Standing at a bar, snow pants on, hair dishevelled, goggles icy, I’m waiting for a strong beverage and grinning from toque-covered ear to toque-covered ear. My friend and I have spent the day carving our way through fluffy powder, giggling at the shin-deep snow and wahoo-ing through puffy tumbles downhill. As we sip our apres-ski bevvies, I know we were in for a pinnacle of a weekend, as piqued and adventure-filled as the mountains we slid down hours before.
Our location: Red Mountain Resort, the holy trinity of ski mountains located three kilometres uphill from Rossland. The occasion: a return to snowy Kootenay climes for a few days of kid and adult-friendly winter fun.
A plucky little town located in the mountains behind Trail, B.C. and a stone’s throw from the US border, Rossland’s population is about 3500. Of that population, it seems 99% pledge allegiance to outdoor fun involving mountains and moving fast with a board or two strapped to their feet.
Just west of Trail, Rossland, like many other towns in British Columbia, was founded on the promise of gold and good times. A weekend in Rossland can be defined by excitement, bursting with outdoor fun, punctuated by nightlife, splashes of culture and ubiquitous food and drink. Whether you’re looking for family adventures, a day of carving (with or without wee ones) or a mamas’ night out, this unpretentious corner of British Columbia is the place to visit. Here are seven ways to make merry in Rossland, BC.
Ski or Board three different mountains
With 890 metres of vertical to glide down on any of Red Mountain Resort’s three mountains – Granite, Red or Grey – Red boasts 110 runs and about 750 cm of snow a year. There’s something for every skill level here, whether you want to cruise long, green groomers like Easy Street or rip through the trees on double black diamonds like Hans’ Run. Ski and board lessons abound for children and adults alike. Want to learn to explore the mountain with a pro but without a lesson? Grab a FREE tour from a yellow-jacket wearing local snow host at either 9 am or 12:30 pm to learn about the choicest runs on the mountain.
Pro-tip: If you have a child who is not quite up for an entire day of downhill or x-country fun, then check out the lovely caregivers at the Red Mountain Daycare. Parents can play for all or part of the day on the mountain while littles aged 18 months to 5 years party with other kids in the toy-full, government licensed childcare centre.
There are some moments in life where you don’t mind being spotted in public, a bit sweaty, slightly pungent because your grin glows brighter than your wind burnt cheeks and earthy musk. The minute you’re done skiing or boarding, head to Rafters to joint the rest of the ruddy-cheeked gang for a beverage. Then help your designated driver dig the vehicle out and head downhill a bit more to the Rock Cut pub for a slightly different scene.
Whether you like sushi, Italian, pub grub or fondue there are tonnes of choices in Rossland for dinner, brunch and lunch. After a shower, a dash of makeup and a change into clean, non-ski outfits, we grabbed a delicious and intimate meal in the 10 table eatery Idgie’s on 2nd Avenue. We chose to warm up with their gooey onion soup, baked garlic and brie and shared one of their delicious pasta entries to carb load after a day spent outside. For breakfast, the super kid-friendly Alpine Grind offers everything from pastries to pot pies to frittata best served with strong coffee and a rotating gallery of local art.
Swooshing high-speed down a hill isn’t the only snow sport in town. Rossland has a bunch of different X-Country ski networks nearby including the trails run by the Black Jack Ski Club. Bringing the kiddos? Rent classic or skate-ski gear from the Black Jack Ski club or Gerick Sports in Trail. The best part: little ones under six are free, and there are two warming huts along the trails, perfect for hot cocoa stops and avoiding tired tantrums.
If live music or theatre is what you’re after, Rossland boasts both. Each weekend the Flying Steam Shovel features local, Canadian and the odd international musicians in their dance-friendly bar. The weekend we were visiting, we donned our raddest 80s gear to air guitar along with cover band Val Kilmer and the New Coke. Throughout winter the Rossland Arts Council brings in live performance and music – everything from jazz to improv at the recently revitalised Old Miners Hall.
Explore the Golden Era
The Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre is a fabulous hands-on history experience for the entire family. Located at the junction of Highway 3B and 22, in the same building as the visitor centre, the quaint museum is a fab place to learn more about Ross Thompson, Rossland’s (you guessed it) namesake. The museum is open from Wednesday to Saturday and runs daily youth programs on everything from science to crafts.
Cue the Craft Brews
Like the rest of British Columbia, Rossland has a requisite local craft brewer, the Rossland Beer Company. We visited on a -15C, blustery Saturday night: the tiny bar was full (read: about 28 people and two dogs). With about ten brews to choose from, the five beer taster flights are as affordable as they are delicious at $2 per taster. Outside, housed in a Trillium trailer, The Cahoots Kitchen serves up a rotating menu of tacos delivered to the bar. If you happen to be in Rossland mid-March be sure to check out the Beer Goggles Craft Beer Fest at Red Mountain Resort where more than 15 craft breweries from across B.C. show off their wares.
Have you been to Rossland? What is your favourite way to paint this sweet, Kootenay town red?