want to go a little more upscale, the Velvet Restaurant and Lounge at The Josie Hotel has excellent food and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also have a beautiful slopeside heated patio.
If you plan on visiting the town of Rossland (and you should), a couple standouts included the Alpine Grind (for coffees and baked goods), The Flying Steamshovel Gastrobpub (elevated pub fare) and Idgie’s (casual fine dining).
Getting to Red Mountain
I often find that some of the best places to visit are not necessarily the easiest to get to. Please see the following flight options from the Red Mountain website including the best routes from Calgary, Spokane, Kelowna and Vancouver. You may want to pass on the option of flying in to Castlegar (or Cancelgar, as a friend called it).
If you are renting a vehicle, I highly recommend something with 4 wheel drive for winter conditions on B.C. roads. Please also check your route for current condition updates on Drive BC or 511Alberta before hitting the road.