Inside Line: Red Mountain, BC - Ski Mag

Inside Line: Red Mountain, BC

In 1897, a Norwegian miner named Olaus Jeldness invited his friends to the top of British Columbia’s Red Mountain for a “tea party.” He got everybody plowed, slapped planks to their feet, and started ski culture in Canada. Since then Red hasn’t changed much except that condos are popping up and locals are beginning to grumble. But the terrain is the same as it’s always been: steep, consistent subalpine trees and cliff bands that radiate off two peaks covered with 300 inches of crowd-free blower. Just as Jeldness would want it.
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Powder Day: Take the Powder Fields Traverse off Motherlode to Hans’ Run or the Orchards for 800 vertical feet of consistent 30-degree shots. Catch Southside Road back to Motherlode for another soft lap.

Three Days Later: The north side of Granite Mountain stays shaded and preserves powder the longest. From the top of Motherlode, head out Ridge Road and drop right into the scattered trees on Doug’s Run or Beer Belly.

Park and Pipe: Access the Red Park from the T-bar. There’s no pipe, but it does have creative rails, jibs, one of Canada’s biggest wallrides, a dedicated skiercross course, and a booming sound system.

Backcountry Access: Head off the back of Granite Mountain and climb from Ridge Road up the tracks to Mount Roberts or Grey Mountain—both peaks offer
untouched skiing within a half-hour skin. Laps return you to the resort. Red’s backcountry is prone to slides, so check conditions at avalanche.ca.

Weather: The West Kootenays average 300 inches of snow from December to April. Late January and February are particularly stormy. Due to Red’s low elevation (6,800 feet at the top), it sometimes rains.

Après:Grab a pitcher of pilsner and a platter of nachos at Rafter’s Lounge, a 60-year-old ski-club bunkhouse turned bar. Watch your head—it’s called Rafter’s for a reason.

Fuel: Down an egg breakfast bagel and an espresso shot at Sourdough Alley in the base lodge. For lunch, head to the Paradise Lodge off the back side for burgers cooked on an outdoor grill.

Up All Night: The Old Fire Hall Wine Bar in nearby Rossland is housed in a recently renovated firehouse. It offers live jazz, 40 local wines by the glass, and tapas like chili-lime calamari and buffalo strudel.

Digs: Stay in the funky and eclectic Red Shutter Inn at the base of Red, which has a ski-waxing room, a wood stove, and an outdoor hot tub (from $75; redshutter.ca).


Elevation: 6,807 feet

Vertical Drop: 3,000 feet

Snowfall: 300 inches

Acres: 1,685

Info: redresort.com

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"I always coordinate my hat with my favorite resort." Mike Hopkins at Red.

Red Mountain

Ride the Red chair to the top of Red Mountain, site of western Canada’s first chairlift, opened in 1947.

Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C.

Inside Line: Blackcomb, BC

With the 2010 Winter Olympics around the corner, all eyes are on Whistler Blackcomb. The masses will descend on Whistler Mountain, where the official events will take place. Which means Blackcomb will be the place to ski. Locals know that Blackcomb outperforms its better-known neighbor when it comes to off-piste terrain and jibbing. Plus, Blackcomb’s lift lines are shorter, its park and pipe bigger, and its backcountry steeper. And with the new Peak-to-Peak gondola—a record-setting 2.73-mile-long feat of engineering—now connecting the two mountains, you can easily zip over to the big W. But with Blackcomb’s terrain, why bother?

Hit hard with a strong Pacific front, Revelstoke Mountain Resort has been hammered with nearly 15 inches of snow in the past 48 hours. Recent southerly winds have left North Bowl and Greely Bowl feeling like they have even more fresh powder than that.

Inside Line: Revelstoke, BC

Following Revelstoke’s grand opening last winter, first-time visitors identified a series of problems that the resort’s developers had failed to anticipate when they created a ski destination integrating 500,000 acres of cat- and heli-skiing with North America’s longest lift-served vertical. Among the quibbles: (1) The runs are “too long.” (2) There’s “too much powder.” (3) The absence of lift lines “prevents skiers from resting between runs.” This may sound like a joke, but these are actual complaints logged by management—and they underscore the stunning enormity of Revelstoke’s terrain. Our advice: If you aren’t prepared to go huge, don’t go at all.

Snowbird Will be Open Until July 4th

Inside Line: Snowbird, UT

Tucked in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon on the road to Alta, Snowbird is known for hanging bowls, 50-foot cliffs, and over-the-head powder. Pros like Jenn Berg, Jeremy Nobis, and Sage Cattabriga-Alosa schralp the high-alpine cirques along with equally talented nobodies—humble locals on K2 Pontoons. With more than 3,200 vertical feet of steeps, tree-lined chutes, and roughly 500 inches of snow a year, this isn’t a place you want to drive by.

What a great way to open the season!! Magic Mountain got 14 inches of new snow this week. magicmtn.com

Inside Line: Magic Mountain, VT

Some folks in southern Vermont have a “tragic” nickname for Magic Mountain because they think the 135-acre ski area—which has suffered closures and sketchy management in the past—deserves better. But last summer, loyalists came together to buy the mountain and run it as a cooperative, similar to Mad River Glen. Their intent: to keep the legitimate steeps and trees open and spruce up the ski area’s infrastructure and snowmaking. Now the only thing tragic about this mountain, located in Londonderry, would be passing by it on a powder day.

Sugar Bowl, CA

Inside Line: Sugar Bowl, CA

Opened in 1939 with help from Walt Disney, Sugar Bowl retains its old-school charm with a 1950s-style gondola and a rustic base lodge. But it’s plenty modern too. It offsets 100 percent of its energy through wind credits and has a remodeled 35,700-square-foot lodge and a new skiercross course that’s home to Olympian Daron Rahlves. The best thing about Sugar Bowl, however, may simply be the snow. Each year, the resort gets around 500 inches of Californian fluff.