Please note: There are text files associated with each day of this trip which supplement the pictures and captions. I'd suggest reading them if you have time, as the pictures and captions are (loosely) based on the main text. A link will be provided at the beginning of each page that is associated with the appropriate text file.
If you wish to read the entire 8 day text before viewing the images click here.
If you wish to first read the text associated with this day click here.
Since most people seem to be unfamiliar with the location of Red Mountain, and British Columbia in general. I've included this map which nicely points out where Red Mountain is located. It is just a few miles north of the U.S. / Canadian border, above the northeast corner of Washington state (Image Obtained from Red Mountain Web Site)
Red Mountain is located just outside (about a mile or two) the city of Rossland (shown in red on the map). A few miles to the east of Rossland is the city of Trail, and north of that is the city of Castlegar which is where we flew in by plane. This map was obtained from the city of Rossland home page.
Here's the plane that flew us into the Castlegar airport. It's a small turbo-prop (Beechcraft model 1900D) that seats 18 passengers. The flight into that airport was amazing due to the mountains that surround the airfield (look behind the plane in the picture to get an idea) and patchy clouds that hid them from view at times. Flights are often canceled at the airport due to weather, so we were very happy to be able to land.
We caught our shuttle from Castlegar airport and it delivered us to our accommodations at Red Mountain. We stayed at the Red Mountain Motel, and the unit came as an efficiency with a kitchen that allowed us to cook our own meals. Eating out was actually not too pricey due to the Canadian dollar, but we still saved by cooking ourselves, and it let us make whatever we wanted. Here's part of the kitchen and dining area in the unit, there was plenty of space even when we had visitors.
In addition to the kitchen, we had two rooms. One room had a double bed and a couch, the other had two double beds. The rooms were connected by a doorway which was kept open in our case to create one big complex. Each section had a bathroom as well, which made things easier (between showering, drying clothes, and other bathroom stuff with five people and guests). The picture here is of James' and Dave's room looking towards the bathroom area.
OK, first thing's first with regard to Red Mountain. Here is a nice image of the Red Mountain / Granite Mountain trails from directly above. As you can see, Granite Mountain (the large white peak to the top right of the image) offers 360 degree skiing which is a great feature (Image obtained from Red Mountain Web Site). However, for some reason they like to show the trail map from the front, so the actual setup of the mountain gets confused as they split open the backside (see next image). I'd actually be better suited if they just made their trail map without splitting it, and showed it from above, since it gives the real perspective on where trails are located. The trails that you see in the lower left region of the image are those on Red Mountain itself, the mountain from which the ski area derives its name.
So here's basically what they did to generate their actual trail map. You can see that they split open the back side of Granite Mountain, and compressed the 360 degrees into around 270 degrees so you can see everything on a flat sheet of paper (see the next two images). This made it more confusing for me since I'm very direction oriented when I think of geography. We all had a bit of a tough time figuring out when we were on the back side of the mountain (Image obtained from Red Mountain Web Site).
Now that Granite Mt. has been split open, here's a nice simple map detailing where the three areas of skiing are: RED MT., PARADISE AREA (located on Granite Mountain), and GRANITE MOUNTAIN. They also label where the BASE LODGE is located. The unnamed peak in the upper left of the picture is Mt. Roberts. It may look as though there are trails on it, but they are actually just slide paths. Mt. Roberts offers some convenient out of bounds skiing possibilities, which you can see more of later in this report. (Image obtained from Red Mountain Web Site).
Now here's Granite Mountain with many of the trails displayed, so you can get an idea of where things are and what the trails are like. If you desire more detailed information on trail names etc., just click on the map and it will take you to the trail map section of the Red Mountain Web Site where you can get specifics (Image obtained from Red Mountain Web Site).
This is what we saw from the front doors of our rooms. The mountain is Red Mountain proper, and the big trail that you see in the middle is known as "Face of Red". In actuality, 97% of our skiing at the area was done at Granite Mountain which is much larger and off to the right (not visible in this picture). The slopes you see here are at a relatively low elevation (base elevation 3788 ft, summit elevation 5208 ft) so they had wetter snow (we stayed up high where the lighter powder was). As you can see, the top of Red is a bit hazy due to clouds, and Granite mountain was unfortunately not visible at all on this day. Stay tuned though, and you will get to see some pictures of Granite. The large building behind the trees at the center of the picture was the main office for the motel, which also served as a ski and recreation shop. The smaller structures to the right are cabins that can also be rented.
ONWARD TO DAY 1 OF SKIING AT RED MOUNTAIN!