Red Mountain is located near the town of Rossland in British Columbia, Canada. It is only a few kilometres from the US border and the state of Washington.
Red Mountain is a bit hick, a bit back country, and a little bit rickety. Some of the chairlifts could do with an upgrade. But that's the point of Red Mountain. It's all about the snowboarding and skiing... and it's got some amazing riding to offer.
Red Mountain is cool and mellow, the type of place where people put duct tape on their pants. At Red Mountain, the attitude is much less about looking good than it is about riding some of the freshest powder and most epic terrain in British Columbia.
There are just a few condominiums and no proper town at the base of Red Mountain. The closest town is Rossland, which is about a 5 - 10 minute drive (3km).
Rossland is a very small mountain community with only a few restaurants and a bar in town. In that respect, it is very similar to the neighbouring town of Nelson (76km / one hour drive) which is home to Whitewater ski resort. In fact, these two towns have previously been ranked among the best ski resort towns in North America by ski magazines because of their vibe.
Photo: The town of Rossland - David Heath/Red Mountain
Working at Red Mountains means becoming part of a small community where everyone knows each other. This community is really all about finding fresh powder and hitting the slopes hard - the huge nightlife and big mountain events are found elsewhere in Canada, but not here.
Rossland is not particularly accessible. If you do not have a car, then you can take the Greyhound Bus from Vancouver Trail or Castleguard (Trail is easier). It is roughly a 19 hour trip from Vancouver on the bus. From Trail, you can take the public bus to Red Mountain.
There is no staff bus up to the hill, so it can therefore be handy to have a car if working at Red. Otherwise, a lot of employees hitch up to the hill.
Rossland also has a Winter Free Ride Ski Bus that operates for most of the time Red is open. It is free, you just hop on and it goes around town and up to Red Mountain. You can ride this when you can't hitch up. You can find more info and a schedule at: tourismrossland.com/business-listing/winter-free-ride-ski-bus/
Red Mountain does not have big, open alpine areas and, if you are looking for greens and blues, then you are better off elsewhere. Red Mountain is much more suited seasonal workers looking for advanced terrain.
There is definitely enough terrain here to last an entire season working at Red Mountain if you enjoy steeps and powder. There are some gnarly steeps out the back and great back country terrain allowing you to find fresh lines all day.
On a powder day, seasonal workers end up just lapping the Motherlode chair, the main chair up the hill. Additionally, there is some incredible back country off Mt. Roberts, which is about as true British Columbia back country riding as you get. Remember your avalanche gear if going into the back country.
Another great thing about Red Mountain is that there are not the big long traverses to get out once you've ridden down to get back to the main chair, unlike resorts such as Revelstoke, Fernie and Kicking Horse.
There are basically no crowds at Red Mountain, which means more fresh tracks.
Photo: A view at Red Mountain - Eric Kalacis/Red Mountain
Powder days are amazing at Red. You can find freshies for 3 days after a powder day dump. The weather is similar to other BC resorts, where it can get really cold in December and January, as in down to -30c (-22f).
The season usually runs from mid-December to mid-April.
Red Mountain has a small park for jibbing and doing little kickers and the resort has been making improvements to get the park up to scratch.
But really, Red Mountain is all about the back country and the powder. Most seasonal workers head into the terrain park only if the snow is icy that day.
The first thing to know is that Red Mountain is a worker's union - the only ski resort in Canada with such a structure.
This means Red Mountain automatically re-offers jobs to old staff. It also means there are lots of returning staff and it can be difficult to break into a job at Red Mountain.
On the other hand, being a union, you get paid a bit more at Red. For instructors, they guarantee two hours pay just for showing up unlike other places where you would only get paid if you actually took a class.
The resort starts hiring in mid-October each year - a little later than other operations due to its smaller size. It is best to start applying as soon as possible given the local nature of the resort and the fact that jobs are few and far between.
To apply, you will need to send a CV to Human Resources. This can be done through the online application at www.redresort.com/jobs
Rossland is a small mountain town with local businesses that also look for seasonal staff each winter, including the two restaurants and the bar.
See Jobs Available at Mountain Resorts for a description of ski resort jobs.
Seasonal staff receive discounts at basically every other resort in British Columbia except the RCR resorts (Fernie, Nakiska, Kimberley, Kicking Horse).
This usually means getting one day free at the other resort, and then the second day at half price.
As Red Mountain is a very local resort, most of the staff are Canadians. Foreign staff generally comprise a few Kiwis, Australians and British.
Photo: Front side terrain at Red Mountain, from above - Eric Kalacis/Red Mountain
There is no staff accommodation offered at Red Mountain.
When you get a job, you will need to talk to the boss of your department. He or she will usually be able to help you find a place to rent in Rossland. While looking for a place to rent, you can stay at the hostel in Rossland which is clean and quiet.
Everywhere in Rossland is within walking distance. The town is divided into upper and lower Rossland, of which upper Rossland is a little more convenient as it is closer to the supermarket and the centre of town.
The town of Trail is a bit further out and is another option for seasonal employees who want an even quieter season. However, living in Trail is more difficult and you would need a car to do so given there is no staff bus to Red Mountain to get you to work. Also, most of the resort staff live in Rossland as that is where the Red community is centred.
If looking for a share house, you can find places between $275 - $350 per room, per month. If you are looking at single bedroom places, you can expect to pay $400 a month upwards.
Photo: Trails at Red Mountain - Huey/Red Mountain
As the nightlife in Rossland is not big at all, there are usually lots of house parties each season which can be a lot of fun. But don't come to work at Rossland if you are looking to party every night. The town of Rossland is very quiet and the bars are not pumping even on the busiest nights.
Among seasonal workers, The Steamshovel is popular, as is The Royal - an old veteran's pub. Seasonal employees also like to cross the US border occasionally for Taco Tuesday.
Lots of couples go to Rossland for a more relaxed season and everyone knows everyone when you go out.