On February 15, 1896, a group of skiers gathered at the top of Red Mountain for a race.
It must have seemed a long way down to the townsite, but Norwegian mining engineer Olaus Jeldness, the race's organizer and winner, was not fazed. Jeldness, along with other Scandinavian miners, had brought both experience and passion for snow sports when they arrived in the mountains of the Kootenay Rockies region.
Rossland Ski Club/Red Mountain Ski Club
The Rossland Ski Club went on to organize other events during the early 20th century, but it was not until the 1930s that infrastructure was built on Red Mountain. In keeping with the nature of the sport in those days, a ski jump was constructed in 1934, and a gas powered rope-tow was added a few years later.
In 1947, the Red Mountain Ski Club was formed, and promptly replaced the rope-tow with the first chairlift in western Canada. The day-lodge, still used today, was built in the 1950s. More lifts followed, and in 1968, the club hosted the first World Cup race on Canadian snow. Local skier Nancy Greene won her second World Cup title at this event.
Red Mountain continued to be managed by the club until financial pressures forced the sale of the mountain in 1988. Improvements to facilities followed, and the resort continued to grow at a moderate pace.
In 2004, the resort was placed under new ownership, and the Red Mountain Ventures master plan was created – calling for up to 1,400 new dwelling units on the mountain. Thus far, several condominium projects have been completed, a new high-speed quad chair has been installed, a terrain park has been built, and improvements have been made to the beginner terrain.