Deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies sits the little big town of Rossland. Located in the Monashee Mountains, it was a former gold mining town. Rossland is just about 5 miles (8 kms) from the US and south-eastern British Columbia border. It is only a 2.5 hour drive from Spokane.
What is outstanding about this little nook in the mountains of West Kootenay is that it is a fabulous destination for all snow related sporting activities. The region is blessed with an annual snowfall of about 300 inches (750 cms). It is light, dry and powdery.
The Rossland area offers nearly every grade of slope and trail for enthusiasts (professional and amateur) of hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, downhill skiing, snowboarding and cat-skiing. The diverse, challenging and magnificent terrain is magnet for many other sports fans too including mountain bikers. Of course the main activity is skiing.
The Rossland Ski area comprises of two main summits – Red Mountain and Granite Mountain. The base is 3,888 feet (1,185 metres) above sea level. It has a terrific vertical drop of 2,919 foot (884 metres). There are also superb glade tree skiing and wide-open groomed runs, terrain parks – all of which are easy to access.
Red and Granite Mountains are serviced by four chairlifts and a T-Bar. This affords nearly 4.5 square miles (6.8 square kilometres) of skiable area. Then there are vast skiable areas not serviced by chairlifts. Overall the Rossland Ski Area has more than 10 square miles (17 square kilometres) and 88 runs of for winter sport activities.
A third summit, Grey Mountain, is being expanded and developed. It should be ready for the 2013 season. That means there will be an additional 900 odd acres of ski slopes; a Sno-Cat shuttle and a quad chairlift.
Rossland is the oldest skiing area in North America. Skiing in Rossland has a history that is closely tied up with the Norwegians who came here during the gold rush of the 1890s. Olaus Jeldness, a mining engineer, who came to Rossland in 1896, was responsible for starting and popularising the sport.
The first recorded skiing competitions in Canada were held here. These were held as part of the Winter Carnival, held from as early as 1896 until 1918. The Carnival still takes place every year.
The Rossland and Red Mountain region has been voted as “Best Powder,” “Best Steeps” and among “Top 5 Free Ride Spots.” To cater to all the skiing enthusiasts and just plain holiday makers there are modern and fine ski schools, equipment rentals, free shuttle services, ski inns, cafes, spas and pubs.
Photo Credit: Alarobric