Drive time from Calgary: Approximately eight hours
The oldest resort in Western Canada, famous for being the formative hill of legendary Olympian Nancy Greene, has expanded its terrain by more than 30 per cent in the past decade. The resort gained an entire new peak (Grey Mountain) in 2013, a 200-acre terrain expansion with $10-per-run cat-skiing in 2014, and a lift and 300 more acres in 2019. With these expansions, Red is now the third-largest ski area in B.C.
The biggest surprise for new visitors will probably be the lack of other skiers — waiting for a chair is rare. Red is a five-minute drive from the postcard-cute town of Rossland, located in the middle of the West Kootenays, and is just out of the way enough to fly under the tourist radar. In fact, if locals come and see there’s a lift line, they’ll turn around and go home, according to longtime snow host, Mike Ramsey.
Even on weekend days, there are usually only about 1,200 skiers shredding up Red’s 3,850 acres of tree runs, steeps and mogul fields that pimple the face of the original namesake mountain, which hosted Canada’s first downhill ski race in 1897. There are plenty of less-advanced runs, too, including groomed cruisers and gentle glades on neighbouring Granite Mountain’s sunny south side.
Indeed, what endears Red to riders — besides the regular dumps of powder and the absence of crowds — is its variety of terrain. With 119 runs, you could ski here for a week and never take the same run twice.
The slopes may be empty, but Rafters, the hopping après-ski bar (basically the attic of the day lodge), will probably be packed. It’s worth calling it a day before last lift to grab a table, order a pint of B.C. craft beer, and kick-start muscle-relaxation mode.
From Rafters, it’s mere steps to The Josie, a slope-side boutique hotel whose ski valet will whisk your planks away so you can make tracks to the cedar barrel sauna. Following that, a delicious dinner at The Velvet Restaurant and Lounge — now helmed by Takashi Harada, who moved to The Josie from the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge — is a fantastic way to end the day.