With my season of work on the trails is winding up and snow accumulating on the peaks, skiing and the winter ahead is increasingly on my mind.
It’s been quiet summer at Red Mountain Resort. Construction activity on the partially built Josie hotel was conspicuously dormant through the entire 2016 summer construction season, though periodic press releases assure us that everything is proceeding to plan. In marked contrast to the impressive amount achieved the previous summer, there seemed only a minimal amount of clean-up of and improvements to the ski runs, and only a token amount of belated brushing of the ski terrain. The only significant investments seem to have been unavoidable repairs and upgrades to the aging lift infrastructure, and rumors rife in the community speculate that Red’s major investors have turned off the money supply. Despite their challenges, Red have spun their precarious financial situation into the basis for a brazenly hypocritical but remarkably successful crowd funding campaign, “Fight the Man, Own the Mountain”. Offering such a transparently poor deal that I have trouble conceiving why anyone could think otherwise, it’s nevertheless generated an incredible amount of free publicity and over $4.6 million in reservations at last count. In a time where Trump could be President, I guess anything is possible.
After abandoning my own plans to develop a commercial backcountry skiing lodge as un-viable, but still highly motivated to somehow provide accessible and affordable backcountry lodging, I’ve been mulling over what to do next. Now, along with a couple of co-conspirators, I’m in the process of setting up a new non-profit society to plan, fund-raise, construct and operate basic backcountry skiing huts in the region. We’ll be releasing details soon.
I just read that the long dispute over the status of the Glacier Park Lodge has been resolved, and that Canada Parks will now be demolishing the building and redeveloping the site. It was a creepy dive of a motel, but I do have fond memories from back before Roger’s Pass became the busy ski-touring Mecca that it is. My dirt-bag ski-bum friends and I would have the Pass to ourselves, pestering the highway maintenance staff for forecasts, bivying in the heated bathrooms of the Visitor’s Centre, drinking beers with soldiers at the artillery base, poaching the hot-tub at the hotel, and with the highway closed for blasting – trenching the deepest of powder lines through the trees.
It’s snowing wet flakes outside my window right now, with a 40cm base building on top of Granite it won’t be long before we’re sliding on snow.