RED Mountain Notes

RED Mountain is a gem of a ski area, set just over the border from Washington, in British Columbia. Some notes:

  • The area is the size of a major western US resort – it’s larger than Northstar or Steamboat Springs, and only a bit smaller than Heavenly or Breckenridge, with 20% as many skiiers.
  • The name of the resort refers to the iron in the mountain, rather than anything to do with communism.
  • Canadian ski areas close at 3pm, compared to 4pm in the US. I unknowingly caught the last lift up at 2:58pm, cruised down the back-side of the mountain and popped into a lodge. My arrival bewildered the staff to the point of annoyance, until they realized I was a confused American. They pointed me on a route to the bottom of the resort without getting stuck at some closed lift.
  • I think there is a “BC Curve” for ski run ratings, the same way I think Mammoth has a “Southern California Curve.” There are black runs at Mammoth that seems pretty blue to me, and there are plenty of blue runs at RED that seem pretty black to me. It’s steep.
  • The bar at the base has a wall featuring all the locals who’ve skiied for the Canadian National Team. The heyday seems to have been the 70s.
  • Most of the lifts are a little old school. One whipped around so quickly after dismounting that it clocked me in the back of the head and knocked me to the deck. Fortunately, I was wearing a helmet, so nothing was injured but my pride.
  • The IKON Pass doesn’t work directly, maybe because RED Mountain is independently-owned. Instead, I had to take my IKON Pass to the ticket window and scan it for a RED Mountain lift pass.
  • Flying Phil’s Mexican food truck serves excellent gourmet Mexican fare. If you can get over the incongruity of “gourmet Mexican food out of a truck at the bottom of a ski run in Canada”, it’s worth a stop.
  • The resort has cabins for rent in the middle of one of the ski runs on the middle of the mountain. $500 per night seems steep to me, even in Canadian dollars, but they look awesome.
  • PizzaBass is served out of a local’s basement and is amazing.
  • The locals call it “Roz-land”.
  • I met more Australians (Brisbane, specifically) than Americans. This despite the mountains location less than 10 miles from the US border.
  • Mountain Shadow Hostel was nice, but I am too old to stay in a hostel, even when I rent a private room. There was a time…
  • Immigration officers at land crossings on either side of the border always seem sterner than their airport counterparts. I never get a “Welcome to Canada!” or a “Welcome home!” at a land crossing. He did ask about cannabis products, and when I last visited Canada.
  • I was worried about the lack of snow in Washington, but the road suddenly climbs to snow immediately after crossing the border.
  • The swim-through hot springs cave at Ainsworth Hot Springs is awesome and, to my knowledge, unique.

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