The Getaway
Rossland and the RED Mountain Resort: Things to Do

The New York Times named Rossland in the West Kootenay region among its Top 10 Places to See in 2013, and things have only changed for the better since then. RED Mountain Resort, which was once heavy on the expert terrain and lacking in intermediate runs, now caters to more skiers on Grey Mountain, and the quality of food available is leaps and bounds from the stodgy burgers you might have expected a decade ago. Rossland remains an unpretentious ski town with oodles of charm, legendary steeps, and deep pow. Whoop and holler while tree skiing, or visit in summer for equally epic mountain biking (hello, Mountain Biking Capital of Canada), golfing, and SUPing.


01 Discover Rossland: A year-round paradise

Mountain Village in Rossland BC

Named after a gold prospector, Rossland is a destination that truly shines. The city has appeal across all seasons. Go for a short drive, and you'll reach Owl Mountain Ranch's 100 beautiful acres for year-round horse riding. Take two wheels for a spin where trains once advanced in the Mountain Biking Capital of Canada, or explore more than 120 miles of multi-use hiking trails weaving around alpine lakes and forests. This town can both make your heart pound and help you relax. When you're done golfing, fishing, or shopping at the boutique stores, dine at chef-helmed restaurants or salt-of-the-earth cafes.


02 RED Mountain Resort: Unspoiled winter bliss

RED Mountain Resort has a vast, skiable area, a variety of runs, and a coveted status as a top destination for powder enthusiasts. The resort lures thousands of winter sports fanatics from across the globe. Between Red Mountain and Granite Mountain, folks have over 83 runs to choose from, and it's not just downhill skiers and snowboarders who delight in the conditions. Snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, and snowshoers can access four other peaks and enjoy hours of adventure too.

03 A history of adventure: RED's storied past

Western Canada's oldest ski resort can trace its origin to the late 19th-century gold rush that attracted miners from Scandinavia. These miners were accustomed to snow and mountains, knew a thing or two about skiing, and formed the Rossland Ski Club. Ever since then, people have been racing down Red Mountain, in competition or for the pure thrill of it. A lodge and the first chairlift were built in the 1940s, and by the 1960s, Red Mountain hosted its first World Cup, won by local Nancy Greene. When the club recognized that more capital was necessary to maintain the facilities, they sold the ski area in 1989. By 2020, RED Mountain made the top 10 in North America for skiable acreage.

04 Skiing and snowboarding at RED

Red has earned itself major clout for its powder and the extreme riding possible on its peaks. With 1585 acres of pistes, you're covered no matter how skilled you are, but the terrain favors those comfortable on the slopes. Around 18% are classified as Easy, 31% as intermediate, 23% as Advanced, and 28% as Experts. Freeriders appreciate the uncrowded runs (although this may change with time), and the tree skiing is a cut above the rest. With 360-degree descents, wide-open groomers, a terrain park, and a 2,919-foot vertical drop, and incredible vistas, it's hard not to love Red Mountain.

05 Summer thrills: Mountain biking and more

Rossland isn't short of warm weather excitement. The town is home to arguably the best MTB trails in the country. The Dewdney Trail offers a lightning-fast 3,000-foot descent, but family-friendly trails are plentiful, too. If you prefer hiking, the Railgrade on the town's southside is a gentle introduction to the trails, and you can look out for old painted ads on the rocks along the way. Golf devotees have a course for every day of the week, and each one takes advantage of the region's surplus natural beauty. You'll find a Les Furber signature course right in Rossland. Enjoy paddling? You can go white water rafting or kayaking in the Columbia River.

06 Slopeside accommodations: Stay in style

RED Mountain Resort's real estate has every ski-lover in mind. Slalom Creek features 2,3, or 4-bedroom apartments, and the Constella Cabins sleep up to five adults and are available for a night or two of early access to the mountain. Nowhere Special is a cozy hostel with wheelchair-accessible units, and The Josie has been named Canada's Best Ski Boutique Hotel for its service and charm. Silver Tip is great for small families and features a private deck and hot tub, and White Wolf's four-bedroom cabins are fab for big groups.

07 Culinary delights: Rossland's dining scene

The Velvet Restaurant in The Josie Hotel is headed by Marc-Andre Choquette, a chef with years of experience in some of Van City's best eat-out spots. It's one of the best places to eat in the Kootenays, and the menu is packed with seasonal, mostly French-influenced food. Sample the French onion soup, stuffed ravioli, and the sensational cherry clafoutis for dessert. Also at Red Mountain, Rafter's Lounge is the go-to place for après ski appetizers and kid-friendly dishes. In Rossland, you'll love Idgies with its garlic-forward fare, Alpine Grind for coffee, and The Flying Steamshovel for pub grub.

08 Family fun: Activities for all ages

If you're looking for activities for children, the summer camps and programming at Rossland Museum and Discovery Center should do a fine job of entertaining kids between 2 and 12. Take the family to watch a Trail Smoke Eaters hockey game or go five-pin bowling at the Glenmerry Bowling Alley. There's public skating at the Rossland Arena, or splurge on tandem paragliding for that adrenaline rush—family members between 80 and 250 lbs are welcome. Kids can also splash about at the Gyro Park in Trail.

09 Into the wild: Exploring the great outdoors

Rossland is close to some gorgeous provincial parks for recreation. At Nancy Greene Provincial Park, you'll have opportunities to see mule deer and black bears. Go swimming at Champion Lakes Provincial Park (3rd Lake has warm water), and imagine what life was like when the Old Growth Forest was not so old. Christina Lake has a family-friendly sandy beach with a shallow bathing area.

10 E8 Jvents and entertainment: Rossland's lively calendar

The quirky Rossland Winter Carnival is an annual event in January, which has been a staple on the calendar for over a hundred years. It's a must-see, with ice sculptures, tobogganing, fire spinners, a variety show, Blizzard Music Fest, and much more. In summer, the Miners Hall hosts Gold Fever Follies, a live musical theater show. Wheels n' Reels combines mountain biking with film appreciation, and Golden City Days in September is another fav with families.

11 Off the beaten path: Unique Rossland experiences

Beginners to cross-country skiing who also happen to be foodies will want to bookmark Le Petit Fromage Ski & Snowshoe Tours at Black Jack Ski Club. This unique experience begins with a primer about the sport and gentle skiing for just over a mile, and ends with an ooey gooey three-course fondue dinner in a remote cabin. Yum! The more active may want to sign up for the long-running Broken Goat ultramarathon, which also offers shorter chartered options and a kids' route—it's challenging, idyllic, and memorable.

12 The art of relaxation: Spas and wellness

Do your aching post-adventure muscles need attention? SpaTerre at The Josie Hotel provides a range of treatments to soothe your body, including cedar barrel saunas with delicious temperatures at odds with the wintry views. If you're in the mood for a yoga or pilates session, Eternity Pilates Studio and Madhu Collective in Rossland are popular. You can head to Trail for acupuncture at Pine and Needle or take a day trip to dip your grateful limbs in Ainsworth Hot Springs.

13 Shop local: Rossland's retail offerings

Head for Columbia Avenue, and you'll be able to procure all manner of goods, from sports apparel to artisanal chocolates at Mountain Nugget Chocolate Co. Pick up handmade gifts at The Cellar, which has a well-curated selection from local makers, or high-quality shoes suitable for a mountain lifestyle at Red Pair. Be sure to stop by the weekly farmers' market too if you're in town.

14 Learning the slopes: Ski and snowboard schools

RED Mountain Resort's Fall Line Ski and Snowboard School helps newbies gain confidence regardless of age. The school doesn't just train complete newcomers to these sports—even those with experience can stand to learn some new tips and tricks to conquer the slopes, and men or women who want to become instructors can get their certification here as well. In addition, the RASP program makes winter sports accessible to individuals with various disabilities.

15 Planning your trip: Tips and tricks

View of the Kootenay sea inversion clouds over valley from the Kootenay Columbia view point in Rossland, British Columbia, Canada.

Winter sports fans will find February and March to be the best months to visit. If you're in the U.S. and want a getaway, fly into Spokane, WA, and take the daily ski shuttle to RED Mountain Resort, or rent a car and drive for 2.5 easy and scenic hours. Canadians can do this too, or fly into local airports at Castlegar (only from Vancouver, and factor in delays), Trail, Cranbrook, and Kelowna. Driving from Van City and Calgary takes 7 hours. In terms of accommodation, you don't have to stay at RED Mountain Resort. There's Prestige Mountain Resort in Rossland, too.


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