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TR: Red Mtn, 11 - 19 Mar

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
This was my first trip to Red. Sadly, it'll probably also be my last. I was originally booked to go to Banff, and about a month before I left New Zealand friends of mine invited me to Rossland/Red instead. The advice on this forum, based on the type of skiing I like to do, was overwhelmingly in favour of Banff...but I decided to go where my friends were. (Unfortunately we all found out firsthand how people you like to ski with can also be people you don't like to live with...but that's another story.)

So, I reached Rossland fully aware that there wouldn't be much skiing on Red that I wanted to do. But I didn't realise just how little that would be. It is possible to ski Red and not do hard stuff, but you have to be the sort of person that's happy skiing just a small handful of runs. Silver Sheep is a very nice cruisy run, and has the advantage of having a fairly short chairlift ride (Paradise). Long Squaw (the run that goes around the back side of Granite -- it's been renamed this season so won't appear as that on future trail maps) is a lovely long undulating run, but it has the downside of having an extremely long and often-cold chairlift ride afterwards (Motherlode). Something like 15 mins! And from mid afternoon onwards, it's mostly in the shade.

If you don't want to be challenged on Red, be prepared to ski on green runs. Even the groomed blues have some very steep sections. Don't even try the groomers off Red Chair unless you like steep skiing. Salley's Alley is a long, extremely steep albeit very wide trail that leads to Dale's Trail, a two or three cats wide trail through the trees that is very gentle indeed. But there is no easy way to get to it. I'd be shocked and stunned if Sally's Alley isn't winch-groomed. I would class it as a black groomer. On the other side of Red Chair (Upper and Lower Back Trail) the descent is not so steep, but it's still advanced intermediate in terms of pitch.

The Paradise chair is really a great area to hang out. It's only about a 10 minute ride, and there's some lovely terrain off it. Silver Sheep as mentioned above, is a nice cruise with enough different pitches that you don't get bored easily. Southern Comfort when groomed is a lovely next step up from Silver Sheep. It gets a little steep in parts, but on the whole it's not much harder than the steep and narrowish section midway down Silver Sheep. Ruby Tuesday is a step up from Southern Comfort -- nice long run of sustained moderately steep groomed terrain.

Cafes/toilets are well placed on Red Mtn; this is a compact skifield, so one at the base and one halfway up Paradise is about all you need. However, be prepared for the longdrop toilets out at Paradise! Make sure the lid is down before you start to strip off, and close it again right after you've stood back up. Items dropped into longdrops are gone forever! Also the wind blows up through them and closing the lid makes the room warmer and less, well, ripe...

There are two ski buses going between Rossland and Red. One is run by the local government (don't know anything more than that about it because we used the other one). The other is run by Adrenaline Adventures and is a real hoot. For one thing they use an old school bus -- very cute for those of us from other countries! The drivers are all youngsters with a cool attitude and the bus has a sound system through which they play some eclectic and usually cool music. The service leaves town at 8:30 and 9:30 from outside Prestige Mountain (the town's only hotel?) in the main street (Columbia St). Afternoon trips leave at 3:30 and 4:30. Price is $2 one way although they sell 10-ride tickets for $15.

Rossland is a lovely friendly little town. I felt at home there after only one day. If you're self-catering, be aware that there is really only one grocery store in town and their selection and prices leave a little to be desired. It's definitely larger than a large 7-11, say, but it's not really a supermarket. There is a whole foods and gourmet foods store across the street from them and they have a good bulk-bins section, so check there before going to the grocery store. Also make sure to bring lots of cash to Rossland or you may have to do what we did and spend a day in the nearby town of Trail. There are no bank ATMs in Rossland, only a couple of those for-fee ones, and they don't work with Visa, only Mastercard. Bus service to Trail costs $2 one-way; fairly good schedule for a underpopulated district, timetables available from Rossland City Hall on Columbia St. Bus stops over the road from City Hall.

Bottom line: Rossland/Red is a very friendly place to visit. People are outgoing and helpful. Rossland is a very cute town with snow piled everywhere. Red is not a place to take beginners or even low intermediates. You should go there with a desire to be challenged.

Many thanks for the advice I received here before going. It enabled me to make an informed decision, and I went knowing full well there wouldn't be much terrain to suit me.
post #2 of 6
SkiAddict, thanks for letting us know how your trip went. I'm sorry you didn't have such a great time, though I'm not really surprised to hear that, given the kind of terrain you like versus what Red has to offer in that category. Did you ever take lessons and/or rent fat skis?

At least you enjoyed the town of Rossland. It really is a great town!

post #3 of 6
SkiAddict, its interesting to hear the perspective of someone who ends up at the wrong ski area. Your thread for planning this trip http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...993#post415993 is especially interesting, because members forecasted everything you said here. Sounds like things went well in Utah. Thanks for posting the trip. I think it is especially valuable to other intermediate skiers that might end up over-terrained at certain areas.
post #4 of 6
Would be interesting to know how the snow was. That time of year can be a bit late for Red and Whitewater too. They may have had a pretty good year going though so snow could have been very good.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thatsagirl: yes I did rent some fat(ter) skis: mid 70s underfoot as I remember. I did this on the first day it snowed (we had fine weather for the first three). They made a big difference and I had a very fun day on them. The next day the snow was very wet and I couldn't do anything with it even on similar skis. I didn't take any lessons because by the time the snow started falling, things were already going very poorly between me and my friends (with whom I was sharing a 1-BR apartment...) and I don't know about the rest of you, but my emotional state affects my skiing very much.

Cirquerider: yes, I was well-warned in advance of what I'd be finding at Red! I'm very thankful for that, since I suspected I was going to the wrong area skiwise, but at least went with my eyes wide open and knowing I'd made my choice for non-ski reasons. Frankly I think that had things gone better with my friends I would have been much happier to just potter about on Silver Sheep and Southern Comfort most of the time. As it was I felt trapped on them -- similarly to how I felt in the 1-BR apartment.

L7: the snow was lovely and dry in the main. As mentioned above, on one day I found the snow very wet (reminiscent of Sierra Cement) but I think that was only one day. In terms of coverage, I heard from locals that not only was the base unusually high, but due to a lot of the snowfalls being wetter than normal, many cliffs were skiable that usually aren't.
post #6 of 6
I'm glad you got to rent some fatter skis and had fun on them!

It's too bad that you didn't have a great time with your friends. I know what you mean about how your emotional state affects the way you feel about skiing. For me, skiing is a distraction from everyday worries, but since you went with high hopes of having great times with friends, when that didn't pan out, it's hard for it not to affect the rest of your trip.

So, I'm glad to hear you didn't test any of those skiable cliffs...given your ability and your state of mind.

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