Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Returning to Red Mountain Ski Resort was ski down memory lane

 by Keith and Heather Nicol
Michael on top of Granite Mtn

   In late February, 2018 my son and I took a road trip along the Powder Highway to check out Red Mountain and do some cat skiing at Valhalla Powdercats. It had been roughly 50 years since I had skied at Red Mountain and it certainly has changed. When we skied there in 1968 there was a single chair running up Red Mountain and a double extending to the top of Granite Mountain.  There was also a poma lift on the Red Mountain side.  We were there the winter that Nancy Greene won Olympic Gold and Silver at the Grenoble Olympics in 1968 and since Nancy’s home mountain was Red Mountain there was a buzz in the air. There was also a World Cup race in the spring of 1968 at Red Mountain and I recall Jean Claude Killy arrived in a helicopter took his runs and then took off again. Nancy Greene won the Giant Slalom race at Red Mountain before 7000 cheering fans and this was the first World Cup race to be held in Canada!!
Michael checking out the powder on the T bar slope

   Fast forward to the winter of 2018 and it was time to take a return trip to Red Mountain and show my son Michael where we used to ski 50 years ago on wooden skis with screw edges with bear trap non releasable bindings. When we arrived on Saturday, Feb 24 it was sunny and the lift lines were stretched out well before the chairlifts started turning.  We arrived just after 9:00 am and after getting our tickets we opted for the shortest lift line which was at the T bar. That turned out to be a good choice since we had several runs through nice powder snow that had fallen in the last 48 hours. All with no lineups!  After 4 laps on the t-bars we noted that the lift line for the Red Mountain chairlift had diminished so we did several runs on it before turning our attention to Granite and Grey Mountain. There are now 4 ski lifts on this side – 3 on Granite Mountain and 1 on Grey Mountain which was a big change from 50 years ago. We found the snow less deep on this side and mostly skied out and after a few runs here exploring this area we returned to Red Mountain and took a final few runs down the face of Red. This is where the Giant Slalom was set that Nancy Greene raced on and it certainly has not gotten any less challenging.  I can`t imagine skiing it in the equipment of the day back in 1968. We had a post ski beer in ``Rafters`` which has been named one of the best ski bars in Canada by Ski Canada Magazine.  There is a ton of terrain at Red Mountain and we plan to check more of it out on our next visit. For more information see: http://www.redresort.com/   
We found the best snow in the T bar slope

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