Rossland offers lots of fun at winter carnival in British Columbia

Bobsled team races down Spokane Street during the winter carnival in Rossland, British Columbia

By Richard Irwin
Savvy Skier

The handmade bobsled barreled down the icy city street, zooming past an ambulance and police car sitting at an intersection. Residents rushed out into the street to see if the brave young men crashed on the busy boulevard below.

Welcome to the Sammy Samuelson Bobsled Race, one of the most popular events at the Rossland Winter Carnival in British Columbia. The quaint old mining town bills itself as Canada’s oldest winter carnival.

They say a Norwegian miner by the name of Olaus Jeldness started it all back in 1897. They insist Olaus invited friends to the top of nearby Red Mountain for an infamous “tea party.” Afterwards, the pioneer strapped long wooden sticks to their feet and sent them barreling down the hill. He called them “skis,” and that’s how the sport got its start in Canada.

Well, Olaus would be proud to know that neighbors are still barreling down the streets of Rossland — albeit in handmade bobsleds that are long on imagination and short on engineering.

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It takes a village, and Mammoth Mountain has a great one

Village at Mammoth offers many amenities for a great family ski vacation. (Mammoth Mountain photo)

By Richard Irwin
Savvy Skier

I love villages. Especially when it comes to skiing.

Quaint European villages have always intrigued me with their narrow streets and bustling market centers. I love to amble through these villages, stopping at a pub or beer garden to share a drink with friendly villagers.

Besides, I don’t need a car to get around these small towns. All the restaurants, bars and businesses are located within blocks of each other.

I still remember fondly a ski trip to Oberstdorf in Germany. The town center was blocked off for pedestrians. Only silent, electric buses cruised the main street.

American ski resorts tend to be much larger. Though most offer free public transit, their scale takes away the quaint feeling, as well as the convenience.

Intrawest became a leader in the development of ski resorts with a central village concept. The villages were designed from the ground up with restaurants and businesses on the ground floors, supporting three to four floors of condos.

Located at the base of the ski resorts, these ski-in ski-out properties quickly became a favorite with families looking for convenient ski vacations.

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Skier enjoys return to Mammoth Mountain

Snow boarder carves up deep powder at Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort. (Mammoth Mountain photo)

By Richard Irwin

Every spring, we used to ski at Mammoth Mountain. It became a tradition to hit the slopes near Bishop at the end of the ski season

We could drive to Mammoth Lakes, the price of lift tickets was reasonable and the ski resort offered a wide variety of terrain.

One year, summer arrived early, melting the snowpack and ruining the ski runs. Unfortunately, it also ruined my skis, so I began to look elsewhere for ski week.

Over the next decade, we tried Vail, Beaver Creek, Jackson Hole, Crested Butte, Alta, Snowbird. All offered unique mountain experiences as well as world class lodging and dining.

We even traveled to other countries, skiing Lake Louise and Sunshine in Calgary, Whistler outside Vancouver and Mt. Tremblant in Quebec.

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