Rossland is a unique place, to say the least, but it’s cabin culture sets it apart. Back in the day, cabins were for hunters, trappers and even skiers who wanted to be that much closer to the powder. Now, individuals, RED Mountain Resort (RED) and the local organization ‘Friends of the Rossland Range’ are working to keep cabins accessible far into the future.
At RED, there are seven historic cabins that still exist from before the time of the hill. Most of the cabins were built in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s so that skiers could access powder stashes up on Granite Mountain almost 30 years before it would be accessible by lift. One of the most famous and well-preserved cabins is the Yodel Inn. The cabin’s caretaker, Wake Williams, lives in it around 200 nights a year. A kind and welcoming man, Wake loves living in the cabin that his parents built back in the 1940’s. “My mother and father were a part of the large group of people that ski toured in these mountains in the 1930s and 40s,” says Wake. “For now, almost 50 years solid, I have been coming up as a caretaker of the cabin”. The cabin, which is a vestige to the past, is filled with relics of years gone by and memories made with friends and family while skiing the surrounding slopes. By the looks of the cabin you think it would be tucked far into the forest but it is actually located 10-metres off one the main runs at RED.
The Yodel Inn
There is another cabin at RED that has a slightly different history than the others. The Starter Shack is located near the top of Granite Mountain at the beginning of Buffalo Ridge. This cabin didn’t start as a full structure but rather as a minimal A-frame where racers started their downhill races from the 70’s to 90’s. Once races were no longer hosted at the top of the mountain, the ‘Shack’ was slowly converted into a cabin with full kitchen, fireplace, loft, and two decks. It’s now used to host different groups that visit RED.
Nowadays, the ‘Friends of the Rossland Range’ is an organization dedicated to preserving and updating cabins located in the Rossland area. The organization’s Director, Laura Mackay, is set on improving the network. “In the Rossland Range we are going to have a total of nine new cabins. This year, we have put in three new cabins some on each side of the highway“, says Laura. These basic cabins offer the perfect outing, sometimes just 1-km away by snowshoe, cross-country or light touring ski.
Cabin culture is not going away anytime soon in Rossland and RED. Historic cabins stand as a test to time and new cabins add to that culture. It’s one of the most unique aspects of any mountain town in the Kootenays.
- Story and all photos by Ryan Flett, a local photographer from Nelson, BC. Ryan started skiing at Whitewater Ski Resort at a young age and knew that his obsession with the outdoors would guide him. He sought a career where he could experience the world around him and capture its beauty. He's chased skiers down powder runs in the Kootenays, experienced the culture wonders of South America, sailed the majestic BC coast and travelled east to west in Canada. And continues experiencing as much as he can, with his camera in tow.