ALMA BOARDING | MARJORIE COUTURIER IN KAZAKHSTAN
Marjorie Couturier collects tricks and stacks culture in the unlikely epicentre of snowboarding’s next frontier. Kazakhstan! Riding by Marjo Couturier. Shot in...
“Dude! How was RED?!”
“Man, it was sweet.”
“Oh yeah? Nice. You guys went for a rip with the Rome crew, huh?”
“We did indeed.”
“How’d that go?”
“Where do I start…”
“Uh… try the beginning?”
“Yeah, yeah, OK, we show up and check into the condo. Slopeside epicness. On the deck, hot tub. In the fridge, cold beers. Shark down the Wifi, the network lights up under “Ready2Shred” No joke, that’s how RED rolls. As if, right?! So, slam through emails whatever, hit Rafters. A legendary bar at the base of the mountain, classic, classic Sunday afternoon aprés going down and the place is lit up. Kinda smells like a hockey locker room, but somehow that’s more right than wrong, you know what I’m saying? The Rome crew gathered and rallied in from Spokane, Washington. Spokane is only two hours out. We find them in front of the TV huddled (pun intended) together watching the Superbowl. Our crew is diverse: three Canadians, three Americans, a real Frenchman from France, and a Norwegian so the “Big Game” interest level is varied, to say the least. Eagles win, can’t tell you anything else cause I was catching up and meeting new friends, drinking beers, wings, you know. Good times.
So, an all-time shredding crew is here, Bjorn Leines, Jordan Phillips, Len Jørgensen, Ozzy Henning, and Thomas Delfino. Also along for the ride is Rome’s man of marketing, the prince of pageantry, the one-and-only Matt Stillman. Bringing the video cam from Pennsylvania is Ian Macy. And our keen-eye killer Crispin Cannon is there shooting photos.
Where was I? Yeah, fast-forward, after the game, back at the condo getting hyped for the week, talking about all the times we’re gonna have, blah, blah, blah—Bam! Bjorn’s running for the washroom puking!”
“Hahaha, no way.”
“Ugh, right?! I don’t know if it was a case of BC THC or he was still reeling from a Patriots loss, but he’s the first and last to send it that deep. So in classic Rome fashion, we partied our way into a helluva week.”
“Damn, sounds like a time.”
“It was. It was. Anyways, that’s how it began. It ended with Thomas Delfino sabering a bottle of bubbly with a snowboard. That may have been the first time that’s ever happened. And the middle was non-stop boarding with the boys. No drama, no schedule, embracing everything RED threw at us. Out for a rip, all day, every day.”
By Jesse Fox | Photos Crispin Cannon
RED Mountain is it.
We gravitated to Red for a cluster of reasons. Its proximity to an international airport, the welcoming low-key vibe, and because of its fierce independence. Partly owned by the riders who call it home, RED is operated without the weight of a corporate merger conglomerate. It does as it pleases. Rome has lived this way as well, rider owned since Day 1. We feel at home surrounded by those who share the same values and appreciate the absence of bureaucracy. All just bonuses though. The real reason we’re here: the terrain.
Day 1 we get off the Silverlode Chair, the sun is out and we’re hyped to be boarding. It’s literally a two-minute commute to the next chair up. RED boasts 3,000 vertical feet, with three lift-accessible peaks, we’re nowhere near the top at this point (you gotta get up to get down). Strapped in we cruise “Easy Street” traverse. A truly nothing run, can’t even call it a “run” but its peppered with side hits, banks, and Ozzy Henning is already losing his mind by the time we get to Motherlode Chair. “This is the resort?!” Ozzy screams. “That was the funnest run ever!” Yep. Getting from here-to-there at RED is part of the fun. And that was just a taste. The resort is epic. Hits everywhere, endless terrain, RED even hosts a super-fun park accessed by its own T-Bar. And when the fresh runs low beneath the chairlifts there’re hikeable and splittable lines beggin’ for it up top at Mt. Roberts. Or for only $10 you can kick a lap on RED’s famous in-bounds cat skiing service on Mt. Kirkup. Throughout the week we tour it all. The full meal deal. Day after day RED delivered a tsunami of memorable laps.
Even after riding all day, every day, the dudes still had the desire to put on headlamps and build a hip outside the condos. Ricky Tuckered they’re still sending airs into the night as I watch from the comfort of the hot tub.
The locals may troll us for saying this—get here, stay here, RED Mountain is it. It could very well be the best resort for snowboarding in Canada.
One night, just before dinner, we board the free shuttle headed into Rossland from the base of RED. Face to Face is playing on the bus speakers (respect). I sit down and open a casual pop for the ride down into Whoville and Ozzy’s surprised at my decision to enjoy an adult beverage in said scenario. This practice is not so casual in the States. “We’re allowed to drink beer on here?!” he says. I kinda shrug my shoulders, “Maybe?” Just then the driver walks up from loading snowboards into the back of the bus points at the beer in hand and says, “Hey!” Uh oh. “Make sure you recycle that. There’s a bin at the front.” Ozzy looks at me wide-eyed. “This place is the best!”
Although our driver that eve was relaxed it’s not nearly as wild as it used to be. One hundred twenty years ago Rossland was home to 42 saloons and 21 brothels. Today, the town’s vices are more manageable, and although the gold is gone, what’s left in its wake is still valuable: gourmet dining, great cafes, and friendly locals. Rossland’s vibe is exactly as advertised. Expect flannel, hoodies, an unpretentious scene littered with good beer and free parking. One of those towns where the people who live here may not want me writing about how special it is but, you gotta give shine when it’s due.
Rossland Beer Co.
Make sure to stop here for a pint or two. Great scene, good people, delicious beer. Tell them King Snow sent ya and you’ll get a free refill (probably not)—give it a try and slap some high fives for us.
@rosslandbeerco | 1990 Columbia Ave.
One of the oldest pubs in all of BC and maybe the last-standing Saloon from the great gold rush. Amazing food, live music, pool tables, TVs for the sports and a welcoming scene. The legend continues.
@flyingsteamshovel | 2003 2nd Ave
Gab’s is the spot. A moderately priced pasta paradise for foodies and the famished. When the day starts at first chair and ends with the patroller sweep, get refuelled at Gabriella’s.
@gabriellasrestaurants | 1919 Columbia Ave
Thank You! 🙏🏼
Giant shout out and high fives to everyone we met along the way, especially Nicole Briggs, everyone at RED Mountain, Tourism Rossland, Rome SDS for their undying support of snowboarding and snowboarders. And our local insiders, Jamie Rizzuto and Dan Grey. You guys rule, thanks for showing us the goods.
Best. Time. Ever.