It was a fine day for skiing and boarding on Saturday as powder hounds flocked to Red Mountain Resort for the first day of the season.
Three young men from Castlegar and a fourth from Albuquerque, N.M. were the first up the Silverlode Chair. Noah Kilby, Ben Fogal and Taylor Hunter-Hoglow of Castlegar arrived at Red by 7 a.m. and were joined at the front of the line by American Peter Mares. All four were excited to hit the slopes, and Kilby said he was particularly excited to ski Sara’s Chute — a double black diamond on the far side of Granite Mountain.
Nicole Briggs, marketing and events manager for Red, reported a 105 cm base on opening day, with 160 cm of snow fall and a fresh 10 cm on top. “It’s not quite as much as last year, but it’s still up there,” she said.
“Although we might not have as much snow as we opened with last year, the snow that is up there is skiing really, really well,” said Matt Henry, director of sales, who skied runs the day before opening. “With that melt/freeze we had a couple of weeks ago, the base that’s there is really, really good. So you know, the guests today are going to be pleasantly surprised I think. It’s great skiing up top.”
Grey Mountain Chair was closed for opening day, but all the other chairs were open and 84 per cent of runs were groomed.
So far, pass sales for the 2016-2017 year have set new records.
“We’ve broken previous records,” said Henry. “Pass sales are way up, so it’s encouraging. There’s going to be that many more pass holders on site every day. So yeah, our best ever, I would say.”
And Red Mountain Resort is seeing more and more interest from not only people outside the West Kootenay, but outside the country.
“If anything the new hires are an indication,” said Henry. “Our staff orientation last Thursday, for the first time we focused on new staff — you know, strictly them — and pretty much every hand in the room had never been to Rossland before.”
“And out of the country too,” added Briggs. “Half of them were probably out of the country.”
Briggs also mentioned that Red Chair and the t-bar will be closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for snow making.
“We’re going to make snow over in this area — Legacy Training Centre — and try to fill up that base, and then it will open again from Thursday onwards,” she said.