Red Lifts to Start Turning This Friday

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
December 18th, 2008

The first major snowfall of the season hit the Kootenays last week with up to forty centimetres being reported at higher elevations. While it’s not out of the norm for winter storm cycles to get fired up this late into December, the big snowfall has cranked up the itch to strap on skis and snowboards and get out on the local mountains. Checking in with some long time locals and getting their take on the late snowfall over a few beers, there was little concern that snow wouldn’t come eventually. In 2002, the first significant snowfall down to the valley bottoms didn’t come until Christmas Eve. Red Mountain will be kicking off its season this Friday with the Silverlode lift and runs opening to the public two weeks after the projected opening date. Fingers are crossed at the mountain and around town that snowfalls coming this weekend might help get the upper mountain open soon for skiing as well. “We’re opening up the Silverlode this Friday and that will be open until we receive more snow and then we can judge from there when we can open the rest of the lifts and the entire mountain,” said Red’s Marketing Manager Lara Wiseman. “It looks like a big storm is coming through over the next few days so hopefully we’ll be getting a lot of snow this weekend and opening more terrain soon.” Staff at the resort have been hired and trained for the past several weeks and are anxious to get into action with the lifts beginning to turn shortly. “We’re all super excited. We’re ready for it to come but we’re happy to at least open up Silverlode this Friday and get some sliding in on the snow,” said Wiseman. Currently there is an alpine base of just over a half meter on the upper mountain, which is still a few storms short of the base depth required to open Red’s legendary terrain. The word from Red’s patrol manager is that there is currently 54 centimetres at the Paradise Lodge level and that although the mountain has opened at 96 centimetres before, the snow up there now is low density cold snow which doesn’t provide a solid base to bury the rocks and shrubs. Getting a jump on the other ski hills in our area, Whitewater was first out of the gate last Saturday opening with limited terrain off the Silverking lift. Mother Nature and some uncooperative power lines didn’t seem to be quite ready for the opening, however, with the lifts shut back down since Sunday. “It was a great opening except that we had our battles with Fortis and we had power interruptions throughout the day on Saturday,” explained Whitewater’s Marketing Manager Anne Pigeon. “On Saturday night the power went out at 10:00 pm and didn’t come back on until 5:00 am. Unfortunately at that point we had a lot of frozen pipes. Since then we’ve gotten the gloves on, done the repairs, cleaned up the damage and now we’ll hit the reset button and start it up again this Thursday”. With snowfall in the forecast this weekend, Whitewater is looking to continue to open more terrain in the coming days. “We’re expecting 10-15 centimetres tonight [Wednesday]. We’re hoping to get the summit lift open in the next couple of days. It’s as good as can be expected out there and just the Silverking side is open for now.” If you’re in need of a snow fix, or just want to get out the gear and go for a slide on some snow, check out Red and Whitewater this weekend for a first taste of the winter to come. You may also want to consider making a few sacrifices to Ullr, doing a snow dance, burning some skis or whatever your particular method of encouraging Mother Nature to bring us the goods may be.

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