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So, how do you really feel about it? Red Mtn. added to the Ikon pass

Well the news is out now, so how do we all really feel about Red being added to the Ikon pass?  I think it's a smart move by the managment especially with the border most likely being closed for sometime, but I really don't agree with what the mega passes do to resorts in the way of traffic etc.  Thoughts anyone?

I personally think it's a good call.  we need more people visiting Red and maybe this would get people here that wouldn't normally come to our sleepy hollow. 

This article gives an interesting and slightly depressing view on it.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2389964/ski-pass-epic-ikon

Fight man...and then fight him again...and again...and if that fails there is always touring, sigh.

That article is spot on 

I've been pretty vocal on this topic via other social media forums thus far.  I made a comment re. my concerns on the issue on Powder Magazine's announcement of Red's addition to the megapass.  Peter Katkov responded to my raising of the alarm as follows.  I'll post my subsequent response to Peter on the next post in this thread 

Excerpt from Powder Magazine facebook thread.  Comment from Peter Katkov below:  "It’s definitely a delicate balance and easy to be wary of the potential for an experience-changing influx of new visitors. I’m no local, but have been riding Red exclusively for 25 years, including 5 seasons as a resident, and I share your concerns to a degree. It’s easy to go on Facebook and bash a decision, made with the intention of maintaining profitability of a resort, but difficult to truly understand what it takes to run an organization as complicated as Red. I’m sure you have no complains about the extensive Grey terrain expansion, the carefully and respectfully restored  base lodge/rafters bar, or the safe and reliable on-mountain operation. All of which drive the economic engine of that small town, and they come at a cost, either investment or debt that has to be repaid by profitability. Unfortunately, the days of the viability of old co-op model are long gone, and capitalism is the only way to reliably give you access to the experience you love. Yes, the Ikon partnership will certainly introduce more visitors that would not otherwise have come to Red, but you know as well as I do that a 4 person family that’s used to skiing Mammoth is unlikely to poach the lines you and I seek out over one long-weekend. Sure, the Silverlode lineup may be 10% longer on the busiest days, but hopefully the Topping Creek parking lot and lift expansion next summer will get ahead of that issue. I think you’d agree that the skiing experience now is better than it was 25 years ago. Bottom line, at Red, there’s more than enough acreage to share with a few new faces, and hopefully they are met with the same welcoming vibes that made me fall in love with the hill and town back in the 90’s.  In a world with so much uncertainty and stress, I hope the generosity of Rosslanders remains constant, and that we can all enjoy our passion for exploring that amazing hill together."

And now my response to Peter Katkov's comments above:  "Peter , thank you for taking the time to respond to my post.  Even as a former volunteer ski patroller at Red, with some fairly in depth knowledge of its operations and some level of its finances (I've read the financials)...frankly, I am less concerned about what this decision means about the experience of skiing Red in the future, than I am about its potential impact on the town of Rossland.  If Red gets overrun, the lift lines consistently long, and is tracked out in a single morning, it will be sad and I'll be angry...but that is fixed to an extent via a purchase of a sled and more ski touring.  Skiing problem solved.  

What I cannot fix as a local though, is the potential impact on the livability of my home.  Rossland is a tiny town with a population of less than 4000 people.  The decision that was just made put us on the direct radar of nearly 1.3 million megapass holders (both   IKON and EPIC). I say this because you know as well as I do that EPIC pass holders pay attention to what is being offered to IKON pass holders, and they make a choice as to which megapass they will purchase that season.  So although we are now offered on the IKON, we were just marketed to the EPIC customers too.

It will not take much of an uptick of visitors to overwhelm Rossland and change the livability for it's residents.  By now, you must have experienced mountain towns wherein 1/3, 1/2, or more of the people present are visitors rather than residents.  Visitors, no matter how well intentioned, do not treat those places with the same level of respect as the residents.  That is precisely why you can read about endless cases of local complaints re. these passes.  Now ask yourself how many visitors it would take for that formula to occur in Rossland.  Right...1000 visitors..2000 visitors.  We were just made much more accessible to 1.3 million.  Great.  On top of that, I believe the geography of Rossland does not lend itself to rapid expansion to handle a sudden influx.  As you well know, Rossland is not positioned in an expansive valley like many other mountain towns.  The problem could therefore be exacerbated.

I am not anti-development, not anti-change. However, Rosslanders like myself value slow, measured, organic growth.  This change definitely has the potential to be the very opposite of that.  Once the genie is out of the bottle, it cant be put back in.  I am ringing the alarm bells, as I believe it is warranted.  If I am proven wrong, so be it.  We'll know who was right in 10 years.  If I'm right, I definitely wont be skiing Red, but more significantly I might no longer be a full-time resident of Rossland, which would be utter heartbreak for me personally.  On the other hand, If I'm wrong, I'll still be skiing Red with a smile on my face and living in Rossland in relative harmony, welcoming its manageable number of visitors with open arms.

The point I am trying to make, is that Red's decisions aren't made in a bubble, and I hope Red and the municipality of Rossland have an in-depth, coordinated, proactive infrastructure plan ready to go to handle a big increase of travellers.   Remember the number 1.3 million.  Even if 30,000 decide to visit Rossland...what happens?

In the end, Rosslanders, including myself, will treat visitors how we are treated.  If we are overrun and treated like we are only there to be exploited, or the whole makeup of town changes as a result of a massive influx, guess how we'll react?  I can tell you right now if you aren't yet certain.

I get angry, as do others, when people refer to Rossland as a just a "resort  town"...or "only" a resort town.  Currently, well over 80% of its homes are occupied by primary home owners, calling Rossland home 365 days of the year.  That stat is critical to the "vibe" that you are referring to.  We work here, we live here.  Every day, all year, year after year.  We work at Teck, at the hospital, at the school board, at the electric utility company, at the barber shop, at the grocery store, and at countless businesses that service its local residents.  Our kids are born and raised here.  The vast majority of the businesses in the area are not catering to tourists, and if they are, it is supplementary in nature.  Hence, we are not a "resort town".  Rossland is a home.  Red Mountain, although a valued significant contributor to the mix of our town, is not even in the top 3 of its most important economic drivers.  Many are irked when claims otherwise are made by those behind Red, just so you know.

In summary, I wish the best for Red Mountain and its shareholders, but not at the expense of Rossland."

Sinjin, That was well written response, and I am sure most if not all of us that live here 365 agree with you. 

 

The whole makeup of our town town has changed already.  House prices are astronomical as are rent prices, the minimum wage workers can't afford to live here without bunking in mass accommodations which means single parents on a min wage are completely screwed. The 'affordable' housing planned isn't even for these workers.....it's for workers making $60thousand and above. 

The damage done is irreparable, Now we have to mitigate.  bringing more people to town where our only real resource is the ski hill is that mitigation measure.   No we aren't going to like it, but change is hard and sharing our toys is harder.

It is just political posturing to suggest that housing in Rossland used to be affordable but no longer is. We moved here in 1981. Mortgage rates were...wait for it....22%! We could only afford a home because we were able to assume a first mortgage at the impossibly low rate of 13% and finance the balance by way of a second. After taxes, insurance and mortgages we lived on a very small percent of our income. Skiing at the hill was out of reach for many families, including ours. as an added bonus, for many years our house was worth less than we paid for it.

Since then there have been boom and bust times here. Occasionally housing got less expensive - but not typically when viewed against the housing market as a whole or as a percentage of income. Mortgage rates have steadily declined.

The measures taken by the ski hill should be seen for what they are: a calculated business decision to benefit the shareholders of the Red Mountain Corp. - oh, but not including those of you who paid to 'own the mountain'! These measures, if successful, will increase the transition of Rossland into a destination ski resort with all that entails. Is that bad or good? It's a matter of opinion but I'm firmly in the 'it's very bad' camp. It certainly won't be a place that I will want to live in.

What responsibility does Red have to our community in terms of hospital care and emergency response?

We had shut a lot of our economy down to mitigate a 'rush' on our hospitals due to covid (please don't riff on covid here...just making a point).

If we add a few thousand people to our hill during a time of year when our first responders get their most calls (with many of the people going to KBRH with broken bits) how does that impact not only our hospital but also our ambulance/first responders/ SAR who are paid, paid on call and volunteer? 

 

sinjin made reference to the many people who work here 365 at teck, fortis, the school board and hospital.  The problem with that statement is that none of those business operate in Rossland which means none of them can be taxed by the city of Rossland to support our economy.  We don't work where we live And if we do, it's not in a major company.  The city of Rossland taxes it's residents.....highly, because that is pretty much all they have to tax! We don't have industry here. We have a ski hill that runs part of the year, that's practically empty when you get up there, that people don't want to share. 

I agree with Sinjin's response.

RosslandBetty, how does your comment on taxes or where we work/live relate to the topic of IKON pass visitors?  IKON pass visitors, whatever the number, wont be contributing to our tax base, nor will Red Mtn increase their tax payments to Rossland due to an increase in visitors...unless those IKON pass visitors start making Rossland home and building multi-million dollar homes and paying the taxes that come with it.  You aren't concerned if that I'd the end game?  If not, how exactly does that scenario help your low income housing problem?  That scenario has not helped low income scenarios in mountain resort towns all over North America.  Why would Rossland's result be any different?  In short, I'm just confused by your taxation comment in general and how it applies.

Sinjin, how does you comment on where we all work contribute to the IKON pass? An overall influx of money into the area brings money to the area. Money to our businesses money to the waitresses that serve them. Thinking 'thousands' of people will all of a sudden be skiing a red on a single day is impossible.  First you have to calculate how many beds we have for guests.....if they don't have a bed, they won't be staying. Second parking, if they don't have parking they won't be skiing. Third food, do we even have enough restaurants to feed 'thousands' more people, no. 

Thanks scotfor for that reference. A 'return-to-the-roots-movement', wonder if I'll live long enough to see that in Rossland. At the risk of taking a sever lashing here for suggesting good things about a neighbouring area the model at Whitewater is the envy of us all. I love their add, No Cel, No Wifi, No snowmaking, 40 feet of powder.

I think its very sad that with all problems of other "resort" towns we are going down that same path and making the same mistakes. We are not a resort town and are fooling ourselves if we think that. 

 

25 years ago Rossland was a much more vibrent community with a lot more things happening.... Creek jump, Turkey roast, Rock and Twang, Mountain bike races that started in front of the Bank of Montreal. As the money started to show up the colour and character of Rossland has slowly disappeared. 25 years ago Powder days would last almost a week and we didn't need more lifts to keep everyone happy. I get that things have changed but it would have been nice if the people that live here were more of a priority than the people that might come here.

Charity...oops I mean RosslandBetty...we all know we cant accommodate a massive influx of IKON pass visitors.  That is the point.  If the high demand persists despite this that fact...guess what happens next?  Bingo!  Rossland changes under market pressure to accommodate.  How does it change you ask?  More building, more hotels/rooms, more Airbnb's, overflow to other communities etc.  These things should be obvious because they literally have happened everywhere else under those same circumstances.  When that occurs, and the ratio of visitors compared to residents goes through the roof, what is left of the Rossland you once knew?  Would you still want to live here, or would you prefer somewhere else that isn't overrun seasonally or otherwise?  (rhetorical question for most, but maybe not for you)

Wow, you stalked me creepily and found my name...the point of that was? To prove a point or to state you can find me? Anyway...super creepy stalker dude! 

For once I'm actually on the side of progress and building an established Rossland. When that time comes, and it has been coming for years, we have to welcome it and not hide in the shadows with pitchforks.  I understand that we have been secluded In our paradise...but change isn't going to happen overnight.  Everything you mentioned will happen slowly.  Complaining about change isn't going to stop it, it's just going to make you bitter.   

All I had to do was look at the history of the astronomical number of bhubble posts under your profile to quickly realize that RosslandBetty is the new Charity (the profile you renamed).  It doesn't take a rocket scientist, nor being a stalker.  You've literally jumped in on pretty much every convo on this platform.  I literally dont know how you find the time.  Good on you for being engaged, at least.  Not sure why you needed to change your profile name.  If you want to be rid of the old history you should kill that account and start a brand new one, rather than rename the old one.

I'm sure you're right regarding my account but you would still have to look.  And to answer how I have so much time, I have a torn Achilles' tendon and I am in a cast. 

It would appear that the ikon pass has already begun to tear our little town apart!

perhaps this is what they wanted all along, to watch us implode!

Scotfor , thanks for posting the link to that book.  I'll surely give it a read 

Corportate culture promoting a locally owned mountain to visitors - what a joke!

Where was the rebate on the early end of season to the pass holders?  How about extending the early bird deadline or providing fully refundable season pass till a certain deadline in the midst of so much uncertaincy and financial duress for many?  Revelstoke and many other resorts did it.  Now this?

No wonder backcountry usage is at an all time high and people are starting to say FU back to corporate resort culture.   I grew up riding Red Mtn since I was 3 and have zero loyalty to Red Resort any longer.       

Thanks for the book recommendation. This is also a great book: The Weekender Effect: Hyperdevelopment in Mountain Towns

https://rmbooks.com/book/the-weekender-effect/

Some experinces from other ski hills: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/28/travel/ikon-epic-skiing-crowds.html

 

Thanks for the link to the NY Times article about the effect of the Ikon pass – very interesting (and quite depressing).

Just wanted to respond to Pete Katkov by saying I definitely had a better on mountain experience twenty five years ago, but that's just me. 

Red hasn't been affordable for many for years now for families with lower incomes, single parent families, etc. Most sport financial aide programs have too low of an income qualification for many families here.  Plus they don't cover passes for parents nor recreational day passes.  So whatever happens, as Red becomes more profitable, with a marketable culture/vibe built off the backs of locals...I sure hope they can offer much much lower day pass rates for locals, especially those with lower family incomes, eg single parents.  (Side note: Maybe more will convert to nordic at Blackjack -  gear has come a long way to be fast and light, and those groomed tracks are pretty fun, and great value given all the volunteer hours and time that goes into keeping it as affordable as possible.  Non profits rock!)

Sinjin, thank you for your input. It's all pretty disturbing.