As the Bull Wheel Turns: Red, White & True |

As the Bull Wheel Turns: Red, White & True

Curtis Fong
"The Guy From Tahoe"

There isn’t many other resorts that offer incredible skiing and riding on the British Columbia Powder Highway than Red Mountain and Whitewater.

I have skied Whistler -Blackcomb, Lake Louise, Sunshine, Norquay, Sun Peaks, Kimberley and Fernie in the Kootenay Rockies, but never heard of Red Mountain or Whitewater Resorts, but I got a chance during the Western Region of the North American Snowsports Journalists Association’s annual Western Winter Summit to ski the two Canadien resorts this week.

Annual winter road trips to ski destinations have been my passion and method of madness for over 15 years. My long time buddy, Dan Giesin, and I hit the road last Thursday morning en route to Red Mountain in Rossland, British Columbia. The journey north on NV Hwy 95 from Winnemucca into Idaho and Oregon, is always a nice drive with wide open spaces and beautiful mountain ranges, but this time the scenery was different as there was very little snow capping these peaks.

The next morning we continued north, eventually crossing the US/Canadian border. Just a few miles further we arrived at Red Mountain Resort in Rossland.

Did I mention that there has been no lack of snow in this region of Canada this year? They average 300 inches a year and there was plenty of fresh snow for all to enjoy.

That evening we were shuttled into Rossland where they hosting their 115th Annual Winter Carnival. A live DJ was whipping up the crowd at the outdoor ice bar & beer gardens complete with fire dancers while across the street, a rails jam was going on.

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The next morning I headed to the Winter Carnival, where on this morning they had their annual Sammy Samuelson bobsled race down the sloping streets. This was an incredibly interesting event to watch, as 4-person teams launched homemade bobsleds and themselves down the nearly one mile course.

There were a variety of different bobsled designs from converted snowmobiles on skis to professionally designed aluminum aero dynamic sleds, to some made of wood and nailed together. The teams wore costumes or uniforms, and really made for a fun and colorful event. The only rules were that the bob sleds had to be able to steer as there were several curves and turns and it had to have brakes to stop… oh yeah, the teams had to wear helmets as well. One other “unofficial rule” was that the teams had to drink beer before their run to release organizers of the liability if the sled was to crash.

Rossland is a historic gold mining town and named after Ross Thompson when he arrived at this Trail Creek Mining Camp in 1891. Just like the gold rush in California, thousands of fortune seekers poured into the area, which became one of the most prosperous and largest mining operations in western Canada. This is a great city to visit not only for its history but also for the friendly and inviting folks that make it their home.

I took my first turns on Red Mountain that mid morning off the Silverlode Chair and cruised down a nicely groomed Blue Run, properly named Blue Bird. “Am I truly skiing again?” I kept asking myself. This was my second day on skis and the Anton Active Suspension Skis worked as they have been designed to absorb anything on the surface and to carve smooth turns from tip to tail. The easiest turning and most stable yet comfortable skis to get back on the mountain with, considering my newly installed hip.

The exhilaration of the wind in my face and being able to chose where to turn and take up the entire width of the run flowing back and forth effortlessly. Believe me, I’m nowhere back to my normal style of skiing and consider myself still a work in progress, but I am on my way back!