Magic Numbers

Golf is a funny game. Luck plays a big part in it – often it is ‘bad’ luck (“Why did it bounce that way?”) and sometimes it’s good. Ben Hogan is quoted as saying, “If you hit a shot to two-feet, it is skill. If it goes in, it is luck.” But even some rounds are not just lucky, they are flukes.

As a seventy-eight year old low single-digit, it was not the first time I’d shot my age (that fluke happened nine years ago while getting away with my mistakes before proceeding to birdie five of the last six holes). Shooting my age is now a common occurrence. But this round at Redstone was special in so many ways.

This was the seventh and last stop in Canada on a golfing road trip into British Columbia with my son – playing spectacular mountain courses in the Kootenay and Columbia Valleys. This Les Furber design carved out of the forest on the side of a mountain near Rossland is special – big elevation changes, narrow doglegs through trees, blind tee shots, well bunkered and large undulating fast greens, forced carries over water hazards, …. you get the picture. We were just playing a casual round from the “member” white tees which made it relatively short – but the course still has its challenges and any wayward shot is still often a lost ball.

I had been playing pretty well on this trip, but I certainly didn’t expect six birdies – including two fluke 45-foot fast downhill breaking putts which I was only hoping not to three-putt. The finishing holes are a short par-3 that is all carry across a pond with no bail-out followed by a steeply downhill nearly 90° dogleg 4-par through the forest (with a reachable pond at the end of the dogleg) and then a short-to-mid-iron second (given a good drive) through a gap in the trees and across a 50-yard hazard fronting the green. That last hole is maybe the best – and most intimidating – finishing hole I’ve ever played. I was thrilled with closing pars – to complete my lowest round ever, a five-under 67.

With that round my magic number (the differential between my age and my lowest score) is now eleven.

The family that skis together

I’ve heard folks say that the family that skis together stays together. For as long as I can remember we have been a family that skis together. Growing up in fruitvale BC, there was never a shortage of outdoor activities. From hiking to biking to swimming and camping there was always much to do and see. But in my mind then, and now, nothing compared to skiing at Red.


My Dad is a long time member and regular and started my brother and I on skis almost as soon as we could walk. It was brilliant. I remember looking back on the sea of clouds as the chairlift peaked through the fog and we rose into the sun thinking this was the most beautiful place on earth. There were days the powder was waist high and you could almost touch your skis to the snow while still on the lift.


The year was 1986 and I was 5 years old. The old golden granite chair was operating in full force and we headed up for a typical Saturday of hitting the slopes. It was a two person chairlift, but since I was still quite small we turned it into a three person and I was sitting on my dads knee. We made it about 3/4 of the way up and stopped suddenly over the bowl, where the largest gap between towers existed. The chair bounced and finally came to a halt. I remember looking down and hoping that we would not be sitting there for too long. Well, that was not the case and after what felt like hours we realized we needed to be evacuated. My dad had told me stories of evacuation and ski patrols coming down the cable to help get people of safely but it all sounded suspect to me. I thought to myself, certainly this warranted a hot chocolate when it was done and over. We chatted and shared stories with the man riding with us and finally it was our turn to descend. We were the second to last chair left to be evacuated so the cable was so light. Without all the weight from the people we seemed to be flying extra high. I was terrified. The ski patrol came down the cable to reach us as my dad promised and hooked me up to a tee-bar and tied me on. He was slowly trying to lower me down using a rope but I was too light. I was twirling around in the air like a weightless ballerina. With the help of my dad, and the other gentleman on the chair with us, the three of them weighted the rope and lowered me down to safety. I can’t recall how high the old lift over the bowl is but it was high enough that I decided I didn’t want to ever do that again. My hot chocolate that day never tasted so good!


I have so many stories and adventures stored away in my mind from Red. They are honestly some of my happiest memories in life.


Now I am older, have moved away and have a beautiful family of my own. I miss Red dearly and feel so blessed to have grown up with access to such a magical place. Every year my brother, Dad and I meet up for a trip home to Red. It is always the highlight of the season! Our little skiing family has grown to include spouses and now my beautiful fearless daughter. It was so important for me to have Red be the first place she was introduced to skiing. We made that happen 3 years ago and have been bringing her back every year since. A new generation of Lowe/Slobodian’s will be blessed to ski at the best hill in the world!! Okay, so I haven’t skied every hill worldwide, but I don’t need to to realize that Red is just plain magic.


Thank you for making my childhood so incredible and giving me with a life long supply of amazing memories!!


I will see you soon, you beautiful beast of a mountain.


Marnie (Lowe) Slobodian

Great times in Rossland despite the lack of snow

I have created a video about my last time in Rossland and desire to go back. Please enjoy (this is literally my first attempt at making a movie, forgive the bad acting, directing, writing, editing etc…):

Rossland contest from Kevin Thompson on Vimeo.

A sort summary; while looking for a destination for our annual snowboard trip, I was looking up Red Mountain after hearing nothing but great things. I then found out that there was a Winter Carnival that featured homemade bobsled racing. I told my friends and we were decided – there would be no more looking. We found a condo on the mountain and booked it. A couple months later, the trip was here. Sadly, Rossland and the area had not received much snow.

Despite the lack of snow, the friendly, relaxed vibe of Rosalind welcomed us. The locals shared stories of epic powder from seasons past and assured us the snow would be coming. We checked out the resort, saw some epic terrain, wishing the snow would appear so we could enjoy it. We were told about some good tours in the area and spent our trip in the Red slack country and the Kootenay Pass backcountry.

We planned the day of the bobsled race to be a rest day, so we went and checked out Rafters the night before. It was a great time, great atmosphere, and filled with fantastic people. Sadly, we had so much fun that we shut the bar down. Ok, that wasn’t the sad part. The sad part was the next morning our alarms go off and not a single one of us could move. We were too hungover to go. We missed the bobsled race.

For me, winning this prize would give me a great excuse to go back and take it a little easier the night before the bobsled race and finally witness it! Not to mention, after the last time consisting of dodging dirt patches on the mountain, some epic riding conditions from the area are in order and the snowfall the area has been getting looks amazing!

Rossland to me was a sleepy little town, but full of adventure. The locals were never down about the snow conditions, finding the silver lining. Heading out touring, extending their biking season, and still embracing their small town. Rosalind was awesome even without epic winter conditions, and I can’t wait to get back.

Thanks Redstone!

Life at Redstone Before and After

In and around 1954 I lived in Warfield and my friend Al and I would hitchhike to the golf course to caddy. Sometimes we would be dropped at the road to the golf course and walk down. At that time there was a Chinese man who garden and sold his vegetables in Rossland, and Warfield. At first he carried his produce in baskets on a pole across his shoulder and walked. Later on he got a horse (white) and a wagon then went as far as Trail. You could see him frequently on the highway to Warfield, and from there he would go up the old wagon road. He lived in a log cabin much like the ski club cabin that is at Redstone today. On one walk to the course he was not around so we walked over and looked in his house. To say the least it was very sparse. A small bed and table on a dirt floor. Shelves with very little on them. All that is left are the fruit trees that you can see driving in to Redstone. But I digress. My story is about the time Al and I, had gone up to caddy, which turned to be a very slow day.


After hanging around for an hour or so we heard the train. The train back then ran fairly regularly between Rossland and Trail (Cominco). The two of us started running towards no.5 hole with the intent of hopping the train and riding it to Warfield. The train had to go through a couple of switchbacks In the area of Redstones back nine (hole 11). so it gave us just enough time to cut down through the bushes along no. 4 fairway and get to the tracks just as the train showed up. I ran alongside grabbed the ladder of a box car and swung up onto the ladder. I look back to see Al hanging onto a lower rung of a ladder on the next box car, with his legs going under the car. I jumped off and as Al went by I yelled to kick-out. He kicked and let go at the same time, and went rolling up the bank. We sat there as the rest of the train went by realizing how lucky we were that he wasn’t tragically hurt. Two sombre young boys had a slow walk down the railway tracks to home. That certainly was the last time we tried to hop the train, but not the last time caddying.


I went from caddying to being a regular golfer at Redstone. Not to long ago Jonsey. and I drove up to no 11 tee box (somewhere in the vicinity of the old train switchbacks), there was a mother bear with her two cubs eating the clover on the slope at the front of the Tee box. Dave shrugged pulled out his driver and drove over them, I did the same, then we got in the cart and drove around them.


That is life at Redstone.

Tow Rope Tragedy

So the first time I ever played golf in Rossland was as a young teen spending one of many summers visiting my cousins and hanging out in what eventually became my home for 12 years later in life.
My cousins from Trail brought me up the hill one summer day and golf at Rossland course was in our sights.
They mentioned that there was a par 3 hole with a tow rope that you could load your golf bag on and it would take your clubs up to the green and allow every golfer a leisurely hike up the hill, so not having to lug your bag sounded great.
Playing the 9 holes at the time we eventually got to this par 3 and although I had thought they were having one over on me…lo and behold here was this tow rope. After we hit our balls .. one of my cousins pulled out a length of rope, offered it to me and I tied my bag strap to the rope. My other cousin pushed the start button and away they went.
I had made a good shot which to me seemed like I might have made the green. My cousins had both hit badly so they had to drag their bags up the hill to the green. I enjoyed
an easy walk up the hill while the two of them struggled pitching their way up the hill.
All was fine till I made it to the top and found my dad’s clubs and bag mangled in the tow pulley and a local fellow cursing and scolding me for being a fool as he tried to untangle my mess.
To my cousins I have had many chances to best them since and all in good fun. To Rossland, it’s always on my summer golf tour to get in a round or two. I miss the old tow rope even if I never ever used it in the numerous rounds played since and before the expansion.

Rossland

My story is about how my wife and I met and how Rossland brought us together.
My tennis career was coming to an end and I moved from the Bahamas to Lakelouise.
I then moved to Invermere (loved skiing/golf ,camping and biking.)
My friend and now biz partner was living there but moving to Trail.
He then moved and I would go visit him some weekends and enjoy the amazing surroundings .

So loving the area on visits and knowing that my future might be in Rossland I then happened to go on my first adult vacation with my parents in Mexico.
We ended up in PV Mexico and this where the story gets interesting .
I met this beautiful girl one day in the pool.
We got to talking , she was in her last year nursing(school) living in Vancouver .
We started warming up to each other and telling each other what we like to do and our passions.(we met on Valentine’s Day)
So I went on about how I like to ski and golf and enjoy the outdoors. She then told me she worked at CMH for quite some time and had hundreds of days heliskiing….
Wowwww I thought . Geeez this is someone I would really like to get to know.
So at one point we were talking and she brought up Red Mtn . I instantly cut her off and started bragging or confidently talking about how well I ski and how well I know the Mtn.
She had a funny look on her face and then we got to where we grew up. It turns out she grew up in Trail and knows this area wayyyy better than I did.
So we then got to what our plans were for next year.
She said well as soon as I am done school I will be doing my practicum in Trail and hopefully moving to Rossland.
Whatttt the whatttt.
I am moving to Rossland . I literally thought someone was messing with me. I looked around with amazement .
9 months later we bought our home in Rossland together.
We married 2 years later now have a baby boy (Neeko) and a litte girl (NEEYA).
We know enjoy all of the amazing things that Rossland has to offer .
I couldn’t be more proud to have my family and business in this awesome town.
It was Destiny

The “She “is Marni Raito my best friend and wife.

Happy birthday

I love to play golf at Redstone. It truly is a dynamic course as the early morning drew slows your putt giving way to afternoon of very fast greens. Every year i play golf on June 2. The last 5 years have been endless rain. For my brave friends and the staff of Redstone have allowed us to play in the most unforgiving, unrentless, water-fest golf. With clubs in hand, rain suit, drink, we set out for 5 hours of slippery grips, lost balls and rooster tail putts.


My rain suit lasted only 3 holes before my swing ripped pants from leg to leg by the 18th ,I was looking good despite my lack of clothes. I challenge anyone to Play Golf at Redstone on June 2, I will be there and so will my friends.

Family Business In the Kootenay’s

Family Business in The Kootenay’s


Hello everyone, my name is Christine Coombes and I would like to tell everyone my family’s story of being entrepreneurs and living in The Kootenays. I currently help run my family’s business, The Warfield Fas Gas with my sister Margaret Ann and my parents Bill and Margaret Herd.


Our story starts out in a different country 71 years ago. My dad was born and raised in a small town in Scotland called Denbeeth. His dad who worked the mines knew he had to get the family out of Scotland so they would have a better life. He got his chance when he got a small settlement from the mine he worked at. He asked the family if they wanted to stay in Scotland or move to Canada. They all chose Canada.


My Dad arrived in Canada in 1961 and started apprenticing at Kay Motors to become a mechanic. He met and married my mom in 1968 and my brother came along and then I and my sister soon followed.


My dad always wanted to run his own business and he realized his dream in 1975 when he got the opportunity to run Sunset Texaco (it used to be where McDonald’s is in Trail). He was originally partners with Rod Crockett, and then a year later his partner was Geoff Smith. That partnership only lasted a year as well and then my dad got smart and made my mom his new partner in 1977. When my dad ran Sunset Texaco he was a manager for Texaco and he did not own the business, so in 1983 Texaco management came in and cancelled my dad’s lease and gave him 30 days to get out.


My parents had a rough go during the early ‘80’s like many people. The economy was in a huge recession and a lot of people lost everything. My dad persevered, and was still determined to own his own business. He won a court battle against Texaco for the way they revoked their lease and used that money to start Columbia Auto Wrecking in Waneta. The used auto parts business was a new thing at that time in 1984 but my dad struggled along until 1988. He sold the business for pennies and that was when he took my mom up to Warfield and showed her the old run down Esso station.


My mom was very skeptical, they had no money but my dad talked her into looking closely at opening his own service station. This time though he told her that he wanted to own the business not just be a leasee for an oil company. He never wanted anyone to come in again and kick him out.


At the time there was a lot of competition in the gas station business. There were three gas stations in Rossland, and four in Trail. My dad approached Shell and asked if they were interested in having a station in Warfield. To begin with they were not really on board. My dad went a got all the financing in order. He went to the business development bank and the Warfield Credit Union. When he got all his ducks in a row Shell decided to give him a shot. The only thing Shell gave to him was a couple of old signs. That was enough though, he had a flag.


I had just graduated at the time and I was there to help build this business. It was a lot of work. We had to rebuild the old Esso station and it was a great feat. At the time my grandpa was still alive and he was the main reason the whole thing came together. He was a carpenter and all of us were there morning till night doing everything we could to help. We finally made the dream a reality and in May 1989 Warfield Shell was born.


For the first 15 years my dad eked out a living with all of us working with him. We had all become married and started our own families but my sister and I stuck around to help my parents. None of us were getting rich but we had to work hard and not lose this business. Finally in 2003 my sister and I convinced my parents that the only way we were to survive was to convert two of the mechanics bays into a convenience store. There just wasn’t enough mechanic work to keep the business running. One morning I showed up and took a sledge hammer to a wall and said OK let’s make this store happen. Again on a shoestring we converted two bays into our convenience store. This time though we had the help of our own spouses and their skills came in handy. That convenience store saved our business. Shell was happier now and they even put up new signage.


We continued on with Shell until 2009 when they decided to pull their Flag. Up until then our fuel was hauled by Benson’s and Shell decided to go long haul. They did not think a B Train Semi would be able to unload fuel because of the slope of the hill, and for that reason they pulled out. Another decision to make, who we wanted to do business with. We talked to everyone and decided that Fas Gas’s cash back program was best for our customers, so Fas Gas it was.


We have now been a Fas gas station since 2009 and things have not always gone smoothly but as always we have persevered. My sister and I have taken over a lot of the day to day running of the business but my dad still comes in everyday and has coffee with his mechanic Lance Taylor. He is not only a great mechanic and friend to my dad but a great help to us in the store.


We truly love living here in the Kootenays and really love helping our parents run the business they created from nothing. Our customers mean a lot to us and we do everything we can to make people feel welcome in our store. A family business is a tough thing to do but it also has many rewards.


As a teenager I wanted to do what every teenager wanted, I wanted to go to the big city and live the big life, but I discovered you can really love living where you grew up and have a rewarding life as well.

The Redstone family adoption

About 10 yrs. ago, my family and I met a real character…. Scott Dougan, a sheet metal worker from Van. Island who was working on the Red Mt. Condo construction project and other projects in the area. “Doogie”, as we affectionately called him, was here for the whole summer and, being an avid golfer, played as much as he could at Redstone. Doogie was a super-extrovert with a great sense of humor so he had no problem making friends. He was a regular at Men’s nite and fell right in step with the usual trash-talking and antics that are a Men’s nite must! My family fell in love with this character Doogie .. He was always having fun and laughing, mostly at himself, and always up for a “cold one”. During one game, Doogie sadly informed me that his stint in our area was up and he was moving on to another project in Alberta. He was going to play his last Men’s nite that week and be hitting the road the next day.
Doogie and I played his last Men’s nite with heavy hearts … He didn’t want to leave, he called the Redstone gang, his family. As per usual, after the round, we went into the clubhouse to have dinner and to partake in the usual good- natured Men’s nite rowdiness. After a few drinks and dinner, Doogie pretended to be in good spirits but underneath, he was very sad … He tried to put on a good front but those of us that knew him, could tell that he wasn’t himself. Before leaving after the gathering, I sneaked down to the pro shop and picked out a nice red Redstone hat to give to Doogie as a going away present…. Kindly donated by Cary. I slyly circulated around the clubhouse with the hat and Sharpie in hand, gathering signatures and well wishes on the hat for Doogie from his Redstone “bro’s”. After the prize presentation Cary gave a short, sad, and endearing farewell and the hat to Doogie from his Redstone family. Poor Doogie… He didn’t even see it coming… He looked at me and the look on his face was priceless disbelief! Doggie being in shock, I’m sure, got up and made a very touching and heart wrenching farewell followed by a roomful of clapping and cheering. Doogie abruptly got up and left the clubhouse …. For some personal time. A few minutes later, I went to the parking lot to bid Doogie farewell from my family and myself….. After all, he had become one of the family. As I walked up to Doogie’s truck, I found him sitting in the driver’s seat, staring at his new hat, and crying like a baby. He would probably be embarrassed now that I shared this story but awfully proud as well …. Doogie calls about once a month and always reminisces about the good times with his Redstone Family …. He always talks about coming back someday; I ‘m sure that I and the rest of the gang will greet him with open arms and We’ll pick up where we left off with our buddy Doogie ……
Just one of many Redstone Family stories…. Just sayin….

My home town.

My story is quite simple. I was born in Rossland and grew up there until our parents had the audacity to move to Vancouver; wrenching us along with them. Two months after graduating from school I was back in town working at cominco. I worked the shifts in order to get more skiing done.
During this time I was offered the opportunity to help rebuild the Klister Klub cabins and jumped at the chance, and am now the treasurer for the club.
I moved out of Rossland to Genelle to split the difference of driving, as my wife works in Castlegar. We had two daughters who went through the Nancy Greene program at Red and both are ski instructors, still in their teens, one is a level two.
I retired three years ago and try to ski every day as long as my achy old body lets me. It doesn’t get much simpler that that. I am simply one of the fortunate locals who have been able to live their life around skiing.