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Beginner Snowboarding at RED Mountain Resort?! I Visited to Find Out.

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A beginner boarder with just two lessons under her belt and maybe five days on any mountain anywhere heads to Rossland in British Columbia, Canada to find out if there is any beginner snowboarding at RED Mountain Resort, a mountain renowned for it’s world-class runs.

Snowy pines, ski slopes, and mountains in the distance.
The view from mid-mountain at RED Mountain Resort.

When I glanced at the sign at the base of the chair lift that clearly stated “No beginner runs,” I wondered what our snow host–a mountain guide who looked and sounded so much like Kurt Russel it was unnerving–was planning. I was absolutely a beginner, so I assumed there would be some secret back way that we (me, my more advanced snowboarding buddy for the week, and the host) would be riding down. Or perhaps we’d just be enjoying the view and then looping back down on the lift to head to a more appropriate run.

But as I stood at the top of the steepest slope I had ever ridden and watched both my companions strap in, it dawned on me: this was going to be a trial by fire. And I was too stubborn not to attempt slopes far beyond my skill level in order to get to the bottom, no matter how badly my body might hurt for the next week (and boy did it!).

Three snowboards stand up in the snow in front of snowy pine trees.

And as a reward for my tenacity, I was treated to views of pine boughs, frosted white and weighted down with snow too stubborn to be blown off by the light winter breeze, laughing conversations with long-time residents in tiny, cozy cabins, and stellar panoramas of snowy peaks. Plus one magical, snowy night in the snow globe that are the mid-mountain Constella Cabins.

The sun rises behind four Constella Cabins lined up in a row in front of pine trees.
Four of the six on-mountain Constella Cabins.

I’m not saying it was all snow angels and hot cocoa, of course. I fell on my butt so often I wondered if I should just scoot down the mountain. I caught an edge and ate it so hard multiple times that at least once I couldn’t breathe, gave myself mild whiplash, and was more sore that night and for the next three days than I have ever been in my life. My quads started cramping up on hour four of six on day one but I said nothing and powered through. I woke up the next morning extremely nervous to get back out there, worried I would somehow be even worse.

But I took a few practice runs on the beginner hill, watched a few tutorial videos (including the one we shot at Nordic valley just a week or two before), and got back out there (after a few deep breathes). And you know what? I got better and only fell a handful of times on my way to stay at the stunning on-mountain, true ski-in, ski-out Constella Cabins (highly recommend you spend a night or two here, btw).

And the next morning when I had to ski down? My turns improved, my falling leaf technique was becoming effortless on steep slopes, and I didn’t face-plant once. And it was rad.

A tiny day-use cabin located on RED Mountain Resort.
One of the privately owned day-use cabins located on the mountain.

Why Snowboard at RED Mountain Resort?

For me, a visit to RED was simple: I was invited to come check it out. Yes, even after I explained I was just a beginner. And what I found there was delightfully inviting. While many of the slopes were steep and intimidating, many more aren’t. The snow hosts were a welcoming and delightful bunch that offer a totally non-intimidating way to learn about the mountain (it’s hollow thanks to decades of mining operations) and get a guided tour of suitable runs, great untouched powder, and the private cabins hidden in the snow-burdened trees.

The lift lines were never more than a few people long over the three days I rode (though I was there during the week), there were barrel saunas at The Josie Hotel for toasting sore legs after hours of riding, and the residents were as friendly as Canadians are often stereotyped to be. Rossland is the epitome of small-town charm and genuine hospitality in a very off-the-beaten-track region of B.C.

A room at The Josie Hotel with a king bed and a soaking tub.
A room at The Josie Hotel.

Let me put it this way: RED and Rossland (about 100km away from the nearest midsized town) are the kind of places where you meet cabin owners on the mountain who might just invite you in for a drink if you’re friendly enough, you’ll grab an aprés ski beer with your snow host after she gets off for the day, you’ll wave to the waitress from the hotel restaurant at the grocery store in town, the local brewery owner will give you a hug on the way out the door, and folks you chatted up at the top of the lift are seated at the dinner table next to you. It feels like home, even if you’ve only been there for a day.

Two people on a chair lift going up the mountain at RED Mountain Resort.
A lift at RED Mountain Resort.

But in addition to the intangibles, for more experienced snowboarders, there’s plenty more to love:

  • It’s huge: RED Mountain Resort is in the top ten resorts with the most skiable acres (3,850) in all of North America.
  • It’s not crowded: It’s ranked number one for the most skiable acres per skier.
  • There are options for 360º descents on every side of the mountain.
  • There are accommodations (including the Nowhere Special Hostel and The Josie Autograph Collection Hotel) right next to the slopes.
  • There’s a free shuttle that runs too and from downtown Rossland all day.
  • Cat Ski tours are available for powder hounds.
  • Snow Hosts offer free guided tours of the mountain via ski or snowboard every day.
  • There are plenty of places to grab aprés ski drinks and apps within walking distance of lifts.
  • There are privately-owned cabins scattered across the mountain that you can check out (but no entering unless you’re invited in!).
  • The mountain is covered in friendly locals you’ll probably end up having a beer with before dinner.
A woman in ski goggles, a helmet, and mittens smiles with snowy trees in the background.
Smiling at the beginning of the first day of snowboarding.

Bottom Line: Is there Beginner Snowboarding at RED Mountain Resort?

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: It’s going to take a bit of courage and guts (which you probably already have a bit of if you’re planning to be a snowboarder). There are absolutely beginner (green) runs. As well as intermediate (blue) and advanced (black) routes. That said, you’ll likely encounter some steeper slopes as well as a fair few flat stretches that may require you to unclip a boot and skate to the next gradual downhill. I’m an extreme beginner, so I had to do that a fair number of times. My more experienced companion only had to once or twice a day (and possibly because she was trying not to leave me too far behind, God bless her).

On the upside, lessons are available, there’s a magic carpet that will whisk you up a learning hill where you can practice and build confidence, and if all else fails, you can perfect your falling leaf technique all the way down the mountain if you need to. 😅 On the upside: Now I feel like I can ride anywhere. Even if it’s poorly. 😅

A woman stands smiling next to a fat tire bike on the snow. Snowy pines are behind her.
Fat Biking on the Mt. Lepsoe Trails.

Other Winter Activities in Rossland that AREN’T Skiing or Snowboarding

Still not sold on skiing or snowboarding at RED? No problem. Because fortunately, around Rossland you’ll find plenty of other winter activities to keep you occupied.


If you prefer slow and steady climbs over wicked fast descents, grab a pair of snowshoes and hit any of the many, many trails around Rossland. Ask for hiking recommendations at your hotel’s front desk or use an app and website like Alltrails to pick one that’s suitable for your skill and stamina. Maybe one on Strawberry Pass, which is scattered with small public huts, the perfect places to take a break and warm up. Didn’t bring your snowshoes? Some hotels (like The Josie) offer free rentals to guests.

Fat Biking

If you prefer bombing downhill on two wheels as opposed to two sticks (aka: skis), then you’re in luck: there are a plethora of trails on which to fat bike in Rossland. Blue Elephant is a local favorite, but you can also start at the Seven Summits Trailhead and choose your own adventure. Get trail recommendations, bike rentals, and maps (plus any accessories you might need) at Revolution Cycles downtown (and tell Tyler I said “hi!”).

Cross Country Skiing

If you prefer to cruise flatter terrain on skis, give nordic skiing in Rossland a try. You can either bring your own skis, poles and boots and hit trails around Strawberry Pass, or visit Black Jack Ski Club where you can rent gear (or use your own) and make the most of the groomed trails all day long.


If you need a break from skiing but still crave a serious adrenaline rush, look no further than tandem paragliding at RED Mountain Resort! It’s one of only a handful of places you can sign up for a tandem experience at a ski resort in Canada and whoa does it look like a blast. You’ll have to plan ahead to book (contact Jason at Kootenay Paragliding for more info) and be flexible with what day and time you’ll actually be able to fly since weather conditions dictate when experienced pilots can take the lifts up and float down, but it’ll be one heck of an experience!

How to Get to Rossland and RED Mountain Resort

Perhaps the most popular way to get to Rossland is to fly into Spokane, Washington and take the Kootenay Charters group shuttle or a private shuttle from Kootenay Gateway (make sure to book either in advance) across the border. Don’t forget your passport! You can also drive yourself over the border (Rossland is only 10km from the checkpoint) or fly into much smaller (and likely more expensive) Castlegar Airport close to Rossland.

Looking for more winter content? Check out our review of two snowshoes here, an intercom device for snowboarders here, and sustainable ski and snowboard goggles here.

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