By Ida Koric, Rossland News
All of the Kootenay children must have been really, really good this year, because Christmas is coming early, and Santa is bringing 22 brand new runs and nearly 1,000 acres of skiable terrain to Red Mountain Resort.
If the old-timers are right about a bomber huckleberry crop meaning a heavy winter is in store, then this ski season is shaping up to be the stuff of legends.
On Oct. 9, choppers were busy hauling lift towers up Grey Mountain, where construction is on schedule for the new quad chair lift to be humming for the Dec. 14 opening.
Grey, like Granite Mountain, will feature runs off of all sides, with the majority of new trails being intermediate, and a series of expert chutes off of the north face.
A single green run winds its way down the ridge to meet up with Rino’s, then branches off to the base of the Grey chair.
Don Thompson, vice-president of operations and development, had a difficult time predicting which run will become a local favourite.
“Grey is going to feature whole-mountain skiing. It’s a natural playground with interesting topography,” Thompson said.
When pressed, however, the anticipatory grin could be heard in his voice.
“Former cat run number seven, now called ‘Taz,’ has some amazing fall lines, and a gorgeous ridge route to get there,” he explained. “Then there’s ‘EZ Rider’ (run number four), which has some very fun trees along it.”
A grab-n-go snack shack will be constructed at the base of the chair as well. The menu is yet to be finalized, but Brats and hot drinks are a sure bet.
The construction of a lift on Grey Mountain doesn’t mean the end of the popular cat run introduced last year. For the upcoming season, skiers can still access backcountry terrain for $10, but now in the White Wolf area of the range.
The expansion puts Red Mountain in the top 20 in North America in lift-accessed terrain, and representatives from the hill have been working to get the word out.
The ski film Way of Life has been touring the continent since late September, with Red Mountain staffers tagging along to promote the resort at all viewings within an eight-hour travel radius.
“TGR is the biggest ski film production company in the world,” stated Nicole Briggs, marketing and events manager.
“It is a fabulous opportunity to speak directly to our key market. The portion of the film that was shot on Red is awesome, and I think it’s great to have the mountain there to connect to the audience.”
The production arrives at Red Mountain on Nov. 7, featuring an after party at Rafters.
Getting the worm
In order to show their appreciation for local shredders, Red is featuring a new bargain pass for the 2013-2014 season.
Red’s Big Deal 3-Pack is a pass for three days of skiing (can be non-consecutive), with no black-out dates.
The resort guarantees that a better deal cannot be found anywhere, and it is available strictly to skiers from nearby British Columbian communities.
The Big Deal pass must be purchased by Dec. 20, with a limit of three per person. Adults pay $149, while youth passes are $120, juniors are $75, and senior passes are priced at $97.
Applications are available at the customer service desk at Red Resort, and mountain representatives will be at a variety of local events, including various malls, the Royal Theatre and festivals, handing out exclusive web passwords for purchasing the pass on-line.
This year, with Red Mountain Resort’s expansion onto Grey Mountain, downhill skiers will have almost 1,000 new acres of mountain.
The Grey expansion will add 22 new ski runs and bring the total skiable terrain at the resort to 2,787 acres, which puts it on par with world class resorts such as Breckenridge, Colorado and Jackson Hole, Wyoming in terms of area.
The increased acreage ranks Red in the top eight ski hills in Canada and in the top 20 in all North America.
The $10 cat skiing will be continued this year but will be carrying skiers to another area of the property not serviced by the lift.
This year the cat will be heading into the White Wolf area across the valley from the Paradise day lodge.
Day ticket prices will be going up from $66 to $72 but there will be a new locals ticket package this year called the Big Deal three-pack: three day tickets for $149.
The locals’ deal won’t be sold online through the Red Mountain website or at the ticket window, but through various community events in Rossland, Trail, Castlegar and Nelson.
The tickets will be on sale until Dec. 24.
There will be a limited number of three-pack deals—replacing the Vertical Value card. Three-packs for youths will sell for $120 and juniors will go for $75.