Time to wrap up the winder season. Back in Feburary we decided to explore some new place we haven't been before. After weighting our options we agreed to plan another snowboarding trip (which also turned out to be our last one for the season). The decision was between a few places but I ended up deciding on RED Moutain, which is in the South-East of BC, about 8 hours of driving from Vancouver. From the pictures and videos it looks like a great mountain and we've never been that far East of BC before, so we were getting very exited about the trip.
Drive East - Apex Mountain
Since we wanted to start on a Thursday after work we had to split the drive to get there up and spend the first night along the way. The great idea I got was to stay in Keremeos for the night and then go to Apex Mountain the next day. This way the drive would be a lot more managable and we can explore two mountains instead of one.
After a good full day of snowboarding we were ready to move on so we don't arrive too late in Rossland where Red Mountain and our hotel is.
Overall the drive was really nice and it was interesting to see the landscape change so much on our drive there. The only bad part were the last kilometers down the 3B since it started snowing heavily and the road was not fully cleared. I got flashbacks to our drive to Kicking Horse in January and continued slowly until we arrived at night.
We were staying at the Ram's Head Inn for two nights, a lovely hotel with a lot of character, great staff and some great amenities (like an outdoor hot tub) as well as being in walking distance to the ski lift. For the night we needed some dinner though, so we went across the street to the Velvet Restaurant, which has a beautiful atmosphere and is situated right next to the ski tracks, so you can watch the groomers doing their work.
Day 1 - RED Mountain
After a good night of rest the fun started and we were in for a surprise.. I started like crazy overnight and we had 20+ cm of new snow overnight, which was incredible. I think this were the best conditions I ever snowboarded in, even regular tracks had deep powder. JJ was not feeling well this day, but she still made it trough like a trooper. I was also feeling a bit guilty since I was telling her about three times that it would be the last run now.
After a full day of fun we head back to the hotel for some hot-tubbing and relaxing. At night we were in for a special treat because Martin, the owner of the Ram's Head was organizing one of his regular hangouts in the back. There he has his saloon and a fire barrel to keep warm in the freezing temperatures. Over drinks we chatted with the locals and met some great people. Martin was originally from Sweden but he gets cold easily (compared to other Scandinavians, no us warm-weather Vancouverites). He opened the Ram's Head 10 years ago and put some hard work in over the years. Oh, and he LOVES beer.
Day 2 - RED Mountain
After a fun night we were ready to head out into the snow again. After chatting with Martin and his firend Murph the night before they invited us to come along for the day so they could show us some of the hidden gems on the mountain, which were were incredible grateful for. What was interesting was tht they called some of the gladed areas "Japanese forest" because of their similarities.
Again the second day was great. Martin showed us some great locations. The best was Mt Kirkup, which requires some walking but gives access to untouched terrain. We stayed here for most of the day and at the end we got a special treat by taking the snowcat to go all the way in it to a dropoff point for the perfect ride down. It costs $10 extra per person, but it's a fun experience and you get access to great terrain, so it was worth it for us.
Another great person we met the night before was Fletcher Quince. He told us his incredible story on how he was riding though Rossland on his motorcycle and spotted this historic but run down building. It turned out to be the Bank of Montreal build in 1899 back in time when the gold rush was still going on in the area and Rossland was a booming mining center in Canada. The designer of the building was the provincially well-known architect, Francis Rattenbury who also designed the Vancouver Art Gallery and the British Columbia Parliament Buildings in Victoria. Over the next years he set himself the goal to restore the building and bring it back to its former glory, even under much personal sacrifice (Read more here). So before we left Rossland we really wanted to check out his gallery, which was amazing. He learned a lot of the skills reqired for building restoration from scratch and is now running for council. What a guy.
Once that was done it was time to say goodbye and head back home, as we had a long 8 hour drive ahead of us.
We enjoyed our trip so much, we'll be back for sure!