A deluge of snow and media attention have given the Rossland accommodation industry its best month ever in the seven-year history of Tourism Rossland.
February broke all records for total accommodation revenue in the city as $568,390 dollars rolled through the tills of the city’s hotels, motels, bed and breakfast’s and condominiums.
The previous month saw the record for accommodation revenue—$492,000 in February of 2006—broken at $526,212.
Tourism Rossland’s executive director, Deanne Stevens, said the 2013 numbers compared to the years previous really stand out and illustrate what a great year the city had.
She pointed to the announcement of the opening of cat skiing at Red Mountain Resort, combined with a high profile story in the New York Times—ranking Rossland as the eighth among the newspaper’s 46 places to go—and winning the Powder Magazine’s Ski Town Throwdown along with Nelson’s Whitewater Ski Resort as the best ski town in North America.
“It was a combination of really great news, great snow and then a lot of attention in the press this year,” Stevens said. “The area has been teetering on the edge of being really strong for a number of years and we were close.”
March is expected to be near the record as well, she said, but the numbers aren’t tabulated.
In January many people came and stayed in the city for the Winter Carnival, which is gaining some measure of fame outside of the borders of the West Kootenay.
The exposure wasn’t by accident. Stevens, along with Red Mountain, Big Red Cats, Canadian Ski Quest and Kootenay Rockies Tourism attended nearly one dozen tourism industry trade shows around the world to promote the area and the then planned lift and terrain expansion onto Grey Mountain at Red Mountain Resort.
“Went to all the different ski shows and having something new to talk about (like Grey expansion) got their attention and that attention got us exposure in the New York Times,” said Stevens. “It’s been so good for the entire community to build on that.”
Combined with the new look of the downtown a lot of people are feeling “very optimistic about going forward in the future, she said.
In one week the promotional tour begins anew with a trio of service providers—Red, Big Red Cats and Canadian Ski Quest—joining Tourism Rossland and traveling to the Australia ski shows in Sydney and Melbourne.
Tourism Rossland is Rossland’s Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) and works collaboratively with input from all Rossland tourism stakeholders.
As a registered non-profit society, Tourism works in a fair and unbiased manner to grow Rossland’s year round tourism economy within the context of the community’s vision and values.
On the horizon
The next winter is also shaping up to be a big one with two major snow events already planned for the year, with a possible big summer one.
In December Black Jack has been awarded a “massive” race in a NorAm qualifier for Winter Olympics.
“It’s a big, high profile race that will help, and continue to remind people this is a great cross country destination,” said Stevens.
Red Mountain racers should also be getting another big event in March, a follow up to the U16 provincial championships they hosted last March. These events have a massive effect on the local economy, said Stevens, with as much $500,000 being injected in some cases.
Tourism Rossland is also bidding on a big cross country mountain biking event for 2014.
In the article written by Christopher Solomon in the New York Times, Rossland was deemed to be “joining the big leagues,” due to the announcement of the mountain’s 1,000-acre expansion, which began last summer.
“With a new lodge and the first on-hill accommodations added in the last few years, this local legend is ready to step out into the spotlight,” wrote Christopher Solomon.
For the third year in a row the Times has put Red Mountain in its Sunday travel pages, also rating it as one of the top three ski areas in North America for advanced skiers in 2012.