Skiers were eager to hit the slopes on opening day at Red Mountain and were rewarded with great conditions.
Chase Eagleton, Ryder Eagleton and Xander Banes were so excited to be the first up the chair this year that they spent the night at Red on Friday. They arrived at 7:30 p.m. and were up and raring to go by 7:13 a.m on Saturday, Dec. 12.
Asked how excited they were for the first run of the season, Chase and Xander said, “Really pumped!”
They were looking forward to doing every run on the mountain, and planned to start off with Roots, a double black diamond run.
The boys were joined by June Campbell, who has been skiing at Red for 40 years.
Campbell planned to start her day on Silverlode runs, “to break the old legs in.”
Don Thompson, general manager at Red Mountain, was pleased with the start to the season and with the snow pack for opening day.
“Conditions are good. They’re a little bit beyond early season and that [temperature] inversion that we had not long ago actually set up the mountain so that the snow pack is very, very solid,” he said.
Grooming went well on opening day and Thompson said they had more runs groomed for opening day this year than last.
Red Mountain has already gotten over three feet of snow this December, and the snow depth at the top of Granite Mountain was 133cm Saturday morning, with fresh snow beginning to fall right as the hill opened.
The great conditions may have contributed to the great turn out, with a long line of people waiting for the Silverlode Chair to start up at 9 a.m.
“Best in many years,” Thompson said of the turnout. “They’re excited about skiing for one, but there’s definitely some pent up desire to go out.”
Thompson said that Red Mountain will be holding a number of special events throughout the season, including skiing with Santa on Christmas Day, and will also be home to a number of races.
“There’s a lot of races. There’s the Canadian Open, the Junior Championships,” he said. “There’s also a college free ski program.”
Rossland residents still have until Monday, Dec. 21 to get their Kootenay Locals Only cards.
“Check it out and don’t hesitate,” said Matt Henry, director of sales. “It’s the best conditions we’ve had in a long time.”