Red Mountain Racers look to extend season in Rossland

Red Mountain could be an early season ski training destination if Red Mountain Racers see their plan through.

Red Mountain Racers asked for support from Rossland council to update a 2005 study on snowmaking on Red Mountain (pictured).

Red Mountain could be an early season ski training destination if Red Mountain Racers see their plan through. The Racers’ organization appeared in council Tuesday to ask for council’s support to do a snowmaking study for Red.

Philip Patterson, Red Mountain Racers head coach, said in the last 17 years coaching at Red Resort, his task has been to organize and take racers to places like Mount Nakiska, Mount Norquai and Mount Hood for early season training. That’s mainly because they need to find snow to start training prior to training being available around Rossland.

While there, he said they share lanes with racers from all over North America and Europe.

“When I was racing throughout the 80s and 90s, we were holding high level races, national championships and NorAm races (one level below world cup) pretty much on a yearly basis through the mountain here,” Patterson said.

“What we are finding today in alpine racing is racing is starting in early December, kids are in races at that time, which means they basically have to get training up and done before they hit December.”

Patterson said on his travels, he’s seen a need for more early season training venues.

“There’s quite a bit of demand, and often a lack of resources for it,” Patterson said. “There’s one lane for training and often 130, 140 people fighting for it. Every place I go to fills up pretty quickly.”

Patterson said they were looking for support from the City of Rossland to upgrade the 2005 engineering study they did on snowmaking. He expected the study would cost $10,000 and would look at advancements that have gone on in the snowmaking world since that time and water supply options available and complete our whole training facility design.

The support helps the organization as they look for funds.

Don Stevens, president of Red Mountain Racers and former member since the age of six, said he grew up ski racing. Stevens was a member of the B.C. and national ski teams.

“I’ve skied in 110 different ski areas in 10 different countries in the world it gives me a little bit of insight to the unique venue that we have here at Red Mountain,” Stevens said.

He said the venue is unique in that the racers descend to the bottom where the lodge is, it makes it easy to have two separate races on at the same time.

“We’ve run one down Backtrail and one down Face of Red, which is a great venue for teams that come here to race as well as coaching, because they can look and stand at the bottom and see two races at the same time,” he said.

He added that it could also help Red Resort to guarantee a good Christmas season.

Last year was a tough snow year,” he said of the snow conditions, adding that the plan would bring in a lot of kids racing, which means a lot more businesses in hotels and around town.

It would guarantee a better quality base on Red and could bring in high level races.

“We’re not able to hold those races anymore due to the fact that our conditions are variable, “he said.

Council voted unanimously to put a letter of support behind them right after the delegation, something council can do if all the members agree.