Rossland’s elders took a second-annual trip up Grey and Granite mountains on Thursday, April 5.
Last year, John Greene organized a snowcat trip for 15 people, inspired by the trip his dad, Bob Greene, made up the mountain in 1990.
That trip was organized by Ritchie Mann, who Greene “blamed” for the entire adventure.
Greene first came up with the idea for a snowcat trip when he was trying to find a way to get Mann up to Sunspot cabin. Though he wasn’t able to find a way to do that, he remembered his father’s trip up Grey Mountain and thought it would be a great way to get Mann back up into the high country.
Mann also came on this year’s trip but was one of the few elders to make the trek a second time. Bark Pistak was the other snowcat veteran on the trip, along with Greene, snowcat driver Troy Colautti and myself.
The route they took was similar to last year: up Grey and past the Grey chair — which was put in after some of the elders had ended their skiing days.
But just like last year the weather was uncooperative. It was snowy with low visibility, so no one got out at the top of Grey.
But this year’s trip also included a stop on the way up to Granite.
Everyone got out at Paradise Lodge to check out the newly renovated structure and to get a cup of coffee.
They were also able to have a look at the portraits of notable Rosslanders put up in the lodge, though some insisted there were important people who contributed to Rossland’s ski culture over the years who were missing.
Once everyone was back in the cat, it headed up to the top of Granite, but — unlike last year — no one got out. Mostly because there wasn’t much to see.
The cat then headed back down the mountain to Yodel Inn, where everyone was welcomed by owner Wake Williams.
Williams had prepared a lunch of hot dogs, veggies, fruit, meat, cheese, chips and other goodies, and the elders sat around the Yodel Inn’s fireplace telling stories while they ate. They shared tales of night skiing, teaching their children to ski and people falling off the lift, but landing mostly uninjured.
Chuck Clarke, who built the Red Shutter Inn out at Red, had his own story of falling off, but winding coming out more or less unscathed.
There were also stories about climbing up the mountain using Red Wonder Wax or skins and spending the night at Yodel Inn before skiing the next day.
Patricia Stevens shared a story about coming up to Yodel Inn the year before the Granite lift went in and skiing down where the lift line had been cut.
“Once you ski here, you can ski anywhere,” was a popular sentiment shared amongst the group.
After lunch, everyone loaded back into the snowcat and returned to the base of the mountain for a group photo.
Greene said he’s already got people who are interested in being included in next year’s trip.
“It looks like it’s going to be an annual thing and Don [Thompson, president of Red Mountain Resort] came up with the proper name for it — it’s the Pioneers of Red Cat Trip,” he said.